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.

Cooking with the stars

The upcoming Celebrity Chef dinner at Lure is a great chance to marry the talents of some our countries great chefs with the produce our region is justifiably famous for and I have had a great time this morning scouting for some bits and pieces for what I expect to be the food and wine event of the year. A drive down to Conway Beach to some of the local hobby farms and boutique growers is a great experience for both locals and visiting foodies. The large paddock on the left, just past Salt Water Creek bridge that looks a bit like a tea plantation is actually Lemon Myrtle and this will be one of the aromats I use in the poaching stock, along with some Bowen grown Ginger , Garlic & Chilli’s for my Coral Trout dish. Speaking of which, our principle commercial reef fisherman Trevor Draper is heading to sea this weekend on the promise of good tides and calm seas and we should have ample supply of this wonderful fish, both for the event and the restaurant. It is abundant at this time of the year and even I managed to catch a couple, including one of the best I have caught in years a few weekends ago (brag photo included).

Green mangos are also heavy on the trees which will be the basis of a green mango and pawpaw salad being served with the Coral trout. We have some amazing U 6 Banana Prawns from Bowen, arguably the biggest this particular species grows to and they are a delicious sweet prawns but not as colourful as the more visually appealing tiger prawns. In my view however they are a much nicer prawn to eat and will form part of course 1, accompanied with some braised sticky pork belly.

Chloe Bowles, one of this year’s Master Chef Stars and an acknowledged “dessert queen” will be making a wonderful Lychee based dessert and I visited the Conway Beach lychee farm to check on progress. We may be a week or 2 too soon for local lychees but still great to see a heavy crop of fruit hanging from these trees with the promise of plenty of locally grown fruit for the Christmas feasts.

Ben Williamson from Gerard’s Bistro is also planning some stunning dishes and without giving the game away, keep an eye on the Lure Facebook page to see what he has in store and book a ticket. At $120 including a 7 course meal with 6 wines and a cocktail this is going to be an amazing dining experience with plenty of interaction, some tips and the showcasing of just how far our regions food culture has developed. I'm getting excited and hoping to see you on the night.