If there is one thing that Garry Kindred is a stickler for, it’s sourcing quality fresh, flavoursome locally grown produce.
The Executive Chef at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC) doesn’t compromise on this one element of how he operates the main kitchen and 12 satellite kitchens at Broadbeach. “It’s definitely something that’s important to me,” he said.
Garry aims to source as much meat, seafood, vegetables, herbs and other ingredients within a 200km radius of Broadbeach. And he is proud to say that about 80% of what comes from the ‘paddock to the plate’ at GCCEC fits that criteria.
“We get fresher produce; we support local farmers; it’s better flavour; the textures are better and by using local produce we get better connections with local suppliers,” he said.
“Building up those connections means that if we need something grown specifically for a dish, our suppliers will do it. We once needed beetroot leaf for an Aussie-themed function and because of our long-standing relationship, our micro-herb supplier was able to grow them for us.”
Garry and his key team of Sous Chefs Adam Hall and Alicia O’Brien plan and create fresh, fragrant and flavoursome dishes using more than 700 ingredients.
They understand how important it is to develop strong relationships with their suppliers and distributors to ensure those ingredients are top quality.
“They’re the ones at the markets every morning. They’re the ones who know if tomatoes aren’t too good at the moment or weather like a cyclone or extreme heat has affected the growth or supply of something. They’ll let us know and that allows us to tweak the menu so we’ve always got the best quality produce.”
That passion for quality food seems to be part of Garry’s DNA.
He caught the cooking bug early and learnt to cook in his home town of Ballarat from a young age.
He did his apprenticeship at Sovereign Hill before moving to the Gold Coast 24 years ago. Under the tutelage of locally renowned chefs Brett Southcombe and Andrew Fraser, Garry worked his way through the culinary ranks to join GCCEC as the Sous Chef in 2004, later becoming the Executive Chef.
It’s a job that he does with an immense sense of pride and enthusiasm. “Being a chef is more than liking food,” he said.
“It’s creating something out of nothing. Working with your hands and mind – thinking outside the box and thinking more creatively.
“The rush of the service, the camaraderie of the team, the product you produce and the feedback from the guests. They’re all the rushes that I get.”
Garry is a perfectionist who is particular about working with clients of the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.
He and his team particularly like the challenge of themed dinners and events. They had fun recently creating food acrobatics for the Professional Conference Organisers Association annual conference.
The theme of Innovation and Engagement provided the challenge to come up with something that would be memorable. Food acrobatics was the answer! So before 400 guests, hundreds of tiny macaroons attached to parachutes were launched from the convention ceiling down to guests below.
The feat was certainly innovative and engaging and set the tone for the conversation during the rest of the three-day conference and exhibition.
For Garry, it was all in a day’s work. “We pride ourselves on creating memorable moments for our guests,” he said.
“If the guests are happy, I’m happy.”
The Gold Coast Convention Centre is a PCO Association business partner.
For information on the PCO Association business partner program click here