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The Gold Coast gained another star chef in 2018 when Guillaume Zika fronted the team at Burleigh Pavilion, including its impressive waterfront eatery, The Tropic. Prior to arriving on our sunny shores, Guillaume nabbed two chef chats while running the esteemed Cottage Point Inn restaurant in NSW, with a Michelin-starred London restaurant also on the resume.
After moving to Queensland with his young family, he’s spent no time getting familiar with the Coast’s unique dining scene. We asked Guillaume to tell us his favourite local dining experiences and other gems he’s loving right now.
What’s your favourite place on the Coast to enjoy breakfast and coffee?
The Paddock Bakery. The quality of their bread is amazing, one of the best on the Gold Coast! The menu is appetising, a few classics with twists and I love all the sweets they’ve got at the counter. My favourite meal would be the benny bagel with salmon and the “greenie” cold pressed juice.
And a casual dinner with mates?
Matteo Woodfired Pizza at Miami Marketta. Matteo used to work with us at Burleigh Pavilion and is now doing amazing pizza at the markets out of a mobile pizza oven.
What about when you’re treating yourself?
I love going to Labart. Reminds me of being back home eating in my small local family restaurant. Alex and Karla are extremely passionate about what they do, and you can really feel it when you go there.
If you’re out for drinks, where do you love to go?
Rick Shores out on the terrace, so my son can play on the beach.
When friends visit the Gold Coast, what’s your first stop?
Burleigh Hill, as it has one of the best views of the Gold Coast.
What’s your go-to comfort dish?
Would definitely have to be Spaghetti Bolognese, it’s definitely my number one.
Outside of your own projects, what’s your favourite Australian restaurant right now?
Lumi Dining in Sydney. The service and food are always spot on and always consistent. Federico is one of the most passionate chefs in Australia; you can tell he cooks from his heart!
Who is inspiring you at the moment?
My wife, because she deals with our naughty three-year-old all day, and still manages to keep a smile on her face. I wish had her patience!
Where can we find the region’s best local produce?
I love going to Tasman Star Seafoods in Varsity Lakes. The team there deal with lots of local fisherman and the variety of seafood is absolutely amazing.
Your favourite ingredients to cook with?
My favourite ingredient is lemon. I use it everywhere as a seasoning and when I don’t, I feel like I am missing something.
Best cooking skill every person should master?
I would say, cooking fish because there is a very fine line between not cooked and overcooked.
What’s the best thing about being a chef?
Being able to experience and taste so many delicious things all day long.
And the worst?
There’s a lot of pressure when trying to please everyone.
If you weren’t a chef, what else would you be?
That’s a good question, probably an astronaut.
The Urban List team are coming for dinner—what will you be making us?
I would start with kingfish tartare with local finger lime, followed by wagyu rump with grilled lettuce. Then to finish, smoked chocolate ganache.
What’s next for you?
Next for me would be studying how to become an astronaut!
If you’re yet to experience The Tropic at Burleigh Pavilion, we suggest wetting your appetite with their fabulous Saturday boozy brunch.
Image credit: Supplied