Guest Chef History

Craig Squire

From humble beginnings on Kangaroo Island to multi award winning internationally renowned chef, Craig Squire is a culinary journeyman specialising in Australian Modern Cuisine with a passion for showcasing fresh local Australian produce to the world! Recognised as a pioneer of ‘Australia’s Modern Cuisine’, Craig has been plating up award winning dishes in Cairns at Ochre Restaurant and major events around Australia for over 20 years. Having recently consulted on the opening of the ‘Bushman’s Restaurant and Bar’ at Anantara Resort and Spa, The Palm Dubai, and being appointed by Restaurant Australia as Queensland Ambassador helping to promote Food and Wine Tourism in Tourism Australia’s high profile campaign, Craig continues on his quest to satisfy palates across the globe with his unique Australian Modern Cuisine.

2022 Award

In August 2022 Craig was awarded the ‘Lifetime Achiever Award’  by the Restaurant and Caterers Association an award very well earned after more than 40 years working in the Restaurant industry.

Photographed here with Warren Entsch federal Member for Leichhardt

Craig’s History

1984 –  Completed a four year apprenticeship at Adelaide Festival Centre studying at the renowned Regency Park Institute.

1985 – Traveled and worked in kitchens along the east coast of Australia before returning to Kangaroo Island to open ‘Gaby’s Restaurant’ at the age of 21.

1986 – Seeking a change of scenery, moved to Breathtaker Ski Lodge for the winter as head chef before moving to Port Douglas.

1987 – 1989  – Overseas to several positions including helping set up Johnny’s Wine Bar in Earlsfield, London and Chef Saucier of the acclaimed Kensington Place Restaurant before a ski season at the Michelin Star Sport Hotel Reisch restaurant in Kitzbuhel, Austria and then back to London to work as Head Chef at Coates Restaurant and Bar, London Wall.

1990 – 1992 – Returned to Australia as sous chef at Fish of Melbourne Street then LeEntrecote Brassiere, Eagle on the Hill Hotel and Cafe 48 where his interest in Bush Foods and creating an identifiable Australan Cuisine was initiated.

1993 – Appointed as Executive Chef at the Red Ochre Grill in Adelaide. Craig was instrumental in setting up Adelaide’s Red Ochre (which won the American Express Best Restaurant Award, Advertiser Good Food Guide Best Restaurant and South Australia Tourism Awards Best Retaurant) and worked there for the first eighteen months before heading north to open the Red Ochre Grill in Cairns.

1994 – 2007 – Opened Red Ochre Grill Cairns specialising in Modern Australian Cuisine and was invited to become a member of the Catering Institute of Australia and Les Toques Blanches International. Craig’s experience in the successful use of Australian Bush Foods is probably the most reviewed and long standing in Australia colleting a number of accolades in along the way including; Mietta’s Diners Club Australian Restaurant guide ‘Top 100 Restaurants in Australia’, finalist of the Queensland Signature Dish, Tourism Tropical North Queensland Hall of Fame member – Best Restaurant and cookbook features in Mietta’s Great Australian Chefs publication , Simply Australia, Fine Food from Country Australia, Dining High. Craig was active in forming a regional food industry group now named to promote regional foods, its growers, producers and its cuisine. He has also been active in education of apprentices and the public in the use of native and regional foods, gives lectures and presentations at TAFE, Feast of the Senses, Cairns Show and for the Department of Primary Industry and in 2003 was appointed to the National Restaurant and Catering Industry Leaders Group to format a new direction for the future of our industry.

2008Current – Rebranded to Ochre Restaurant and Catering to take on an expanding catering division which was supported with continued media exposure; national primetime cooking show Mecurio’s menu, cover picture of the North Queensland’s phone book for the theme of Australian Flavour, Qantas in flight welcome video for all inbound flights to Cairns (featuring Craig’s dish Tempura bay bugs on lemongrass with green papaya salad) feature on ‘Green Ant, Friend or Foe’ and John Torode’s Australia and his recipes are included in 3 new cookbooks, Green Food Generation, Recipes My Mother Loved and Great Australian Gourmet Weekends. In 2011 Craig and Head Chef Nicole Griggs established Tropic Spirit Catering to cater to several reef tour boats and collaborate with Ochre’s team on major events. During 2013/14 Ochre celebrated 20 years in business and Craig’s Journey continues with a Consulting Chef role in Bushman’s Restaurant and Bar at Anantara Resort and Spa, The Palm Dubai as well as being appointed as Restaurant Australia’s, Queensland Ambassador helping to promote Food and Wine Tourism in Tourism Australia’s high profile campaign. 2016 – Moved Ochre Restaurant to the beautiful waterfront location at Harbour Lights Cairns


For a full list of Craig’s amazing achievements visit the Awards Page – Click Here.

Guest Chef Appearances

1993 – Auckland, New Zealand – opening SA Tourism House

1996 – Austin, Texas – S.A. Tourism sister city promotion Mayoral Gala Dinner for 150 guests

1997, 1999 and 2000 – Shanghai, China – Guest Chef – Hilton Hotel-s ‘Australia Week’ Promotion; which included several corporate dinners and product promotion functions.

1998 – Singapore and Taipei – Red Ochre Grill chefs represent Tourism Queensland

2001 – Singapore – guest chef at the Dutch and British Clubs

2005 – Dubai – Towers Rotana Hotel – Guest Chef – Australia week promotion – including Emirates ‘top 20’ Executive Chefs Tasting Dinner sponsored by Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation.

2006 – Dubai and Abu Dhabi – Towers Rotana Hotel, Teatro restaurant – Beach Rotana, Finz Restaurant, including a luncheon for the Australian Trade Council for 250 guests.

2007 – MV Astor Cruise Liner – Brisbane to Cairns – 4 day Australian Cuisine promotion – 5 course degustation menu for 220 guests per evening.

2008 – MV Astoria – Sydney to Brisbane – 2 day Australian Cuisine promotion – Australian theme buffet – 400 guests.

2009, 2010, 2011 – Abu Dhabi – Beach Rotana Hotel – Australia week promo and Australian Business Group Gala.

2012 – Muscat, Oman – Hyatt Hotel and Abu Dhabi – Beach Rotana Hotel – Australia week promo and Australian Business Group Gala Dinners.

2012 – Regional Flavours Brisbane – cooking performance, Chaine des rotisseurs – national conference cooking tutorial and degustation dinner.

2014 – Consultant Chef – Bushman’s Restaurant and Bar – Anantara Resort and Spa – The Palm Dubai.

2018  – TEQ Japan Roadshow – Tourism Industry Dinner featuring Queensland produce at South Restaurant Tokyo – Prince Hotel Group Tokyo – Australian Cuisine Promotion – Trade dinner for Queensland’s Agriculture and Fisheries Minister and Australian Them dinner for public guests – Oasis Garden Restaurant  – Coral Expeditions – Arnhem Land and Cape York Cruise – Guest Lecturer and Chef – Featuring Australian Native cooking demonstrations, tutorials and dinner menu

Contact Craig Squire Owner and Executive Chef Ochre Restaurant and Catering
T: +61 (0) 7 4051 0100 E: