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Spoiling our Senses with Summer Seafood

When you picture summer holidays, it’s easy to conjure up images of balmy days enjoying sunshine, surf, and delicious seafood. 

For British-born chef Nicolas Ash, whose culinary career has taken him throughout Europe, Asia and Bermuda, it is the Australian lifestyle and our wonderful produce which beckoned him to our shores.
For British-born chef Nicolas Ash, whose culinary career has taken
him throughout Europe, Asia and Bermuda, it is the Australian lifestyle and our wonderful produce which beckoned him to our shores.

International chef Ash shares his passion for working in Australia, and particularly serving produce from the sea.

Now head chef of the Gold Coast’s Helm Surfers restaurant, Nick’s career is impressive. After starting in his native UK where he worked at a number of hotels and restaurants, he was appointed head chef at the Wharf Tavern in tropical Bermuda. Several years later he worked under
John Dietrich, official chef of the German Olympic team, and in 1993 made his first venture to Australia where he worked as head chef at the stunning Reef House Resort in Far North Queensland’s Palm Cove. Nick has also worked in a variety of restaurants in Hong Kong and been
part of the Sydney food scene, including French dining restaurant Claude’s, a stint with acclaimed chef Colin Holt from Bistro Moncur at Commodore Hotel in North Sydney, and as executive chef for the New South Wales ALH Group overseeing menu planning, costs and staffing for 11 establishments through NSW. The Retiree spoke to Nick about the Australian food scene, and in particular Australian seafood.

What is it you enjoy about working in the Australian food scene?
I love the diversity of the job, meeting everyday challenges and being creative with the produce we have on offer in Australia; having the opportunity to work with people from all over the world and learn new ideas. I also love the fantastic fresh Australian produce I get to work with every day.

Are Australian’s easy to please when it comes to preparing menus for them?
Yes, I think so. I generally try to create my menus around what people want, not what I think they should like. I want to make eating easy by offering satisfying food that people want to eat every day. This makes for far less headaches and greater customer satisfaction.

What is your favourite Australian produce?
I do enjoy using some of the native Australian products available like lemon myrtle oil, pepper-berries and Kaffir lime leaves.

What is your favourite Australian seafood?
Coral Trout and Red Emperor are definitely at the top of my list although generally not very cost effective, But Gold-band Snapper is a great product to utilise having a subtle flavour and beautiful moist flesh. It’s also very versatile and great to use in a number of dishes.

How does Australian seafood rank in the world?
Definitely some of the best in the world, Where else would you get Coffin Bay Scalllops, Moreton Bay Bugs and Sydney Rock Oysters !!!!!

Do you have any recommendations or tips for the recipes we are featuring?
The pasta and Snapper are great dishes to prepare for small parties if you’re out to impress – just make sure you have everything ready before you start. I also recommend using the freshest seafood possible; go to the markets if you can. Using the best produce always makes such a difference to the finished product. The chowder is great if you have time on your hands – remember not to overcook the seafood when you’re plating it up! The mousse is definitely a dessert to end all special occasions. Enjoy, Nick

Recipes:

attachmate office opening nov 2011 melbourne - credite andew jarvie – Seafood Chowder with Toasted Sourdough
snapper – Parmesan Crusted Snapper Fillet
attachmate office opening nov 2011 melbourne - credite andew jarvie – Blue Swimmer Crab Orecchetti Pasta
attachmate office opening nov 2011 melbourne - credite andew jarvie – White Chocolate Mousse