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Meet the local Chef who catered at the Oscars

The combination of a five star popup restaurant and a local networking evening is the recent brainchild of Progressive Catering’s Head Chef Trent Morgan.

With many years of internationally renowned restaurant experience under his belt, Trent has returned to our shores to run his catering company and provide locally sourced cuisine to Gold Coasters.

We sat down with Trent to learn more about his upcoming events.

You recently held your first Progressive Catering networking evening. What’s the idea behind hosting nights like this?

These nights enable us to showcase our fresh food, fabulous and professional staff and give our guests an insight into how we prepare and cook our food. It’s a behind the scenes look at what goes on in our kitchen.

How does the night unfold?

Guests arrive and are greeted at the front door with canapés and champagne. Once everyone is seated I introduce the first course, the inspiration behind it and the process in putting it all together.

We prepare each course at the front of the room in full view of the guests and speak about each before they’re brought out to taste!

Guests sit underneath the sparkling fairy lights, meet new people, laugh and experience a night of beautiful food and interesting company.

The theme of the next networking evening is Farm to Fork, what can guests expect from the experience?

Farm to Fork will showcase local farmers and suppliers from the Tallebudgera Valley, Mt Tamborine and Mt Nathan. There’ll also be edible centrepieces and it being an autumn event will of course influence the menu.

Why did you decide to offer night like this rather than opening a restaurant?

We are primarily a catering company and love to cater for all types of clients. A night like this is so much fun for people and is kind of like a pop up restaurant, which makes it unique and exclusive particularly on the Gold Coast.

What’s your history as a Chef?

I trained with Gold Coast Chef Darran Glasgow before heading off to The California School of Culinary Arts, a Cordon Bleu program. I was part of the 73rd Academy Awards Governor’s Ball under the direction of Wolfgang Puck and we catered to stars like Cindy Crawford.

I’ve worked with Princess Cruise Lines catering for crew and guests, up to 2,500 people. Back home, I worked at the Sydney Park Hyatt, and finally returned to the Gold Coast and opened Progressive Catering.

You’re Co-owner and Head Chef at Progressive Catering, how did the business come about?

The idea really grew after my 2.5-year stint in LA, having worked for The Patina Group and being involved in their catering side of the operations. I brought home the notion of wanting to cater to high-end corporate clients and private events here.

Of course, my wife and co-owner Shandy was (and is) the driving force behind getting it off the ground and into action. She remains in charge of strategic operations and is an awesome mum to our three-year old son Max.

What kind of events do you cater for and what’s unique about your service?

We cater for a lot of store openings including Pacific Fair and a lot of high end stores, product launches (Mercedes) and private events such as like 40th birthday parties.

We’re currently working on some large projects for the Commonwealth Games and Opera Australia.

Photos by Kirra Smith.

Adrian Grazioli

Adrian Grazioli is the Gold Coast’s master Pastry Chef and owner of The Pastry Emporium in Bundall.

We sat down for a chat with Adrian about the delicious goodies he’s cooking up for Easter and how he came to be in such high demand.

1.    What exciting treats have you created for Easter?

We’ve got some exciting things happening for Easter this year including our Hot Cross Buns which are brioche style with a white chocolate cross.

We’ve also got a Petit Gateau, which is an individual Easter cake. It has chocolate mousse, hazelnut sponge, hazelnut glaze and a surprise Easter decoration. The Creme Egg Tart is a chocolate tart shell with chocolate and tonka bean ganache, chocolate egg shells, white chocolate mousse and mango jelly and the Easter log which is similar to the individual cakes but made to share.

2.    Why should Gold Coasters try something unique this Easter?

At The Pastry Emporium all of our products are made on site and we’ll be starting work at 3am this week to ensure everything is fresh and ready to go. The Easter products we’ve created are really delicious and have a few more exciting components than your regular Easter egg.

Also, the chocolate we use is Callebaut Couverture, which is Belgian chocolate made with 53% cocoa butter which makes the flavours even better.

3.    How do you develop ideas for specialty pastries?

I have a team of four pastry chefs from all around Australia who are very creative; we bounce ideas off each other all the time to come up with exciting new concepts. I also draw ideas from previous times throughout my career and photos I see that make me think of a unique spin I can put on something.

4.    What’s the most extravagant pastry you’ve created in your career?

I once made a 160 ball Croquembouche for a wedding, which was crazy. You have to make the Sioux pastry, then fill the balls with custard (we make that fresh) then you need to freeze it and put it together – it takes about three hours in total. The delivery is probably the hardest part though and the humidity on the Gold Coast doesn’t help!

6.    Tell us about your career so far?

I’ve always been into cooking. My parents have been restaurateurs for over 40 years so I’ve grown up around food.

At 24 I decided I wanted to do my apprenticeship in pastry after a trip to Melbourne where I visited Brunetti’s in Carlton and fell in love with pastry. I emailed them when I returned home and got a response after a few weeks. I flew down for an interview, did a four week trial and within three months had moved down to start my apprenticeship. I stayed there for three years.

After that I worked at Bistro Guillaume for a short spell before returning to the Gold Coast and starting work at Palazzo Versace where I stayed for eight months before working at Sweet at Ferry Road markets (now Providore).

I started creating The Pastry Emporium on the side and went out on my own around four years ago and haven’t looked back.

7.    Is there one thing at The Pastry Emporium that customers love the most?

Our doughnuts and croissants are the most popular at the moment. Donuts have quite a good vibe around them and we make ours with brioche of course, they’re fresh every day, which is the best part. Nutella is a favourite flavour as well as custard and this weekend we’ll have passionfruit curd and caramel banana flavours. We roll our croissants here and use the best butter, they’re fresh and delicious!

8.    Do you have a favourite pastry to create?

I love making all the pastries!

The Star Grazing Food Tour

The Star has seriously stepped up its’ game of late with even more restaurants on their way and a soon to be unveiled rooftop infinity pool.

Already an institution on the Coast’s foodie scene, The Star boasts eight dining precincts, all of which are completely unique and really make it quite unnecessary to eat anywhere else.

If you’re short on time but keen to experience the tastes of The Star, you’re in luck, on Thursday August 10th, The Star Grazing Food Tour makes its’ debut. It’s a one night only taste testing adventure through four contrasting restaurants within The Star, all of which are paired with wine, naturally.

The tour starts with Japanese, one chef hat owning restaurant Kyomi, with a glass of Moët & Chandon in hand. Chef Chase Kojima’s modern yet authentic Japanese fare is a Gold Coast favourite.

Next up you’ll experience the hawker style foods Hong Kong with a selection of delicious dumplings from Mei Wei. Watch chefs prepare handcrafted dumplings through the viewing panel and then delve into the tasty Mandarin and Cantonese flavours.

Inspired by rooftop restaurants on the Amalfi Coast, Cucina Vivo draws on traditional Italian food culture for the main course of the evening. Taste the true flavours of Italy in the handmade pasta dough as you devour the Tortelloni Ripieni filled with Mooloolaba Crab Meat paired with an Italian wine hailing from Veneto.

Last but certainly not least head to Garden Kitchen & Bar for a garden inspired dessert and an Aussie wine from the Mornington Peninsula.

It’s the perfect way to travel through four cultures in one night all while indulging in some of the best food the Coast has to offer, receiving inside information from passionate chefs and making friends with fellow foodies.

Tours commence at 6.30pm and run for approximately two hours. Cost $88; includes drink pairing at each venue.

LOCATION: The Star Gold Coast, 1 Casino Drive, Broadbeach

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