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Steve Cornelius

Gold Coast swim coach and cancer survivor.

Steve Cornelius is a familiar face on the Gold Coast swimming circuit, having been involved in both competing and coaching for over 20 years.

Having been diagnosed with prostrate cancer and overcoming the odds to continue doing what he loves, the local legend is showing no signs of slowing down, introducing a festival of open swim to the Gold Coast in 2019.

We sat down for a chat with Steve about the change of lifestyle and nutrition he attributes to his bounce back to health and his incredible career to date.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I moved here from Perth in 1989.

What do you love most about our city?
Of course, I love the beaches being an open water swimmer and – surprisingly – the winters. It’s all blue skies during the day and rain at night. I find winters the best part of the year!

You’re a well-known local swim coach, talk us through your career?
I’ve been a swimmer my entire life – I grew up winning state championships. I’ve won a gold medal in the March Past for surf lifesaving and represented WA in the state team as a professional swimmer in 1980. I’ve been in the surf movement for the last 10 years – just meeting people and pursuing my latest passion (open water swimming). This all started after my diagnosis with prostate cancer in 2011. After I received my diagnosis, I decided I needed to do something constructive with my life – and it was after I got my prostate removed that I decided to develop the open water swim scene on the Gold Coast. There’s a huge following of open water swimming in Perth and Sydney, but here on the Coast, there’s only ever been a handful of races. I decided it was my job to establish the open water swim scene on the Coast, so I opened an open water swim club and introduced a 10k swim from Burleigh Heads to Surfers Paradise. I’ve been doing that for five years now – we’re now in our sixth year. This year, there was a festival of open swim, from April 20 to April 27. We have workshops for swimmers and coaches, a short-course series for swims and hosted the Banana Boat swim kid series.

What have been some of your career highlights?
Getting to the heights I did with international competition as an athlete. With my coaching, I’ve tried a range of different types. I was Denis Cotterell’s assistant for three years – and this is a high-performance program, so you have to be a hard-ass coach. I found with kids it feels like you’ve got to be headmaster every day of the week, so I switched to adults. When an adult turns up to squad training, it’s because they want to be there. I found with adults you can go in-depth with your analysis and stroke correction. I’ve now been an adult swim coach since 1984. When I moved to the Coast in 1989, I was the Miami Masters Coach for 25 years. I’ve been the Queensland State Director of Coaching – teaching people to become coaches – and I also sat on the National Board for Masters Coaching to review training methods.

You were diagnosed with prostate cancer, how did that change the course of your life?
As far as my lifestyle was concerned, I was always very active – being a coach and competitive swimmer – you keep your hand in the water doing competitions, even if you don’t train as hard. With my levels of training, it became a lot to do with the diet choices and I decided I needed to go organic. I tried a lot of different products on the market that claimed to ‘change the world’ – but the product that really stood out for me was Super Sprout. The powders aren’t just good for you, but they are practically medicine. I found broccoli sprout powder really cleaned up my gut health, blueberry powder helped detox my blood and beetroot powder helped oxygenate my blood – and gives you a little more endurance when you’re completing those longer swims.

What advice do you have for men who might find themselves in the same position as you were?
The best piece of advice I can offer is don’t wait for problems to happen, have an annual blood check – even if you’re young. You should be looking at your blood because that’s the window to your whole health. With prostate cancer, you have a PSA score – that’s a score within your blood reading – so to get yourself checked out in the prostate region, all you need is a blood test. If I didn’t coincidentally stumble across my cancer, I would have been riddled with symptoms. The more you can get checked, the better!

What are you plans for the rest of 2019?
Well, I need to do a lot of recovery work in the middle of the year – another diagnosis has come across my plate, which isn’t too pleasant. I have a brain tumour – it’s not cancerous, but the growth can stuff me up. So right now – my main focus is keeping my body physically and mentally fit. That’s where my diet and lifestyle choices come into play. I need to look after myself inside and out.

Alex Munoz Labart

Alex Munoz Labart is a relative newcomer to our sparkly city but, in the year since he arrived and brought Burleigh’s exceptional venue Restaurant Labart into our lives, he’s made quite the impact on the local dining scene.

