About BBQ School & Our Team

About the BBQ School

BBQ School was founded in 2004 by internationally trained chef and passionate foodie Ben Farley who identified that while many Aussies were really into cooking on the BBQ, most only had one or two recipes they knew how to cook really well.

Showing keen BBQ’ers how to prepare and confidently cook a collection of simple, effective and tasty recipes was the best way forward and so in 2004 Ben turned his back on a career in Sydney and London high profile restaurants and founded BBQ School.

In our classes we assume no knowledge, but have found that the more a student knows about BBQ cooking, the more they learn from our experienced chef presenters.

To date around 90,000 people have been taught through the BBQ School.

Our head office is in Willoughby, Sydney but we also operate regular classes in Sydney's Centennial Park, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Hunter Valley and each year the School continues to grow in response to people who wish to cook with more flair when entertaining.  

BEN FARLEY – Chef, Director and Founder

Ben is a highly regarded and enthusiastic chef with over 20 year’s commercial experience in both high profile local restaurants such as Bilson’s and International Michelin Star establishments such as the Mirabelle in Mayfair, London. Ben also taught the chefs of the future at Ryde Tafe and put together the BBQ School to share his knowledge and passion for food and entertaining.

 Ben Farley

KERRI THOMAS – Marketing Manager

Kerri travelled from the UK for sunshine and beaches. Having spent many years watching her dad trying to light coal in the rain she fully appreciates a traditional Aussie barbie and enthusiastically endorses learning from someone skilled in the process!
She spent seven years running both her own hospitality business in London and before that worked with large Corporate clients in event solutions and speaker support.
Whilst working part-time, she brings broad insight into marketing, brand development, business operations and customer relations.   She also makes a mean Margarita.

Kerri Thomas (Kerri Clay)

ZOE CARLYON– Admin, Events and Marketing Coordinator

Zoe is the Admin, Events & Marketing Coordinator here at the BBQ School team. Having just finished her Bachelor of Management in Events and Leisure at UTS she is excited to get some work experience with the amazing team at BBQ School!

 Zoe Carlyon 


Seamus or “The Moose” as he is known around the office is a professional Chef having originally learned his craft in Ireland. He moved abroad to continue his thirst for knowledge and eventually landed in Sydney spending time working in everything from chef hat restaurants to food vans with much acclaim. Seamus, for the past 9 years has been working closely with the Chefs of the future – teaching commercial cookery at Ryde Tafe. Seamus also has a Bachelor of Education with Honours. In his spare time Seamus had his own chocolate business “choc-a-holic”. Seamus and has been delighting the students at BBQ School with his chef skills for the past 3 years.

Seamus Collins


Arturo or “The Mexican” Joined BBQ in 2011. Hailing from Mazatlán, Mexico. He completed his chef training at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) and whilst working throughout the US he met Baz Lurhman and started working as a caterer on the set of Romeo and Juliet. He then came to Australia where he worked for 18 years in the movie catering industry, working on such films as, Mission Impossible 2, South Pacific, The Godfather, Superman, The Matrix 1, 2 and 3, Stealth, Tomorrow When the War Began, and Scooby Doo. Between all the excitement of movie catering Arturo also worked as a personal chef to Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Nowadays Arturo prefers a quieter work role during the week with a French caterer in North Sydney. You will find Arturo most Thursday nights at Willoughby and on a Sunday at Centennial Park.

Arturo Osuna


After training in Essex and The Park Lane Hotel in London, Gary worked in pubs and restaurants around East Anglia. He began travelling in India then flew into Perth and drove across the Nullarbor before settling down to work in a famous Irish pub in Surrey hills for 5 years. He returned to the UK with his Australian wife, worked in the Royal Albert Hall but couldn’t stay away from Australia returning six years later to run a harbour side wedding/ function centre. He went onto sous chef at Google Australia and currently works weekdays on Sydney harbour on catamarans and Rivereas. Loves to annoy Seamus whilst making chocolates at Choc-a- aholics.

Gary Butler


Shane is a 4th generation publican and has been in the hospitality industry all his life. Starting in a family hotel, he learned every facet of the business which has enabled him to travel both in Australia and the world. He has worked in London, Spain and the Greek Islands but living in Paris for 3 years and working for Le Restaurant Jardinier and Moulin Rouge had the biggest influence on his career.  Since returning home, he has been working in hotels, pubs, restaurants and the Parliament House. He started his own restaurant and sold it on to pursue other ventures like BBQ School in Brisbane. His goal is simple, cook, cook, cook and have fun doing it!


Joshua Mason is a young, passionate chef who was brought up in the Central Coast, NSW.  After working with many talented chefs Joshua has developed into an upcoming talent in the industry. Joshua’s love and passion for his profession is reflected in his creations and style of cooking. His hard work and dedication in his competing and commercial chef career has earned him knowledge, skills and confidence.
Joshua has worked at the BBQ School for over a year and brings his enthusiasm and flair to all the Sydney based classes!

Joshua Mason



John started with the BBQ School in January 2014, and quickly became a favourite amongst customers and staff alike with professional nature and dry wit. John started his chef career at the Bellevue Hotel Paddington, and like most young Aussie chefs found that London was calling, where he worked at such places as the Millennium Hotel in Knightsbridge and Osia in Haymarket. When John returned to Australia, he worked in senior positions at notable hotels such as the Shangri-la and The Star, before making the move into training, John now spends his days training and mentoring the young apprentices of Sydney. You will often find John at Willoughby ready to take keen BBQ’ers under his wing and show them how its done.


Neell Joined BBQ School in July 2014, from Venezuela. Neell is in Australia to study English, but he is actually a mechanical engineer. Neell spends his days at BBQ School, helping to set up all of our public and corporate classes, you will also see on Saturdays at Willoughby Head Quarters and also at Centennial Park on Sundays ready to serve you cold beer.

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