2 Stubborn Mules

You'd be amazed at how frequently I see the same fundamental errors that cost a business time, money and reputation.

I support astute restaurateurs, hoteliers and large-scale catering venues. I work fast and efficiently with passion and respect.

I'm highly experienced in all facets of the food industry, from product procurement, to cost and portion-controlled menu development, to kitchen operations  set-up and flow of service, to efficiently servicing large-scale event catering (management and production).

I raise standards and improve quality, creating delicious, mouth-watering dishes whilst meeting target budgets and timelines. All the while, instilling a sense of pride, passion and confidence into up-and-coming chefs and service staff.


  • Stadium Catering
  • Convention Centre Catering
  • Sporting Event Catering
  • Government/Council Event Catering
  • Prestige Bespoke Event Catering
  • Planning consultancy (menu development, contract chef placement, purchasing, logistics).
  • Team/Section supervision: hands-on production, leading your team to ensure your event catering is consistent, high standard, delicious and efficiently expedited.
  • Standard production.
  • Gold Coast Indy Grand Prix special events: six years, track side VIP catering and private parties. He managed the complexities of licensing requirements (as facility licensee), menu development, product procurement, delivery permits and track accessibility, staffing levels, logistics and production, achieving incredible profits and positive feedback with repeat custom, every year.
  • Conrad Jupiters (numerous events)
  • Jacob’s Creek Premium Wine Launch
  • Brisbane River Festival ‘Dinner on the Bridge’
  • Big Brother Official Eviction Cocktail Parties
  • Australian Open Golf Tournament Platinum Corporate Boxes
  • Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (numerous events)
  • Metricon Stadium Carrara VIP Dining for AFL events and other special events
  • Stadiums Queensland Cbus (formerly Skilled Park) Stadium Robina VIP Dining for NRL events, World Rugby Union Sevens and other special events
  • The Gabba Brisbane special events
  • Gold Coast Turf Club Skyline VIP Dining
  • Gold Coast Harness Racing Club events

Trusted by the Gold Coast's best known venues, offering highly productive, experienced, hands-on support during peak periods or for special events.

  • Standard contract services
  • Production management
  • Section supervision (hands-on)
  • Short-term Acting Executive or Sous Chef (during vacations, between placements, etc.)
  • Boutique events (eg. school, college, university, wineries, etc.)
  • VIP, Celebrity and Special Dietary Needs. Clients have included American Olympic Team, Australian Davis Cup Team, Canterbury Bulldogs, WWE Team (inc. The Rock), Pamela Anderson, Ronnie Corbett, Diana Rigg, Bob Geldof, Kenny Everett, Miss World, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ed Fuller

Tailored to your business needs, we can assist with:

Planning Phase:
  • Floor plan review: with 30+ years experience to draw upon, having worked in kitchens of all sizes and standards, Iain can work with your architect/shop fitter to review floor plans, making recommendations, and bringing to attention potentially expensive kitchen workflow issues before construction begins.
  • Recruitment & Training Support: selection, interviewing, trialling and placement recommendations of chefs and service team to appropriate levels. Training from entry level up to teaching your head chef to work to a budget, cost menu items, etc.
  • Equipment & Base Stock Purchase Recommendations
  • Menu Development: Develop new menu content tailored to suit your customer demographics, with portion control and recipe costings.
Pre-Opening (and post-opening on a needs basis)
  • Menu training: train the kitchen team to produce your menu, to established standards. Train your service team to understand the menu, how to pronounce it correctly, how to up-sell the higher GP items.
  • Kitchen Operations:
    • Establish the essential basics: reporting structure, flow of service, uniforms/safety footwear standards, professionalism and communications (how the team works together, how each team member’s role impacts on one and other, how the team integrates with front of house), kitchen cleanliness/hygiene standards, etc.
    • Food costs, portion control and waste management.
    • Rostering and wage cost control.
    • Safe food handling, storage, health and safety.
    • Product knowledge - kitchen and service team training.
    • Productivity: put systems and procedures in place to streamline production and improve productivity.
    • Food purchasing: consolidate food purchasing, recommend suppliers based on fair pricing, reliability and product quality. Set up standard order sheets, ordering and receiving procedures.
  • ASSESSMENT: A review of the current situation (operating costs, GP, kitchen structure, etc.) with suggestions for moving forward.
  • ESTABLISH THE ESSENTIAL BASICS: Reinforce standard kitchen operations ie. reporting structure, flow of service, uniforms/safety wear, professionalism, major kitchen clean up, and more.
  • MENU DEVELOPMENT: Create and implement new menu tailored to suit your customer demographics, portion control, recipe costings, kitchen team training. Working on production to get the new menu over the line.
  • PURCHASING: Review existing suppliers pricing, reliability and product quality. Improve and consolidate where possible, set up standard order sheets, receiving standards, etc.
  • WAGE COSTS: Finding the balance between wage cost percentages and quality service/product.
  • KITCHEN TEAM TRAINING: Assess and make recommendations for restructuring kitchen team based on performance, experience and training. Motivate the team and improve communication within the kitchen and with service staff. On-the-job food production and presentation training to improve skill levels and knowledge.
  • PRODUCTIVITY: Streamline systems, operating procedures and flow of service.
  • BUDGET: Implement systems to ensure budget guidelines are adhered to, with special emphasis on cost of goods and wage costs.



