Our Team

Michelle Matthews

Michelle is a global nomad from Melbourne.  She founded the city and island guide publishing company Deck of Secrets and now travels the world immersing herself in hospitality culture.  Her essential accessories in this travelling life are AirBnB, her red four wheeled suitcase, a minimalist attitude, a mind geared to observation and her Instagram account with a SIM for every nation she visits..

Marinella Padula

Marinella Padula has been part of the Deck of Secrets crew since the times when coffee was just a warm, caffeinated beverage and you didn’t have to queue outside a restaurant at 6 for dinner at 8. Yep, she feels old too. Melbourne may have changed beyond measure but Marinella still delights in discovering those special gems that, for a little while anyway, take you to a better place. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Alison Bone

A well-seasoned travel writer, Alison arrived on Bali’s sun-kissed shores six years ago and never got around to leaving. Trading global nomadic journeys for explorations of a culinary kind, she now writes about the island’s ever-evolving dining scene and has just completed her first book, Backstage in Paradise: Kava, Cannibals and Curses. Bali_AlisonBone_02_app


Claire Davie

Claire Davie lives and breathes Melbourne, and has been cataloguing her home town’s restaurants, bars and cafes since 2007 on her website Melbourne Gastronome. She works in the legal profession, and moonlights as a freelance writer for a range of publications. Claire is passionate about the ethics and legalities around online reviewing, and has spoken on this topic at events such as the Melbourne Writers Festival, the Brisbane Eat Drink Blog conference and the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Ask her about Australian gin some time. ClaireDavie_Melbourne_app


Basak Miller

Born in Istanbul into an eclectic family of different origins and vast interests from cooking to photography, music to design, Basak Miller earned a degree in Film, Writing & Photography from Emerson College, moving on to New York to study at Parson’s School of Design and work as a Graphic Designer. Going back to her roots five years ago, she now runs her own blog NEW-IST, where she fuses her diversified upbringing, exciting travels and personal experiences, and contributes to various publications with her reviews and opinion pieces. Istanbul_BasakMiller_01_app


Jennifer Hattam

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jennifer relocated to Istanbul in early 2008 after falling hard for the city’s chaotic energy. An environmentally and socially minded journalist with a penchant for art, food, photography, running, and travel, her writing has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, The National, Salon, Time Out Istanbul, and Wired, among other print and online publications. When not hard at work, you’ll often find her wandering the city’s streets, taking in a gallery opening, or socialising with friends at one of her favorite Beyoğlu bars. Istanbul_JenniferHattam_02_app


Serra Tukel

An Aquarian born in Izmir and raised in a family of journalists as the third generation. She moved to Istanbul to study Tourism where she became familiar with international cuisines and food and beverage management. Not only fond of food, but also arts, culture, travel and sports. She is an amateur sculptor, a lifestyle blogger, practices advanced yoga and works in a maritime company as trade manager. She’s an expert on Istanbul city life & trends often travelling to Europe and USA for work and leisure. Her website Gurulogy founded in 2013 has a motto saying ‘We Are All Gurus of Our Lives’. She is also the blogger for Mekanist (F&B portal) with over 1 million subscriptions. Istanbul_SerraTukel_app


Simon Johnson

Simon’s love affair with Istanbul started at the ripe old age of 16, as soon as he stepped off the train after a 3 day non-stop journey from the UK. The simit vendors, the lemonade and the baklava shops were of course an initial pull. Simon runs THAT Magazine a free printed cultural zine which if you’re lucky you might see lying around in one of the cafes you visit. Perhaps you’ll see Simon too, if so flag him down and offer him a Turkish tea and a cheese toasty. Istanbul_SimonJohnson_app


Sarah Dougherty

Sarah has lived and worked in Bali for twenty years, first as editor of the island’s ground breaking glossy, bali Echo and then at various publications including Hello Bali, Garuda in-flight and Taste magazine. She is also a contributor to many international publications, including Deck Of Secrets. She is currently editor of threesixtyguides and a busy food and travel writer for both local and international publications. SarahDougherty_app


Simon Ostheimer

Raised in Hong Kong, Simon Ostheimer spent his formative years criss-crossing Asia on family holidays – exploring colonial-era Saigon, wandering the hawker stalls of Singapore; jet-skiing off Boracay, and eating street food in Penang – so it’s little wonder that he eventually became a travel writer. Based in Phuket, from where he pens articles for a slew of travel magazines and websites, including Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast, CNN, and just about every airline that flies into the southern Thai island, you’ll most often find him out exploring his island home with his young family. SimonOstheimer_02_app