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BNE May/June 2016 |


There’s no doubt chefs are being more creative with

ingredients now – a dish has got to look good as

well as taste good to cut the mustard with discerning

amateur foodies, and the more interesting its back

story the better. After all, everyone’s flaunting their

paddock-to-plate connections and any budding

master chef can create a foam, pipe their puréed

vegies onto the plate or whip up a bird’s nest of spun

sugar filaments.

So, what to do next? Steve Harry, head chef at

Gerard’s Bar, has an answer. Last month Harry

teamed up with his counterpart at Gerard’s Bistro

(across the car park) Ben Williamson to host their

first Food Lab to openly experiment with new dishes

before a select audience. The dishes may or may

not make the menu or ever be repeated but it’s

fun to be guinea pig for a night just to see what

they will think of next.

On the first night, for example, top marks went

to the camel wafer – a super thin wafer of camel

meat marinated in fish sauce and served crispy with

mini dobs of sour cream and pickled mushroom.

Also mind-boggling in an ‘I see it but I don’t believe

it’ way was the Prawn Satin with Persian XO and

fresh pistachio – the prawn puréed and ironed out

(yes, to a flat layer) and served in bite size pieces with

just a bit of kick. The menu includes up to 10 plates

served in degustation

style with matched

wines and diners not

only get to watch the

food being prepared,

the chefs take turns in

serving their dishes to

tell you what they actually

are. Later they also ask for

feedback from the diners.

Steve Harry says the Food Lab is an

extension of what they already do at Gerard’s Bar

behind the counter, where the crew is constantly

experimenting and then deciding what they like and

making just enough to serve for a few days before

they move onto the next best thing. At Food Lab

nights, though, the diners also get to take part as

taste testers.

According to Harry, they’ve got more than

enough inspiration to make Food Lab a monthly

event for now and each menu will be a collaboration

with another chef to showcase different styles and

skills. And, as Harry says, it’s a nice change from the

burger-fuelled ‘Dude Food movement’ currently

sweeping Brisbane. This is food at another level

entirely and worth every cent. Cost $85 per person

for food plus $55 per person with beverages.

A different


Bushtucker tours every hour, wine tastings, picnics

and art displays are a few of the temptations on

the World Apart weekend in the Mt Barney Valley

of the Scenic Rim, designed to entice day trippers

to take a detour off the highway and onto the

country backroads. A handful of local operators

including Mt Barney Lodge and Barney Creek

Vineyard open their gates to show visitors some

good old country hospitality, including giant

outdoor games, alpaca and llama feeding and

garden tours. A World Apart is on 28 and 29 May.

Head towards Boonah through Beaudesert and

follow the signs. Download directions and a map at




TOP: Ben Williamson (left) and Steve Harry

plan the menu. ABOVE RIGHT: Prawn Satin.

ABOVE: Camel Wafer among the dishes

at the Food Lab, an event where the chefs

show their (even more) creative flair