Alan Dawes

Alan Dawes

Born:

Birmingham, UK.

History:

My passion for great food started at the young age of 16, when I moved to France to work in Michelin Star restaurants and learn the secrets of French cuisine. 

My career in the UK moved pretty quickly as young Chef and I worked throughout multiple award-winning restaurants in the north of England, under such Chefs as Marco Pierre White while learning my trade. My experience in the UK provided me with a real understanding of technique and traditional cooking methods.  

I moved to Australia in 2013 and my eyes were opened to a whole new world of food. I worked at Homage restaurant in Grandchester and was lucky enough to work with some amazing Queensland producers. Focusing on farm-to-fork dishes, the restaurant won several accolades and its first-ever Chef Hat during the time I was there. 
 
As I travelled Australia, I was lucky enough to work at some great Australian restaurants, including 2 Hat NuNu’s in Palm Cove and 1 Hat Tarrawarra in the Yarra Valley. I even got to spend a Summer shucking oysters in Coffin Bay and learning how to make traditional damper on a farm in outback Qld.  

I then spent 2 years running The Stables at Stones of the Yarra Valley, delivering seasonal degustation menus and using only the best of the region’s ingredients. Here I was able to fine tune my cooking style, using traditional methods and local produce to create new exciting dishes which surprised people.
  
Moving to the Sunshine Coast, I worked as Sous Chef at The Long Apron in Montville. I was amazed, coming from the Yarra Valley, how many incredible local producers there were in this region and I knew there was a real potential to make incredible food here.  

In 2020, I took a leap and left the comfort of the kitchen to focus on offering fine dining experiences in people’s homes using only local produce. To be able to give people that luxury of a fine dining experience, without leaving their homes has been an amazing experience. I love that people want to get involved with the preparation process, asking me questions or even having their kids help me plate up the special birthday dessert!
 
What I do has become so much more than cooking, it is a real inclusive experience for family and friends at home.  

Have you always wanted to be a Chef?

Being a Chef isn’t something I originally had my heart set on when I was growing up. My mum worked three jobs to provide for our family and being the eldest, I wanted to help out as much as I could. I took on cooking for my younger siblings at dinner time and wanted to make sure they were eating proper home-cooked meals. I threw myself into learning how to cook, which sparked my passion for the craft.  

How would you define your style?

I like to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary, but without being pretentious. My style is actually quite simple and I use very few ingredients in a dish, but I love playing with unusual flavour combinations.   

What is your feature flavour these days?

Right now, I’m all about herbs. I love using herbs in ways that surprise people, like in desserts or ice cream. Herbs are completely underrated as the potential hero of the dish. There is so much variety that herbs can add and such an array of herbs out there, such as sorrels and flowers that have their own flavour profiles and are so unknown to so many people. My garden at home is full of herbs and flowers that I use on my menus, not just to enhance the flavour of a protein, but as their own unique element in that dish.  

Obsessive-compulsive about?

Plating. I’m completely obsessed about how I plate my dishes in relation to how the dish is meant to be eaten. I don’t plate dishes just because they look pretty, or cool. When I plate a dish, it is representative of how I intend that dish to be eaten and how the flavours are meant to be combined. I’ve woken my wife in the middle of the night to talk to her about the plating of dish before.  

Your greatest culinary influence:

It has always been Marco Pierre White for me. I love the idea that when you eat his food, you are being invited into his world. He is totally focused on just making amazing food, showing humility and having a good work ethic.

What do you love about this business?

Food is forever changing. People are always creating new and exciting things in the culinary world. I love and welcome change. It means I can constantly be challenged and my food is constantly evolving. 

An ingredient you can’t live without?

Salt. Food needs salt. It brings out hidden flavours and is my number one staple, no matter if I am cooking a 6-course degustation, or a Friday night meal for my family. 

Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?

Chicken and corn. That is exactly how it reads on my menu and people have no idea what to expect. It's something that every single one of us has eaten, or even cooked for ourselves and yes, it sounds pretty boring to be on a 6-course degustation. BUT it is always the favourite and the dish that leaves everyone speechless. I use every part of the corn to make an intense corn sauce and it is honestly a flavour that people have never experienced before.  

Signature dish:

White. It’s a dessert which has a really fun theatrical element as I encourage people to guess the flavours. It is presented exactly as it sounds, all white elements, nothing else. Sometimes the combinations are really unusual and that is what people love. It’s a dish which I have people request again and again at dinner parties because it’s so interactive and damn delicious!

Alan Dawes Private Chef

Alan Dawes Private Chef

Experience all the extravagance of dining out in the comfort of your own kitchen with Alan Dawes Private Chef. Based on the Sunshine Coast, this private catering company puts the wow factor into your next dinner party, sourcing the best local ingredients to deliver dishes to your table and best of all, do the dishes afterwards! From seasonal menus reflecting the freshest flavours of the moment and showcasing sensational Qld produce, expect simple, elegant and delicious choices from a la carte and degustation options; such as marinated feta, Falls Farm carrots, Coast honey and flowers from the kitchen garden. For the main affair, slice your knife into perfectly cooked beef rump cap and seasonal vegetables; before a sweet finish of Maleny chocolate and salted caramel macadamia praline.

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