Flavour Driven – Chef Q&A
Chris Hagan, Head Chef of Locale Noosa
How/Why did you become a chef?
Becoming a chef was something that I always wanted to do, I began working in my Aunties café bar in England and haven’t looked back since.
What has been the most rewarding moment of your career so far?
By taking this career path I’ve had the opportunity to travel and work around the world, this is something that I’ve always been grateful for.
What do you love about being a chef?
So many things:
• I love the buzz of the service and working within a team.
• Building relationships with producers and suppliers is especially important.
• I want to give memorable dining experiences to guests.
• Making people happy through food!
• It is a role where you never stop learning.
What do you love about local produce?
To start with, buying local produce helps support our local community and I love working directly with local producers and farmers that are passionate about their produce. It is a privilege to be able to showcase it on the plate. Sourcing ingredients locally also helps to minimise our carbon footprint.
Who are some of your favourite local producers?
Some of my favourites are Noosa Reds, Alba Aquaculture for their Red Claw Crayfish, Fraser Isle Spanner Crab and we’re so fortunate to have fresh produce from The Ogilvie Group’s very own Maravista Farm.
What is your approach to food?
I try to ensure menus are produce-orientated, simple yet flavour-driven.
Who is your culinary inspiration?
I’ve always admired Thomas Keller, Masimo Bottura, Sat Bains and Michel Bras, these guys are all icons in the field. For myself, I read a lot of books to try and be constantly learning about new techniques and styles. When creating dishes, I also take a lot of inspiration from the produce and the seasons.
Do you cook at home?
I can’t say I cook at home, my wife does most of the cooking if we are having a night in. Otherwise, it’s cheese and ham toasties when we get in from work!
What is your favourite dish to eat or cook?
A traditional Sunday roast always brings back a lot of feelings growing up in the UK.
What do you love about being IN Noosa?
The food hub that has been created here is sensational, there are so many good chefs, restaurants and producers for people locally and travelling to Noosa to try. Coming from the UK makes the weather here a bonus!
Any advice for young chefs?
The best advice I could give is to not run before you can walk, take the time needed to learn your craft.
What is your favourite ingredient?
I don’t really have a specific ingredient other than something which is fresh, local and tasty. Depending on the season I have different ingredients that I go to: Asparagus in spring, stone fruit during summer, heirloom tomatoes during autumn and brassicas during winter.
What is your favourite kitchen tool?
It has to be a whetstone to sharpen my knives.
And I always keep on hand my little crank handled palate knife and its definitely seen better days but I love it.
1 whole buffalo mozzarella
Noosa Reds tomatoes
Cut tomatoes into large chunks quarters or eighths, depending
on tomato size
In a mixing bowl put tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper
Gently toss all ingredients in
bowl to coat evenly
Tear up mozzarella and place
Pour tomatoes on top of mozzarella
Garnish with basil and Charcoal salt