Hunter Valley Restaurateur
Lisa Margan was born in Sydney but made her ‘green change’ to the Hunter Valley early in life. The Lisa/Andrew Margan story started at the bar of their college where they were both completing degrees. How ironic…
Lisa was studying for a degree in applied science and food technology after which she commenced work as a high school teacher in Sydney. After marrying, she joined Andrew in the Hunter Valley and resumed teaching until deciding to become more involved with the food and hospitality industry and re-train as a chef. She approached respected Hunter chef, Robert Molines and commenced an apprenticeship with him at Roberts at Peppertree.
In 1990, Andrew accepted a ‘flying winemaker’ position in Bordeaux, France so he and Lisa set up home in that region. Lisa worked as a private chef at wine house, Chateau de Sours where she would personally source produce from the markets and specialist food purveyors to use in her menus. During these years, Lisa developed an appreciation for quality produce, acknowledging it as being the cornerstone of good food.
After two years of living overseas (and returning annually for the Australian vintage), Lisa returned to University to study a Masters Degree in Science and nutrition. Her focus at this stage was on food and nutrition but also on organics – the production of food without synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.
She completed this degree and worked at Maitland hospital in out-patient nutrition education. By this stage, there were two Margan children and one on the way. Andrew had left Tyrrell’s to start his own wine business – Margan. Lisa went on maternity leave from the hospital with the intent to give Andrew ‘a bit of a hand’ with his small wine brand and hasn’t made it out yet!
Lisa set up the first Margan cellar door and restaurant Beltree at Margan on Hermitage Rd. Pokolbin in 2001. Very quickly it developed a cult following and received critical acclaim as well as annual appearances in the SMH Good Food Guide.
In 2007, the 10th year anniversary of Margan was celebrated with the opening of the second Margan restaurant and tasting room at the winery and vineyard in Broke. Lisa’s aim was to provide visitors to Margan with a unique dining experience, great food and wine set in a stylish but casual ambience. (The restaurant draws influences from Italy- Lisa is half Italian- and France where she and Andrew have spent a lot of time) Once again, Lisa’s restaurant is listed in the SMH Good Food Guide for 2008.
As well as working with Andrew to design the stunning rammed earth building which houses the new tasting room and restaurant, Lisa oversaw and styled the landscaping and internal fit out. Andrew contributes to the restaurant by overseeing the kitchens vegetable garden and orchard as well as putting together a wine list of Margan wines and also some of his personal favourites from Australia and beyond.
Lisa works with her kitchen team to design seasonally inspired menus which change monthly and reflect the excellent produce available at that time. Care and attention in sourcing quality ingredients ensures that food does not have to be over processed in the kitchen prior to presentation in the restaurant. She oversees every aspect of the restaurant to ensure visitors receive an unsurpassed food and wine experience.