Ex-Quay and Restaurant Hubert chef, Harry Bourne, takes the reigns of The Big Easy Group venues Yiasou George, The Stag Public House and Bowden Brewing.
For chef Harry Bourne, moving to Adelaide was an easy decision. After working in some of the world’s best restaurants it only seemed fitting to work with some of the world’s best produce.
A childhood spent watching his mum in the kitchen is Harry’s first food memory, but it was his brutal first job at the then one-Michelin starred Bath Priory Hotel in Bath, UK, that was either going to be the ultimate inspiration, or his breaking point. “This experience inevitably shaped my career,” says Harry, “I knew that one day when I had a restaurant of my own, I would achieve the same level of quality without the exploitation that seemed synonymous with high-end cuisine.”
These days he does just that, making his own rules and receiving a rock star reception as the chef of not one, but three Adelaide eateries – The Stag Public House, which has been newly renovated and revamped, the East-End’s own ouzo house, Yiasou George, and Bowden Brewing at Plant 3. We find out more about the man behind the mouth-watering menus.
Working at Quay Restaurant in Sydney was a pinnacle experience for me. Peter Gilmore’s food is all about produce and how to highlight it; there’s a complexity and simplicity in his approach, which has stuck with me. The food I want to cook is a long way from the food I’ve cooked in other fine dining restaurants, but the attitude toward organisation and discipline is the same. I want the food to be fun and approachable, but consistent and exciting.
Three venues, three diverse cuisines
Creating menu items across three venues has been the part I’ve loved the most, then having the freedom to work out which venue each dish works best in. Before I started, I had pages and pages of menu ideas for all three venues, but as soon as I started at Yiasou George, with the heat of the wood oven burning behind me, those ideas didn’t seem to fit anymore. So, we started playing with new ideas, taking existing dishes and turning them upside down and having fun, and listening to the staff and customers to find out what works and what doesn’t.
The use of local, seasonal produce
I moved to Adelaide because I fell in love with South Australian produce, so the idea of using Snapper from New Zealand or prawns from Asia is bewildering to me. Locality and seasonality are totally non-negotiable, I mean come on, Coffin Bay oysters literally blow my mind, beef from Mayura Station, or even late summer berries from the Hills. It’s so important, especially for the young chefs in the kitchen, to have that sense of pride in where we are and what we are cooking.
What to expect
At The Stag Public House we will focus on bringing top quality produce into the classic Aussie pub staples people know and love. At Yiasou George it’s all about the wood-fire oven, showcasing quality products and open-fire cooking together, inspired by the cuisine of the Mediterranean. My vision goes beyond what’s cooked in the kitchen, for me it’s all about how to incorporate what’s in season and what we can produce in-house. We have been looking at placing beehives on the roof to produce our own supply of honey or a restaurant garden to grow harder-to-find herbs and edible plants. And at Bowden I’m excited to see people’s reaction to the food, I want it to be a fun party place where you can come with all your mates and smash beers and eat the best tacos you’ve ever had!
The Stag Public House
299 Rundle Street, Adelaide
26 East Terrace, Adelaide
Plant 3, Bowden