Dominiqe Bird, Brisbane Low & Slow BBQ Festival

Do something you love – it justifies the crazy amounts of hard work ...

While many of us may be revelling in the small-food-business movement rising up in Brisbane and gorging ourselves on the riches emerging from our local food trucks, it’s fair to say that most of us are the beneficiaries, rather than the benefactors. It takes a particular combination of passion and perseverance to start your own business, but Brisbane local Dominiqe Bird has both in spades. As one of the gents behind Brisbane band Mitzi, the Local Mobile Deli food truck and The Makers Club workshop series, Dom has now helped hatch the Brisbane Low & Slow BBQ Festival. Held over one very delicious weekend in July, the event will see specialty barbecue trucks, market stalls, workshops, demonstrations, pop-up bars and live music filling Wandering Cooks in South Brisbane. The Weekend Edition pulled Dom from the preparations this week to talk meat sweats and soda syrup.

We’ve already prepped our bibs for the Brisbane Low & Slow BBQ Festival in July – what can locals expect from this two-day community event?
Hopefully an authentic BBQ experience. In addition to the BBQ Championships, there will be some rockabilly/blues bands, food trucks, demonstrations, market stalls and pop-up bars from local breweries. The venue, Wandering Cooks, is incredible and we’re also extending the party out into Fish Lane.

What will the Brisbane BBQ Championships involve?
The Australasian BBQ Alliance has been doing a great job over the past two years sanctioning barbecue competitions across Australia. This will be Brisbane’s first competition and it will include selection of South East Queensland’s best teams. Competitors will start cooking on the first day of the festival, smoke all through the night and hand-in the following day.

How would you diagnose the health of the Brisbane food scene right now?
Pretty exciting – it’s great to see people taking risks and thinking out the box.

Who are some of your favourite local food producers?
The Falls Farm up in Mapleton has some unique organic produce. Carol from The Cultured Belly makes the best kim chi and the boys at Old Fashioned Co. make some delicious soda syrup.

You launched gourmet sandwich van Local Mobile Deli alongside Samuel Davis a year ago, what do you envision for the street-food trend in Brisbane?
It’s just going to get bigger and bigger – there seems to always be a new truck popping up with a new menu. It’s good to see the council running initiatives too; they’re starting to give a little more leeway with parking locations and pop-up events.

You also recently kicked off The Makers Club with Chris Illuk. Can you share any hints about upcoming workshops that are in the works?
We’re running a smoking masterclass as part of the festival with the barbecue team The Meat Sweats; they’ve competed in the US and won numerous Australian competitions so it should be really interesting. Other than that, we have a foraging expedition, bean-to-bar chocolate making workshop and another nose-to-tail class planned.

For those of us who struggle to barbecue a steak, what’s your best cooking tip when it comes to meat?
I find using a thermometer really helpful as it takes all the guesswork out of cooking.

What advice can you offer to some of our readers who may be dreaming of launching their own small food business?
Carefully plan out what you want to do before you dive in.

What do you think has been your formula for success?
I don’t know if I’ve found it yet, but it’s great to do something you love – it justifies the crazy amounts of hard work.

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learnt in your food-business journey so far?
Be realistic and never underestimate how much you can learn from others.

Somehow you also find the time to play in local band Mitzi; do you have any updates on local shows or tours for 2015?
I don’t know about touring as of yet, but we have some new music coming out soon. We took some time to focus on our own projects, but now we’re back to it.

Only a Brisbane local would know … it’s cheaper to drive than to take public transport.

When and where was the last time you ate out?
Yesterday. Happy Boy in Spring Hill.

If we rummaged through your grocery bag, what would we find?
Some fruit and veg, natural yoghurt and chilli sauce, which goes with pretty much everything.

Perk up …
 Paladar Fumior Salon, South Brisbane.
Relax … Sunshine Coast.
Dine … Gerard’s Bistro, Fortitude Valley.
Catch-up … The End, West End.
Be inspired … Gallery of Modern Art, South Brisbane.


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