Doug Innes-Will, executive chef, GOMA Restaurant

Ethical and sustainable practices are an integral part of the fabric of the GOMA Restaurant and have been for many years ...

Where would we be without bees? Well, we’d be in a bit of a pickle, truth be told. The humble bee is one of the most important aspects of the global ecosystem, a tireless cog and one of the world’s most important pollinators of food crops. Roughly one third of the food we eat relies on pollination by bees, so their importance can’t be understated. Looking to stress this importance further, the culinary crew at GOMA Restaurant has teamed up with urban beekeeping outfit Bee One Third to collaborate on a dining experience centred around honey. This experience forms one half of FOOD + FILM, an enlightening double-header featured on the program for this year’s Brisbane International Film Festival. Guests will be treated to a screening of Honeyland, a documentary that follows one of Europe’s last wild beekeepers as they navigate old-world sustainability and new-world progress, followed by a honey-themed dining experience. FOOD + FILM is taking place on Thursday October 10. We caught up with GOMA Restaurant executive chef Doug Innes-Will to get some hints as to what we can expect from the evening.

FOOD + FILM is such an exciting concept, bringing together innovative dining with a documentary screening to create a unique experience. What can guests to the GOMA Restaurant expect when they take their seats at this event?
As always with our restaurant, the focus will be great food and warm hospitality. We are lucky to deliver this in the dynamic environment of GOMA Restaurant and have the opportunity to interpret and react to the film Honeyland with a bespoke, contemporary menu featuring a hero ingredient – honey!

This dining experience will allow guests to enjoy a curated menu with honey as the hero ingredient. This would be a rather exciting but challenging concept – how versatile is honey in the GOMA Restaurant kitchen?
Honey is a hugely versatile and respected ingredient in our kitchen. Along with my team members, restaurant chefs Michael Bickford and Matt Blackwell, we thrive on opportunities like this one to create and push the boundaries with ingredients. We have all enjoyed the creative processes that have emerged while conceiving this menu and can’t wait to bring the 2019 Brisbane International Film Festival into the GOMA Restaurant!

The plight of the bees showcases the need for sustainable practices in the food industry. What are some of the ways GOMA Restaurant is playing a part in the realm of conscious eating?
Ethical and sustainable practices are an integral part of the fabric of the GOMA Restaurant and have been for many years. Ideologies around sustainability and conscious eating are close to my heart too and we are working passionately to continue developing menus that showcase innovative, delicious and sustainability produced food.

You will be using honey from Bee One Third on the night – how is the work of BOT Founder Jack Stone work relate to your own in terms of sustainability and creativity?
I first met Jack during our APT9 exhibition whilst he was collaborating with Aotearoa New Zealand artist Anne Noble at QAGOMA. We created a dessert in the restaurant using honey from his local hives. It was great to be able to learn from Jack – he was very generous with his time and knowledge. It’s this connection with and education from Jack that we have valued really highly, especially while we brought together our honey creations for FOOD + FILM at BIFF 2019.

What inspiration did you draw from the film Honeyland when you were crafting your menu?
Our objective was to seek out and highlight connections between the film and our guests who would be dining with us. As guests will view the film and then visit the GOMA Restaurant, my team and I were inspired to continue their sensory journey with honey into a dinner that takes honey to the next level.

Honeyland explores the tussle between old-world sustainability and new-world progress – how did you strike the right balance between these concepts in the menu for the FOOD + FILM event?
We are extremely proud to have exceptionally talented chefs and servers on our GOMA Restaurant staff who strive to create experiences for guests that have traditional hospitality and contemporary culinary ideation at the forefront of every dining event. Honeyland speaks to GOMA Restaurant’s ethos of respecting the integrity of ingredients and food producers. That’s why it is so exciting to work with Jack from Bee One Third for a second time, as his understanding of the history, science and breadth of flavours that honey has to offer has given my team a very confident edge on how to showcase this dynamic ingredient at BIFF 2019’s FOOD + FILM event.

Bees are very important to the future of the entire world’s food source – what makes this meeting between urban beekeeping and fine dining special?
Bees certainly are amazing creatures! We have certainly learnt a lot about the preciousness of the work bees do and versatility of honey through the film Honeyland. We look forward to welcoming our guests to BIFF 2019’s FOOD + FILM event for a sumptuous combination of sensational cinema, generous hospitality and a one-of-a-kind honey-inspired menu.

To purchase tickets to FOOD + FILM on Thursday, October 10, head to the BIFF website. The Weekend Edition is giving you the chance to win one double pass to the BIFF FOOD + FILM: Honeyland experience and to the BIFF Live Music and Film: Aelita: Queen of Mars experience on Friday October 11 – with a total prize value of $300. Click here to enter

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