This month we celebrate Queensland Day— welcome to the land of seafood, mangoes and lamingtons! By Kerry Heaney.
CELEBRATE QUEENSLAND DAY on 6 June by indulging in some of the best local treats and experiences as judged by locals.
We asked seven prominent locals to share their tips for the state’s 159th birthday.
Liz Cantor, Channel Seven presenter
“My favourite Queensland food? Fresh local seafood, it’s incredible!” says Liz. Liz says she is a massive fan of Jellyfish Restaurant in the Riverside Centre, Eagle Street.
“My perfect Queensland Day would be to grab the hubby and son and spend the day exploring the Botanic Gardens before a yum cha lunch in Fortitude Valley’s Chinatown because a multicultural day is what Brisbane is about.”
Josh Lopez, Executive Chef OPAL, Emporium Hotel South Bank
The humble lamington, with its roots in the kitchens of Brisbane’s Old Government House, tops the list for Josh’s favourite Queensland food. “It is the perfect combination of soft sponge, jam, chocolate and coconut. When made and served generously it is a meal in itself. As a chef, I have also played around with this formula and made delicious native ingredient focused combinations with lilly pilly jam and wattle seed infused chocolate,” says Josh.
“It is so easy to come across a quality lamington in a bakery particularly when going on a family drive in the country or along the coast. I have such fond memories of a morning swim at the gorge at Point Lookout at North Stradbroke and then barging into the bakery to grab a couple of lamingtons.”
Queensland Day is a special day for Josh bringing back memories of when he arrived in Australia as a two-year-old with his family in 1986 to start a new life.
“Spending time with family on a day trip exploring more of our beautiful city and its surrounds like catching an exhibition at GOMA would be my ideal way to spend Queensland Day.”
Tracey Watkins, White Label Noba
Just give Tracey some mangoes and prawns on Queensland Day, and she will be happy.
“There is something purely Queensland about these foods. I relish their ever abundance at James Street Markets and Reef Seafood and Sushi and the simple preparation that they require,” says Tracey.
Walking the river paths and dining in the alleyways of the inner-city hub of Teneriffe is how Tracey would prefer to spend Queensland Day.
“Who can tire of exquisite river views and some of the best culinary delights around her?” Alison Alexander, Queensland Government Food Fellow, ABC Radio presenter and RNA Judge Alison says it is hard to pick her favourite Queensland food because of the wide diversity of produce, but she also can’t go past fresh seafood.
“Prawns, fish, scallops, bugs can be cooked in many ways, but it takes a lot to beat pan-fried fresh fish fillets, especially diamond scale mullet,” says Alison.
A true Queenslander, Alison’s perfect Queensland Day would be to pack a picnic, pick up a cake from Three Girls Skipping in Graceville and head west to Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha.
“You could also take a Citycat Ferry ride down the river to South Bank and enjoy a relaxing lunch at Stokehouse Q which has a great position on the river.”
Richard Ousby, Executive Chef, Stokehouse Group
“Give me grilled prawns with a simple dressing,” says Richard.
“It’s so easy and delicious, and it suits the weather here 365 days a year,” he says. “We took a portable BBQ to the Enoggera reservoir recently and had grilled prawns for lunch, it was a beautiful day.”
Jumping on the Citycat with his wife and two-year-old son and just chilling is another of his top suggestions for Queensland Day. Sofie Formica, Channel Seven television presenter Gambaros Seafood Restaurant is where Sofie will be heading for her Queensland Day fix of the best Queensland seafood on a plate.
Her suggestion for the perfect Queensland Day is a hike up Mt Coot-tha in the morning and a cold beer at the Regatta listening to live music in the afternoon.
Natalie Weir, Artistic Director, Expressions Dance Company
Memories of boating expeditions with her parents make mud crabs Natalie’s favourite Queensland food.
Her perfect Queensland day would be near the mighty Brisbane River with a picnic in New Farm Park or lunch on the river somewhere with family or friends.
Jos h . Lopez Kelly .Photo: David Liz Cantor with son Kit. Photo: © News Corp Australia.
Brisbane Lookout, Mt Coot-tha. Photo: © Jesse Smith Photographer/brisbane Marketing. Tracey Watkins. Sofie Formica.