MARRIED TO THE KITCHEN
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.
RECIPE FOR SUCCESS: Dovetails chefs Gary and Sarah Duerden.