Restaurant News

Ben Devlin on kitchen disasters, making pasta and his culinary pedigree

The Paper Daisy chef sits down to chat to us about his signature dishes and the cooking streak that runs through his family.

By Lee Tran Lam
Ben Devlin at Paper Daisy
Ben Devlin at Paper Daisy

Ben, does hospitality run in the family?
My uncle had a restaurant up the road. Two of his sons are chefs, and it turns out I have a grandparent on each side who worked as chefs, in RSL clubs.

Which ingredients are you currently excited about?
Citrus fruit. Rangpur limes are tasty – they look like you're going to bite into a mandarin, but then they taste like a lime.

Do you have any kitchen disaster stories?
One of the chefs didn't cover his garums properly. You usually add salt after 24 hours and he forgot to, so this fish sauce ended up sitting in this room for 48 hours. Eventually the smell left that room and started disturbing guests. That was certainly frustrating. The room is still part of the hotel, by the way.

What has inspired the rye-flour pici with Moreton Bay bug and tomato that you're cooking at the Gourmet Institute this month?
It's a different version of a noodle dish that we have with my wife's family. We always go to one particular Chinese restaurant when we see them and they always order the whole lobster with loads of noodles and vegetables, so the dish is a version of that with bugs in place of lobster. I served it to my wife's parents at our wedding.

This dish has a personal connection, then?
I make pasta at home a lot, and also at work because it's the second thing I learnt to do as an apprentice. I'll make a version of it at home, because it was the thing I made on my second-ever date with my wife to prove I was a functional adult.

What kind of pasta do you enjoy making?
I like making cylindrical pasta, about macaroni-size, with the end of a chopstick. It's definitely a recipe for two people at home, rather than 40 in a restaurant.

Catch Ben Devlin at Gourmet Institute's Gold Coast event on 22 August.

Paper Daisy, 21 Cypress Cres, Cabarita Beach, NSW, (02) 6676 1444, halcyonhouse.com.au.