Iain Hewitson was born in Otaki, New Zealand, in 1948 and, for just on 50 years, he has been a Chef/ Restaurateur in both Australia and New Zealand.
From a family with a keen interest in food, Iain was first introduced to the industry by his elder brother, Don, who for the past 40 plus years has owned and operated a number of leading London wine bars and restaurants.
Admittedly, Iain’s first involvement in kitchens was not in a position of great prestige. At the time, masquerading as a guitarist in various bands, including New Zealand Battle of the Band’s winners “Cellophane” and “Sebastian’s Floral Array” in typical musician’s style, much restaurant washing of dishes was needed to keep body and soul together.
Fortunately, even in such a humble position, a flicker of talent was evident and he was soon elevated to the exalted position of salad hand. And, when lack of talent eventually won out in the music business, it seemed only logical to pursue a career as a chef, and a passion for the restaurant business soon developed.
Arriving in Australia in 1972, Iain quickly established himself as one of the country’s leading chefs and for many years was at the cutting edge of the restaurant scene - with establishments such as Clichy, Fleurie, Champagne Charlie’s, The Last Aussie Fishcaf, Memories of the Mediterranean, Tolarno Bistro and Barney Allen’s Bar & Diner, receiving both public and critical acclaim. His last venture, Big Huey’s Diner, was located in South Melbourne.
In 1986, Iain received the Charles Heidsieck Award for services to cuisine and in 1995 the Grand Master Compagnon of Beaujolais. In 1987 restaurant critic Stephen Downes described him as the most important Melbourne restaurateur of the eighties, while The Age Good Food Guide in 1990 included him as one of the top chefs of the decade.
From 1991 Iain was a feature on television, firstly with the shows “Healthy, Wealthy & Wise” and “A Cook’s Journey” followed by “Huey’s TV Dinner”, “Never Trust a Skinny Cook”, “Huey’s Cooking Adventures” and “Huey’s Kitchen”. “Huey’s Cooking Adventures” was rated as the top daytime show nationally with over 1.7 million viewers weekly, whilst “Never Trust a Skinny Cook” was shown in over 100 countries worldwide, as was “The Rex Hunt Fishing Show” on which Iain also featured.
In 2016 Iain celebrated 25 continuous years on television. These days he can be found on the more modern medium of YouTube with his new show “Huey’s Fabulous Fast Food for One (or Two)”.
Books Iain has published are: “A Cooks’ Journey”; “Tales and Recipes from a Travelling Cook”; “The Huey Diet”; “Huey’s Greatest Hits”; “Huey’s Best Ever Barbecue Recipes”; “Never Trust a Skinny Cook”; “Tolarno Bistro. The life, times and recipes of a remarkable restaurant”; “Huey’s Bloody Good Recipes” and “Huey’s Best Ever Recipes”. Iain has sold over 200,000 books in total.
“Huey’s Greatest Hits” won the 2002 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for "Best Book by a Television Chef" in English and “Tolarno Bistro. The life, times and recipes of a remarkable restaurant” won the 2007 Illustrated Cookbook Award in Cordon d’Or-Gold Ribbon International Annual Cookbooks & Culinary Arts Program.
Iain is also included in “Immigration and the Victorian Economy - A Photographic History”, a Museum Victoria publication commemorating the contribution of immigrants to the economic development of Victoria this century.