Celebrity chef returns ‘home’ to cook at Beachie
BYRON'S Beach Hotel has lured celebrity chef and former Northern Rivers boy Monty Koludrovic back home after a celebrated career with TV cooking shows, Ready Steady Cook and MasterChef.
The former Lismore High student has joined the Beach Hotel team to work alongside newly appointed head chef Shane Morritt this summer to create a new dining menu.
Although he moved from the area when he was 15, Monty said he still considers the Northern Rivers "home" after having become a household name through his appearances on Ready Steady Cook and a member of the creative team of MasterChef: The Professionals.
Monty said he became a chef "by fluke", after starting front of house in a Newtown cafe when he was a teenager studying for his HSC through TAFE.
"One day the chef did a no-show and I stepped in," Monty said. "I really took to it - I guess it suited my deranged personality," he laughed.
Monty, 30, said he jumped at the opportunity to relocate from Sydney to Byron for the summer season with his wife and two young children, with a plan of eventually moving back permanently to the area.
"The Beach Hotel is a local icon, so it's quite cool to be able to return here and be part of the rejuvenation of the hotel," he said.
The new Beach Hotel menu will retain the popular "pub fare" locals and visitors want, but with a twist, Monty said, with the invention of new dishes and a focus on local food producers.
Beer battered fish will be made with locally brewed Stone and Wood lager; local Northern Rivers beef will be used in a new-look "Beachy Burger", while the pork filling for a "Beachy Hot Dog" will be created in-house, with a local butcher adding the skin. Even the humble potato wedge will have a facelift, being transformed into waffle wedges with sour cream created by local artisans, the Bangalow Cheese Company.