NOTE: Adam Lane is now Chef de Cuisine at Yamagen, QT Gold Coast.
Don’t you love it when internationally acclaimed chefs decide to settle on the Gold Coast? We spoke with Kiyomi’s Chef de Cuisine Adam Lane (formerly of Tetsuya’s, David Thompson’s Nahm as well as Nobu in London, before holding the position of Head Chef of Sake, The Rocks) about his food philosophy, experience, and future goals for Kiyomi.
How did you get started as a chef? What ignited your passion?
I began cooking by accident really. My brother was an apprentice chef and I wanted to do better than him. But then I fell in love with the creativity of it, meeting new people (a great kitchen is like a family) and travel. I love food and making people happy through the meals I prepare. My career has led me to some incredible experiences: visiting Tsukiji, the Tokyo Fish Markets, when I travelled to Japan with Tetsuya. It’s incredibly huge and busy, even at 3am, with so many products I hadn’t seen before. We ate raw blood clams for breakfast, their juices dripping down our faces. Unbelievable!
How has your style changed during your career?
I’ve been cooking modern Japanese food for fifteen years now. What changes is the demographics from city to city where I’ve worked, what their palate is like and what fresh food suppliers can provide in that place. Our dishes are always seasonally driven. There’s great quality produce on the Gold Coast, but much of it goes overseas or interstate. The highest bidder gets in first. So, we get in early. We get a text first thing in the morning to say which fish is fresh that day, and we work with that produce to create dishes. Over the past 15 months we’ve seen a slow build-up of the customer base. Diners are showing more interest in great quality food, fresh produce and what goes into dishes.
How is Kiyomi different to other restaurants you’ve worked in?
I learned to cook using classical French method, which we applied in Tetsuya’s. Then I went to Nahm in London and started from scratch again using Thai flavours. In Kiyomi, we try to use some of the methods, ingredients and flavours of other cultures married into Japanese cuisine to create a ‘Modern Japanese’ menu.
For example, we may take Western Australian octopus, marinate it in brine, cook it on the binchotan then serve it with watermelon and green chilli dressing; it’s a completely new dish.
How have Japanese customers reacted to Kiyomi’s cuisine?
It’s been a mixed reaction. Our dishes have too much flavour for traditionalists. They like umami and the basic flavours of sushi, sashimi, wasabi, soy and ginger, which we still offer on the menu. But other Japanese customers love our original and adventurous dishes. To them, it’s a heightened dining experience which is really interesting.
What is the secret to Kiyomi’s success?
It’s a team effort. Marketing, PR, Front of House, managers and the kitchen team all put in effort to make sure it’s a success. They expect a lot, and the effort reaps rewards.
It took a little time when we first opened for people to understand portion size, the share menu and some flavours. Now people trust what we do. We come out of the kitchen when customers are dining to talk to them. I really enjoy interacting with customers. It’s why chefs cook – to make people happy!
What is your food philosophy?
Fresh. Fresh seafood is one of the main ingredients in Japanese cuisine. Some customers who previously didn’t like raw seafood love it now because of trying it at Kiyomi and its freshness. Developing a relationship with suppliers and farmers is so important in achieving fresh, flavoursome produce.
Food needs to be fun for the chef to make. When you work in the same kitchen you can lose your passion because of repetition, so the food you eat needs to keep the chef’s interest and be fun to eat as well. Unexpected flavours achieve that; being creative.
What would be your signature dishes?
My signature dishes would be the Jack’s Creek Wagyu 7+ tenderloin, cooked first by sous vide then on the binchotan, finished with compound wasabi butter; or the Alaskan King Crab Tempura served with tosazu (soy vinegar) and hazelnut oil dressing, pink peppercorn and dill. These two dishes could be seen as my signature dishes.
If you had to choose a ‘last supper’, what would it be?
My wife is Japanese and a great sushi chef. We met in the kitchen where we were both working in Sydney. Now, we’ve settled down on the Gold Coast and have a young son. My last dish? I’d have to say anything my wife cooks. That’s what I love the most.
What of the future?
My goal is to keep making our clients happy by setting the benchmark for fine food. I’m also looking forward to future developments in The Star with the opening of the six-star all-suite tower and the restaurants it brings.
The Star Gold Coast, Broadbeach Island, Broadbeach Ph: 07 55928443 or 1800 074 344
CREDIT: Photo of Adam Lane and Cherry Blossom menu items are credited to Remco, supplied by The Star Gold Coast.
NOTE: Adam Lane is now at Yamagen, QT Hotel Gold Coast.