Peter Gilmore: Coral Garden

The Australian Chef Translates the Spirit of the Barrier’s Natural Beauty Onto the Plate

Multimedia artists Natasha Subramaniam and Alisa Lapidus’s enchanting short captures chef Peter Gilmore explaining how his “Coral Garden” dish was inspired by the colorful splendor of the Australian reef. Known for the artful, natural cuisine he pioneers at his restaurant Quay overlooking Sydney Harbor, Gilmore has won a slew of accolades for the establishment since taking over in 2001, and last year won Best Restaurant in Australia in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards. “I’m inspired by the natural world and diversity––and I seek a harmony and purity in my food through the use of texture, flavor and composition,” says the chef, who drew on memories of childhood explorations of rock pools and a recent snorkeling holiday to create the undulating layers of white fungi mushroom, tapioca and octopus coral in the dish. Working with the seasons, the chef sources around 90% of his produce from within Australia, making a feature of native fish varieties such as flathead, and utilizing ingredients from Aboriginal communities such as the lilly pilly fruit. “I think what we’re doing in Australia is very innovative,” says Gilmore. “We’re blessed with great produce, and we have an amazing multicultural society where all these traditions from around the world have given us a lot of freedom.”

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