Posts Tagged ‘Quay Restaurant’

Peter Gilmore ©ak.images

Peter Gilmore is the Executive chef of Quay Restaurant. Born and bred in Sydney, Peter left year 10 in 1984, to undertake an apprenticeship at The Manor House restaurant in Balmain, where he initially did work experience from school. The chef then realised that he was passionate and that was it. Three years through the apprenticeship, Peter headed to England to work in hotels.

Arriving back home in 1990, Peter clocked hours in a few small establishments in Sydney as well as in the Blue Mountains.  Peter joined the kitchen team at Quay in 2001 and from then creating his own style of cuisine. No big names here but Peter draws his inspiration from Nature, its diversity and Michel Bras.

Quay Restaurant have been awarded accolades including World’s top 26 Restaurant, Three stars by the Gourmet Traveller Magazine and Three chef hats/Restaurant of the year in 2009/10 by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide.


1– How do you define your style of cooking and the philosophy at Quay.

Peter Gilmore– It is what I like to call Nature based cuisine, what that means is just that I am really influenced by the diversity of nature; there is so much fantastic produce out there. We do have a lot of stuff grown for us specifically which is great! I have a test garden at home so I will grow a new vegetable, a new variety or an heirloom variety, I feel as though there’s something special about it. Another big part of my cooking is all about texture and a harmony of flavours, I am very influenced by making sure that the texture of the dish is really beautiful, sensual and lovely to eat.

2- What will/should your diners expect when dining in your restaurant? 

Peter Gilmore- I think they should expect an exciting dining experience, they should expect food that they are not going to see anywhere else, they should expect originality and they should expect an experience. Hopefully most people get what I do and love the food.  Apart from the food, they should expect great service, knowledgeable staff and good atmosphere. We are lucky to have a beautiful location over here so it’s a total package that we’re are really offering. I think diners want to be excited by what’s on a plate, something that they can’t have at home.

3- Have you got a particular ingredient/product that you tend to use in your dishes.

Peter Gilmore-  There are so many ingredients out there, its pretty hard to narrow it down, but there are some new things I’m working on. We have just introduced a really beautiful little pickled vegetable salad, we use beautiful rhubarbs, endive, beetroots, red carrots and radishes. We also make a beautiful pomegranate molasses crumb, some sheeps milk curd from Tasmania and some native violets. It is a new entree.

4- Have you got a mentor or figure that you particularly admire/respect throughout your career as a chef? 

Peter Gilmore- Over the years, there has been lots of chefs that I have respected. Not so much a mentor, I’ve worked with some good chefs but I haven’t worked with one or two outstanding chefs in my career. I’ve sort of really, for the last 15 years been working as a head chef myself, I’ve overtime developed my own style more so than following someone’s style. I mean the people I’ve respected over the years are people like Thomas Keller and Michel Bras. Without a doubt they’ve got a unique style, a very clean and driven focused cuisine.

5- The cuisine you cook can be defined as Modern Australian, what does Modern Australian mean to you? 

Peter Gilmore- It means being able to cook without boundaries more than anything else, we are not tied by one or any strict tradition. With a multicultural society, we are exposed to lots of different cuisines of the world which is a really unique situation to be in. We are able to go between the cuisines and learn the different techniques. I think Modern Australian cuisine is all about freedom but that freedom comes with personal restraint and a personal direction to focus that cuisine. If you are going to take influences from different places, whether that be techniques or will that be flavouring, any influences, you need to show some restraint and personal vision to make that work.

6- Wine matching is an essential part of dining; do you work closely with your sommelier to ensure the perfect marriages?

Peter Gilmore- Yes, whenever I create a brand new dish, Our sommelier Daniel and myself will sit down and we’ll have a little a dish, he then brings out a selection of wines that he thinks might go well. We’ll taste and talk and generally agree on the selections because it is matter of personal taste but its also a matter of hitting the right note. With what we do with the food, we never want the wine to dominate and overpower the dish, we want the wine to complement with the dish. Its all part of the dining experience and diners should utilise the services of the sommeliers because they know the food and they know and list, they will point you to the right direction

7- Where would your favourite eating hot spots be in Sydney? 

Peter Gilmore- There’s so many great restaurants but if I had to pick two or three, I would for fine fining, say Marque. For a really fun meal I would go down to Spice Temple, Neil Perry’s place, and also his steak place (Rockpool Bar and Grill) is fantastic. I mean there’s so many great places around town, you could pop down to Longrain, Or possibly Otto but it comes down to your personal mood.

