Andy Gray

Andy Gray

Born: 

Wellington, New Zealand.

History:

I have always enjoyed cooking and enrolled in Wellington Polytech to start a hospitality course that included 751/752 Certificates in Cookery. 

Working part-time in Eastbourne, I then landed an apprenticeship at the Park Royal Hotel Wellington. I completed that and then moved back to Eastbourne taking a Chef de Partie role at Cobar Seafood restaurant. 

After a year there, I joined the kitchen brigade who opened the Icon restaurant in Te Papa, Wellington.

Planning to move to Australia I went travelling through Thailand and Malaysia for a break first.

We moved to Sydney where I joined Laurent Loudeac at Orso Bayside restaurant. With my eyes set on bigger things I ventured over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and met with Matt Moran and Simon Sandall at Aria.

Joining them not long after as Chef de Partie, I soon took a Sous Chef position with them. A favourite part of my cooking life was there, but after two years the lure of Port Douglas brought me to move states and join the team with Sassi Cucina as Sous Chef.

After a year there I moved and started at 2 fish restaurant where I went from Sous to Head Chef and was there for 5 years.

With a desire to open my own place I opened bel cibo in 2009 and had great success and enjoyment. Unfortunately, that was flooded from the apartment above and closed in January 2020. That inspired me to open Wrasse & Roe seafood restaurant in 2021 - this is where I am today, still on the pans and loving the life in the kitchen (most days!).

Have you always wanted to be a Chef?

Cooking came to me later in my teenage years. I always enjoyed it, but I had no idea what life in the kitchen was like. I really grew into it, the variety, the ingredients and learning so many things all the time has meant I feel very fortunate to have found something I enjoy as my job.

How would you define your style? 

Clean flavour marriages. 

What is your feature flavour these days?

Soy and citrus.

Obsessive-compulsive about?

Things being put back in EXCACTLY the same spot!

Your greatest culinary influence:

Matt Moran.

What do you love about this business?

Someone can always teach you something new, you’ll never know it all.

An ingredient you can’t live without?

Salt, that’s every Chef, right?

Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?

FNQ mud crab, we do a chilli style and a Singapore style, when they go up onto the pass, being an open kitchen, everyone eyes light up!

Signature dish:

Seared scallops with truffled cauliflower purée, crisp pancetta and beurre noisette.

What do you think the past 12 months of COVID has taught restaurants and Chefs about their diners and the industry in general?

That we have a massive shortage of skilled/unskilled staff. People have high expectations when they go out for a meal and we as an industry need to be able to provide that. We need the Government to open working visa accessibility more easily to Commonwealth countries so we can start filling these positions and delivering on guests’ expectations better. 

Tell us something no one knows about you?

I love being invited out to a friend’s for dinner, it’s obviously a bit daunting having a Chef over, but we are there to enjoy the night and company, certainly not to critique the meal! 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

Spending more time on the golf course!


Wrasse & Roe Seafood Restaurant

Wrasse & Roe Seafood Restaurant

Embrace the FNQ tropical lifestyle at newly opened modern Wrasse & Roe Seafood Restaurant on Macrossan Street in Port Douglas. Nestled in the Coconut Grove Building, chill out on aqua banquette seating beneath vibrant wall art indoors, as statement pendent lights cast a warm glow over dark wood table settings; or dine alfresco under market umbrellas as balmy breezes rustle overhead palm trees. Stop by for an afternoon cocktail and bite to eat such as a crab meat brioche slider with avocado, cos and lemon; or dine in the evening with a chilled glass of wine in hand and linger over seared scallops, sugar snaps, red curry sauce, coconut and kaffir lime foam. For a memorable main, delve into baked Moreton Bay bugs, fragrant coconut laksa, Asian greens, fried shallots and steamed rice.

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