Monday, 24 November 2014

Deer Duck Bistro - the Interstate Chef Series

I was having a bit of a Facebook chat with an online buddy one day, just shooting the shit about Brisbane restaurants and the Queensland food scene.  While we were chatting, we were joined by a mutual friend, who just happens to run of of Brisbane's edgier restaurants, Nicholas Cooper from Deer Duck Bistro (see post here).  By way of jumping into the conversation, Nicholas just dumped a list of names and asked us what they all had in common.  Sure, I though, I'll bite.  Jumping on Google, it soon became apparent that all the names on the list were from Chefs and they appeared to all be from Melbourne. My guess back to Nicholas?  That they were all Collingwood supporters.

Of course I was wrong, although it did elicit a bit of a chuckle (in the form of LOL).  The list was of course chefs, well known chefs from interstate, but what Nicholas had in fact given us was a list of chefs that he was inviting up to his Brisbane suburban bistro for guest stints.  It was the early stages of the planning for his "Interstate Celebrity: Chefs Dinner Series" - Friends of the Duck.  At the time I thought it was a great idea.  Well, the Friends of the Duck celebrity chefs dinner kicked off recently and Nicholas invited me along to check out the first one.  Sweet!

Nicholas himself is a talented chef from way back, and along with his very talented head chef Chris Hagen would be kicking off the series with talented Melbourne chef Mathew Macartney.  Mathew has an amazing history that includes working for some incredible Australian chefs, as well as spending time overseas in Fiji, New Zealand and Dubai.  Mathew has also won the title of Australia's best Sous Chef, a title where the prize was a six week appointment in any restaurant in the world.  Choosing (at the time) three michelin starred New York restaurant, Daniel, the gig gave Mathew, in his own words,  'a unique opportunity to immerse myself in a different culture within one of the worlds most awarded restaurants' (see post on Daniel here).

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Prive249 - The chef and the challenge


That’s what I’m chasing and I think it’s what you’re chasing too…

There are a lot of great restaurants around our fair city of Brisbane but as great as our restaurants are, there are very few unique dining experiences or UDX.  As much as it pains me to admit, there can sometimes be a little bit of sameness in our restaurants, especially when you eat out a lot.  Every now and then, something comes along to excite and tantalise the tastebuds, but after a while, even the exciting becomes the norm.

Whether it’s catering to a mass market or just not feeling inspired to try something new, I think our chefs have the inspirational spark to do the amazing, if only they are given the chance.

At least one chef in Brisbane is looking to shake off the shackles and try something new.  Prive249 is one of Brisbane’s few Hatted Restaurants and it’s an incredible white linen and silver service fine diner.  Chef de Cuisine and culinary wiz Josh Okorn is responsible for producing beautiful and award winning food that was good enough for European dignitaries during the recent G20.  He’s also a man in chains, just waiting to break out!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

G20 Global Flavours - Il Centro

Well, the G20 has been and gone and it went of without a hitch, pretty much.

It was interesting living in the CBD and watching the city clear out and on the Friday and Saturday of the event, Brisbane was indeed much like a ghost town....  During the day. At night, the city came alive with all of the dignitaries and city dwellers out and about seeing what was going on.

However, there was more to the G20 event than the leaders of the world coming to our fair city to discuss, well I'm not really that interested in what they discussed, but there was more going on than met the eye.  Given that the eyes of the world were on Brisbane, it's was (and still is) a huge opportunity for us to showcase our fair city and all that it has to offer.

In conjunction with Brisbane Marketing, many of Brisbane's best restaurants have joined the party by participating in a month of foodie celebrations.  Global Flavours is the culinary celebration of Brisbane's international-standard cuisine and local produce.  I'd been asked to help promote this once in a lifetime event by doing the tough job of visiting some of the restaurants that are involved - yeah, I know, but someone's gotta do it.  You can also get involved by visiting one of the city's participating restaurants and enjoying the best that Brisbane has to offer during the month of November.  See the complete list here.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Breakfast Series - Chow House

Another Saturday morning rolled around, but this one was a little different.  An early personal training session meant there was time for leisurely breakfast, a treat that normally is deferred to Sunday mornings (often depriving us of choices).  With the world at our feet, figuratively not literally, we decided to head into the Valley for a breakfast at the Chow House.

One of the funkier looking venus on James Street, Chow House is the Phoenix 'rising from the ashes' of the James Street Bistro.  Not that there were new owners, but more of a strategic move to freshen up a spot that hadn't really changed in a long time.  A move that seems to have paid off considerably! I'd never been to the previous incarnation, although I'd often wondered about it, and thought it was finally time to check out the space.

The Chow House is a fairly informal dining experience and is inspired by the street stalls of all exotic parts of the world, but mostly the Asian continent.  The menu reflects the use of the finest local seasonal produce and is prone to regular changes but regardless of how often, the menu always reflects its Asian inspiration.  

Feeling a little pooped from her PT session, we drove the short distance from our apartment in the CBD to James Street - yeah, I know, it's not that far to walk but we didn't want to waste any time either.  We were worried about parking, which can be quite unpredictable on a Saturday, but we were in luck, scoring a park (paid unfortunately) just around the corner in Robertson Street - which left us with a walk of only twenty metres - it was a great park!


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