Migration and one’s search for a new home is no new facet to mankind. Even more so in the animal kingdom where creatures great and small have for thousands, if not millions, of years travelled huge distances in the natural cycle of their life. And look at us here in Australia, a country built on migration where almost everyone has ancestry from a foreign land. The latest census actually revealing that a quarter of all Australians were in fact born outside of the country!
Meet Jeremy Davidson, Chloe and Wayne Hubbard, the instigators and masterminds behind Palm Beach’s unique eating space, The Collective. Father-daughter duo Wayne and Chloe originate from Perth. The move came about 15 years ago, as Chloe and her younger sister were part of a surfing excellence program here on the Gold Coast. Although the pair admit they didn’t expect it to last, before they knew it the family had laid roots in Palm Beach and the Gold Coast had won them over. Little did he know at the time, Wayne’s background in real estate development would become very useful for the creation of this one-of-a-kind venue. Jeremy, Chloe’s partner who is, in fact, English, hails from the rather gritty and socially ambient city of Newcastle Upon Tyne. Fondly known for its overly loyal soccer fans, Newcastle Brown Ale and partygoers wearing very little. (For reference check out Geordie Shore). Having once even served the Queen dinner, you might say he is somewhat a ‘hospo hotshot’.
Jeremy has spent the last 10 years on the Coast beginning at The Sheraton, Main Beach, where he says a lot of his hospitality knowledge was instilled. He then set up a number of businesses, including both old Pigs and Pints bars in Surfers and Burleigh, But alas, his attention, along with Wayne and Chloe, is solely now on their ever popular dining behemoth, The Collective. We dropped by Palm Beach and thought it a fine idea to learn more about the people behind the place.
Where do you like to go for eats, drinks & coffee?
Wayne: The Collective…no? I’m a big fan of Espresso Moto, good coffee and good breakfasts.
Chloe: One of our favourite places to go eat has to be The Glenelg Public House. The steaks there are amazing, plus the best part of the business is that it has just grown so organically. They have a real cult following. Paddock in Burleigh is always a go-to; they were one of the first really innovative outdoor lifestyle cafes.
Jeremy: Yeah Aaron at Glenelg is the epitome of a great restaurateur, putting in the hard yards and it shows. 8th Avenue Terrace is worth mentioning, they are doing some incredible food and great wine dinners. When I’m sat at Rick Shores with a cocktail in hand it’s like something from a postcard for me. Also, Paradox Coffee Roasters in the 4217 are always making good coffee.
What is it about The Collective you are most proud of?
Jeremy: It has to be the people and the culture here. The staff genuinely loves to work here and it shows. We see across the different media platforms consistently good feedback and that creates such a welcoming environment.
Chloe: It’s the ‘better together’ mentality that we seem to have created here. An ethos that the different cuisines can come together and thrive.
What are the challenges of running a business of this nature?
Chloe: I’ll let you answer that one, Jeremy.
Jeremy: It has to be our staff. They are ultimately the biggest asset but also the biggest challenge. Differing personalities, ages, experience etc. Keeping that awesome culture we have and everyone happy is probably the biggest challenge that we face.
Wayne: Turning an industrial building into something that people like and is also safe. The upside is we have a unique space but the weatherproofing has at times been challenging, for sure.
Where did the inspiration come from?
Jeremy: It was something we just started talking about, with a big focus on the variety of dining. You look at Marketta and NightQuarter and the variety they can offer coupled with some travels through Europe. There was never a light bulb moment. We slowly developed the idea, initially thinking we would do a single restaurant with some extra aspects. Our thinking was along the lines of “we could have a rooftop bar, we could have five kitchens.” And we literally did that.
Chloe: We wanted to bring the great outdoor European style of eating, drinking and socialising here, obviously working within the parameters of what we can do here in Australia.
What do you guys get up to in your free time?
Jeremy: Sorry, what’s free time? All the good things the Gold Coast has to offer, whether it’s time at the beach or even driving up Mount Tamborine and trying some local cheese and wine.
Chloe: Jeremy and I love to go and eat out, that’s one of our passions. It’s really cool to see what places are coming up with now and it also causes some inspiration as well. Plus, travelling when the time presents itself, especially Europe with all its vibrant culture.
Wayne: Surfing mostly, especially with my wife out at The Alley.
Jeremy, how does the lifestyle here compare with back home?
Jeremy: It’s a lot drier! And you also have a lot more freedom, I think. I mean there’s a good dining scene in England but things are just easier to do over here. I could never really see myself starting a family in the UK, the outdoorsy lifestyle is really important to me. I love where I grew up, but the opportunities here are far greater.
If you could open any kind of venue anywhere in the world, what would it be & where?
Wayne: A Collective in Bali.
Jeremy: Hmmm, I think a Bali- esque day club here on the Gold Coast. A proper day club where you can lounge around all day and drink cocktails.
Apparently, Jason Mamoa & Amber Heard are regulars?
Chloe: Yeah, we have been fortunate enough to have some famous people who have been working on the Coast come down and check out what we are doing.
Jeremy: We have had some notable profiles come through the venue but we make sure they are welcomed the same as everyone else and they aren’t made a big fuss out of.
What are your opinions on the fast-changing face of our hospo scene?
Jeremy: Well, for a start, it’s definitely happening. There are operators here opening stuff that is potentially some of the best in the country, and even perhaps globally. It is losing that ‘parmy and a pot’ vibe where now you can get some amazing food, made and served by some really creative people. I’ve seen it first hand here in the last 10 years.
Chloe: In testament to that is the fact operators are opening multiple venues here on the Coast and not just having one.
What's your drink of choice on a sunny afternoon?
Chloe: I’m a massive margarita fan. That’s where it’s at for me, and I’m really into our very own slightly obscure Avocado Margarita that we do here at The Collective.
Jeremy: I’m just a fan of an ice cold quality beer. Also, quite quintessentially English, I’ve got to say a gin and tonic.
Wayne: The Tommy Batanga here at The Collective.
So… What’s next?
Jeremy: We have set ourselves up in a position so we can actually duplicate the business. We have had a fair amount of enquiries regarding that. But we are also focused on what we have here and continuing to push the venue with more events, functions and also live music!
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Image credit: Megan Nelson