MEET THE OWNERS
INTRODUCING FINN VEDELSBY
Finn Vedelsby was raised locally, growing up on his family’s property near Lockwood South just 15 minutes outside of Bendigo.
Beginning his training at age 18, Finn undertook a front of house operations apprenticeship with industry legend Luigi Bazzani at his award winning country escape Warrenmang Vineyard Resort. With very humble beginnings as the water boy and glass polisher, Finn affectionately remembers advancing quickly to become “Warm Roll Captain” developing his legendary silver service skills and becoming masterfully dexterous with a spoon and fork.
Luigi and Athalie Bazzani were reluctant to let Finn loose on the guests in their revered dining room, however they soon succumbed – realising that he had both natural customer service ability and an innate desire to share his love and knowledge of both food and wine.
From Warrenmang to another Bazzani family venture, in 1995 Finn assisted in the creation of Bazzani Ristorante, then located in Howard Place, Bendigo; knocking down walls to laying pavers – opening and working in what would become a pinnacle restaurant of its time.
In 1996 Finn moved to Carlton for university, working part time in one of Melbourne’s best restaurants, Donovan’s in St Kilda. As study became more intense, so did the undeniable realisation that Finn’s real talents were not in the explanation of Quantum Mechanics and Astro Physics. Instead, the pursuit of service excellence, advanced wine education, and the creation of unforgettable dining memories were at the forefront of his learning.
The desire for new experiences sent Finn north, finding himself in Byron Bay as the manager of the internationally famous celebrity resort Rae’s at Wategos. Finn’s responsibilities encompassed all tasks – from managing the luxury restaurant, serving celebrities such as Richard Branson and Elle McPherson to personally scrubbing the amenities daily and painting the restaurant fortnightly to keep it fresh and up to scratch. In keeping with Finn’s humble beginnings, he took pride in the provision of excellence, and undertook every task required with gusto. It was here he began to work with a talented and tenacious apprentice chef – Ben Massey. The two of them would soon become an unstoppable team.
Seconded by the Rae’s Proprietor to Fiji, Finn’s next move was to open ‘The Pearl at South Pacific’, a boutique hotel of immense scale with nine food and beverage outlets, a PGA golf course and a vast team of locals all with no experience, and requiring advanced training in all areas of service.
Finn returned to Australia in 2005, working as a consultant to assist in the opening of the juggernaut group Zampelli with new venues ‘Waterfront Station Pier‘ and Long Room in Collins Street. In his capacity as consultant, he also assisted in the opening of Federation Square’s Upper and Lower House and then at Taxi; the winner of the 2006 Age Good Food Guide award for ‘Best Restaurant’ and ‘Best Wine List’.
Back to Bendigo in 2006, Finn was requested to return as the restaurant manager for Bazzani. It was during this time he met his wife-to-be Sasha. Finn would leave Bendigo and return again before marrying, headhunted along with his old mate Ben Massey to open new venues in Canberra; also working with Australian Wine Archives managing an exceptional boutique wine portfolio.
Looking for a change of scenery, when the opportunity arose to return to his original training ground Warrenmang Vineyard Resort, Finn jumped at the chance to move back to the country. As the resort manager, Finn’s varied training saw him effortlessly provide both genuine country hospitality and five star service. On any given day he may find himself providing winery tours, assisting at cellar door, working in the dining room, or hosting an eight course degustation dinner event for 100 guests.
Finn’s final return to Bendigo came at the request of the committee to manage Bendigo’s exclusive Sandhurst Club. It was during this time he again began to date Sasha, marrying in 2011.
The past two years have seen Finn take a hiatus from the hospitality industry. Whilst the ideal of free weekends and evenings seemed appealing when raising a young family, it didn’t take long for Finn to realise how much he missed being submerged in a world of fine wine, his daily dose of service adrenalin, the team camaraderie and of course, his patrons.
Finn Vedelsby is a formidable host. His provision of fine restaurant service, sommelier training and knowledge of beverages is exceptional. He has trained and mentored bar and floor staff for more than 15 years, and boasts past employees finishing in the top three of the Australian Bar Tender Awards in Sydney. He has also been a regular guest ‘expert’ at local wine related events such as “Beer Vs Wine”.
