Chefs of Surfers Paradise – Nick Bevan

Chefs of Surfers Paradise – Nick Bevan (November 2012)

Surfers Paradise Beach Café, Soul Precinct, 4 The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise, Queensland 4217

“The food in gastro pubs of South Wales is not much different to here, but the view certainly is!” says chef Nick Bevan.

Nick should know, because in three years he’s journeyed from his role as Head Chef of Miskin, just outside Cardiff, via Balsamic Restaurant in Melbourne to the Surfers Paradise Beach Café, a restaurant with one of the best views in Surfers.

Open for three meals a day, 365 days a year, the Beach Café is a casual dining restaurant. The emphasis in the Café, according to owner Arthur de Snoo, is on fresh and made in house. Quite a few menu items have proven to be firm favourites: the Eggs Benedict, (which today’s MC Greg says “go off like a fog in a sock”), stone baked pizza (eat in or take away) and pastas. All the pastas are handmade fresh daily and cooked to order.

To Nick it’s paradise, preparing food he loves, overlooking one of the most famous beaches in the world.

“It’s fantastic weather; beautiful working on the beachfront,” he enthuses. “Melbourne’s weather was too much like Wales!”

Today Nick’s cooking three dishes for an enthusiastic crowd, one of which is his favourite: Asparagus-filled chicken breast in crispy bacon served with a lemon and sage sauce.

It’s Nick’s first live demonstration and the blustery weather conditions on the foreshore aren’t helpful, but he’s in good spirits, and the audience has plenty of time to interact and ask questions.

Nick gives lots of tips and tricks along the way:

  • Put a damp tea towel under your chopping board to stop it slipping.
  • Let the chicken rest on the plate after cooking before you cut it up.
  • Deglaze the pan with lemon juice, then use the pan juices in the sauce.
  • Insert a sharp knife to check if the chicken is cooked. If it’s burning hot after 5 seconds inside the chicken breast, the meat is cooked; if the knife is cool, the chicken needs more cooking.

We’re all enthralled by the Thermomix, a ‘Gucci bit of kit’ according to Greg, which Nick uses to weigh ingredients and mix pasta dough. But the machine only does the easy bit. There’s a fair bit of kneading and ‘machining’ to turn the dough into pasta! At $14 – $18 for a ‘made from scratch’ pasta at the Surfers Paradise Beach Café, I’d be racing along to enjoy one with a view! Little wonder that the Beach Café is hugely popular!

By the time the Basil and tomato pasta’s finished we’ve also learned that making White Chocolate Panna Cotta is not as difficult as we thought. Perhaps it’s a lot easier than the pasta, a great easy dish to make for that special party, and tasting the finished product is an extra incentive to give the recipe a go at home!

Here are my notes on Nick’s recipe:

Panna cotta

500ml cream

400ml milk

75g. sugar

½ c. white chocolate syrup

1 tbsp gelatine, dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water

 

Topping

1 packet of frozen berries

1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp cornflour

Method

  1. Heat the cream and milk in a pan over a medium heat until the mixture is simmering.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the white chocolate syrup and sugar until the mixture is well combined.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the gelatine mixture.
  4. Strain to remove all lumps. Set the mixture aside until it has completely cooled.
  5. Pour the panna cotta mixture into glasses, then chill in the fridge for at least two hours, or until set firm.
  6. Simmer the berries and their juice on the stove. Add honey. Bring to the boil.
  7. Thicken with 2 tbsp cornflour mixed in a little cold water. Add and bring back to the boil. Set aside.
  8. To serve, pour some berry mixture over the top of the panna cotta in the glass. Garnish with extra cream and a shard of white chocolate.

 

 

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