Iain McCombe

Founder | Chef

Chef Iain McCombe

Iain has 30+ years experience yet remains at the cutting edge of the industry, always studying food trends, diverse food cultures and techniques. With a track record for running streamlined, profitable and popular food outlets, Iain is very quick to assess the efficiency of any kitchen operation and works with hoteliers, restaurateurs and caterers to help them achieve optimal efficiency.

Iain was classically trained in London and has worked for some of the most recognised brands in the world. He has dual British Australian citizenship. Conrad International Hotels sponsored Iain to move from London to Australia for the opening of Conrad International Hotel and Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast.

An event catering aficionado he is known for his remarkable organisational and production prowess. He has also cooked for the specific dietary needs of celebrities and elite sports teams; catered for VIP private functions, culinary cook-offs and demonstrations, established new kitchen operations/restaurants for 5 star hotels as well as running room service, small food outlets such as pizzerias, pool side dining and cafés.

His passion for his industry has led him to meet great Chefs such as Marco Pierre White and Ainsley Harriett, he has experienced some of the very best restaurants such as the Roux Brothers Waterside at Bray, Gavroche, La Tante Claire, Claridges and The Connaught and has supported celebrity chefs behind the scenes.

Personally, Iain is a humble family man, a father to 3 boys and a step-dad. A drummer with a passion for football.

PHONE +61 424235734

Classically trained (English & French) in London under the guidance of Executive Chef David Miller (of Sheraton Park Towers & The Ritz) and revolutionary Executive Chef Anton Edelmann (of Grosvenor House Hotel):

City & Guilds of London
in conjunction with The Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management Assoc. and The Cookery and Food Assoc.

  • 706-1: Basic Cookery for Catering
  • 706-2: Advanced Cookery for Catering
  • 707-1: Food Service
  • 707-2: Advanced Food Service
  • 707-3: Alcoholic Beverages Certificate

Hotel Chefs Diploma
Bournemouth & Poole College of Further Education

  • The theory and practice of professional cookery
  • Pastry work
  • Larder work
  • Food and beverage service
  • Hygiene
  • Nutrition
  • Food costing
  • Maintenance
  • English language
  • French language

Ramada Hotels Leadership Success

  • Creating a Leadership Culture
  • Balancing Scorecards
  • Team Communication
  • Conflict Management
  • Effective Meetings

Marriott International Training

  • Train The Trainer
  • 5 Star Service Advantage [Guest Relations]
  • The Intercultural Leadership Advantage
  • Foundations of Leadership

Queensland Health Department

  • Food Safety Training

Queensland Liquor Licensing Brisbane

  • Responsible Management of Licensed Venues
    [Licensee Outrigger Sun City Resort]

Inbound Tourism Org. Australia

  • Aussie Host

2 Stubborn Mules established 2007

Executive Chef / Food and Beverage Operations and Licensee
Surfers Paradise Sept 2002 - Aug 2007

  • Set-up and run new restaurant
  • Established standards for facility
  • Licensee administration and management duties
  • Manage F & B operations facility wide (room service, functions, restaurant, pool bar/dining)
  • Kitchen and front of house recruitment and training
  • Indy Grand Prix F & B operations for 6 years (trackside, VIP private events, etc.)

Contract Chef July 2001 - Aug 2002

  • Contract Executive Chef - SURFERS PARADISE MARRIOTT Gold Coast 3 Months
  • Contract Chef - THE GABBA Brisbane

Executive Chef | MARRIOTT HOTEL BRISBANE May 2000 - June 2001

  • Manage F & B operations facility wide (room service, events, restaurant, bar)

Executive Chef | MARRIOTT COURTYARD HOTEL Gold Coast 1996 - 2000

  • Re-branding Management Team (Ramada Hotel Group to Courtyard Marriott)
  • Established new kitchen/restaurant “Res 252”

Executive Chef | RAMADA HOTEL Gold Coast 1994 - 1996

Executive Sous Chef | ROYAL PINES RESORT Gold Coast 1994

Executive Sous Chef | SEAWORLD NARA RESORT Gold Coast 1988 - 1994

Head Chef Garde Manger & Banquet Chef de Partie | CONRAD INT. HOTEL & JUPITERS CASINO Gold Coast 1986 - 1988

  • Sponsored from the UK to Australia for the facility launch

Sous Chef | MARLOWES Fine French Restaurant Stratford Upon Avon UK 1985 - 1986

Sous Chef | BILLESLEY MANOR Hotel Stratford Upon Avon UK 1985

Chef Garde Manger & Chef Saucier | THE SAVOY LONDON 1984 - 1985

Commis Tournant, Chef Garde Manger, Chef Saucier | GROSVENOR HOUSE HOTEL London 1982 - 1984

  • Launch of 90 Park Lane Restaurant

Commis Tournant | SHERATON PARK TOWERS London 1980 - 1982

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A few words from clients...

