The National Indigenous Culinary Institute (NICI) is an industry inspired and initiated program of national significance to create highly skilled Indigenous chefs.

NICI offers elite training and experience for aspiring Indigenous chefs who will be trained and mentored by Australia’s top chefs at host restaurants from Rockpool Bar and Grill, Bistro Guillaume, Catalina, Aria, The European, Movida, The Dolphin Hotel, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar and more in Sydney and Melbourne.

Originally designed by Neil Perry, Guillaume Brahimi, Michael McMahon, Jill Dupleix, Terry Durack and Barry McDonald, NICI’s program combines unique on‐the‐job training with a contemporary industry designed qualification.  Our trainee chef program aims to produce a group of chefs trained in Australia’s top restaurants who will be role models and leaders for up and coming Indigenous trainees.



Nathan Lovett is a proud apical ancestor of the Yuin people from the NSW South Coast. In March 2020, Nathan joined NICI as CEO, bringing 15 years of experience in developing and delivering culturally appropriate programs with a focus on leadership and governance. Nathan has worked across
education, mentoring and employment programs through community and sports administration, government and the finance/banking industry, bringing a wealth of knowledge to the NICI.


As of December 2018, NICI has engaged with over 130 Indigenous people within the pre apprenticeship training,  over 70 commenced employment within our partner restaurants, currently supports 13 Indigenous trainees. NICI have produced 13 highly qualified Indigenous chefs in Sydney and Melbourne since 2012.





Australian Grape & Wine