I was lucky enough to be a part of the opening of The Elysian Retreat on Long Island In The Whitsundays Queensland. I worked with the General Manager Charlton to set up the kitchen for guests on their 100% solar powered and rain water eco-friendly project; the first of it’s kind on The Great Barrier Reef, in Australia.
The retreat offers a relaxed atmosphere, spa therapy, yoga and healing. Perfect for those who want to switch off and enjoy some piece and quiet and with only a maximum of 20 guests that privately are helicoptered on this picturesque island it is definitely somewhere to escape.
While working on the menus with fellow chef Josh, Charlton showed me the mechanics of the sustainable operation from solar batteries to eco-friendly plumbing. It was truly a huge achievement to be solely dependant on weather.
The challenge was delivering daily changing menu on such a secluded island. We came up with dishes inspired by the the landscape and from the beautiful produce local suppliers had to offer with a touch of Native Australian flare.
It was an absolute pleasure to work on this project, for more details or how to book check out Elysian Retreat.
Late last year I had the pleasure to visit Great Keppel Island (Woppa) and surroundings while working with The Waterline Restaurant and meet one of the traditional owners Nerak Morris.
Nerak is from the Woppaburra Nation and runs cultural tours in collaboration with Keppel Connections and is a great way to submergre yourself in the local culture.
“Our Woppaburra ancestors were the first nation Aboriginal inhabitants of what are now known as the Keppel Islands which lay off the Capricorn Coast, Central Queensland. Our ancestors were sea-faring saltwater people, island specialists living off the island environment and surrounding inshore reefs and ocean. The main islands occupied, were Konomie (North Keppel Island), Woppa (South/Great Keppel Island), and Burye (Humpy Island), and our ancestors travelled between these and other islands in the group for seasonal food collection, while Konomie and Woppa were the primary island locations for fresh water supply.”
Keppel Konnections ferry service is a comfortable and fast way to visit Great Keppel Island. Departing from the Keppel Bay Marina, Keppel Konnections operate 7 days a week with twice daily services to Great Keppel Island. Extra services may be available subject to demand.
While bushwalking and snorkelling I found many native ingredients that inspired dishes for future events.
This year I had the opportunity to visit Longitude 131 and Uluru. Working in the kitchen with Mark Godbeer, he took me through the native Australian produce they had on offer. Longitude 131° offers some the best of contemporary Australian cuisine, curated from the finest produce from all around the country, combined with indigenous and outback flavours to create a unique taste of Australia.
“Chef Mark Goodbeer and his team have a real passion for translating the desert experience to the plate and menus are aligned with the indigenous seasons. Guests are intrigued by the flavours and textures of the bush on the menu, with desert-foraged herbs, finger limes, muntrie berries, quandongs and Davidson plums creating a uniquely local dining experience.”
Table 131° is without doubt the perfect way to wind down after a day of discovery.
Dine out on sumptuous outback fare and discover the wonders of the night sky. Arrive to the venue after dark and feast on four delicious courses complemented with the finest Australian wines. Later, Longitude’s resident astronomer regales the gathering with tales of the Southerly constellations.