Named ‘Chef of the Year’ at The Age Good Food Guide Awards 2012, Dan Hunter of the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld, Victoria, will swap rural life for island cuisine when he is guest chef at Hamilton Island’s Great Barrier Feast food and wine series on Friday 2 – Sunday 4 December. www.hamiltonisland.com.au/feast
Held at the luxury resort qualia, gourmet food and wine lovers will be treated to an intimate “behind-the-scenes” haute cuisine weekend to savour the freshest Whitsunday produce, to meet Dan Hunter and experience his culinary craft and learn about premium wine pairing from legendary wine expert, James Halliday.
Hosted by respected restaurant critic and columnist Simon Thomsen, the weekend begins with a welcome dinner designed by qualia’s Executive Chef, Jane-Therese Mulry and featuring wines paired by James Halliday. The following day, two Electrolux master classes will be hosted by Dan Hunter and as the sun begins to set he will present a showpiece degustation dinner held in qualia’s breathtaking Long Pavilion. Guests can also watch Dan Hunter prepare his culinary delights step-by-step via a live camera link-up from the kitchen.
This five-star foodie weekend offers not only an intimate “behind the scenes” gourmet experience but a spectacular island backdrop with views overlooking the Whitsunday’s Coral Sea.
The Dan Hunter weekend event is the finale of the 2011 series which featured Sydney’s Peter Gilmore from Quay restaurant and Frank Camorra from Melbourne’s Movida restaurants. This followed the inaugural 2010 series line up which included esteemed chefs Tetsuya Wakuda, Justin North and Ben Shewry.
Dan Hunter comments, “It’s a real privilege to be included in the line-up alongside the iconic Australian chefs who have been involved to date. It’s also a great opportunity to present our style of cuisine to the audience. The format of the weekend is interesting for us because you get to do a demonstration and showcase the sort of food we do in the restaurant as well. “
“I believe it is important to deal with food in a way that demonstrates the true nature or true flavour of an ingredient and therefore attempt to present or highlight the essence of that ingredient. Purity of flavour is imperative, as is lightness. Over the course of a meal I intend to
present a range of flavours, textures and temperatures that demonstrate balance and integrity,” added Hunter.
Luxury accommodation packages
Guests can choose between the below accommodation packages for the gourmet weekends which includes the ‘Welcome’ and ‘Showpiece’ dinners and tickets to both master classes.
Package inclusions consist of: two nights’ accommodation; breakfasts both days; ‘Welcome Dinner’ by qualia executive chef, Jane-Therese Mulry; ‘Showpiece Dinner’ on Saturday night prepared by Dan Hunter; tickets to both master classes; VIP chauffeur service; VIP return Hamilton Island Airport/Marina transfers and use of non-motorised watercraft. *qualia packages also include the hire of a golf buggy. *Guests must be 18 years or over to attend the Great Barrier Feast event.
- Secluded luxury resort of qualia, package prices start from $1,670 per person, based on twin share
- Boutique Beach Club, packages are from $1315 per person, based on twin share.
- For groups up to eight people, stay at the new waterfront Hamilton Island Yacht Club Villas, room only rates are from $1350. Tickets for both dinners, welcome and showpiece, are an additional $720 total per person.
To book: go to www.hamiltonisland.com.au/feast
or please contact the Luxury Specialist team by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 1300 780 959.
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Jill Collins, m: 0417 654 474, firstname.lastname@example.orgBiographies:
Dan Hunter, Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld www.royalmail.com.au
Dan started his cooking career in Melbourne, working with Phillipe Mouchel and later Jeremy Strode at Langton’s (three Chef’s Hats) where he learned many invaluable lessons regarding the importance of produce and their seasons. In 2002 he moved to Verge (two Chef’s Hats), Melbourne, where he was involved in menu creation and had a chance to explore the creative side of being a chef.