INTRODUCING BEN MASSEY
Ben Massey grew up in Coffs Harbour before beginning his cooking career at age 14 in a hotel in the small town of Coramba.
Later leaving Coffs Harbour for Byron Bay, Ben landed a job at the internationally famous luxury resort Rae’s on Watego’s where he mastered the delicate balance of Royal Court Thai, Chinese and European cuisines. Ben also began to master specialised dessert techniques and how to effectively work under pressure management.
Cooking for celebrities as Richard Branson, Elle McPherson, Kid Kenobi and Neil Perry in a kitchen that Ben still claims to this day was “like no other I have ever seen”, he was witness to classic old-school kitchen horror stories of screaming chefs and the throwing of fry-pans as a common occurrence.
At 19 Ben relocated to Fiji, working as Junior Sous Chef leading a brigade of 22 Fijian cooks to open a new resort complex. The following six months consisted of hundreds of hours of labour, extreme working pressure and a fantastic life lesson in “tolerance”.
The next step in Ben’s career led him to Upper and Lower House in Federation Square, Melbourne, working with iconic industry greats such as Michael Lambie, Andrew Neilson and Julian Mann, and a former pastry chef of Marco Pierre White.
Working with chefs of this caliber, Ben learned the elegance of French flavors from Nelson, the simplicity of Italian cooking from Mann and mastered pastry work that he had never seen before.
From there to Warrenmang Vineyard in Country Victoria, (stunning country cuisine meticulously homemade with regional produce and flair), opening brand new venues in Canberra, and finally full circle back to Coffs Harbour. Ben was head-hunted to assist in the management of the kitchen at award winning Latitude 30 working with the freshest an most magnificent seafood available, straight from the boat, and killed to order.
Now at 30, Ben along with long-time friend and past colleague, Finn Vedelsby, deliver Ben’s unique cooking style to very happy diners at their own venue in the Bendigo CBD, Rocks on Rosalind.
Ben’s cooking style is big, bold and beautiful. Massive flavour, generous portions, lashings of taste. Expect to be king hit by kaiserfleish or cornered by a curry. A little bit old school, a little bit new. Ben doesn’t follow trends, instead he is on a mission to provide flavour, texture and great dining memories.
Contact Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org
Located right in the heart of the Bendigo CBD, overlooking Bendigo’s famous Alexandra Fountain and Rosalind Park, the Bendigo restaurant is housed in the historic National Bank building which features original stone clad vaults, high ceilings and large arched windows. Inside Finn and Ben have created a fresh, modern and casual restaurant, enhancing the sophistication of the existing structure.
Finn’s many years of wine and restaurant service experience and Ben’s extraordinarily diverse cooking style come together to create a venue offering guests seriously great service, cuisine with artistic flair, bold flavors and ever-changing choices. They lead a charismatic team, who are well-informed, fun and efficient.
The food is modern and exciting, the highest quality and sourced from local and international suppliers. Ben challenges his kitchen team to provide cutting edge cuisine and the correct classics. Devoted to amazing food, quality beverages and seriously great service, the ROCKS on Rosalind team will ensure a memorable dining experience. Read more about Ben Massey and Finn Vedelsby here.
”The Rocks” venue name was chosen as a tribute to the history of the era and grand building of which the venue is housed. Gold was first found at Bendigo Creek in September 1851, and according to the Bendigo Historical Society, it is generally agreed that this gold was found at Bendigo Creek by two married women from the Mount Alexander North Run (later renamed the Ravenswood Run), Margaret Kennedy (nee McPhee) and Julia Farrell, at “The Rocks” area of Bendigo Creek at Golden Square, near where today’s Maple Street crosses the Bendigo Creek.
The heritage listed building, circa 1863 was the original smelter point and first bank for gold discovered in the Bendigo reefs; you can view this history on the historical reef map turned-wall feature in the bar, and see the bullet hole in the front window glass from past attempts at robbery.