Smoky roo on menu at Essence
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.’’