Karena Armstrong: Salopian Inn - Head Chef / Owner

Photo: Emily Shepherd

As co-owner and chef of the Salopian Inn, McLaren Vale, Karena has stretched her ideas and enthusiasm to develop a surprising, seasonal and ever-changing menu centred on Asian flavours and timeless techniques.


Karena - a mother of three young boys - has worked among some of Australia’s best chefs and kitchens. This includes completing her apprenticeship under Alla Wolfe Tasker at Daylesford’s Lake House, teaming up with Karen Martini at The Melbourne Wine Room and later at Icebergs and finally at Kylie Kwong’s restaurant Billy Kwong. It’s fair to say that Karena’s skills are sharp, her creativity unbridled and her love of high quality, local produce is at the heart of every dish.


The Salopian Inn remains one of the state’s most interesting and reputable dining experiences; Karena and her team are also committed to growing a large percentage of their own ingredients in the Salopian Kitchen Garden. Karena is also a passionate advocate for all things local and sustainable.


The overarching philosophy at The Salopian Inn is simple: guests should feel relaxed, comfortable, and eat in their own way. The aim is comfort but the details are all about quality – how diners experience that is up to them.

The Local Mess Hall is ecstatic to have Karena on-deck as an Event Patron, where she will offer both mentor-ship to the selected food entrepreneurs and sit on the Facilitated Panel representing business owners and EAT Local.

David Swain: FINO - Head Chef / Owner

David Swain is Executive Chef and co- owner of South Australia’s regional dining brand, Fino Seppeltsfield. 

David Swain boasts a culinary career trajectory of more than 35 years as exceptional and authentic as the food he creates. David’s thoughtful approach and deep understanding of regional food and cooking techniques makes him one of the best chef’s this country has.

After a decade of success and a multitude of awards, David also contributes as a South Australian judge for the Delicious Produce Awards.

"I am always keen to participate in a venture that promotes the creativity & energy of up and coming South Australian entrepreneurs. With the abundance of clean produce that South Australia has to offer, Local Mess Hall is an innovative project to give opportunities to our most talented food start ups." David Swain

The Local Mess Hall could not be more thrilled to have David as an Event Patron of this project, offering insightful and valuable mentor-ship to the selected food entrepreneurs.

Tim Boundy: Renew Adelaide - CEO

 Tim Boundy has led the charge at Renew Adelaide since 2016 with a focus  on building a more active, entrepreneurial and economically strong  Adelaide.

Tim brings years of experience in building innovative business, brand and community solutions from a background in championing Adelaide and  what it has to offer to the world. Even before working with Renew  Adelaide, Tim was successful in demonstrating the value that Adelaide can deliver, tying the small experiences that make a place  attractive to individuals into key industry strengths across the state.  He has had a long-term interest in its work as a result of his personal  interest in urban renewal. He also serves as a member of the Bowden Reference Group.

The Local Mess Hall is excited to have Tim aboard as a Business Patron, where he will contribute specifically as a member of the Facilitated Panel ticketed event on November 24.

Steven ter Horst: Chocolatier / Business Owner

 Photo: Nat Rogers

Steven ter Horst runs his eponymously named Chocolatier studio in the heart of Adelaide’s East End.

Taking cues from the surrounding abundance of the Adelaide Hills, and his own farming background – has allowed Steven to embrace a rich palate of flavours and textures in his products.  

Never one to assume perfection, he is always striving and learning new techniques and tastes. Recently named in Gourmet Traveller as one of Australia’s leading chocolate retailers and craftspeople.

It is not unusual for Steven to be contacted by Chefs and food industry people to comment or collaborate on the industry.

The Local Mess Hall are extremely lucky to have Steven attached to this project as an Associate Patron, providing, amongst other things, mentor-ship to our food entrepreneurs. 

Jonny Pisanelli: Abbots and Kinney - Patissiere / Owner


Starting out only a few years ago with a pop-up coffee cart on the tough Adelaide streets, Jonny Pisanelli has hit the pavement, and the world of high-end pastries and cafe-dom, by storm.   

His ventures include multiple coffee carts and foodie-vans, building to the award winning destination bricks & mortar "Shangri-la" known as Abotts and Kinney, designed by Studio Gram, on Pirie Street.   

Always looking forward, for the next challenge, and taking his mates with him in these escapades, Jonny has set his sights first on the next venture at the University in February, then interstate, and finally putting his stamp on the world. Creating ripples is what he's excited about moving forward.

The Local Mess Hall welcome Jonny's contribution as an Associate Patron, providing mentor-ship and other aspects of support.

Ben Owen: BankSA - Head of SME Banking


Ben  Owen is the Head of Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Business Banking  at BankSA. He is a passionate advocate in supporting small to medium-sized businesses start, prosper and grow.  Banking more businesses than any other bank in South Australia, BankSA  has a 169-year history of helping local businesses succeed while growing  the state’s economy.

 Ben is a proud South Australian who believes South Australia can become  one of the world’s best locations for businesses and entrepreneurs. He  has extensive experience supporting the growth of family owned  businesses throughout Australia, including a number of iconic South Australian businesses. At BankSA, he is in constant  contact with primary producers and business owners in the food and wine  industry and is excited about the use of innovative new technologies to  open up new opportunities. When not working, you’ll find Ben indulging his love of food at home, cooking up a storm  with his two daughters or visiting one of South Australia’s fantastic  restaurants or wineries.