Ventia employee Mario D

No matter what culture we're from, something we all have in common is that our cultural celebrations are often connected to food.

Someone who knows a lot about that is Head Chef Mario D'Souza who leads the kitchen in our Golden Grove village camp in Yalgoo in the mid-west region in Western Australia. 

Mario has gained widespread praise for his cuisine amongst everyone at the camp from clients to workers who all agree his food is of a very high standard.

To keep things interesting, he often creates cultural theme nights focusing on a particular cuisine - lately a Chinese-themed evening held at the camp was a huge success.

"Mario is a passionate chef who takes pride in working with his team to deliver not just mouth-watering food but creates a sensory experience for the residents at Golden Grove with a huge focus on how the food service looks, smells and tastes,' explains Alison Coffey, Project Director, Property Services.

Mario stays close to his customers, engaging daily to understand how the residents are experiencing his food offering to ensure he retains his high standards.


Pictured: some of the mouth-watering dishes created by Mario and his team for the recent Chinese theme night.

Rich cultural background

Mario comes from a family of chefs with a background in the coastal city of Goa, India. His dad was a chef with the Merchant Navy in Goa. His brothers, uncle and nephew are also chefs.

He explained, "Goa is always full of seafarers who come from many different cultures and work in the Merchant Navy. For the chefs it is a hobby to create different menus to suit all the people visiting."

Mario takes pride in making his customers happy and takes their response to heart, adjusting the menu to what they like. 

When you cook something, you want people to really enjoy it and give you feedback. Not just because you get paid.

"If people ask about a trail mix, I will see if it's in the scope of the budget or put it to the client as a cost plus and try to make that happen."


Mario is passionate about creating a sensory experience whilst ensuring the food also beautifully presented.

Thriving with challenges

Mario says he loves a challenge when cooking.

I always have two or three dishes going at the same time. I would have two big pans out, a soup going on the stove and chopping something else on the side. Something is always going on in the background. I can't just do one dish. Multitasking is a good thing for me and I really like it.

Helena Dempsey works in out recruitment team and looks after the Golden Grove site. She says it's been a pleasure working with Mario. 

"He has a very hands-on approach to recruiting and building a strong team," Helena says. 'It's important to him to maintain good rapport with his team.'

Ventia employee Mario D

Mario (pictured centre) with his chef colleagues, Nimesh Patel (left) and Raymund Nunez (right).

A strong network makes team-building easy

Mario came to Australia in 2002 and settled here in 2006. He has worked offshore for a lot of that time and through his wide experience has a large network of chefs that he likes to work with.

He explains that makes it easy to establish a good team as a head chef.

"I ring up my network and say look I got a position, want to join in? They know what I want and how I want it, and they understand the expectations."

"They are friends, but they know that I have a particular way I want things and also in my team anybody can approach each other with ideas or changes. So I also ask my team what they think about what we're doing because their opinion matters to me,' Mario says. 

It has helped me develop a good team and a good rapport with the client. So that's why the community is full of praise for the whole team.