Delicious Produce Awards
Delicious Produce Awards

Top chefs share fears over impact of coronavirus

FOUR of Queensland's best chefs have sat down to judge Queensland's best food for the 2020 Delicious Produce Awards.

Top chefs, Spencer Patrick, Adam Wolfers, Louis Tikaram and Jake Nicolson shared the finest cheese, seafood and fresh produce, agreeing that our state is home to the most delicious and diverse food in Australia.

Coronavirus claims seventh Aussie as deaths surge in Italy.BlackBird Bar and Grill Chef, Jake Nicolson noted that in spite of the year we have faced to date, the food remains top class.

 

Queensland’s best chefs, Spencer Patrick from Harrisons, Adam Wolfers from Gerards Bistro, Louis Tikaram from Stanley and Jake Nicolson from Blackbird Bar and Grill. Photo: Liam Kidston
Queensland’s best chefs, Spencer Patrick from Harrisons, Adam Wolfers from Gerards Bistro, Louis Tikaram from Stanley and Jake Nicolson from Blackbird Bar and Grill. Photo: Liam Kidston

"Coming off the back of the bushfires, the produce we are seeing is certainly exceptional, and at a standard it has always been at.

"We have been happy to see these ingredients come to the table."

The judges tasted a range of different foods and products, from camel's milk cheese to bamboo shoots.

"The best thing about Queensland is we really have a variety of diverse ingredients. We've got reef fish, tropical fruits and the dairy we've seen here is just outstanding," Mr Nicolson said.

"But there are also products out there like bamboo shoots which only grow in tropical areas, people make a livelihood out of these things.

"(The produce) is improving each year, and its way better than other states," Mr Nicolson said.

Spencer Patrick, the Head Chef of Harrison's in Port Douglas knows first-hand of the range of Queensland food.

Executive Chef at Harrisons restaurant in Port Douglas, Spencer Patrick, says it’s business as usual. Picture: Marc McCormack
Executive Chef at Harrisons restaurant in Port Douglas, Spencer Patrick, says it’s business as usual. Picture: Marc McCormack

"Up there in Tropical North Queensland people just think its pineapples, mangoes and mud crab, but there is so much going on up there so it's really, really good to see," Mr Patrick said.

"It makes all our jobs easier when the product sings itself."

But, they as they shared delicious food, they shared fears as the hospitality industry faces a challenge like never before with the coronavirus

"Every line of food service industry is being disrupted, starting with the farmers and the producers, to the staff in restaurants right up to the people who wash the dishes," Mr Nicolson said.

Jake Nicolson, says COVID-19 is effecting every level of the food and hospitality industry. Picture: Annette Dew
Jake Nicolson, says COVID-19 is effecting every level of the food and hospitality industry. Picture: Annette Dew


But, adapting to circumstances is in the very nature of hospitality and while ignoring the impact of the virus is impossible, positivity is key.

"Right now, for us it's about supporting the staff where we can, being accessible and trying to support the farmers and producers," he said.

Ideas like fine-dining take away, limited customers and distanced tables were all thrown up in the air.

Louis Tikaram, Head Chef at Stanley on the Howard Smith Wharves compared life right now to a dystopian movie.

Louis Tikaram remains positive despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Louis Tikaram remains positive despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

"We are used to fighting every single day, whatever it takes, we will be able to provide a good and accessible representation of our dishes, it's in our DNA," Mr Tikaram said.

Spencer Patrick, whose restaurant relies on local tourism, has the luxury of outdoor dining.

He says his restaurant in Port Douglas is still running "business as usual" but is still thinking ahead to keep people eating good food.

"We are running Harrison's at home which will create that family feel which is as important as ever," he said.

 

Originally published as Top chefs share fears over impact of coronavirus


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