Continually inspired by nature, the creative process for chef Gilmore began with working closely alongside the farmers, fishermen, producers and artisans who cultivate bespoke produce exclusively for Quay. From there launched a long journey of testing and refinement, imagination and flashes of inspiration. For each dish, the growth of every element and the creation of every ceramic piece was carefully considered and crafted for its role in the dining experience.
For months leading up to the opening, Chef Gilmore worked closely with ceramic artists, Paul Davies & Jacqueline Clayton from Red shed Studio Jam, Malcom Greenwood and Ben Richardson to design bespoke ceramics for each dish.
A continuation of Gilmore’s philosophy, he also worked with a number of producers to cultivate produce for the menu including Newcastle Greens who grew red speckled peas that feature on the ten-course menu with miso and anchovy which are not yet commercially available in Australia. An heirloom variety of Japanese Tennouji turnips were also grown to order by Epicurean Harvest for a dish of sand crab, kombu, squid, Wakefield cabbage.
The dining experience begins with a dish that emphasis the new direction and philosophy of the food. An unknown fact is that like many others, Chef Gilmore dislikes the texture of oysters but values the flavour. As oysters are often enjoyed at the start of the meal, he wanted to challenge himself to serve an oyster but, in a way, that he could enjoy it. He approached it as an oyster intervention, “the flavour to stay, but the texture to change”. A beautiful hand crafted ceramic oyster shell is presented to the diner with the imagination of Chef Gilmore’s perfect oyster. The dish involves a silky oyster cream topped with an oyster crackling made from the frill of the oyster. The dish is topped with Ossetra caviar for an added sense of luxury and intense umami note. The oyster is then eaten with a hand-crafted mother of pearl spoon.