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OUR PEOPLE

Our programs, our food, our venues and our impact are only made possible through the people whose stories, skills and strength drive positive change.

Head Office

Our success isn’t just defined by the number of meals donated or by the hours of training delivered – at the core of what we do is our people. Each member of our head office team brings real change to life through their diverse skills, experience and background.

Shaun Christie-David

CEO and Founder

Shaun Christie-David is a social entrepreneur who loves to connect people around food and create opportunities for those who are often denied one.

Over the past 15 years, Shaun has combined his passion and knowledge of food and social enterprise together with his experience in corporate partnerships to drive positive change in underserved communities.

Shaun was a driving force in the launch of the Aboriginal Health Television Network in partnership with the Australian Federal Government in 2019 – a channel dedicated to improving the health literacy of First Nations people. Shaun has delivered multiple projects with the National Health Service (UK), Macquarie Bank and others.

Shaun has been awarded accolades including the inaugural Time Out's Hospitality Future Shaper, an AMP Tomorrow Maker and a Westpac ChangeMaker – and in 2021, Plate t Forward was the recipient of the Community Human Rights Champion by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Julian V Cincotta

Chief Operating Officer

Julian discovered his passion for food and cooking at the age of 15 and since then has developed his knowledge and skills both here in Australia and internationally, winning the prestigious Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year award in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide in 2015, and is the co-creator of celebrated Sydney venue Butter. Julian is also passionate about sustainability within the hospitality industry. At Butter he has reduced waste levels significantly and initiated a source separation of waste program, which not only does right by the planet but has also reduced waste management costs within the business. He has presented to the Future of Food panel discussion in April 2023 and demonstrated the versatility and environmental benefits of Impossible Foods products on Channel 10’s live Studio 10 program. Julian joined Plate it Forward to strengthen and oversee operations across the Group and consult on food sustainability, waste and rescue projects.

Gemma Clendining

Head of Impact

Gemma is a qualified researcher with a background in social and cultural anthropology. She has experience conducting and assisting with research projects both nationally and internationally. With a passion for harnessing research and data to create innovative solutions to complex social problems, Gemma joined Plate it Forward in early 2022 to develop and manage the organisation’s impact measurement methodology, collection and analysis, now heading up their research with heart, looking beyond numbers and metrics to understand how their programs build long term change for their staff and communities.

Su-Wan Harris

Head of People & Culture

Su-Wan Harris is a dedicated People and Culture professional, committed to cultivating harmonious and thriving workplaces. Her educational background includes a Diploma in HR, The Culinary Institute of America, Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Concordia University. Previously, Su-Wun served as the Employment Program Manager at Two Good Co., where she played a pivotal role supporting women to find their career paths. Additionally, she served as the Culinary Program Manager at The Wayside Chapel, overseeing culinary initiatives that brought people together through the power of food.

Fatima

Training Manager

Fatima is a 22-year-old Asylum Seeker who left her home due to difficult circumstances. Her first ever job was at Colombo Social, and despite not having any experience, she thrived in her work, proving to be a pivotal member of the team for the way she utilised her lived experience to cultivate and support her team in growing their skills and confidence. Her career progression escalated faster than most with multiple promotions within Colombo Social where in less than 18 months she moved into a supervisory position looking after the whole restaurant. Fatima’s skills, understanding and knack for guidance have seen her recently promoted to Head of Training for the Plate it Forward Group, looking after over 100 people and their professional and personal development. Fatima is also a current student at Macquarie University studying a Bachelor of Social Science as her goal is to be more deeply involved with the community. Learning new things is Fatima’s passion, and she believes being able to access education is a blessing.

When I arrived in Australia my goals were to study English, improve my language, work, and help my family. I’m happy for my team and for my work. Every day I wake up ready and I come to work with energy. I’m happy now

RoyaHead Chef, Kabul Social

Chefs Table

Plate It Forward’s Chef’s Table is a team of hospo experts with diverse backgrounds and experience. They deliver positive outcomes for each and every team member, providing expert knowledge, training, and long-term career outcomes

Travis Harvey

Executive Chef

Trav started cooking in the kitchens of Canberra, training at hatted restaurants Ottoman, Aubergine and Atlantic. He then spent ten years working around the globe, from Dublin to the UK, Canada, Mexico and beyond from fine dining establishments in downtown Vancouver to bakeries in the Mayan villages and coffee farms of Guatemala. He returned to Australia and became a Food Advisor for SBS, returning to Mexico to shoot a ten episode series on Mexican food. In 2011, Trav became the Executive Chef of OzHarvest and spent the next 10 years working in sustainability and specialising in zero waste cooking. During his time at OzHarvest, he created two acclaimed pop-up restaurants, the OzHarvest food truck, and built a restaurant in collaboration with Massimo Bottura. During the pandemic, he oversaw the production of 700,000 meals distributed free to people affected by COVID. He also once cooked with the Cookie Monster, which made his kids think he was cool.

