Karina's role as Senior Sous Chef at Sydney Town Hall
Hailing from Ireland’s capital city Dublin, Karina puts her love of food down to her mother. “My mam is without a doubt the inspiration behind my talent today.”
Her fondest childhood memories have solid foundations built over many years on Achill Island, where her family holidayed each summer.
The holiday highlight for her during these family mealtimes were "the communal BBQ each evening using fresh seasonal produce".
As an adult, Karina had the travel bug and left Ireland to travel across Asia. Whilst in Bangkok and Phuket, it became apparent that fresh and local ingredients, cooked simply, could create "insanely delicious street food".
Not ready to go home, she extended the trip to include Australia. Arriving in Melbourne, it wasn’t long before she moved up the coast snorkeling around some of the country’s most beautiful islands and, of course, enjoying the food on the way.
It was at this point Karina made the decision to get back into the kitchen and stay.
Relocating to Sydney and working at both The Winery in Surrey Hills and Felix in Sydney’s CBD, Karina joined Restaurant Associates and was appointed as Sous Chef at Sydney Town Hall. As one of Restaurant Associates’ premier venues, Karina knew Sydney Town Hall would be a tough and intimidating environment to work and succeed in. Many hours, many dishes, and many events later, her passion and commitment to the craft are unyielding.
“The way our family came together at big family meals pouring in all of their culinary knowledge really did ignite my passion around food. I know from a very early age I wanted to be a chef.”
It is this dedication and enthusiasm that won her first the position of Head Chef and then a nomination into the Compass Group Ignite program. Established in 2018, the program focuses on coaching and developing future female leaders. Karina was matched to a senior mentor who she shadowed over a three month-period. "This mentorship opened up new networks, support resources and development opportunities for me."
Being a female chef in a largely male-dominated industry presented many career defining moments for Kidd. But the early musings of her first head chef reminded Kidd that "in the kitchen she was a ‘chef’ above being a male or female". She is now motivated to share this knowledge and insight with those around her and especially her female co-workers.