Nineteen at The Star’s Executive Chef Shows Us Around the Gold Coast

Uday Huja on where you can find the best food and drink on the Gold Coast

Best food market on the Gold Coast?

I go to the Gold Coast Organic Farmers Market in Miami Beach. The produce is amazing, it’s sourced from local farmers. I also think the food lasts twice as long. So, it’s a great place to see what’s in season and fresh. Since I moved from America to Australia, I’m amazed by the amount of tropical fruits that are here, ripe and ready to eat.

Your favourite spot for a morning coffee?

My coffee spot is BSKT in Mermaid Beach. It’s basically right on the beach. I take my dogs and we just chill out. They have a great menu too. I always order the BSKT Healthy Benny. It comes with kalenaise, which is hollandaise made with kale.

Where do you shop locally sourced produce?

I go down to Burleigh Heads. There’s a farmer’s market there on Saturdays. I live right in Miami and I just go down the street to Burleigh and look around and see what’s available. It’s very interesting to shop through there and get to see and meet all the people, talk fruit with the producers. I always ask them how they would prepare there produce and what’s the best way to serve their food. You can also see what’s in season and bring that onto your menu for guests. If you go later in the day you can get some crazy deals on the remainder of the produce.

If you’re craving something sweet?

I go to Bam Bam on the Gold Coast. They have some really awesome dishes that they feature every day. I think Willy Wonka works there because it’s very creative. Whenever I go there, I’m spoiled for choice on what to actually order. I never order the same thing because there’s always something new and fantastic to try.

Your favourite spot for a summer sundowner?

Garden Kitchen & Bar at The Star Gold Coast is such a cool spot. It’s a great place to go sit out on The Lawn and just kick back and have a drink. They make a delicious mojito, which is my go-to drink. Anything with rum in it, really. They also have an impressive non-alcoholic menu.

Foodie escape near the Gold Coast?

That’s Noosa. I drive up and spend the weekend there, or a week there if I can. It has an amazing food culture going on there, with an incredible array of great restaurants. One of my favourite things to do is to go in the morning to Bistro C, which is a restaurant right on the beach, and just sit there and have a Bloody Mary and watch the sunrise. Just a fantastic way to start the day. Peter Kuruvita’s Noosa Beach House, right on Hastings Street is another favourite and Sum Yung Guys, which is Asian inspired.

Must-visit food festivals?

Noosa Eat & Drink Festival, because they have so many great chefs that come in and you can really get a wonderful feel for Australian cuisine, see your great chefs, and have great food and drink in a beautiful Australian environment.

Go-to beach on the Gold Coast?

Go-to beach on the Gold Coast?
I’m on Miami Beach every morning with the dogs. Feet in the water every morning at sunrise. That’s my meditation Zen, where I can go and just relax and just start my day. That’s part of the reason why I moved to Australia was to live near the ocean and be at the beach on a daily basis.

Best road trip from the Gold Coast?

Tumbulgum is just across the border in New South Wales. It’s about a half hour drive. It’s a beautiful little Australian country town and Husk Distillers is down there and I’m a big fan of their neat gin and rum. They do a tour and it starts with a gin and tonic which I think is a brilliant idea. My friend also has a restaurant there called House of Gabriel and you can indulge in amazing, local produce while sitting on the porch overlooking the Tweed River.

Hidden secret?

If you hire a boat and get yourself to Jumpinpin, between North Stradbroke Island and South Stradbroke Island, you’ll be able to do some pretty decent fishing. You can catch flathead, whiting, jewfish. That’s one of my favourite things to do is just go fishing for the day.