Electrolux Australian Young Chef
Restaurants Links: Quay
Peter describes his cuisine as "food inspired by nature". A passionate gardener, Peter was one of the first chefs in Australia to truly embrace the vegetable garden and its diversity. Sourcing rare plants and heirloom vegetable seeds, he forges unique relationships with small farmers to grow bespoke produce exclusively for Quay. He collaborates with fisherman who hand dive and line catch seafood in pristine Australian waters, and farmers who rear rare breed animals with superior flavour and texture for the table. Peter plans his menus from the ground up a season ahead; a way of working which has strengthened his appreciation of the seasons and the natural world, and is directly reflected in his cuisine.
Peter plays with ideas about food, its provenance and its natural environment. A recent dish was inspired by the beauty of the coral reef in Australia's north. In another, he evokes the environment of a hand-caught flathead, pairing it with wild oysters, periwinkles, wakame seaweed and abalone that the fish might feed upon in its cold Southern ocean home. Peter places great emphasis on texture in his cuisine, so a rare breed pig cheek is first slowly braised for twelve hours, then lightly smoked, and teamed with hand dived sea scallops, shaved Tasmanian shiitake mushrooms and crisp Jerusalem artichoke skin to create a perfect interplay of just four ingredients.
Says Peter: “What we try to do is to produce original, beautifully crafted food with a big emphasis on layers of texture and flavours to create an overall sense of balance. Food that tastes beautiful, takes you on a journey of different sensations, and that makes you think about where it came from.”
Peter is a 44 year old Australian, born and bred in Sydney. He was inspired to cook at a young age and started his apprenticeship at 16, then spent his twenties working in kitchens overseas and in country New South Wales, developing his own style. Critical recognition came in 2000 when Peter was the Head Chef at De Beers Restaurant at Whale Beach and Terry Durack, food reviewer for The Sydney Morning Herald, wrote “De Beers houses a young chef with a real talent for sending out beautifully structured food with innate simplicity”. Peter’s next step was as head chef at Quay, and he has never looked back.
Quay has been awarded Three Chefs Hats for eleven consecutive years and named 2013 Restaurant of the Year in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and 2013 Restaurant of the Year in the Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide. Quay is also the only Australian restaurant to currently appear on the fabled S Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants. In 2012, Quay was named Best Restaurant in Australasia on the World’s 50 Best for the third year in a row and ranked 29th. At The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2012 Awards, Peter Gilmore was named “Chef of the Year”, a celebration of his ten years at Quay.
In 2010, Peter released his first cookbook Quay: Food Inspired by Nature, a sumptuous book which captures Peter’s nature-based philosophy and the organic presentation of his stunning cuisine at Quay.
Peter regards himself as immensely lucky to be a chef in Australia today, with access to extraordinary produce and with the freedom to explore new ideas and draw on a culture which embraces so many people and parts of the world. He continues to refine his food, bringing new and exciting dining experiences to the table, with picture perfect dishes that celebrate nature’s beauty. He is a chef in his prime, whose combination of extraordinary talent and rare humility has won him not just the highest accolades in the food world, but also the respect of his peers and admirers all over the world.