Adam Wolfers, executive chef, Gerard's Bistro

I like the way the food is about simplicity – letting the ingredients speak for themselves ...

It’s always tough choosing to uproot one’s life and relocate to a new city. For former Sydney boy Adam Wolfers his own move included taking up the mantle as executive chef at Gerard’s Bistro – one of Brisbane’s top-flight restaurants. Despite the pressure inherent in the opportunity, Adam has wasted no time impressing local foodies with his considered and well-researched take on Middle Eastern-influenced fare. By imbuing the Gerard’s menu with ideas plucked from his own Jewish heritage and flavours from the regions around the Mediterranean and North Africa, Adam is set to take Gerard’s Bistro to greater culinary heights. Ahead of the James Street Food & Wine Trail, we got the chance to ask Adam about his new role, what he is bringing to the table and what foodies can expect from Gerard’s Bistro’s pop-up at the James Street Food & Wine Trail market day.

First of all, congratulations on scoring executive chef role at Gerard’s Bistro! How are you enjoying Brisbane so far?
It’s great so far, everyone has been really friendly!

We’d love to know what attracted you to the role. Can you give us some insight into what factored into your decision to come north?
My wife and I loved the idea of having a bit of a change in scenery – we had been up here a few times to visit family and friends and loved it! The restaurant scene up here is really pumping at the moment, and I thought it would be such a great time to be a part of it.

Following on from flexing your culinary muscles with Ételek, what are some long-held ideas and techniques that you’re keen to implement in the Gerard’s kitchen moving forward?
I had only scratched the surface of Middle Eastern food with Ételek. The chance to really dive deep into ideas and techniques from the Middle East using Queensland produce is something really exciting.

Where do you typically draw inspiration for your dishes?
A lot of the inspiration is through seasonality, and what is available from small growers and suppliers. This is really important and forms a major part of my philosophy on cooking.

You’ve recently launched your first menu at Gerard’s Bistro – are there any dishes here that sit particularly close to your heart?
We make a bread called malawach, that is a bread originating from Yemen. Bread is such an important part of Middle Eastern food, and is something I grew up with as a kid.

You’ve arrived just in time to experience James Street’s preeminent foodie festival – the James Street Food & Wine Trail. How will Gerard’s Bistro be getting involved this year?
We will be cooking manoush, which is sort of Lebanese pizza. We are setting up some wood-fire ovens and will be slinging manoush all day Sunday. We will serve some cool cocktails from Gerard’s Bar as well!

Your tenure at Gerard’s is beginning during a golden period for James Street. What would you say is the best thing about the area’s food scene at the moment, as well as that of the city at large?
Being part of such a great community is something really special. Everyone has been very welcoming and its amazing to be a part of.

Finally, what aspect of the national food industry are you finding stimulating or engaging at the moment?
I like the way the food is about simplicity – letting the ingredients speak for themselves. A real focus on vegetables – and minimising the amount of meat we are putting on our menus – is so important today, and it is a big part of the menu at Gerard’s.

Adam has recently unveiled his debut menu at Gerard’s Bistro, but those taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the James Street Food & Wine Trail market day can sample some of Adam’s fare from the Gerard’s Bistro pop-up kitchen. Be sure to also check out our round-up of foodie highlights across the whole weekend!


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