Rachel Jeans – Local Chef

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Baked sun-dried tomato crusted Barramundi with herb potatoes, buttered green beans and roasted walnuts.

What inspired you to start working with food and eventually become a chef?

I would have to say my grandmother; as well as her own jams and preserves, she was always cooking for the family. Then at 18 I started working in hospitality, and I was drawn to being creative in the kitchen, further inspired by Heston Blumenthal.

How long have you been working in the hospitality industry?

Let’s say, more than ten and less than twenty years, because you should never ask a lady her age! My grandmother would be proud of that answer! No seriously, about 16 years. Before coming to Port Macquarie, I was with Conrad Jupiter’s Multi Award winning Charters Towers Restaurant on the Gold Coast for five years, before working at Palazzo Versace.

Who has been your most interesting person to cook for during that period?

Well actually, not one person. I’d have to say the Saudi Arabian Royal family, without a doubt.

What are some of your favourite ingredients to cook with, and why?

I’m looking forward to the warmer months, being able to use some of the local produce from the Hastings, as I have found it is of the highest standard you could find anywhere. I’m excited about being given a free rein with my creative talents and look forward to the summer period.

Port Piazza is in a beautiful location at Settlement Point. What do you enjoy most about cooking there?

Well, who could ask for a better location to come to work, overlooking the beautiful Hastings River? As well, the wonderful support from Charlie, David and the team make Port Piazza a happy place for me to work.

We are having a White Christmas through November and December with our White theme. It’s such a good venue for group bookings, lunches and dinners, along with our breakfast, Sat and Sun for $12, with new specials each week.

You will be doing a lot of functions and parties this month. Tell us about one of Port Piazza’s function menus.

It’s not just about the food at Port Piazza; it’s about the whole experience. The boys put so much time and care into decorating, as well as having a diversity in the food for a broadly aged community. This is the reason why we have a new Function Portfolio at Port Piazza, which nobody has in town!

In order to cater to a mixture of culturally diverse tastes in a tough economic climate, we have devised our Mix and Match Function Menus to suit any budget, with all entrees $10 and mains are grouped at $20, $25 and $30 options and desserts are all $8.50; so you can tailor your function to suit your price range!

We have antipasto plates and a selection of canapés to choose from. Functions are BYO, which is further cost saving. We also cater for coeliacs and the gluten free.

What is one dish at Port Piazza that people won’t be able to resist this summer?

For lunch time, my citrus glazed chicken salad with a walnut ricotta is the ideal light lunch for those wanting something different.

And at dinner I would suggest the sun-dried tomato crusted barramundi, with herbed potato, buttered green beans and roasted walnuts followed by one of Charlie’s Strawberry Champagne or Tiramisu Desserts. And one other thing – don’t forget to book!  Come and say hi!

Thank you Rachel.

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