Nabil Ansari Joins Firebird as Head Chef

New Chef Ready to Stoke the Fire on High Street

There’s a new bird in the Commune Group nest, with star chef Nabil Ansari joining the team as the new Head Chef of Firebird. The young gun arrives with experience beyond his years and a stellar list of credentials to his name – having served as Sous Chef at Melbourne hotspot Sunda for the past two years, as well as beloved institutions, The European and The Hotel Windsor

“I am super excited to be joining the Firebird team. I have worked under some great chefs here in Melbourne, so I am looking forward to taking the reins as Head Chef at Firebird and bringing my take to the fiery Asian flavours that the restaurant is known for,” Ansari said.

No stranger to fame, Ansari became an Instagram sensation in 2020, during Melbourne’s neverending lockdown. As bars and restaurants closed, Ansari found himself without a job, and ineligible for either Jobseeker and Jobkeeper. Necessity is, of course, the mother of invention, and after a disappointing Indian takeaway one night, Ansari began cooking out of his Carlton apartment. Initially dropping printed menus in letterboxes throughout his apartment block, word quickly spread, and what began as three orders, turned into thirty, and after a friend posted on Instagram, 140 orders – Ansari Indian was born.

The business provided Ansari with the perfect space to experiment with different styles – everything from a set menu, to casual dining, to an Indian bistro and even Tandoor-focused sandwiches, which all proved to be wildly successful. It is this drive and creativity that has taken Ansari from strength to strength, and what continues to inspire him, as he explains.

“I love the routine and regime of the kitchen, this is where I get to experiment with flavours and test out my methods. Australia has such great produce and is really exciting to work with.”

Born in Mumbai, India, Ansari spent his childhood in Dubai. Put to work in his mum’s home catering business, Ansari developed a love for cooking as a teen. Looking to formalise that love, he Googled cooking schools, landing on William Angliss Institute in Melbourne,. He arrived seven years ago ,and has never looked back. Opportunity soon presented itself during a guest chef dinner at the college. The chef, it turns out, was Ian Curley, who offered Ansari a job at The European.

Ansari takes a less-is-more approach to his cooking. Signature dishes include a 15-hour butter chicken, where Ansari utilises French techniques to stabilise the sauce. Other highlights include beef short ribs, smoked Texan-style after brushing them with yoghurt, ginger, garlic and spices, lamb biryani and a surprising combination of mango ice cream with fried bread and coriander jam. And of course, he couldn’t live without his favourite ingredient, white pepper!