Bait to Plate

Kev Collins

Well known Restauranter and co-owner of Fish D'vine & The Rum Bar in Airlie Beach. When Kev's not working he's out fishing in the amazing food bowl of the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park or in his tinnie in the estuaries crabbing! His blog imparts wisdom, tales and info on all things fishing and food.

Providence and the story of us!

I watched an interesting TV show the other night about the most expensive foods in the world. Pretty OTT (over the top) and at times plain silly and snobbish, but, a really interesting factor was the issue of the providence of the products and the story being every bit as important as the finished product. With coffee at $720 a cup (I kid you not) and desserts at over $800 a single plate it needed to be a bloody good story but clearly the super-rich are just as interested in the where and how of their food as the rest of us mere mortals who love to know more about what we eat.

This has always been critical to us and more so in recent times as we have moved into the social media space and instant information age. It is one thing to drag a box of frozen fish out of a freezer and another altogether too actually know all there is to know about the fish and seafood we are using each day.

We are blessed to have established relationships with local fisherman. Trevor Draper, Keith Brenan, Matt Vickers and his dad Paul. Ronny and Buck and Terry. Not just to know them, but know their boats, the bait they use and reefs and drop-offs and bays and creeks they fish and crab in. To know when they put to sea, what each season brings. When the Tiger prawns run and the flush of the wet that brings on the barramundi and banana prawns.  I can talk a creek corner or beach, a reef system or shoal and know exactly where it is because I will have fished it myself at some stage. I love that I know this and get to talk to guests every night about the history of everything in the window.

Our seafood window is our showcase. Nothing to hide, nothing we are not proud of and as much a part of the restaurant as the rum bar. Our Chinese guests take endless photos, new and interstate visitors ask a million questions and every local pops out from the restaurant to have look and see what’s on special today.

I often wish I was an artist and could draw, I can’t, but doing my “window” is my canvas and a chance to showcase everything wonderful about Whitsunday seafood.

Today I collected an amazing array of wonderful fish from Trevor and Tina. I know they are pretty chuffed to see fish they care so much about, go out in a blaze of glory. The future of seafood in the Whitsundays is in very good hands while fisherman like Trevor and his crew supply venues like ours who care just as much as they do about the providence and end result. This is not a box of non-descript fish on the market floor. This is bait to plate at its very best.