QT’s Yamagen restaurant recently underwent a makeover to be reinvented as a traditional Japanese Izakaya with a stylish twist. To add to the excitement, Executive Chef Adam Lane was recently added to the mix bringing his experience from both Sydney and London.
We sat down for a chat with Adam on starting his career with spaghetti bolognaise to why cherry blossom is the perfect cooking companion.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
5 years now.
Where about on the Coast do you live and what do you love most about it?
I live at Palm Beach so I love that I’ve got Tallebudgera and Currumbin in my backyard.
How did you first come to be a chef?
Sibling rivalry. My older brother was an apprentice chef before I got into cooking. He only lasted two years and I thought to myself, I can do better than that!
What’s your earliest food memory?
It’s not the typical story of cooking with mum or a grandmother. I moved out of home when I was 15 years old and ended up cooking a lot for friends. Simple dishes like spaghetti bolognaise, roasts and stir-fries, which my mates seemed to enjoy more than the food they were getting at home. That’s where I got the bug for cooking, which is still with me today. Food should be shared with family and friends to complete a wonderful experience.
What’s been your biggest influence in perfecting the art of modern Japanese cuisine?
I have been very fortunate to work alongside some very talented chefs. From my time as an apprentice at Sydney’s Banc to cooking alongside Nobu Matsuhisa at the starred Nobu or with David Thompson at London’s Nahm; even my time with Chase Kojima at Kiyomi has influenced what I do today.
The dishes you create are stunning, what’s your personal process of creating each one?
Yamagen is not traditional Japanese food. It offers a share-style menu to be enjoyed with family and friends. The new menu features an innovative twist on traditional favourites; it’s playful. Dishes need to be interesting for me to create and interesting for guests to eat. It’s all about quality, market-fresh produce and unique Japanese ingredients, combined in new and exciting ways.
What do you love most about cooking Japanese cuisine?
I love the lightness and delicacy of Japanese cuisine and I really enjoy the challenge of mixing ingredients that you wouldn’t usually think of putting together, so my menu is always evolving. Finding the perfect balance of flavours is what keeps me inspired.
Do you have a favourite dish?
One of my favourite dishes at the moment is the Sakura Smoked Ocean Trout with negi, fennel, crispy leek, ikura and lime zest. I’ve been playing around with cold smoke. By using Sakura (cherry blossom) wood chips and smoking the salmon in a chilled environment, it takes on a subtle smoky flavour without cooking the meat.
What’s been the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
Work hard, enjoy life and good things will happen.
Being a Gold Coast local, we have to ask your favourites on the Coast…
Cafe: Barefoot Barista and Spikexx Espresso
Restaurant: Fire Cue Bar & Grill – I like what they are doing with charcoal cooking
Beach: Tallebudgera and Currumbin
How does your weekend usually look: Busy in the kitchen at Yamagen!