Chefs of Surfers Paradise – Riley Green

Want to meet the people behind your best restaurant meals? The Surfers Paradise Alliance has come up with the fantastic idea of showcasing the best chefs of the area in a monthly cook-off on the beach. It takes the form of a cooking demonstration and tasting of one main course dish from the chef of the month. Held out in the open air near the beach end of Cavill Avenue, with surf gently rolling in behind the stage, tourists and swimmers strolling up from the surf, it’s a setting worthy of its own TV series. If you love food as much as we do, it’s a fantastic way to sample the Gold Coast’s culinary style, or to chat to the chef firsthand. We’ll feature each chef as they present, together with their shared recipe in this column, but why not come and enjoy the experience with us on the Surfers Paradise Foreshore. Check the Surfers Paradise Alliance’s website for more information.

Chefs 1 Chef Riley Green

Vapiano, Soul Retail, 8/10 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise, Queensland 4217 Ph: 07 5538 8967

Riley Green has the perfect job, he says. After receiving two culinary diplomas in Toronto, Canada, his home town, he travelled to the Gold Coast to study Business at university, and landed a job at Vapiano, Surfers Paradise.

“Look at this,” he enthuses, pointing out to the surf glistening on the first day of spring. “I come from snow. To me, the beach is a miracle. We can see it from Vapiano’s patio! Who wouldn’t want to work in a place like that!”

Along with seventy or so other people, I’ve come to watch Riley cook some of his favourite dishes from Vapiano’s menu.

“I’m really proud of Vapiano’s in so many ways,” says Riley. “We work in a fabulous team, from the top down. Will, the owner, is hands on, joining in the action when the kitchen is busy, and our managers are fantastic. It makes for a great atmosphere for our diners, the interaction with the chefs, dining in a happy family atmosphere, and making food to your specific order (gluten free or vegetarian included).”

Chefs 6 “We use produce from as close by as possible – the basil we even grow in the restaurant itself and the pasta is made in house! It’s slow food in essence, simple food, but cooked very quickly. It’s a movement which is picking up back home too.”

One of the tricks to Vapiano’s speed of service, we learn, is the induction burner, used in the restaurant, which Riley is also using for this demonstration. It’s several times faster than a conventional gas cook top, boiling water for the pasta in a couple of minutes, and cooking pasta in four minutes from start to finish.

Riley chats away, as he makes four dishes, giving tips as he cooks. We learn that adding salt to the water as we cook pasta speeds up the boiling process aiding absorption (it should taste like ocean water, Riley says), that we should add a little pasta water to the drained pasta to keep it moist, that bacon boosts the flavour of Bolognese sauce, and that penne is the least absorbent pasta, therefore one of the hardest to ‘get right’.

We’ve included the recipes of Riley’s favourite Vapiano dishes below for you to try at home, but of course he’d be more than happy to cook them for you in person at Vapiano’s!

Chefs 4 Pasta Pollo e Spinachi

15 ml olive oil

70 g chicken breast

15 g white onion, diced

120 ml cream

10 g parmesan cheese

10 g spinach

15 g pesto

1 pinch each of salt and pepper

2 rasps fresh nutmeg

4 g pine nuts

  1. Preheat wok to Level 5.
  2. Heat oil in wok. Sauté chicken. When turning the chicken, add onions.
  3. Cook pasta in boiling salted water (linguine recommended).
  4. Deglaze the pan with cream. Add parmesan and continue stirring.
  5. Turn off wok. Add pesto and stir. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add pasta, stir.
  6. Add spinach, stir and put finished dish into the bowl.
  7. Garnish with parmesan, pepper, basil and pine nuts if desired.

Chefs 5 Ravioli con Carne

180g Bolognese ravioli

15ml olive oil

15 g white onion, diced

15 g carrots, finely diced

40 g cherry tomatoes, quartered

10 g spring onions, finely chopped

5 ml garlic oil

60 ml tomato sauce (crushed tomatoes)

60 ml cream

1 d each of salt and pepper

10 g parmesan cheese

Cherry tomato pieces and basil for garnish

  1. Preheat wok to level 4. Heat olive oil.
  2. Cook ravioli in boiling water twice. It will float when fully cooked.
  3. Add onions and let sweat, then add carrots, and sauté.
  4. Add spring onions and garlic. Stir and sauté.
  5. Add tomato sauce and cream. Bring to the boil until sauce is dark orange. Turn off wok.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add the ravioli to the sauce and mix carefully. Put finished dish into the favioli bowl. Garnish with basil and a piece of cherry tomato.
  8. Can garnish with parmesan and pepper.
  9. Serve with ciabatta.

Chefs 7Pasta Gamberi e Spinaci

15 ml olive oil

70 g prawns (raw)

15 g white onion, diced

120 ml cream

10 g parmesan cheese

20 g spinach

40 g cherry tomato quarters

15 g pesto

1 pinch each of salt and pepper

2 rasps fresh nutmeg

Parsley to garnish

  1. Preheat wok to Level 5.
  2. Heat oil in wok. Sauté prawns. When turning the prawns, add onions.
  3. Cook pasta in boiling salted water (linguine recommended).
  4. Deglaze the pan with cream. Add parmesan and continue stirring until melted.
  5. Turn off wok. Add cherry tomatoes and pesto and stir. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add pasta, stir. Add spinach.
  6. Stir and put finished dish into the bowl.
  7. Garnish with parmesan (not recommended), pepper, and parsley if desired.

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