One of Australia's top chefs takes new role on the Coast
ONE of Australia's most recognised chefs has stepped back from the lights of London and Sydney to spin some of the most delicious pizzas on the Sunshine Coast.
Darren Simpson has taken up role of executive chef at BV Pizzeria and Wine Bar at Kawana Island.
The 2011 Australian Hotels Association Chef of the Year, United Kingdom Chef of the Year and regular on the television show Ready, Steady, Cook has embraced the Coast lifestyle to show foodies what simple and beautiful Italian cuisine is all about.
"I've always had a real infinity with the Sunshine Coast," Mr Simpson said.
"I've got friends who live up in Noosa and almost set a restaurant up ter seven years ago, but I've always had this love affair with Mooloolaba.
"The restaurant at Kawana is one of the best dining places up here; it's just gorgeous overlooking the water.
"I'm excited to call the Coast home, I've got my home overlooking the canals and I can go paddle boarding and fishing off my back deck, love it."
Mr Simpson moved to the Coast specifically to develop the restaurant menus in the role of executive chef, alongside BV Group director Todd Young.
The Kawana Island restaurant is another feather in Mr Young's cap, which has had great success with Bella Venezia at Mooloolaba Esplanade.
The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a specific focus on local produce. Mr Simpson said the fresh produce was the key to the best dishes.
"Italian food is all about preserving history and sticking to the basics and we do that by embracing local produce," Mr Simpson said.
"We have the best prawns here from Mooloolaba, we use Maleny Dairies and I've found the best strawberries I've ever eaten in the hinterland."
"What attracted me to the Kawana Island restaurant is the winning combination of exquisite views, simple, outstanding food, attentive service and most of all, the beautiful customers."
The chef, who originally hails from Northern Ireland, started his career when he was named the UK's Young Chef of the year at 21 within two years of landing his first job in the industry.
Mr Simpson has trained and worked with some of the greatest names in the industry including Paul Rankin at his Michelin-star restaurant Roscoff in Ireland and Albert Roux at Le Gavroche in London before taking on the position of joint Head Chef at London's acclaimed River Café and Head Chef at Sir Terence Conran's Sartoria in Saville Row.
In 1999 Mr Simpson made the move to Sydney where he was appointed Head Chef at Aqua Luna Bar and Restaurant at Sydney's East Circular Quay and La Sala in Surry Hills, before launching La Scala On Jersey which set high standards for posh Italian-influenced cuisine in Sydney's trendy Paddington, and saw him receive the AHA 'Chef of the Year' title in 2011.
BV Pizzeria and Wine Bar is located at Grand Pde, Kawana Island, at Double Bay.