It's the people that make Must Winebar and ours are the best in the business – passionate, professional and devout lovers of great food and wine. Meet the faces that'll make your Must experience second to none.
Russell Blaikie – Chef/Partner
Russell's childhood on his parents'farm in the Margaret River region gave him a deep understanding of seasonality and inspired a desire to cook.
He started his apprenticeship in Perth and went on to win many state and national awards before travelling to London to work under Anton Mosimann, and at the two Michelin-starred Terrace Restaurant at the Dorchester Hotel. During this time travels through France, Spain, Portugal and Italy further developed his passion for food.
After Head Chef stints at highly awarded restaurants across Perth, Russell opened Must Winebar in 2001 with partner Garry Gosatti and other financial backers. Revisiting his obsession with French bistro food, he developed an outstanding menu with a modern touch and expert technique. The partners opened Must Margaret River in January 2009, and Russell recently launched Must Underground, turning Must into a bottleshop with a business giving customers access to Must's incredible wine list.
When he's not cooking up a storm at Must, Russell is taking charge of his bi-weekly segment, ‘Lazy Susan', on 720 ABC Radio's Drive Program with Russell Woolf, and has authored a cookbook, Must Eat.
In July 2013 Russell appeared in an episode of Masterchef Australia where he scored two 9’s and a 10 to beat one of the contestants in an immunity challenge. His Masterchef status earned him a spot as guest chef at Gourmet Abu Dhabi in February 2014.
Russell is an ambassador for two charities – Food Rescue, developed to rescue fresh food for re-distribution to Perth's needy, and SurfAid International, a humanitarian organisation dedicated to improving the health, wellbeing and self reliance of people living in some of the world's finest, yet isolated, surf locations.
Paul McArdle – Wine Consultant
Paul has been our wine consultant and staff educator since 2004, during which we were recognized as ‘best Australian wine bar list’, for three years (2008, 2009, 2010). He also contributed the wine tasting notes for the ‘Must Eat’ cook book.
Paul’s long involvement in the wine industry has been varied - he has been a lecturer for the West Australian Wine Education Centre, focusing on specialty international wine courses. He passed the demanding UK based ‘Master of Wine’ (MW) exam - tasting component - in 2003.
He was appointed CEO for Higher Plane winery in 2004 in Margaret River and then appointed CEO for Fonty’s Pool winery in Pemberton in 2007. Paul accepted the position of General Manager- sales for Burch Family Wines (Howard Park, MadFish and Marchand and Burch) in January 2012 and finished in December 2013.He is currently CEO for Fraser Gallop Winery in Margaret River.