Private chef Clancy Atkinson has worked for billionaires and celebrities on super yachts and in mansions.
Private chef Clancy Atkinson has worked for billionaires and celebrities on super yachts and in mansions.

Noosa local loved giving Wolverine a juicy serve

Sunshine Beach-based private chef Clancy Atkinson isn’t put off by celebrity star power.

He’s given Hugh Jackman a serve, of sorts, on a super yacht in Sydney Harbour.

And the “early 40s” Northern Territory-raised knockabout lad has more than matched it with the crack culinary team of foodie enfant terrible Heston Blumenthal in a Sydney mansion named Windsor Castle.

Mr Atkinson, who has worked for Latvian billionaires and catered for the needs of well-heeled Americans during their overseas travels, was not a bit phased by his encounter with the Blumenthal entourage.

Celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal.
Celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal.

The famous 3 Michelin stars owner of The Fat Duck restaurant, renowned for his out there cooking creations such as bacon an eggs ice cream, was in Australia two years ago promoting his special line of Breville ovens.

Mt Atkinson, who was based in Sydney at the time, was approached to work with the Blumenthal team to create a menu for special client lunches including Vogue Magazine.

“He was actually a cool guy and his team were so easy to work for,” Mr Atkinson.

“I scored a few ovens and a few other Breville products,” he said.

And Aussie acting star Jackman, who as his movie character Wolverine has been known to rip anything he dislikes apart, was a dream to work for.

“He’s a stunning, stunning human being, if you think of just someone who’s completely down to earth with manners for days,” Mr Atkinson said.

Aussie star Hugh Jackman playing his Wolverine role.
Aussie star Hugh Jackman playing his Wolverine role.

“He was in Australia to work with this men’s mental health charity with 12 super high profile guys on this super yacht in Sydney.

“I worked with his team to develop a menu for a day … it was just one of those things you get involved with and say ‘wow, that was special’,” he said.

Every time Mr Atkinson thinks of his amazing list of clients that includes actor Gerard Butler, singer Ronan Keating and cricketing great Michael Clarke, he pays tribute to his mentor in executive chef Russell Armstrong.

But it was the multicultural flavours of life in the Northern Territory which gave him his culinary passion that would first lead to him eventually cooking food on some of Australia’s ultra-luxurious super yachts every winter for Hamilton Island Race Week.

“I grew up in Darwin and had a lot of friends who were from Timor, Indonesia, from Thailand, Darwin and food was such a big part our life,” he said.

“You’d go around to a mate’s place for a game of soccer and you'd end up having all this extraordinary food.

“I did my apprenticeship in Brisbane under Russell Armstrong and we opened the Versace Hotel on the Gold Coast.

“That was an pretty amazing time and through working with him I got opportunities in Sydney,” Mr Atkinson said.

Private chef Clancy Atkinson
Private chef Clancy Atkinson

He decided to become a Sunshine Coast local while working for clients in Sunshine Beach when COVID broke out last March.

“So I decided to hang out here for three months before heading back to Sydney,” Mr Atkinson said.

“When something like COVID hits you just realise what’s important.”

He believes Noosa and the Coast have the best laid-back feel of just about any place he’s travelled and put Byron Bay in the shade for being chilled out.

Mr Atkinson said the selling points are “this awesome lifestyle, nature, beauty and produce” which is conducive to fine dining and healthy eating.

“Some of the producers in the Sunshine Coast are just amazing, like the butcher at Eumundi Meats,” he said.

“I swear to you owner Jon (McMahon) is the best butcher I have ever been to, any special request he will get you.”

Mr Atkinson said most of his clients don’t want fancy meals or Roman feast-style lavish servings.

“It’s more about health and nutrition, there's no 10 course degustation, just a lot of very healthy, simple cooking with the best quality produce you can possible get," he said.

And the secret to his private success – “connecting with your clients in their home while being invisible when you have to”.