At a time when the hospitality world is experiencing so much upheaval Alex, his wife Karla and the Labart team have come up with an idea to create takeaway dishes (of the same high quality) rather than opening their venue to the public.

We sat down for a chat with Alex about restaurant Labart’s ethos of sustainability, seasonality and simplicity and how this new plan is going to work.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
Exactly one year. My wife Karla and I moved to the Gold Coast from Sydney in April last year to open Labart.

What do you love most about living here?
We live in Burleigh and the ocean plays a big part in why we moved here. I love the Gold Coast’s sunshine and the beach weather that sticks around for the majority of the year. That, coupled with the amazing local community and slower pace of life. It doesn’t get much better.

Talk to us about the initiative you’ve just put in place to provide takeaway dishes rather than having diners eats in…
Labart at home will be available for pick up from the restaurant from Wednesday to Sunday afternoon and meals will range from $20-$30. An online ordering and payment system will ensure minimal physical contact and Labart’s high quality hygiene standards will remain in place, as well as the introduction of additional sanitization methods. We want to nourish people in a time when the world needs it the most. Dishes will be rustic, comfort food as we head into the winter months. Think Chicken coq au vin + mash potato, Free-range pork, chickpea + pumpkin casserole and beef bone broth minestrone. We’ll also have an offering of desserts and sides. It will be the same Labart quality to enjoy at home. Stay tuned for delivery to be announced soon.

Tell us about your career thus far?
I’m lucky to have worked with some of the best chefs in Australia like Mark Best and Brent Savage. When I was starting out, there were enough restaurants in Australia pushing the boundaries that meant young chefs like myself didn’t have to go overseas to learn. Putting myself in a fine dining environment early on really set the bar for where I wanted my cooking career to head.

Have you always known you wanted to be a chef?
Cooking has always been part of my life from a young age. My oldest brother is a chef and he pushed me into the kitchen knowing I’d love everything about it.

Why did you think the Gold Coast needed a restaurant like Restaurant Labart?
We’re starting to see a lot of people relocating to the Gold Coast from bigger cities like Sydney and Melbourne. They’re used to dining in restaurants of a certain level and we saw an opportunity to offer that on the Gold Coast. We wanted to give locals a restaurant with a high-end level of food and wine but without stuffy, formal service. For us, Labart is the kind of restaurant we love to eat at and we saw an opportunity for the Coast to experience that too.

You just released an autumn menu, what do we need to know about it?
Our menu is small but changes almost daily based on the high quality produce our local suppliers have available on the day. The change from summer into autumn means we have access to new season produce like pine mushrooms and artichokes. Keep an eye out for new dishes featuring these seasonal vegetables as they make their way onto the menu.

Tell us about your venues’ ethos…
In one sentence – Labart champions sustainability, seasonality and simplicity while hospitality remains paramount.

What are your thoughts on the Gold Coast’s dining scene in general?
The Gold Coast dining scene has grown up a lot in the past few years. There’s a move away from cheap eats and overly-themed venues and more of a demand for proper restaurants offering excellent service alongside technique-driven food and drinks. It’s an exciting time to be a Gold Coast local.

What do you have planned for the remainder of 2019?
We have some exciting collaboration dinners coming up with friends of ours in the wine and spirits world and we’re working on a line-up of interstate guest chefs who will be cooking one-off dinners at Labart.

Favourites on the Coast:
Beach: Burleigh – of course!
Restaurant: Iku Yakitori Bar
Bar: Lockwood Bar
How does your weekend usually look: Saturday and Sunday are work days for us but I make sure I still find time for the beach. The day normally begins by crossing the road for a surf, followed by breakfast on the balcony with my wife before I head into the restaurant.

David Swallow

Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media

Having recently been named Co-Captain of the Gold Coast SUNS, David Swallow’s 2019 certainly started off on the right foot, and it’s only been uphill from there. The team is currently on a winning streak after acquiring 14 new players and it seems there’s no stopping them now.

We sat down for a chat with Dave about how it felt to be named Co-Captain and his thoughts on the upcoming season. 

