Alfonso Ales, Consultant, Gordita
You need to support your favourite local businesses if you want them to stay around ...
It’s an exciting time to be a hungry belly in Brisbane. New dining destinations are popping up in laneways, inner-city developments and the suburbs every week, bringing the tastes of the globe to our grateful forks. Hailing from Seville, esteemed Spanish chef Alfonso Ales has worked in some of the world’s best kitchens, including elBulli, Jonah’s and Bilson’s, but now the Lennox Head local has turned his focus to Brisbane. Restaurateur Jamie Webb – the man behind Peasant, Cabiria and Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall – lured Alfonso to the city late last year, inviting the chef to consult on menus and concepts for the group. Now as Jamie prepares to open his latest venture, Gordita, Alfonso has been working hard behind the scenes to craft a southern Spanish menu for the Fortitude Valley haunt. Ahead of the restaurant’s grand opening today, The Weekend Edition popped in to M&A Lane to chat to Alfonso about food and family.
Describe yourself in ten words …
I’m analytical and practical, which helps me see the big picture.
What are the basic tenets of your food philosophy?
Respect for the produce, accuracy and discipline in cooking techniques, cleanliness and tidiness.
If you could teach Australians one thing about Spanish cuisine, what would it be?
Don’t overcomplicate things. Spanish cuisine is all about simple techniques but with a strong focus on flavour.
What made you want to become a chef?
The flexibility to travel the world for work.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
The intense bonds of friendship that have been formed with my teammates over the years, all over the world.
How do you like to unwind?
Surfing, meditation, yoga, reading and watching movies.
What are you reading at the moment?
The Enzyme Factor by Hiromi Shinya. My wife’s a naturopath and she’s inspired in me a passion for health.
What inspires you?
Beautiful, practical things. Japanese Zen. Traditional arts and crafts, and the beauty of good craftsmanship.
What’s your favourite thing to do on a Saturday morning?
I often work on weekends, but on my days off I love surfing.
What are your essentials for a well-spent weekend?
Time with my family, good food and down time.
What’s something you’ve been meaning to do on the weekend but haven’t got around to yet?
I keep meaning to take the family camping, but somehow we never get around to it.
What was your childhood dream?
To travel the world – so far, so good!
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Becoming the father of my beautiful daughter, Sophia.
What are your words of wisdom?
Trust your intuition and follow your heart.
If we rummaged through your grocery bag, what would we find?
Organic vegetables and fruits, extra-virgin olive oil and organic butter.
What’s one foodstuff you couldn’t live without?
Only a local would know … you need to support your favourite local businesses if you want them to stay around.
FAVOURITE WEEKEND SPOT TO:
Perk up … The ocean.
Relax … My couch.
Dine … A good Japanese restaurant.
Indulge … Having a massage.
Shop … A local farmers market.
Be inspired … Anywhere in nature.