John Buckney

Executive Chef

John started his chef’s apprenticeship in 1996, bringing almost thirty years of experience to Plate It Forward’s kitchens. Since his career started, he has worked in all levels of dining; from fine dining establishments, to cooking for corporate clients and 6-star resorts. John’s accomplishments to date include acting as Head Chef for National Australia Bank, owning and operating three hospitality venues, providing consultation for restaurants and cafes, designing recipes for television programs, and cookbook testing for published authors. He also founded The White Ink Chef Agency.

Adrian Cope

Head Chef (Sydney Swans)

Adrian is a former professional Rugby League player turned chef. He played for the Manly Sea Eagles and in Europe before retiring and starting a career in commercial cookery. Adrian trained under Matt Moran at ARIA and successfully ran his own restaurant before becoming a contract chef for V8 Super Cars, NRL, and the mining industry. He is currently the Head Chef at Plate it Forward, providing meals for AFL, AFLW, and VFL teams and catering for corporate events at Sydney Swans HQ. Adrian is also a devoted parent of five and enjoys surfing and volunteering at the local surf lifesaving club.

Paul Hickey

Executive Sous Chef

Paul is a proud Irishman who is a passionate and award winning Executive Chef. He loves being in the kitchen and creating food that excites people. Paul has three decades of diverse experience in the hospitality industry here in Australia and abroad, having trained with French Michelin star chefs in The Conrad Dublin, cooking in private homes and yachts to some of Sydney’s elite, running catering centres, private events, and leading teams of up to 150 staff. Paul’s experience has led him to train many of Australia’s top chefs, mentoring and teaching young and upcoming talent, which he now brings to the Plate It Forward team. Paul’s care for the community also extends into his part in the Coogee Life Saving Club where is a volunteer lifesaver

Deb Luccas

Sous Chef

Deb, originally from Brazil (with Italian and Portuguese heritage), has worked diverse Front of House and Back of House roles in the hospitality industry here in Australia. She started her last role as Assistant Chef, but after her time gaining experience there she felt the need to do something community related, so joined Plate it Forward in early 2023. Deb loves trying classic recipes with healthier ingredients, and is passionate about experimenting in the kitchen by playing with flavours and letting her creativity flow. She’s inspired by her friends and family, their stories of personal and professional success, and believes life wouldn’t be the same without human connection.

Nehad Jerada

Chef

Nehad moved to Australia from Palestine in 2021 due to the ongoing crisis in her home country. She started her career at Plate it Forward as a kitchen hand in their production kitchen before being promoted to the position of Chef. Prior to moving to Australia, Nehad was a chef in Malaysia, bringing her experience cooking abroad and years of home cooking to the Plate it Forward kitchen.

Roya

Group Chef (Kabul Social)

Roya moved to Australia from Afghanistan 6 years ago and before joining Kabul Social as the Head Chef in August 2022. In June 2023, Roya was promoted to Group Chef for all Kabul Social venues. She now oversees production and quality control for both Wynyard and North Sydney Kabul Social. Roya is passionate about showcasing the strength of women, particularly working mothers, and their ability to achieve their goals no matter what society expects of them.

Borys Cherniak

Head Chef, Kyiv Social

Borys moved to Australia in 2023 to join his family after they left Ukraine due to the ongoing crisis in their home country. Growing up, his mum loved to cook for their family, and as the middle of three brothers, Borys was always helping his mum to prepare food for their big family. Dishes like Red Borscht with Pmpushki were always a favourite in their house. Borys started his chef training in high school, and before joining Kyiv Social he was the Executive Chef at fine dining restaurant, Selfish, in Ukraine. Borys is always keen to create new dishes with various flavours, and believes good food always brings a great atmosphere during any gathering.