MAR­RIED TO THE KITCHEN

QT Magazine - - FOOD & WINE - BY DAR­REN HALLESY Find out more at www.dove­tail­srestau­rant.com.au/menu

THERE’S a golden rule in busi­ness: never work with your hus­band or wife.

For some peo­ple it’s a rule that can be bro­ken and the chefs at Dove­tails seem to have cracked it. Gary and Sarah Duer­den are a mar­ried with two young chil­dren and are the brains be­hind the menu that is the talk of Ip­swich.

Dur­ing ser­vice at the pop­u­lar restau­rant, you’ll find a Duer­den at the pass. Sarah is the queen of the kitchen for breakfast and lunch while Gary preps and cooks for the din­ner ser­vice.

Gary fell into the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try af­ter be­ing made re­dun­dant and in need of a way to pay the bills.

“I was liv­ing on the Gold Coast and surf­ing all day as a young man, then I was made re­dun­dant from my job and ended up working as a kitchen hand in a restau­rant in Broad­beach,” Gary said.

“I was wash­ing dishes and thought I’d like to be a chef as I al­ways loved food as a kid. I think the first thing I ever made was a mous­saka, one of my favourites. Ac­tu­ally, when I was a sur­fie I used to get creative with two minute noo­dles … maybe that’s where it all started.”

Sarah is born and bred in Ip­swich. The for­mer Ip­swich Girls’ Gram­mar Stu­dent al­ways wanted to work in the in­dus­try and has seen many changes in Ip­swich over the past decade.

“We were liv­ing in Taringa and thought we’d go to New Zealand for a working hol­i­day. We loved it so much we stayed for over three years,” Sarah said. “We started a fam­ily and de­cided to move back to Ip­swich so we could be sur­rounded by our rel­a­tives.”

“It’s dif­fi­cult with two young chil­dren” Gary said. “We per­form as a tag team but we make it work. I do the nights, Sarah does the morn­ings and then we swap.

“I’ve no­ticed since we’ve got back how much Ip­swich has changed. There wasn’t much of a food scene be­fore but now it has re­ally stepped up its game.

“I think Ip­swich peo­ple are much more open minded to try some­thing dif­fer­ent and ex­plore new in­gre­di­ents.”

Sarah and Gary both be­lieve the se­cret to run­ning a good kitchen is not how you cook, or what’s on the plate, it’s the in­gre­di­ents and com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

“You have to be or­gan­ised in a busy kitchen, that’s the se­cret,” Sarah said. “You have to think on your feet. Gary doesn’t look at dock­ets, he just does it. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is the se­cret to a well-run kitchen.”

When it comes to the food, Sarah is most proud of her breakfast cre­ation which is on the menu for spring at Dove­tails.

“My favourite is the breakfast panna cotta (pic­tured left). It’s co­conut milk, co­conut yo­ghurt, berries and home­made gra­nola. So fresh, so creamy and crunchy all at the same time. I love it and it just looks so colour­ful and stun­ning,” she said.

“We are build­ing a new team to cre­ate some new and ex­cit­ing dishes for the spring and sum­mer menu,” Gary added.

“We don’t see each other as the boss in the kitchen, we just work well to­gether,” Sarah said.

PHOTO: ROB WIL­LIAMS

RECIPE FOR SUC­CESS: Dove­tails chefs Gary and Sarah Duer­den.

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