The chef of an iconic beachside eatery knows better than anyone how to get the best out of seafood.
Preparing seafood is all about the gentle touch and chefs love the sousvide method for its fine-tuned control.
Sydney’s fine-dining scene has an aunty to thank for the career choice of one of its favourite protagonists. Monty Koludrovic, executive chef of Icebergs Dining Room and Bar and The Dolphin Hotel, grew up in Lismore and Byron Bay. His aunt would frequently take him to Sydney as a kid and he looks back fondly on those visits, as it was these early exposures to restaurant-going that cultivated his reverence for the world of fine dining. The “aha!” moment was when she took him to The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay sometime in the mid-’90s. “I recall it vividly; it was that experience that showed me how food could be amazing, creative, expressive and intuitive,” he says. “It didn’t necessarily make me decide to become a chef there and then, but it started something.” Monty left home young to make his own way in Sydney and worked in cafes to pay his way through higher education. It was when faced with the choice between taking up a university scholarship or staying in the kitchen that he opted to defer his studies. He is still yet to take up that scholarship. His career has taken him far and has included Cafe Sydney before a three-year stint at where it all (sort of) started: The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay. Four years of travelling added La Trompette and The Grill Room at the Dorchester in London to his CV and left him with an appetite to broaden his horizons upon his return to Australia in 2007, joining Justin North at Bécasse. His career ascension continued by way of Melbourne and back to Byron before he returned to Sydney three years ago to take the Icebergs role. For the recipe he created for Pride & Produce, Monty namechecks his supplier, Fremantle Octopus: “They are the mothership and they use a string of local fisherman to catch their product.” He chose to focus on octopus because he “wanted to do seafood but something other than fish. Octopus is good for marinating and takes low-temperature slow cooking really well. And it’s sustainable.” The fact Western Australian octopuses themselves enjoy a restaurant-quality diet – feasting on the likes of greenlip abalone, western rock lobster and blue swimmer crabs – plays no small part in their reputation as one of the world’s best-tasting octopuses in the world.
CHEF’S CHOICE: FREMANTLE OCTOPUS – fremantleoctopus.com.au