In the Kitchen with Simon Deane, Kitchen Manager at Cafe Balaena Hervey Bay

In the Kitchen with Simon Deane, Kitchen Manager at Cafe Balaena Hervey Bay

How long have you been a Chef, and worked at Cafe Balaena for?

I finished my Apprenticeship last year. I have been working at Cafe Balaena since leaving high school in 2010

Who was your biggest inspiration when you were training to be a Chef, and why?

Definitely many of the chefs that I have worked within the kitchen over the years. I have learnt many things from them. As far as Celebrity Chef’s it has to be Gordon Ramsay, he is an excellent Restaurateur and he has won many Michelin stars. Gordon is incredibly passionate about cooking.

Tell us one of your more memorable moments in your career?

From time to time we see a famous face here. We have served the musician Timomatic, Guy Sebastian and lots of politicians.

A memorable moment was the night somebody spilt sauce all over the floor in the middle of the dinner rush. It was our vibrant yellow Seafood Chowder, very difficult to clean up, we all were able to laugh about it afterwards though.

 How would you sum up your menu?

Our menu is a winner. We have a menu that you can come back and try any time as there is always something new. We cater for all tastes and all dietary requirements, and we are open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

What is the most popular dish on the ‘Cafe Balaena’ menu?

The Ultimate Queenslander Barramundi is one of our most popular dishes. It consists of a thick grilled slab of Barramundi with saltwater scallops and sautéed ocean harvested prawns in a wine, cream garlic sauce topped with macadamia nuts and served with mixed mash potato and vegetables.

 What is the newest trend you see emerging?

Farm to table. People are more aware of where their food is coming from. It is understandable that people want to know the food processes and what goes into it.

Do you use many local suppliers?

Yes. We use Hervey Bay scallops, our whiting and black tiger prawns are from the Great Sandy Straits, so we get these ourselves from the local fisheries. We also shop locally where possible for all of our produce.

What advice would you give a novice just getting into the business?

It is all about work ethic. You have to be always working and never have your hands empty. ‘Slow is smooth, smooth is fast’, in other words, start off slow, keep doing it regularly and you will make fewer mistakes. Practise makes perfect.

What do you most like to cook?

Pasta is the most fun. You get to work with proteins like chicken, beef, seafood and vegetarian, and a whole range of other ingredients. At home, I like to cook pizza from the base up.

How long have you lived on the Fraser Coast, and what is your favourite thing to do?

I have lived on the Fraser Coast all of my life. I love the beach, swimming and walking. I love all of the businesses in town, and I like to see what they are all doing with food, it is interesting, exciting and different.

What is the strangest item in your fridge right now?

Cuttlefish ink. A great ingredient in some dishes.

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