8- With Masterchef and media attention on chefs, young people are coming into the industry wanting to be on tv (celebrity chef), what are your thoughts about this? 

Peter Gilmore-  You do get that a bit. When you’re starting out, it’s about damn hard work, long hours and lots of heat and pressure. So you know the ones that are really in it for the love cooking and passion, they are going to stay. The guys that are there because they think they are going to be the next Jamie Oliver, they basically are going to find out that this doesn’t happen really often, and the actually reality is day to day hard work, they will eventually give up.

9- Have you got any tips or advice for anyone who wants to be a chef? 

Peter Gilmore- Yes, really really think ‘is this what you want to do’. It’s a huge commitment and it’s a huge journey. You have to be passionate about the job first and foremost, and if you are, go for it. Its a great job! Opportunities to travel, opportunities to be creative along the track. Learn the basics and learn well, work for good people along the way and build your skills and have a solid foundation.

10- Establishing a great relationship with your suppliers ensures great produce delivered to your door, how are the relationships with you and your suppliers? 

Peter Gilmore- I do have have a good relationship with my suppliers, very important link to everything we do. Constant communication with your suppliers is really important and finding out what’s in, what’s out, in season, those conversation happens on a daily basis. I’ve got lots of small suppliers that only supplies me one thing, it might be a supplier from Queensland who only grows palm hearts and I buy palm hearts or it might be someone from South Australia whom i buy green almonds from, in season so i have relationships with all this small independent people all over the country and it does take time to develop these things but it’s a vital part.

Quay Cookbook/©Peter.Gilmore

11- What was the inspiration and philosophy behind you cookbook ‘Quay’? 

Peter Gilmore- Well the book, really is a representation of the food that we do here in Quay so its all recipes, all the techniques and all the philosophy behind the dishes. Its a book for very keen cooks to buy, its not a how to cook book, its a book that represents the food that we do here in Quay and the inspiration behind the dishes. Beautifully photographed and I’m really proud of it.

12- With three chef hats, a cookbook and the restaurant being listed on the world’s 50 best restaurants list, are there any future plans for Peter Gilmore, Quay and the FINK group?

Peter Gilmore-  Yeah well, we are possibly thinking about opening a sister restaurant to Quay, a more casual restaurant. But there’s nothing firm, we don’t have a site at this stage but we are looking at potentially doing something in the future so a more casual restaurant but still with cutting edge food. But really, Quay remains my main focus.

13- Can you give us a recipe for one of your dishes? 

Peter Gilmore – Sashimi of Hiramasa Kingfish, raw Chinese artichokes, pickled Kohlrabi, horse radish, smoked eel and egg white pearl. (recipe below)

Sashimi of Hiramisa Kingfish, raw Chinese artichokes pickled kohlrabi, horseradish, smoked eel and egg white pearl/©Peter.Gilmore

Sashimi of Hiramisa Kingfish, raw Chinese artichokes

pickled kohlrabi, horseradish, smoked eel and egg white pearl


 Serves 8


1 kg Hiramisa kingfish fillet

200 mls white soy

1 x 500 gms octopus

32 Chinese artichokes

8 sticks white celery

20 gms freshly grated horseradish

200 mls crème fraiche

200 gms piece daikon radish

2 kohlrabi

200 ml good quality apple vinegar

50 gms castor sugar

32 small nasturtium leaves

300 mls ginger and spring onion infused grapeseed oil

50 gms smoked eel

500 mls chicken stock

100 gms tapioca pearls

Fine sea salt

Smoked eel and egg white pearl

70 gms smoked eel meat

200 mls milk

70 gms white fleshed fish (cod or snapper)

60 gms mashed potato

60 gms softened unsalted butter

½ lemon juiced

40 mls extra virgin olive oil

30 gms crème fraiche

100 mls strained egg white

500 mls grapeseed oil

sea salt


To make the smoked eel brandade make sure the smoked eel flesh is boneless and skinless.  Bring the milk to the boil, remove from the heat and add the smoked eel. Allow the eel to marinate in the warm milk for 10 minutes. Strain the eel and discard the milk. Steam the white fish until it flakes. Mix the eel and flaked white fish in a small pot. Using a fork, mash the fish and eel together with half the softened butter. Drizzle half the extra virgin olive oil and all the lemon juice on to the fish. Mix well with the fork as you go. Add the mashed potato and mix well. Add the remaining butter and olive oil and mix well. Season to taste with fine sea salt. Allow the mixture to cool and then fold in the crème fraiche. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Take some of the mixture in the palm of your hand and roll until you have a ball about the size of a small marble. You will need 8 balls altogether. You may have some additional mixture left over which you can use elsewhere.

