8 February 2012: Celebrated chef Guillaume Brahimi of two-hatted Guillaume at Bennelong restaurant will swap his Sydney Opera House residence for a Whitsundays kitchen at Hamilton Island’s first Great Barrier Feast (www.hamiltonisland.com.au/feast) event of 2012 on Friday 6 – Sunday 8 July.
Launching the third year of the intimate Great Barrier Feast series, Brahimi joins an impressive Australian line up of acclaimed chefs that have taken the helm in previous years including Peter Gilmore, Frank Camorra, Dan Hunter, Tetsuya Wakuda, Justin North and Ben Shewry.
Held at Hamilton Island’s luxury resort, quaila, (www.qualia.com.au) the weekend will showcase the best of the Whitsundays and Australian haute cuisine with gourmet-enthusiasts being treated to a once in a lifetime up close and personal weekend with leading culinary and wine making experts.
On the Friday evening, qualia‘s new executive chef, Alastair Waddell, will present an opening night welcome dinner with wines paired and discussed by celebrated wine expert James Halliday. Two in-depth master classes will be offered the following day, leading up to Brahimi’s showpiece degustation dinner held in qualia’s breathtaking Long Pavilion. Throughout the weekend esteemed restaurant critic Simon Thomsen will emcee the weekend.
Brahimi’s culinary prowess stems from his Parisian homeland where he worked at three-star Michelin restaurants, La Tour d'Argent and at Joel Robuchon’s Jamin, before immigrating to Australia. In late 2001, Brahimi took over the flagship restaurant at the Sydney Opera House, Bennelong, naming it Guillaume at Bennelong and meteoric accolades have followed. He also owns Bistro Guillaume at Southbank’s Crown Entertainment Complex in Melbourne.
Honoured to launch this year’s Great Barrier Feast series, Brahimi said, ‘It is a real privilege to be able to celebrate the best of Australian cuisine in such a stunning location and swap my kitchen view of the Sydney Harbour for the Whitsundays Coral Sea. I’m also excited to work closely with Alastair since he was my Chef de Partie five years ago at my Melbourne restaurant Bistro Guillaume’.
It’s fitting that qualia’s new executive chef, Alastair Waddell, will make his Great Barrier Feast debut with Guillaume, a previous mentor. Alastair took the helm of qualia’s kitchens in December 2011 where he held the position of Sous Chef for nearly three years. Prior to qualia, Waddell was Chef de Partie at the two-hatted Bistro Guillaume in Melbourne.
At qualia, Waddell says his cuisine style is inspired by ‘the resort’s stunning island vistas and belief in creating menus that are light, fresh and healthy – always respecting the natural flavours and textures in the Whitsunday’s local produce’.
A second Great Barrier Feast will be held 14-16 September 2012, with Australia’s leading talent of contemporary Thai-style Asian cooking and Longrain founder, Martin Boetz.
Luxury accommodation packages
Guests can choose between the below accommodation packages for the gourmet weekend 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, Alastair Waddell; ‘Showpiece Dinner’ on Saturday night prepared by Guillaume Brahimi; 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 $1,695 per person, based on twin share
• Boutique Beach Club, packages are from $1290 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: email@example.com or tel: 1300 780 959.
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Guillaume Brahimi, Guillaume at Bennelong, Sydney, www.guillaumeatbennelong.com.au
Guillaume Brahimi was born in Paris, France on 11 August, 1967 and became an Australian citizen in 1994. Guillaume’s passion for cooking began at an early age. Following a two year apprenticeship at Aux Charpentiers, he accepted a position as Commis at the three-star Michelin restaurant, La Tour d'Argent, progressing during his three and a half years to Chef de Partie. During his four years with Robuchon, he progressed from Chef de Partie to Sous Chef and was ready to accept his next challenge – a move to the other side of the world, Australia.
After investigating the restaurant market in Australia, Guillaume opened a small restaurant in Sydney called Pond. Within only six months of opening, Pond earned a record breaking Two Chef Hats and a 16/20 rating. After his meteoric success with Pond, he was approached by the owner of the prestigious Sydney restaurant, Bilsons at Circular Quay. He enthusiastically accepted this challenge and after two years was awarded Three Chef Hats, Best French Restaurant and an increased rating of 18/20. During this time he was also a finalist for two years in "Gourmet Traveller Magazine, Restaurant of the Year".
In late 2001, he was awarded the prestigious and much sought after contract to take over the flagship restaurant at the Sydney Opera House, Bennelong. Guillaume worked with leading Australian architect, Dale Jones-Evans to refurbish this spectacular venue and opened the restaurant in November 2001 as Guillaume at Bennelong. By early 2002, the restaurant was named by Conde Nast Traveller as one of the top 50 new restaurants in the world.
Guillaume is also committed to various charities operating in Sydney. He is an active board member of The Sydney Cancer Centre Foundation and the Bestest Foundation. He has also hosted many charity events at his Restaurant, including the Sydney Children’s Hospital’s Silver Party for three consecutive years, and a fundraising event supporting Breast Cancer Research.
Alastair Waddell, qualia, Hamilton Island, http://www.qualia.com.au
Alastair Waddell has been appointed executive chef at qualia. He previously held the position of sous chef for nearly three years under the tutelage of qualia’s former executive chef, Jane-Therese Mulry. Prior to qualia, Waddell was chef de partie at the 2 hatted Bistro Guillaume in Melbourne. Preceding his move to Australia, Waddell worked in his home town in Glasgow, Scotland with renowned chef, Paul Tamburrini. He held the position of sous chef at The Bistro, at One Devonshire Gardens hotel and the Georgian room in Cameron House, Loch Lomond. Both hotels were awarded the prestigious 3 AA Rosette rating.
He’s passionate about the ‘nature cuisine’ movement led by Noma restaurant in Denmark and believes in giving the greatest respect to nature in his cooking, always using local produce when possible and recognising the importance of flavour, texture and presentation. At qualia, Waddell’s cuisine is inspired by the resort’s stunning island vistas, creating menus that are light, fresh and healthy. However, as a proud Scotsman, he has introduced black pudding to the menu which is now one of the resort’s most popular main courses.
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. Simon hosts a weekly talkback slot about food on Sydney’s ABC 702 with Deb Cameron every Thursday at 10.45am. He has appeared on Masterchef, was a judge on Iron Chef Australia and featured in two SBS documentaries, High Steaks and Heat in the Kitchen.