Sealed and de­liv­ered

The chef of an iconic beach­side eatery knows bet­ter than any­one how to get the best out of seafood.

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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.

CHEF’S CHOICE: FRE­MAN­TLE OC­TO­PUS – fre­mantleoc­to­

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