By 2003 Dan had become interested in what was happening in food in Spain. In 2003 Dan moved from Melbourne to Barcelona and worked for one and a half years at Caelis (one Michelin star) inside the Ritz Hotel at a time when the world was starting to take notice of the style and quality of cuisine coming out of Spain.
While in Barcelona Dan realised that one of the truly interesting and innovative chefs in Spain was Andoni Luis Aduriz at Mugaritz (two Michelin stars), located in the Basque Country in the north of Spain and a disciple of Ferran Adria. He arranged a three-month period of work experience beginning in January 2005 and moved to San Sebastian to work 16-17 hour days in a team of 25 chefs to produce a menu for 40-50 guests. On completion of his work experience, Dan took up the position of Chef de Partie within a team of only six paid chefs. By 2006 he was Sous Chef and soon after took on the role of Head Chef, which he held for one year before returning to Australia.
During his time in Europe, Dan had the opportunity to work with some of the most well respected chefs in the world and to participate in several dinners outside the restaurant with such respected names as El Bulli, The Fat Duck, Alain Passard (L’arpege), Martin Berasetegui, Pedro Subijana (Akelare), wd 50, Alinea and Charlie Trotter amongst others.
In the time that Dan was at Mugaritz, the restaurant was named tenth best restaurant in the world by Restaurant Magazine UK and since 2008 has featured in the top five best restaurants in the world.
In 2007, Dan returned to Australia and moved to Dunkeld, Western Victoria to take up the position of Executive Chef at the Royal Mail Hotel. The move to a regional area has allowed him access to his own kitchen gardens, fruit orchards, egg laying hens and green house for herb production. He now works closely with his dedicated garden and kitchen team to produce a unique style of food that blends his understanding of modern technique with an immense respect for nature, produce and seasonality. Jane-Therese Mulry, qualia, Hamilton Island www.qualia.com.au
Australian-born and educated, Jane-Therese was drawn to the bright lights of London’s ruthless chefing industry where she met the legendary Marco Pierre White – the youngest chef ever to be awarded three Michelin Stars. She worked within the kitchens of this culinary genius, first at Quo Vadis, The Mirabelle and Titanic, and later at MPW Canary Wharf where she was appointed Marco’s first female Head Chef. In December 2006, Jane-Therese accepted the position of Executive Chef at Voyages Cradle Mountain Lodge. Here she spent almost two years managing the kitchens of this celebrated Tasmanian resort, voted Best Resort Accommodation 2008 at the Gourmet Traveller Awards. In September 2008, Jane-Therese returned to her state of origin when she accepted the position of Executive Chef at Queensland’s newest world-class luxury resort, qualia. Shortly afterwards, qualia was awarded Best Resort Accommodation 2009 at the Gourmet Traveller Awards. Jane-Therese’s passion is produce and she loves anything fresh. Her food represents her culinary soul and should always be healthy, organic where possible, modern and simple, uniquely prepared and imaginatively presented. James Halliday, Wine critic and author, www.winecompanion.com.au
James’ career started in law, before moving into winemaking, writing and judging in the 1970s. Since establishing the wineries of Brokenwood and Coldstream Hills, Halliday has written over 60 books and been a significant contributor to others, including Oxford Companion to Wine and Hugh Johnson Pocket Guide. Many of his books have been translated into other languages, such as French, German and Japanese. He continues to write, judge and consult and has a weekly wine column for the Weekend Australian newspaper. He is often described as ‘Australia’s leading wine writer’.Simon Thomsen, Restaurant critic, www.simonthomsen.com
Simon is the restaurant critic for The Daily Telegraph in Sydney. His reviews appear in the taste.com.au food and wine section every Tuesday. He has written award-winning stories about food and travel for numerous publications, including The Weekend Australian Magazine. He’s worked as a restaurant critic for 15 years and spent the last six years as editor of The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. He is a judge on Channel Seven's Australian adaptation of the cult cooking show Iron Chef.