Most recently, the well known chef has delivered on the challenge of re-inventing the dining experience at the refurbished Quay restaurant in Sydney, putting up a new 10-course tasting menu building on his love of ingredients, flavours and textures.
The iconic Sydney harbour restaurant, which has already seen three successful decades, returns for a new era, without table cloths and plenty of culinary intrigue instead.
We caught up with the chef about life after the iconic "snow egg" dish and what exciting changes diners can expect on the new menu.
Quay is one of Australia’s most awarded restaurants, how does it feel to be at the helm of such expectation, especially now, after the re-design?
Obviously, there is a lot of expectation but it’s really great energy to be motivated by and we are so looking forward to delivering on the promise.
What were the biggest challenges you faced in the re-design?
The biggest challenge I faced was totally reinventing the menu and training a lot of new staff.
How has your culinary style evolved to ensure your cooking is contemporary?
I constantly evolve my food anyway, but having a relaunch has really given me the opportunity to refocus and deliver a menu where there is more guest participation and interaction with the food. We have only injected a sense of fun as well as refinement into the dining experience.
What new dining experience can your guests expect at new look Quay?
Dishes such as the uni winter broth, which involves the diner finishing the dish at the table themselves so that their first mouthful of the dish is very immediate from a textural point of view.
After the success of the “snow egg”, what do you think will be the new tasting menu’s greatest hits and why?
Letting go of icons like snow egg has given me the opportunity to look forward and invent future classics. One of the desserts I’m most excited about is the white coral (above right image) which is a super aerated white chocolate ganache frozen in liquid nitrogen which shatters on the table served on a bed of feijoa ice cream and coconut cream.
How do you keep relevant with your chef contemporaries in Europe and the US?
The world is a very small place these days with social media, we all get inspired and influence each other to push dining to greater heights. But, in saying that, Australia’s isolation geographically helps to give us a unique voice on the world stage.
What’s exciting you about the future of fine dining in Australia?
In Australia, we have a very open sense of freedom and from a culinary point of view, anything is possible here. We have great produce and talented chefs.
Any future projects you’d like to share with us?
The release of my third book in October, from the earth, a book that celebrates my passion for growing heirloom vegetables published by Hardie Grant.