The HOTA Gallery opening caused quite the stir on the Gold Coast, and when we found out that the Executive Chef of the high-anticipated Palette restaurant was Dayan Hartill-Law, they had every reason to get excited. Dayan has a long resume with vast industry experience including The Star, The Press Club, Dinner by Heston, Vanitas and Quay, meaning he will bring an international pedigree of learning from some of the best chefs across the world – lucky us! Read on to find out a bit more about Palette and the man himself.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
My family and I relocated to the Gold Coast 5 years ago now.
Tell us a bit about your career to date.
Coming up on 20 years as a chef, I have been on a perpetual pursuit to work with the best chefs and thinkers around the globe. More recently running prolific spaces like The Press Club in Melbourne and Vanitas at Palazzo Versace. There have been many formative years in my culinary education, working for great chefs like Peter Gilmore at Quay, Heston Blumenthal at Dinner by Heston and many others.
What career achievement are you most proud of?
I think there have been many not to sound obnoxious. I think my very first solo hat was great to attain, it sits on my kitchen wall at home as a reminder of the hard work. But I also love hearing from chefs that I have had under me in the past succeeding in their own right or repeat guests coming in time after time to enjoy what my team and I do.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Inspiration honestly comes from everywhere, whether walking through my neighbourhood and seeing what natives are fruiting or flowering, which I love to pick with my son. There’s also obvious inspiration that comes from my cookbook library. But the most inspirational thing for me now is being permanently surrounded by art; the way that certain pieces will spark an inspirational thought or a movement, it is a really great privilege to be surrounded by it every day.
What is your favourite dish to cook at home?
I really enjoy labouring over a ramen, spending the entire day working on it is wonderful, and to take from Ivan Orkin there are no rules with ramen so it can be anything, having done a Peking duck ramen, Hainanese chicken ramen, the warmth it brings to the soul is everything.
What excites you the most about Palette being part of the HOTA precinct?
The continuation of the precinct being all about arts is such an amazing thing to be a part of and to know that culinary art is held in such high regard, to be able to have Palette stand symbiotically alongside performing arts, and visual arts is amazing and to integrate the three together is really quite an amazing thing to be apart of. With plans to integrate the three with inclusive experiences in the coming months, it is really wonderful to be able to work with talented artists and creatives to think outside of the box to create wonderful cultural experiences for the Gold Coast and its visitors.
Which dish on the menu would you recommend is a must-try when visiting Palette, and why?
There are so many great features on the menu at the moment, the Fraser Island Spanner crab, watermelon radish, pandanus, blue quandong and lemon myrtle is my favourite from a chefs perspective. There are 45 movements on the plate which is pretty ridiculous when you have to do 100. The Voronoi, Little Cocoa chocolate, flavours of banoffee is also a really fun dish from its aesthetic, it was actually the very first dish I conceptualised when I learnt that I was successful in getting the position with HOTA. We have multiple fun things throughout the whole menu though, from Vegan fish sauce to Davidson Plum sorbet, Hervey Bay scallops, or the dry-aged Burrawong Gaian ducks that everyone is raving about.
What are your Gold Coast favourites…
Café: Being on the northside, it’s been so great to have Bear Boy open in Helensvale. We also love to go to Daark in Chirn Park.
Coffee spot: If I am running about in the shopping centres, Foster Black always hits the spot, but also Shakermaker and Blackboard are excellent.
Restaurant: Having two small ones, dining out is not as frequent as it once was, but I love to go and see Tim and Shannon at the North Room. Adam and Tim at Yamagen are doing some great things, but the most frequent restaurant for us because my son won’t eat any other beef than wagyu (must be nice) we are always at Wagyu-ya on Chevron.
Bar or pub for a drink: I am not really a big drinker but that being said, I have been a big fan of Tom Angel for many years, so looking forward to trying his entire menu on a Sunday afternoon at The Exhibitionist Bar. Plus the guys at Rosellas are doing some great things, as are the team at Nightjar and the Scottish Prince are also really pushing the envelope.
How do you choose to spend your weekends?
Spending time with the family is the most important thing being in this industry, you lose a lot of nights at home, which is never fun. But, on those weekend days I try to jam in as much in as possible.