When Howard Smith Wharves new restaurant Stanley announced it had brought Louis Tikaram on board as Head Chef, it was a good day for Brisbane.
With an impressive career spanning Australia, Canada and the US, the Mullumbimby born chef not only brought seventeen years of experience to the Cantonese-inspired restaurant, he also joined the trickle of chefs heading north instead of south, adding further flavour to the Queensland capital’s food scene. And now, the Sunshine Coast is also about to get a taste of Louis’s skills, when he heads to Noosa as a part of Noosa Eat & Drink (formerly the Noosa Food & Wine Festival).
Teaming up with Ben Bertie (Same Same), Shane Baily (Noosa Boathouse) and local chef Nathan Nichol, Louis will be hitting the kitchen at Noosa Boathouse for The Long Boat on Friday 15 May—a long lunch filled with fresh Thai and modern Asian flavours, Dog Point wines, water views and plenty of fun.
Before Louis heads up there, we caught up with him to chat about what to expect from this year’s festival, and where he eats in Brisbane when he’s not in the Stanley kitchen.
There’s some amazing chefs joining you for The Long Boat—have you worked with any of them before?
Yes absolutely! Ben, Nathan and I opened Longrain Melbourne together in 2006, so we have been friends for many years.
There’s going to be a lot of chefs in the kitchen—will there be fights over the head chef hat?
I hope not! I’m hoping the calm Noosa environment will keep the egos relaxed.
What can we expect from the menu for The Long Boat?
It will be a showcase of the awesome local produce that Noosa has to offer combined with our passion for fresh zingy, zesty South East Asian cuisine we all feel in love with working at Longrain many years ago.
Is there any amazing Sunshine Coast produce you’re looking forward to cooking with?
Yes! The Queensland fruit is amazing so I think I’m going to make a fresh dessert for the evening.
Will you be heading to any other Noosa Eat & Drink Festival events while you’re there?
I’m a Big Fan of Ben Devlin, so his dinner with Chris Hagan, 2 Hats, 2 Chefs, 2 Regions, is on the top of the list
What’s your favourite restaurant in Brisbane (other than Stanley!)?
Gerard’s Bistro! Adam Wolfers is cooking some amazing world class food in Brisbane.
What should we order there?
The coal grilled calamari with green tomato, fermented carrot pita and carrot top za’atar.
Where’s your go-to spot for brunch?
Cafe O-Mai, a Vietnamese café in Annerley. The best Vietnamese in town.
What about a casual dinner with friends?
Greca is a family favourite.
Do you have a favourite bar?
I’m not really a bar guy, I will take a restaurant bar any time, but Little Valley is awesome for a cocktail and some snacks.
What’s your usual drink order?
Tequila, tequila, tequila.
What’s your favourite thing to cook?
I love cooking outdoors on my days off so a simple grilled steak or fish on the BBQ with a big fresh salad is heaven.
And guilty late night pleasure after a long day in the kitchen?
Chi mac, which is Korean fried chicken and beer! I love taking the crew out for a big thank you after a busy week to the late-night Korean spots in the city to feast.
Who’s inspiring you in the food world right now?
It’s really the amazing produce, suppliers, farmers and fishermen at the moment. Being back in Australia it is mind blowing just how good the produce is. Fisherman like Chris Bolton from Far North Quensland, Stockyard Beef, Michael from Thai Hoa grocer and Graeme from Suncoast Fresh are so inspiring to be working with every day. The passion each and every one of these people and companies are putting into the local industry is so amazing so its hard not to wake up and want to do to work to serve customers these amazing stories and flavours.
What are your plans for Stanley? Anything exciting on the cards?
Just being on the other side of the Christmas period is such a relief, now its on to changing the menu and some exciting collabs with some awesome chefs coming up so watch this space.
Read up on why you need to head for Stanley soon here.
Image credit: Supplied