The Snorkeler, The Onion Lover, and the BBQ Kidd


We couldn’t help ourselves with the title of this month’s Chef profile, the story is so serendipitous we just had to share it with you all.
Hailing from Ireland’s capital city Dublin, Karina tells us straight up in the interview that she 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.

When quizzed further about these family mealtimes she cites ‘the communal BBQ each evening using fresh seasonal produce’ as her holiday highlight.

‘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 knew from a very early age I wanted to be a chef.’

Karina Kidd, manning the grill at a family BBQ.

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.

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.’ The Ignite program is designed to provide our attending associates with tools, workshop environments and most of all, the confidence to become future leaders. 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.

When quizzed about favorite ingredients to cook with we’re told ‘I just love Australian ingredients; earthy and indigenous, seasonal and fresh, or simply fresh from the land or the sea.’ When pushed to get to one single ingredient she passes us a humble onion and states ‘without them there would be no flavour in my dishes.’

We can’t help but see the obvious metaphor here…Peeling back the layers, a powerful heart, tears of joy…it’s all there! We genuinely look forward to following Karina’s future culinary journey with Restaurant Associates.