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I moved to the Gold Coast in 2010 from WA to play for the SUNS during their first season in the VFL – so about 9.5 years now.

What do you love most about living here?
It’s a fantastic lifestyle living here on the Coast and a great environment to train and play AFL Football. The people here on the Gold Coast are really friendly and our family loves being part of it.

Tell us how you came to be a professional AFL player?
I played all my junior footy back home in WA, before moving to the Coast to play for the SUNS in 2010 before they joined the AFL competition. I was then drafted to the club, and have loved being part of the team ever since.

You’ve won plenty of prestigious awards but this season you were named Co-Captain, what does that mean to you?
It’s humbling to be voted by your peers as captain of the Club, it’s a great honour to be able to lead the team and I’m really excited about the future of the Gold Coast SUNS and hopefully I can play a small role in helping to drive the club forward.

The Gold Coast SUNS are on a winning streak at the moment, what do you attribute to such a good start to the season?
It’s been a good start to the year, but we know it’s a long season and there is plenty of football ahead. Over the off-season we had significant change at the club with 14 new players and 13 new staff arriving. Everyone has really bought into what we’re trying to achieve which is the first step, and then we’ve done a mountain of work during the pre-season to set ourselves up the best we possibly can.

How are you and the team feeling about the 2019 season? 
Like I said, it’s exciting to have started the way we have, but it’s a long season. We just need to make sure as a group we continue to bring the same effort and intensity each week. 

Any tricks up your sleeve?
Haha no unfortunately I don’t have many tricks up my sleeve.

How do you feel about local Gold Coasts’ support of AFL?
It’s fantastic; the Gold Coast AFL community is one that has grown so much since I’ve moved here. We always get great crowds to home games, the crowd at our first home game of the season was one of the loudest I’ve heard which is exciting for the boys. We haven’t had that much success over the years, but hopefully as we continue to keep growing as a team, even more people will fall in love with our game.

If you weren’t a professional sportsman, what would you be doing?
I’m not sure at all. I always wanted to play AFL Footy and that’s what I’ve been focused on, but I reckon a musician would be a dream job.

Any advice for aspiring players?
Have fun and work hard.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Café for breakfast: Can’t go past Nude Sisters Café in Mermaid Waters.
Spot to grab a coffee: Again, would have to be Nude Sisters Café. If you haven’t tried it, you should!
Restaurant: Hellenika in Nobby’s – Best Greek food
How does a weekend in the off-season look like for you: Usually spend time with my partner Georgia and my son Charlie down at the beach. Pretty relaxed!

Simona de Silvestro

Simona de Silvestro is the epitome of inspirational. The Swiss born, Gold Coast local is currently competing in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship with Kelly Racing and has previously raced in the IndyCar Series and Formula E series (a big deal if you aren’t in the race car know).

We sat down for a chat with Simona about how it feels to race around corners at 200 kilometres per hours and her advice for girls wanting to follow in her footsteps.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I’ve been on the Goldie for about one year now.

What do you love most about living here?
I think the weather is definitely the best part, I love being outside.

How did you come to be a racecar driver?
I started karting at age six. I have always loved speed and racing.

Take us through some of your career highlights thus far?
There are a few – definitely winning rookie of the year at the Indy 500 and my first podium at Indycar in Houston in 2013.

How are you feeling about the upcoming season?
I’m looking forward to this season even though we have a lot of work ahead of us in getting our cars faster.

You drive supercars, how does it feel to race around a corner at 225 km/h?
It’s an amazing feeling. The coolest thing about racing is moving this machine (the Supercar) on the limit, it’s great.

What do you do when you have time off?
I like playing sports (golf, squash etc. trying to dabble around with surfing but not super good at it)!

Any advice for young women who would love to follow in your career footsteps?
Believe in yourself. It’s not an easy road but keep pushing.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Cafe: Hot Shots
Restaurant: Gemelli
How does your weekend usually look? I usually go for a run on the beach in the morning then work on engineering or emails. In the afternoon sometimes I play golf and in the evening I go to the gym.


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