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Top Chef Joins Artisans

By Thursday 9 February 2023September 28th, 2023No Comments

Artisans of Barossa has a new head chef, Robin Wagner, who comes from Magill Estate Restaurant, where he was sous chef under head chef Scott Huggins for four years.

Robin replaces Ryan Edward who has left after five years.

Artisans of Barossa is a group of eight family wineries that have collaborated since 2005 to raise awareness of Barossa’s quality small-batch wines. In 2021, the group opened an impressive new venue in Tanunda, offering a contemporary, innovative interpretation of seasonal Barossa food, seated tastings and experiences, and a Barossa providore.

Robin is excited about his next challenge and sees Barossa, the place, as a strength.

“It’s advantageous to work with a seasonal, regional menu,” he says.

“Each season has a purpose, and cheffing is about making dishes that showcase local produce. Going one step further, I am excited to work with the micro seasons of Barossa.”

Robin’s kitchen philosophy is based on minimal food wastage, and he is passionate about seasonal vegetables.

It was a vegan dish that saw Robin become a new star in the culinary scene.

He won the 2022 Pacific region S. Pellegrino Young Chef Academy competition, and this year he will go on to compete in Milan.

His clever and considered dish of smoked celeriac with granny smith apple and crisp taro was the dish of the day, with the judges singing his praises.

“I love that I won with a vegan dish,” Robin says.

“I love vegan food and thinking outside the box. And I can make the most of the ingredients, meaning less wastage.”

Robin has an extensive background in fine dining in several Michelin Star restaurants in Germany and hatted restaurants in Australia.

His career started in 2014 after successfully finishing his three-year apprenticeship. From there, he worked at Villa Merton and restaurant Vendôme.

“These two opportunities allowed me to grow and develop my skills and ensured I had the foundation to thrive in my career,” Robin says.

Artisans of Barossa represents a new challenge for Robin.

“It’s a unique experience working with eight winemakers collaborating and producing various wines,” he says. “I look forward to working with such a beautiful portfolio of wines – it offers flexibility and diversity.

“The team at Artisans is also eager to bring the veggie garden back to life and add to it, which is exciting.

“And we will preserve our seasonal produce to extend the longevity of micro-season ingredients. For example, we can preserve berries when we don’t have access to these all winter. We can use them in dishes when they are fresh, and we can pickle them to enjoy all year round.”

Fraser Mackenzie, the new group general manager, is thrilled at Robin’s appointment.

“Diversity of thought and constant collaboration creates our unique environment at Artisans of Barossa, and we welcome Robin to take us into his world of creativity through food and wine, their intersection and combined enjoyment,” he says.

“With over 100 wines and more than 20 different grape varieties across our Artisans’ labels, we can offer Robin a plethora of opportunities to showcase his culinary skills alongside some of the region’s finest wines.

“We are excited about the menus and matches we will be creating together. This is an inspiring time to visit Essen and experience Barossa wine and food together like never before.”

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