ICE Head of School and Executive Chef
Danielle Dixon started her apprenticeship age 29 after a top 12 placing in series 3 of MasterChef Australia. She was the first contestant from the show to become a qualified chef after completing her Certificate III in Commercial Cookery in 2012 under Alison Taafe.
Gaining experience in some of Australia’s top restaurants including Quay, Rockpool and Aria she settled into Bucci Brisbane and spent four years in the Bucci kitchen taking on the head chef role before leaving in 2017.
She started teaching at The ICE shortly after, training 1st and 2nd year apprentice chefs and quickly showed her aptitude and natural talents for training. In 2018 she was offered the position of Executive Chef and Head of Studies. Danielle looks after the day to day operation of the cafe, canteen and catering operations as well more importantly looking after the students, development of curriculum and maintaining relationships with employers and industry partners of ICE.
Danielle regularly puts new culinary trends to the test through a series of pop up restaurants, with the latest, Midnight Dining Club, treating Brisbane’s night owls to not just your average late night snacks and more recently representing ICE at the Qld Chef of the Year Competition.
Trainer / Assessor
After finishing his apprenticeship, he used his career as a traveling tool. Being a chef has taken him around the world to Paris, Spain, England, Greece, USA, Europe, Germany and South Stradbroke Island – just to mention a few.
Mark is an exceptionally gifted teacher who is entertaining, enthralling and motivating in each of his classes. One of Mark’s greatest passions is working with young teenagers. Having been a chef for over 24 years, he has devoted his life to seeing young people leave their past, and push into their future, taking hold of every opportunity, impacting their community and doing amazing things with their lives.
Workplace Trainer and Assessor
As Executive Chef at a shooting lodge in the Highlands of Scotland, Mark achieved a Michelin Red M and 2 AA rosettes, as well as consulting on menus for various charities for Princess Anne. This position took him on cooking tours around France, Italy and Switzerland – as well as Bermuda and the US.
In 1995 Mark started his training career in England at a technical college in London, gaining his certificate in teaching.
He arrived in Australia in 2000 where he spread his hospitality wings further, working in hotels, clubs and bistros. Fortunately, his success continued winning ‘Function Centre of the Year’ in the fine dining and casual dining awards.
At the beginning of 2007 while remaining in the Industry, Mark returned to training. He completed his TAA qualification, and also graduated from a Bachelor of Adult Education (LLN) and a Bachelor of Business (Hospitality Management).
Since 2007, he has been involved in vocational education in various ways and he has completed his studies for the TAEs certificate. He has also completed a Diploma in Hospitality Management and continually upgraded his teaching qualifications. He has focused mainly on workplace training for apprentices who are unable to attend school for a variety of reasons.
He has worked with ICE for the past few years as the Workplace Trainer and Assessor and provides on the job training and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) services for ICE.
2006 proved to be a turning point in Gemma’s career. A freak accident resulting in a broken ankle meant standing on her feet all day in a professional kitchen was off the cards for a while. Gemma used this time to complete her Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, and commenced a new role as a chef teacher, where she enjoyed the fulfilment of helping others achieve their goals. 2006 was also the year Gemma first met Alison at a hospitality conference, and the two soon bonded over their shared passion for excellence in the hospitality industry. In 2008, Gemma was one of the first students to complete Alison’s Graduate Diploma in Culinary Arts and Kitchen Management course for qualified chefs, and has since collaborated with Alison on numerous occasions, including as an author for an eBook Recipe Resource.
Gemma’s training experience includes Cadet Training and Employment, Southbank Institute of Technology, Academia International and The Institute of Culinary Excellence.
Back in the 90s, Shaun began as a chef at Il Centro on Eagle Street Pier, followed by a period as sous chef at the River Canteen in South Bank. Then Shaun went to London in search of experience and adventure, where he was part of the opening team of Tetsuya Wakuda’s Knightbridge restaurant ‘MJU’. A role in the kitchens of
contemporary hotel ‘One Aldwych' added inspiration, and a meeting with Tanja, who became Mrs Malone. After nine years in Britain, Shaun returned to Australia to join Shannon Bennett at ‘Bistro Vue’, the sibling of ‘Vue De Monde’ in Melbourne.
From there, the Malones went troppo and moved to Port Douglas, where the first Bucci came to life in 2009. From 2012 to 2020, Shaun has shaped Bucci Brisbane with his distinctive approach. It was most obvious in his respect for the Italian culinary approach of allowing the fresh flavours of natural ingredients to dominate the food. At the same time, Shaun and his team lightened and discreetly modified much-loved traditional dishes to please the eye and palates of modern, urban tastes and expectations. During this time Shaun invited many young talents into his kitchen and, together with ICE, saw them excel in the art of cooking. When Covid-19 forced Bucci’s closure, the decision to join the ICE team came easy for Shaun. He is excited to share his passion for food and teach the next generation of young talent.
Workplace Operations Manager
Stephen moved to Australia permanently in 1997 and commenced as Head Chef at the newly acquired Tilbury Hotel at Woolloomooloo wharf. Here, he was given the opportunity to connect with the local patronage and establish an emerging cuisine now known as Gastropub. His clientele included local film and TV personalities and he established contracts with the ABC network, Fox Studios and Shakespeare in the Park, to name a few. The owners offered him his own kitchen at their other establishment in Bondi and here he launched an extremely popular Thai restaurant that enhanced his knowledge of South East Asian cooking methods and flavours.
Stephen established his own private catering business ‘Chefs Do Party’ in 2001 and since moving to Brisbane in 2003, he has worked across various venues, catering for weddings, corporate functions in addition to some private clients. He also studied full – time at QUT and qualified with a Bachelor of Education (majoring in VET) in 2005.
Stephen is our Workplace Trainer and Assessor for experienced cooks and qualified chefs looking to get recognition of their skills, or update / upgrade their current qualification. He has built a large network of hospitality professionals in Brisbane, and across Queensland with many of his ex-students now head chefs themselves or business owners.
ICE Office Manager
Her role also sees her supporting all the many ICE apprentices and clients. Hannah has excelled in her role at ICE and her position has grown to encompass compliance and contract management too. Hannah’s excellent work ethic and her ability to do just about anything she puts her mind to, has become invaluable to ICE.
Joe Al Halaby
He is excited to be part of teaching and transforming lives at ICE. He is passionate about hospitality and teaching, but most of all, about passing on his knowledge and years of experience in the industry to students, who wish to pursue a career in this ever-changing industry.