Trent Scarr, restaurateur

I was surfing all the time, and I just wanted to continue surfing so I needed to get a job where I could work later and surf earlier. So that's literally why I go into the industry back in the day. Though, over time, your passion and dedication just grows and grows ...

Trent Scarr is a down-to-earth bloke. He’s a family man, with two young kids, and he’s also the owner and head chef of Honeyeater Kitchen – a stand-out modern Australian eatery at The Kitchens. After ten years as a head chef at various Queensland locations, Trent is now at the helm of his own exciting new foodie venture – and it’s with a humble manner and gleaming smile that you’ll find him in the trenches every single day with his team of chefs creating culinary greatness. Trent’s take on food and life is refreshing – and we were lucky enough to sit down to chat about surfing, what influences him, and where it all began.

How did the concept of Honeyeater first come about?
I was working in Yeppoon for three years at a really busy hotel, staffing was a real issue, and I got sick. So, I needed to change the way I lived and the way I ate, so I did. That took about a year and I got better. It was a real long haul, but in that timeframe I decided I wanted to open something that I could eat at and it didn’t have to just be boring and dry, I wanted flavour in what I ate – and I wanted to create that for myself and people that were perhaps going through a similar situation. The name Honeyeater came from the idea of ‘getting the most out of life’ really. A honeyeater bird itself is small, focussed and colourful and gets the most out of life, so that’s really where it came from.

How would you best describe your style? Who and what were your main culinary influences?
My style is modern Australian, using a mix of international cuisines to make my own flavour from it. One of my biggest influencers was Greg Pieper, he was a great chef I used to work with in Kingscliff and he had a good Asian influence behind him, so I learned a lot from him and grew my cooking techniques. I’ve been a head chef for over ten years, so I have trained myself a fair bit as well. I’ve eaten and seen things that I like then gone and tried it and got it right, so I’ve honed my own skills as well.

What drew you to The Kitchens initially?
We were looking for about a year prior, down the coast, but nothing felt right. After talking to the team out here at The Kitchens about what they wanted to create, and we realised we had similar beliefs in what they are doing and a lot of belief in the concept.

When was that lightbulb moment when realised you wanted to be a chef?
Well, I was surfing all the time, and I just wanted to continue surfing so I needed to get a job where I could work later and surf earlier. So that’s literally why I go into the industry back in the day. I got a job at George’s Paragon at Sanctaury Cove, so I worked hard out there for a few years and surfed heaps! But I suppose you just fall into these things and your passion just grows and grows and so does your dedication. So it wasn’t a lightbulb moment for me, it was probably more of a snowball effect! Haha.

What would be the most challenging part of being a chef and restaurant owner?
The time you have to spend here, and the time away from family and friends.

What’s the most rewarding part?
Seeing people happy.

What will you always find in your fridge at home?
Bacon, watermelon and eggs.

Give us your thoughts on the Gold Coast dining scene, and where it has come over the last few years?
Well, let’s say four years go, there were dots of greatness. Ten years ago there were even less dots. But now, it just seems that there are really, really good things happening everywhere.

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
A surfing millionaire.

Tell us, what words of wisdom do you live by?
The harder I work, the more I put in, the more I get out of it. I’ve been telling myself that for 20 or so years!

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