A surprise in store for Digirati Party guests

Luke Mangan is not only passionate about food, he’s also dedicated to providing people with the very best experiences. Whether it’s on land, in the air, on tracks or at sea, Luke has delighted diners across the globe with his award winning dishes for the past decade.

Designing menus for Virgin Australia, restaurants on five P&O cruise ships and having cooked for Richard Branson, Tom Cruise and the wedding of Danish Crown Prince Fredrick and Princess Mary, Luke is the best of the best.

Over his 20+ year career, Luke pioneered the launch of a range of Australia's first online real-time information services, run numerous digital companies, lobbied (successfully) on behalf of the digital industry and was the CEO of AIMIA for almost ten years.

This year, he is taking time out of his busy schedule of running 21 restaurants (and a brand new burger joint in Sydney) to design a mouth-watering menu for the lucky guests attending the AMY’s Digirati Party on 7 July in Melbourne.

We caught up with Luke to find out what excites him about food and see if we could get some insider info on what your taste buds can expect at the Digirati Party.


AIMIA: What do you think has made you so successful? There are many talented chefs out there, but no one else has built a gastronomic empire like yours, spreading over land, air, train and sea!

Luke: I think the key to success is never giving up, hard work, long hours and dedication to the profession. Think outside the square and never accept no for an answer. Everyday obstacles are put in front of you, so it takes passion, focus and lots of hard work. If people think there’s a short-cut, forget it! This career path will not be your average 9-5pm job but the rewards will be worth it. With restaurants overseas and in multiple locations it’s hard to be there all the time, so you need to invest in key staff to ensure the restaurants run smoothly when you can’t be there. You need to ensure you stay true to your brand and your cooking philosophy, invest in key staff that you trust and be confident in what you do.


AIMIA: What makes you excited about food?

Luke: I pretty much knew from an early age that I wanted to be a chef – I think the main reason was the joy I got from delivering food that people enjoyed eating – to watch people like something you have created is quite satisfying. I come from a big family and mum was a great cook, so I’ve always been surrounded by good food. Food is everything for me – from a fresh food market to a fine dining experience in a foreign country – some of my fondest memories are those times sat around the dinner table sharing food with friends.


AIMIA: Why do you think food brings people together? Why do we love to celebrate with food?

Luke: Food brings people together on so many different levels, sharing food is such a great way to socialise and connect with people. For me, my favourite way to eat is through sharing meals with friends and family. Religion, cultural backgrounds and celebrations bring people together to enjoy food. Sharing food creates interaction and conversation and is a powerful element in bringing people together.


AIMIA: What can AMY Awards attendees expect from the menu? Can you provide a little teaser to get our guests salivating?

Luke: Our team and I have created a bespoke menu specifically for these awards. When we were advised the theme was purple this allowed us to think ‘seasonal’ – making the most of ingredients like beetroot, grapes and berries. I won’t give too much away, but you can expect fresh, classic, seasonal dishes created just for AMY Awards guests.