Our Head Chef and Owner, Aaron Smith, gives us an insight into the thoughts behind the Gold Coast’s first gastropub, and the details in planning each meal. We had some of our customers send us some questions for him to answer in this Q&A.
Q: The quality of the ingredients you use is a fantastic base for the dishes you create. Care is taken in every element, not only in selecting each ingredient but also in how the ingredients are handled, prepared, cooked and presented. Tell us more about this overall approach and why it works so well.
AS: “The start is a relationship formed with the right people who understand what we are trying to do. Our suppliers need to respect our ethos and believe we are worth the toil. Sometimes I can be demanding, uncompromising and to some, unrealistic, but it’s all perspective. Some look at what they see and ask why. Few look at what has never been seen and ask, why not?”
Q - People often think the best tasting dishes need to be complicated. You’re testament to the fact this is not the case. You work with the different ingredients in a way that allows the individual flavours come through and create something special. What do you love about this simplicity?
AS: “So, for me, the onion is a great example. Not fancy, not pretty, generally has a pretty bad rap. Take a bite from a raw onion and it’s not a good experience. Peel, slice and slowly sauté that onion in olive oil stirring over the right heat and when the natural sugars are caramelised, the onion soft and sweet add a little finely chopped garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. The onion becomes the beginning of something amazing; the topping for pissaladiere, the filling for a rolled pork roast. Or, puree the sautéed onion and it’s a base for goat’s cheese tart. Or, add a dash of cab sav vinegar and brown sugar - the onion becomes a great steak accompaniment.”
Q - A lot of care is taken in explaining where each meal comes from. How does the journey from the source to the plate effect the overall experience when creating each meal?
AS: “Everything affects everything. So, you ask why keeping it simple works? Well, it might not seem I’m answering the right question but it all comes back to the same undeniable fact - there is no small detail. Everything matters; weather conditions on the day the cow is born; how long the steak sits on the pass before it gets to the customer; what music is playing when the customer takes their first bite; the colour of the plate; the soap in the bathroom. Conscious and subconscious. Everything matters.”
Q - What is your favourite meal on the menu - and why?
AS: “Don’t ask me to pick my favourite child, I do have one, the others just might hear.”