Just Joshin’: Q&A with chef Josh Smallwood
At just 35 years of age, Josh Smallwood has big apron strings to fill as the Head Chef at one of Noosa’s oldest and most revered establishments.
Name: Josh Smallwood
Position: Head Chef
Restaurant: Rickys River Bar & Restaurant, Noosaville
How and why did you decide on a career as a chef?
I started my apprenticeship late. I always liked food but when I walked into a kitchen for the first time, I knew it was for me, I loved the atmosphere.
Where have you previously worked? And what are some of your career highlights?
I did my apprenticeship in Melbourne at Mecca, Grossi Florentino and Interlude. My first head chef job was at the Maribyrnong Boat House. Achieving a Chefs’ Hat at Rickys River Bar & Restaurant and being recognised as one of the best regional restaurants in Queensland are proud moments.
What do you love the most about being a chef?
It’s never boring, there is always a new challenge.
How would you describe your approach to food?
I like to create a dish around the best produce that is available and hopefully make that shine. No fuss honest food.
Who is your favourite Noosa local producer?
There are so many in Noosa doing great things, local fisherman like Theo Hewish brings us the freshest local fish, it’s such a privilege to work with this produce. Fraser Isle Spanner Crab, Suncoast Fresh, Absolute Providores and Mooloolah River Fisheries are also some of our great passionate suppliers.
Do you think it is important to use local produce and why?
It’s crazy not to use it. It’s some of the best in the country. We want to support and showcase our region.
What has been the most rewarding moment of your career so far?
Taking over as head chef at Rickys River Bar & Restaurant was a big step up for me. It has a great reputation and I believe we have gone from strength to strength over the past few years. Being part of a successful group and contributing in a positive way has been very satisfying.
Who is your inspiration when it comes to culinary creations?
I use everything from other chefs to home cooks, to traditional dishes and modern ingredients, if it looks and tastes good it inspires me.
Do you cook at home and if so, what do you like to cook?
I like to cook stuff I don’t cook at work. Asian noodle soups in winter are my favourite.
Who would you love to cook for?
I would love to cook for my daughter Harper, she is my greatest critic. At 4-years-old she can be a bit too honest and I’m still only good at pancakes according to her.
What are the highlights of your latest menu?
Our roasted Mooloolaba prawns with nori and coriander butter, it’s so simple but so tasty. Also our new dessert with mandarin sorbet, cheesecake mousse and fennel meringue.
What is your favourite kitchen tool?
What is your favourite ingredient?