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Polperro welcomes two high calibre chefs

Polperro owners Sam Coverdale and Emma Phillips are proud to announce Executive Chef Michael Demagistris (East Bar & Dining, Alinea, Chicago, and Noma, Copenhagen) and Head Chef Shane Burke (Barn & Co., Stokehouse, Circa) will join the Polperro Bistro team, bringing with them a wealth of experience, unwavering enthusiasm and a wholehearted love for the local region.

Combining their distinguished careers, passion and cohesive vision, it was a no-brainer to hire the pair to elevate Polperro’s food offering. Michael and Shane will build upon the foundations of the kitchen, continuing to respect and highlight regional produce. The menu will still feature fresh and seasonal flavours that complement the Polperro and Even Keel wines, while fostering the ethos of sharing and kinship.

The recruitment search for a chef took the Polperro team worldwide, however, there was strong desire to uncover talent on their home turf of the Mornington Peninsula.

“Initially when we put the feelers out to recruit new leaders for our kitchen team, we didn’t realise they would be practically on our doorstep”, reflected Polperro owner and winegrower/winemaker Sam Coverdale.

“We are really passionate about the quality and depth of experience on the Mornington Peninsula. There is some unbelievable local talent here which we want to foster and highlight. There’s also the added benefit of understanding the local produce and our seasons which is vital for Polperro’s future direction. We’re excited to provide Michael and Shane with the platform that will allow them to showcase their talent in the region.”

It was Michael’s passion for foraging and respect for regional produce that initially caught the eye of the Polperro team. While his culinary skills and knowledge are exceptional, Michael’s devotion to his craft and his food direction was well-matched to Polperro’s concept of delivering a dining experience that’s built on the foundation of authenticity, flavour and seasonal produce.

Shane’s heartfelt approach to flavour is unmistakable, his strength in running large high-quality operations and his wealth of experience made him an attractive candidate for the Head Chef position. It was clear from the outset, his infectious energy and team oriented nature would be a good fit for Polperro.

Both chefs met during the recruitment process, and it was refreshing to see how genuinely enthusiastic they were about working together as a leadership team. They’re looking forward to combining their distinguished careers and unifying their ideas to elevate Polperro’s food offering.

“Michael and Shane complement each other incredibly well and we’re very conscious of setting both chefs up for success and ensuring their talents are showcased at the highest level”, explained Emma Phillips. 

The duo will collaborate with winemaker Sam as the synergy between the vineyard and kitchen continues to be at the forefront of the Polperro ethos. Leading the kitchen, Michael and Shane will also work closely with Polperro Bistro manager Morgane Mainguy who has built a professional and passionate front of house team. As such, it was imperative that the two new chefs were a cultural fit within the Polperro family.

“Increasing the horsepower and capacity in the kitchen allows us to remain true to our commitment to developing our staff and becoming well known for this across the region.”

“We’re very conscious that it’s people who make a business great. By building a team of professionals who can execute a shared vision, we can provide a consistency of excellence while continuing to innovate. This is how we want to differentiate ourselves,” explained Emma Phillips.

The recruitment of Michael and Shane arose four months ago after Polperro’s current head chef Daniel Kerekes decided to pursue his dream of travelling overseas in search of a unique business venture. The employment of not one, but two super passionate professionals allows the team to build on the momentum Daniel has created in the Polperro kitchen. Daniel will continue to work with the kitchen throughout the summer, ensuring a smooth transition into 2018.

The collaboration of Executive Chef Michael Demagistris and Head Chef Shane Burke is a coming of age for Polperro and provides the team with an opportunity to grow and elevate the Polperro brand. A renewed energy continues to raise the bar and enhance the Polperro experience delivering upon Sam and Emma’s vision.

Bio: Executive Chef Michael Demagistris


A passion for food was ingrained in Michael Demagistris from childhood, however, his culinary journey began while working as an aspiring chef under Jacques Reymond in the kitchen of the internationally acclaimed restaurant, Jacques. Highly ambitious, Michael moved on from his senior role at Jacques and took it upon himself to learn from the most revered chefs, working in restaurants around the world including Alinea and The Publican in Chicago, and Noma in Copenhagen.


Out of genuine love for the Mornington Peninsula and a thirst for the opportunity to grow, Michael made the move to the region, accepting a role as the youngest ever Executive Chef at the prestigious Sorrento Golf Club. During this time, Michael made his mark by placing in the top four of TV series MasterChef The Professionals, before going on to transform the seaside restaurant Buckley’s Chance as Executive Chef.


Michael’s enthusiasm for delivering incredibly flavoursome food that emphasises the region’s local produce led him to open his own restaurant East Bar and Dining in Mount Martha. Here, Michael developed a menu that highlighted his culinary skills and thirst for innovation, as well as his love for foraging and sourcing the best produce the Mornington Peninsula has to offer.


Bio: Head Chef Shane Burke


As a fifteen-year-old working in the kitchen of Murchison Bakery in the Goulbourn Valley, Shane Burke knew his passion for food would lead to a fulfilling career. Leaving country life behind, Shane found himself working in some of the city’s most acclaimed kitchens including Stokehouse, Circa and Elwood’s Blue Tongue Wine Bar and Restaurant.


With a desire to develop his own style of cuisine, Shane departed Melbourne to travel and work around Australasia, Asia and Europe for the next decade. It was during this adventure that Shane was inspired by traditional French and Italian culinary methods, Asian flavours, cutting-edge Scandinavian style and Spanish ingredients. His love for food flourished and his aspiration to translate this melting pot of influences onto the plate was stronger than ever.


Having returned to Australia with his young family three years ago, Shane has used his career highlights to refine his culinary direction. Moving to the Mornington Peninsula gave Shane the opportunity to commit himself to building relationships with the region’s local producers from winemakers to market gardeners.


About Polperro

Since opening their doors four summers ago, Polperro has continually evolved and refined their offering from the wines produced to the seasonal flavours served in the bistro. Venturing to Polperro on the Mornington Peninsula is a complete experience centred around beautiful wines, quality regional produce and service that’s informal yet sophisticated.  

Polperro provides a welcoming environment which is relaxed and homely. Visitors to the Red Hill property can sample the Polperro and Even Keel wines in the intimate Cellar Door, before savouring a leisurely meal in the Bistro. Diners can take their time to savour the locally sourced food before retiring to the expansive deck and lawn to ease into the afternoon. In the warmer months, the property buzzes with couples and groups exploring the vineyard grounds, relaxing in the shade enjoying an estate made hamper.

For those who wish to extend their stay, Polperro Villas offer onsite accommodation in their beautifully styled boutique rooms overlooking the vineyards. 


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