Ashe is the driving force behind our Homestead Restaurant. He graciously took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down with us to give the inside scoop on what it’s like being the head chef at Cairns Colonial Club Resort, where he sources his produce from and his favourite food combinations are. Bon appétit!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am 37 years old, born and raised in Scotland, UK. I have been working in the kitchen from the age of 15 and have 22 years experience. I have worked all over the UK and for some of the top chefs in the country. I have always pursued jobs in kitchens and hotels with a high standard of food and service.
I spent 3-4 years traveling the world and working to gain new experiences as I went. Australia was one of my stops and Cairns was included in one of the places that I lived and worked while I was travelling. I settled in cairns seven years ago and have held a couple of positions since arriving. I now work at the Cairns Colonial Club.
How long have you worked at CCCR?
How big is your team?
I currently have twelve chefs/cooks including casuals and four stewards on the books, this will fluctuate a little during the year depending on business.
Where do you source your produce from?
I try to source my produce from reputable local suppliers as I believe in minimising the carbon footprint of the products that we are using. This practice also helps to support the local community.
Is the menu reflective of the seasons?
The menu is reflective of the Cairns seasons as we will use local fresh produce when it is in abundance and refrain from ordering interstate or international produce as much as possible.
How did you create the current CCCR menu?
The CCCR menu is ever evolving as our clientele change. The concept is an upmarket “pub” wherein the food is of a good portion size and has an element of simplicity to accommodate high volume. We do however make as much as we can in house and continue to refine and build on the foundations that are in place already.
What’s your favourite dish to cook?
I would not say that I have a favourite dish to cook as it is too hard to narrow it down to one thing or dish. I do enjoy working with the more time consuming cuts of meat and always love seafood. I would say that my interests lie in different styles and techniques when it comes to cooking, not specific ingredients.
What are some of your favourite food combinations?
Favourite food combinations would be chilli in everything, meats with seafood, savouries with pickles and garlic/thyme/onion for sauces.
What can you do for customers with dietary requirements? (e.g. gluten free, vegan, etc.)
We have some menu items for people with dietary requirements as well as an appendix of ingredients that may cause problems for people with allergies at hand. The appendix relates to menu items and highlights what each menu item contains in relation to risk ingredients i.e tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish etc. We are also happy to accommodate a guest with menu changes and the substituting of ingredients within reason to make the dish risk free for them to enjoy.
What do you love about working for the CCCR?
What I enjoy about working at CCCR are the people whom I work with and the challenges that we overcome on a weekly basis. We are obligated to continuously deliver a great quality of service and a high standard of food whether it be a corporate event, wedding, day delegate package or just dinner for two in the Homestead restaurant. Successfully overcoming these challenges is where I find my job satisfaction.
When you’re not working, where do you like to go out to eat in Cairns?
When I’m not working I enjoy eating out at local cafes, ramen noodle spots, burger bars, small food businesses and some local restaurants. Some of my favourite restaurants are the Bay Leaf, Piccolo Cucina (pizzas), The Raw Prawn, Spicy Bite (for curries) and Mr Soy Boy (Asian).