Michael Fletcher, Gold Coast Convention Centre

Professional and on time every time, Iain enjoys exceeding expectations. When looking for consistency and on time delivery within your kitchen, look outside the ordinary and employ a qualified contract chef. Iain brings his hotel and resort experience into your catering world. Iain is dedicated to ensuring quality and the wow factor to your production each and every time. We have been working with lain since 2008 and when called upon for support, we have never been disappointed. Iain offers a professional product, done with finesse and creativity, catering to your own specification where required. Iain is situated very high on the list of our preferred contract chefs…you will not be disappointed.

Lee Morgan, Executive Chef

Iain is a consummate professional who can adapt to any catering environment and produce product of the highest standard, he is a pleasure to work with and has become a key member of our team.

Marcus Morant

Iain McCombe was contracted by the Pub Group Pty Ltd to support in refining the food operation of the Boardwalk, Hope Island over a four week period. Iain successfully achieved the objectives as requested by myself and the Company Director, some of which are as follows:

  1. Streamline overall kitchen operations to maximise efficiency productivity and profitability.
  2. Support in the refinement & implementation of a fully costed menu tailored to suit and appeal to the surrounding customer base and demographics.
  3. Support in the appointment a new Head Chef to successfully continue the ongoing management of the operation – and offer ongoing support where required.
  4. Re-establish the overall standards, systems & procedures to deliver and exceed budgeted requirements.

During this period Iain worked hands-on in the kitchen, focusing on production efficiencies whilst training and developing the current team members. He displayed a sound knowledge to OHS and food safety standards and the effective implementation of systems and procedures that work. Throughout his contracted period, Iain presented himself as a hospitality professional holding a very strong work ethic and a great passion for food. I would not hesitate to utilise Iain within our group for any potential opportunities in the future.

Michael Moret Lalli

During my role as General Manager of Outrigger Sun City Resort, I employed the services of Executive Chef Iain McCombe to establish food and beverage operations for the facility comprising of a new restaurant, in-room dining, pool-side dining and special event catering. With Iain's practical, hands-on and goal driven approach to management he went on to successfully run all aspects of F & B operations, maintaining standards and consistently exceeding forecasted budgets. He became licensee for the premises and played an integral part in our executive team. Iain excelled with his management of our Indy event catering, ensuring a high pressure situation ran smoothly with minimal waste and maximum profit. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Iain's services as a consultant chef and I wish him every success with his future endeavours.

Iain, your assistance was awesome and professional as always. Thanks again and I will definitely keep you posted for any future business. You're a legend.

Remarkable what you achieved in such a short period.

Chris Bagley

It was a pleasure to work closely with you again over the past 3 months. Your contribution in improving and restructuring the kitchen operation has been successful and well received. Already the business is benefiting from your improvements both financially and on a HR level. The kitchen brigade have been working much better as a team and more importantly in harmony with the front of house. Your professionalism, wealth of knowledge and regimented approach has been the catalyst in bringing the operation forward to where it should be. Thanks again and I am sure you will continue to be in demand in the industry where ever you go.

I would just like to that you for spending time with us over the past couple of weeks.

I have found it extremely useful and you have reminded me to look back on kitchens in the past, where I had a love and respect for the head chefs that I have worked for; thinking on the practices that they had and learning form what you have said. I am looking forward to heading the kitchen in a new direction for the better.

Again, thank you very much and hope to see and work with you again in the future.

Damian Snell, Hawker Hall

I was quite young when I first came to be Chef Iain's apprentice, my first job in a relatively new city. I'd heard stories of opulent manor houses and hotels speckled through Britain and how they were the forefront of European classical and modern cuisine. So here I was, young, impressionable, eager to learn and in an industry where hard work was no guarantee to provide any kind of satisfaction or riches, standing there waiting for directions from a man who's presence immediately commanded respect, who, as I later found out, had worked in these such manor houses and fine hotels that everyone was talking about.

Truth is, I will never stop learning from this gentleman, and I do mean gentleman in the full extent of the term. Too few people can carry the respectful nature and professionalism for even 20 mins of a 14 hour shift that Iain, sorry Chef, carries for the whole 55+ hour week. Sharing life lessons and dedication to his craft - that he hands out as if boiled sweets at a fair. Never afraid to try something new, but if he says it wont work... well, it probably wont.

It has been a while since we worked together, but we speak regularly, and see each other occasionally, but to be honest he has been over my shoulder for years.... and I am sure he will be for many more.

Iain is a credit to the industry, respectful yet realistic of the industry, at times frustrated with it but he delivers on goals and not enough people know about his work; those who do are happy to sing his praises. He is a big part of who I am as a chef, and where I'm going. He could have better taste in music though.

Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
Gold Coast Turf Club
Bond University
Mercure Hotels Gold Coast
Tallships Gold Coast Island Adventures
Sheldon College
Arts Centre Gold Coast
The Pub Group Pty Ltd
Emerald Lakes
Southport Yatch Club
Michael O'Brien Catering
Mantra Sun City
Couran Cove Island Resort
Villasky - Chef Reg Morgan

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  • 0424 235 734

PO Box 451
Labrador Queensland 4215 Australia