Smoky roo on menu at Essence

Townsville Bulletin - - Sports Junior -

JUPITERS CASINO chef Brad Hough, re­spected sous chef at up­mar­ket restau­rant Essence, says he loves serv­ing up ‘‘ ap­proach­able mod­ern Aus­tralian fare’’, with one strong cen­tral item beau­ti­fully backed up with qual­ity in­gre­di­ents.

The qui­etly spo­ken chef also pro­fesses a love of lo­cal sea­sonal pro­duce and na­tive Aus­tralian in­flu­ences, so it was no sur­prise when he nom­i­nated his sig­na­ture dish ( above).

The ex­otic-sound­ing dish is one of Essence’s most pop­u­lar dishes with lo­cals and in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors alike, and marks Brad’s key in­flu­ences on the menu since be­gin­ning work­ing there two years ago.

Born in Perth, Brad, now 34, came to the cook­ing game a lit­tle later than most, not start­ing in the in­dus­try un­til he was 23.

He had just started in the chef g a me w h e n h e f o l l o w e d h i s girl­friend from Perth right across the other side of the coun­try to Townsville, study­ing firstly at TAFE be­fore land­ing what was to be a four-year job at the South­bank.

A stint in Mel­bourne ended fairly quickly af­ter the chilly weather chased them out, fol­lowed by sev­eral years work­ing at a win­ery restau­rant in WA’s iconic Mar­garet River district.

The cou­ple re­turned to North Queens­land two years ago, when Brad took up his po­si­tion at Essence, and are now the proud par­ents of four-month-old baby son, Oliver.

‘‘ Grow­ing up, I saw the role food played in fam­i­lies," he said.

‘‘ My grand­mother al­ways cooked, and as a teenager, I spent a lot of time at mates’ houses with their fam­i­lies, many who were Asian and Ital­ian.

‘ ‘ I guess you could s ay my strong­est culi­nary lean­ing is still t owards Asian f l avours, with un­fussy lo­cal fresh pro­duce, and l e t t i n g t h e i n g r e d i e n t s c o me through and speak for them­selves.

‘‘ I like to use pro­duce that can be sourced and grown in the re­gion – the less trav­elled the pro­duce is, the fresher and bet­ter-tast­ing it is, and the bet­ter it is for you.’’

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