Lee Kwiez is an accomplished Australian chef. He’s a food puritan who has explored ingredients and techniques around the world to find him self in a pristine place that matches his food philosophy – the Blue Mountains.
As Darleys head chef, Kwiez is blending his vast national food networks and an endless pantry of premium regional produce to create a unique epicurean experience.
Despite his incredible repertoire, it was his mother’s Shepherd’s pie that first ignited his passion for sublime flavours.
At the age of 16, Kwiez stepped into a professional kitchen on work experience at Maxwell’s Table in the NSW Hawkesbury region. Two years’ later he rejoined the restaurant as an apprentice chef.
After five years at Maxwell’s Table, where he worked under Hugh Whitehouse, Kwiez travelled to Switzerland to join the 5-star Dolder Grand Hotel as the Commis de Cuisine.
He then returned to Australia as the demi-chef/commis chef at Queensland’s Hayman Island Resort before again exploring wider and taking a position in 1997 as chef de partie at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Canada, catering for up to 1000 seated guests.
With a long-term chapter of his journey in Australia, Kwiiz was fast establishing a reputation as a serious food practitioner.
On his return, Kwiez was Chef de partie at De burgh’s Restaurant in Sydney before joining Jaspers Restaurant at Hunters Hill in NSW as Soux Chef.
In 2000, Kwiez again joined his food mentor Hugh Whitehouse, the Executive chef at acclaimed Milsons Restaurant at Kirribilli, NSW.
Starting as a party chef, he then moved up the kitchen ranks to follow in Whitehouse’s footsteps and become the restaurants new Executive chef between 2003 and 2010. In this time he led a team of highly skilled chefs to secure six consecutive SMH 1 Chef Hat ranking.
Seeking new experiences, Kwiez joined the hospitality group in 2010 as head chef and culinary advisor before creating menus as executive chef for the Woolwich Pier Hotel in Sydney.
With a desire to cook in the freedom of a regional kitchen – just as he started – Kwiez joined Darleys restaurant at Lilianfels Resort and Spa in June 2012.
Kwiez can now be found returning to the historic 1880s cottage with crates of season and regional produce from a nearby foraging or farmgate trip amongst the peace of the luxurious building and World Heritage rainforest atmosphere just below the restaurant.
Woolwich Pier Hotel
Sydney Morning Herald Good Pub Guide 2012-Three schooners award (18/20)
Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide – One Hat Award
2009, 2008, 2007,2006,2005,2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000
Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide – One wine glass award 2009, 2008, 2007
Gourmet Traveler wine awards - -Two glasses 2004
Gourmet Traveler food awards - -two stars 2006, one star 2005
Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide – One Hat Award2001, 2000