Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller and receive a free salt and pepper set - offer ends 26 March, 2017

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Flour and Stone Recipes

Baker extraordinaire Nadine Ingram of Sydney's Flour and Stone cooks up a sweet storm for Easter, including the much loved bakery's greatest hit.

Fast autumn dinners

Autumn weather signals the arrival of soups, broths, roasts and more hearty meals.

Roasted cauliflower salad with yoghurt dressing and almonds

The cauliflower is roasted until it starts to caramelise, which adds extra depth of flavour to this winning salad. Serve it warm or at room temperature.

Savoury tarts

Will your next baking project be a flaky puff pastry with pumpkin, goat's curd and thyme, or a classic bacon and Stilton tart? As autumn settles in, we're ticking these off one by one.

Melbournes finest meet Worlds Best

Leading chefs descend on Melbourne in April for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We asked local hospitality folk who they’d abduct for the day and where they’d take them to show off their city. There may be coffee, there may be culture, but in the end it’s cocktails.

1980s recipes

Australia saw some bold moves in the ’80s, and we’re not just talking hairstyles. Greater cultural references started peppering the menus of our restaurants, and home-grown ingredients won a new appreciation. The dining scene was coming of age and a new band of pioneers led the charge.

New cruises 2017

Cue the Champagne.

Roti canai

Here, we've made the dough in a food processor, but it's really quick and simple to do by hand as well. If the dough seems a little too wet just add a little more flour.

Maitre d' of the year 2010: Tom Sykes, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney

Tom Sykes’ first Sydney restaurant job, back in 1996, was at a little place called Rockpool. Fast-forward almost 15 years and Sykes has not only climbed the ranks from waiter to headwaiter to assistant manager to general manager in time for the Sydney Olympics in 2000 in the crucible of the city’s most talked-about restaurant, he has made his way to the forefront of the profession. Understated and unflappable without being aloof, and ever-watchful without losing his affability, he has put a face of professional good humour on one of the most polished service teams in the country.

“Tom is very even-handed,” says Neil Perry. “He has completely taken on board our philosophy of care, making sure that the staff are in a position to look after the guests, and that the guests themselves are relaxed and ready for a great dining experience.

It’s easy to think that Sykes came into this world fully dressed in a crisp suit and perfectly knotted tie, but it was deep in thongs-and-sarongs territory, working with Sunshine Coast restaurant veteran Leonie Palmer in Noosa, that he first became hooked on the buzz of service. “Tom worked with us during his university holidays at Palmer’s here in Noosa,” says Palmer, now at Noosa’s Coconut Grove. “Of course, he decided to defer because he was enjoying it. He was getting some classical training from my husband, Steph Fisher, and he was always an apt and very good learner.” Palmer remembers being very, ahem, popular with Skyes’ parents when he pretty much decided to defer his studies full time, but the decision proved to be the right one. “Tom always had a lovely manner and good people sense, so it’s no surprise to us that he’s done so well.”

As fascinating as it was to see him working the floor at Spice Temple in the months leading up to the opening of Rockpool Bar & Grill, it’s at the latter, in one of the most demanding rooms in the country, that he finds a challenge worthy of all that training and experience. Sykes credits his success in this business to the sense of loyalty, dedication and family Rockpool’s Perry and Trish Richards instil in their staff, and they’re qualities we’re going to see enriching this industry as the people who have come up under him go out into their own roles. Short of cloning him, holding Tom Sykes up as an example of how good home-grown Australian service can be seems like a pretty good idea to us.

WORDS PAT NOURSE PHOTOGRAPHY JASON LOUCAS

This article is from the September 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Happy first birthday, Bar Brose
17.03.2017
Happening Hobart
16.03.2017
Neil Perry pulls out of haute cuisine; Eleven Bridge to close
15.03.2017
Aaron Carr to leave Vasse Felix after 21 years
15.03.2017
Momofuku takes over Lee Ho Fook
15.03.2017
Perfect match: Pasi Petanen and Giorgio De Maria pop-up this March
24.02.2017
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

You might also like...

Albert Street Food & Wine

Philippa Sibley may have left the building, but Albert St F...

Aravina Estate

The family-friendly nature of Aravina explains the terracot...

Assaggio

Assaggio's very red, very mod fit-out has undeniable flair,...

Aubergine

The grey-whiskered Ben Willis could pass for a maturing, bu...

Annie Smithers' Bistrot

Annie Smithers may have decamped for Du Fermier, but the bi...

Bacchus - Brisbane

Rydges doesn't exactly leap to mind when you think "complex...

Balla

Pronounce it "bah-la" for Piedmont-born artist and composer...

Balthazar

The mixing of business and pleasure comes second nature to ...

Boucher

Escargots, foie gras, bouillabaisse - the expected French s...

Carlton Wine Room

The relaxed ambience and witty, irreverent service may say ...

Celsius

A land of smoke and mirrors, Celsius is an urbane, nightclu...

Citron

Mark Newman's cassia beef cheek is the type of dish that ce...

Divido

To those who dream of the old country, Divido is the modern...

David’s

David's hums with renewed energy since its transformation t...

Eleonore’s

On the surface, Eleonore's seems immune to fashion. Its lar...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×