In the Kitchen with, Nick Street-Brown, Head Chef at Coast
Story by Kim Parnell
Tell us a bit about your childhood?
“ I was born in Manchester England. From the age of about nine years I would help my mum in the kitchen making simple kids dishes like pasta and pancakes. I lived in Manchester until I was Eighteen years of age, then I moved to Cornwall, England to begin working in a Seafood Restaurant”.
How long have you lived on the Fraser Coast?
“I have lived here on the Fraser Coast for about six years, actually that was when Coast opened. My wife who is a Pastry Chef and I used to work for Julia, the Owner and Restaurant Manager, in Brisbane. Julia asked me if I wanted to take on the kitchen side of her then new Restaurant Coast’”.
Which talent would you most like to have that you don’t possess?
“ I like Soccer and can play ok. But I always wanted to be a professional Soccer player as a kid. I wanted to play in my favourite team Manchester United”.
Who was your biggest inspiration when you were training to be a Chef, and why?
“ At that stage in my life all I wanted to do was work for a famous Seafood Chef in Cornwall, England named Rick Stein. Back then we served one hundred percent seafood at the restaurant and nothing else. It was a great place to learn from, and Rick was my Inspiration”.
What do you love most about the Fraser Coast?
“The best asset is definitely the weather. It is also easier to get things done as the lifestyle is at a slower pace. We spend a lot of time outdoors in the parks and on the beaches. One of my favourite things to do on Sunday evenings is to take my wife and children for dinner at Paolos Pizza Bar, We love the atmosphere, and the pizzas”.
Tell us one of your more memorable moments in your Career?
“ In 1999, I worked in a restaurant in New York, and who should walk in but David Beckham, and his wife Victoria. That was huge for me at the time as I was fairly young and he was my biggest Idol”.
What is the most popular dish on the ‘Coast’ menu?
“ Definitely either the Ribs or the Lamb Shoulder. Customers order these again and again so these dishes are never taken off the menu”.
What is the newest trend you see emerging?
“I look up to Chefs that stick to the food that they believe in. I myself am not really a trend follower as trends are out of fashion within a week. I am true to myself and what I believe in when it comes to my flavours and produce”.
Do you use many local suppliers?
“As many as we are able. Our prawns are caught on the other side of Fraser Island by Ocean King Prawns. We also are supplied with fresh Scallops and local Cuttlefish. A local Commercial Fisherman line catches us some nice Mackerel, and other varieties of fish”.
If you could cook and dine with anyone who would you choose, and why?
“ Bob Dylan. Just to be in the same space as Bob would be an amazing experience. His music and lyrics are great, he would also have lots of good stories to tell”.
What is your favourite kitchen equipment or gadget?
“I couldn’t live without our Rational Oven. Our oven is amazing, it cooks, steams and even cleans itself, we can program the oven to cook in specific ways. The possibilities are endless”.
What advice would you give a novice just getting into the business?
“ I always tell them that it is a lot of hard work if you want to do well at it. It is long hours and while everyone else is having fun you will be working. Its a job, but like any job there are levels, it all depends how far you want to go and the passion you feel”.
What is your funniest kitchen incident to date?
“ When I worked in a restaurant in England a good friend of mine lost his temper while we were working, and he grabbed me around the neck and ran with me around the kitchen, then we got broken up and we all calmed down. While this wasn’t funny at the time, looking back it was funny because he very rarely ever lost his temper. Whenever I talk to him now, as we are still great friends, I remind him of the incident and he hates it because he feels guilty about it”.
What are your favourite foods to cook with?
“ I love cooking with seafood and cooking with good produce. My favourite herb is coriander, and my go to spice is smoky paprika”.
What do you love most about your Job?
“ I love seeing people coming out and having a great time and enjoying the experience . I enjoy seeing the expression’s on their faces after a night well spent. I also enjoy working as part of a team and watching the young Chefs grow and prosper and become better Chefs”.