To make the egg white pearls place the grapeseed oil in a small saucepan and heat to about 70 o Celsius. Using an eye dropper drop the strained egg white into the oil drop by drop in rapid succession. After you have about 30 egg white droplets, stop and gently stir them around. They need about 1 minute in the oil to fully set. Carefully sieve out the egg white pearls using a fine strainer and place the pearls on a flat metal tray. Repeat this process several times making sure you maintain the oil temperature at about 70 o until you have a sufficient amount of egg white pearls to coat 8 marble size balls of brandade mixture.

To coat the brandade mixture you will need to line 8 demi tasse cups with 12 cm by 12cm squares of clingwrap. Place a teaspoonful of egg white pearls in the middle and spread them out. Place a ball of brandade in the middle and carefully lift the four corners of the plastic together. The aim is to coat the brandade balls in the egg white pearls with the aid of the clingfilm. When you have 8 perfectly covered balls leave them in the refrigerator until required.

Microplane the fresh horseradish and fold it through the crème fraiche and season to taste. Using a mandolin slice the daikon radish into 1mm thin slices. Cut the slices into discs using a  20 mm diameter cutter. Blanch the discs in boiling water for 2 seconds and refresh in iced water, dry the discs. Place 1 kg of rice onto a flat tray with sides. Spread the rice out to a depth of 3 cm. Take a small square of clingfilm 7 cm x 7 cm and place the square on the rice. Use your finger to create an impression in the centre of the square to a depth of 2 cm. Place 5 daikon discs in an overlapping circle on the cling film. Press the discs down in the centre. Using a piping bag add a small dot of the horseradish cream in the centre of the discs. Unwrap the eel brandade pearls and carefully place each pearl in the centre of the daikon discs. Place the tray in the refrigerator for the smoked eel flowers to set.

Slice the remaining 50 gms of smoked eel into thin slices. Add the eel to the chicken stock and bring the stock to the boil. Turn down the heat and allow it to simmer gently for 10 minutes. Strain the stock and place in a clean saucepan. Bring the stock back to the boil and add the tapioca. Stir well and cook the tapioca for 7 to 8 minutes or until the starch in the tapioca has reduced to a very small dot. Test the tapioca by tasting it, it should be soft but not mushy. Strain the tapioca and discard the stock. Place the tapioca on a tray, season with sea salt and tablespoon of the ginger spring onion infused oil. Allow the tapioca to cool. When cool form the tapioca into small bundles. You will need approximately 40 bundles.

Wash and clean the Chinese artichokes and put aside.

Cut the celery sticks into fine julienne, lightly salt the celery and allow to marinate for 1 hour. Rinse the celery in cold water. Divide the celery into 16 small bunches. Twist each bunch into a spiral and put aside.

Dissolve the sugar in the apple vinegar. Peel the kohlrabi and slice on the mandolin to a thickness of 1 mm. Cut the slices into 2 cm wide strips. Place the strips in the vinegar and allow to marinate for 1 hour.

To prepare the octopus remove the tentacles from the body. You will only need the tentacles for this recipe. With some coarse sea salt, scrub the tentacles under running water. This will help to remove any slimy coating. Once fully rinsed, remove the suckers with a sharp knife horizontally and then cut into small lengths. Reserve 1 more tablespoon of ginger grapeseed oil and heat the remaining oil in a small saucepan to 70 o Celsius. Poach the sliced octopus for approximately 1 minute. Remove the octopus and drain.

Remove the skin and most of the bloodline from the kingfish fillet. Cut the kingfish into 3 mm thick slices across the fillet. You will need 6 slices per portion. Your slices will be approximately 7 cm long.

To serve

Briefly marinate the kingfish slices in the white soy (10 seconds). Drain the slices and brush on the remaining ginger grapeseed oil. Squeeze out all the vinegar from the pickled kohlrabi. In the bottom of each serving bowl place 2 teaspoons of horseradish crème fraiche. Place a small bundle of pickled kohlrabi on top of the crème fraiche and then 3 slices of the marinated sashimi kingfish. Next place another 2 teaspoons of horseradish crème fraiche on the kingfish, another small bundle of pickled kohlrabi and then the other 3 slices of marinated kingfish. Garnish with Chinese artichokes, celery twists, smoked eel tapioca and then place a smoked eel and eggwhite flower in the centre of the dish. Finally garnish with nasturtium leaves and serve.

© Peter.Gilmore 2011



Quay Restaurant 

Level 3, Overseas Passenger Terminal

Circular Quay West, The Rocks, Sydney





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