5 Minutes with Chef Peter Gilmore

Peter Gilmore, Executive Chef at two of Australia’s most exciting dining experiences; Bennelong and Quay Restaurant, was born and bred in Sydney. He was inspired to cook at a young age and started his apprenticeship since the young age of 16. Critical recognition came in 2000 when Peter was the Head Chef at De Beers Restaurant at Whale Beach and Terry Durack, food reviewer for The Sydney Morning Herald, wrote “De Beers houses a young chef with a real talent for sending out beautifully structured food with innate simplicity”. Peter’s next step was as head chef at Quay, and he has never looked back.

Quay restaurant was most recently awarded No.95 of the World’s Best Restaurants 2017. Here, Peter shares with us his kitchen philosophy and his experiences.

Aspire Lifestyles: What is your food philosophy?

Chef Gilmore: My aim is to create original, beautifully crafted food that is inspired by nature, texture, intensity and purity. These four elements inform my approach to cooking. Nature’s incredible diversity inspires my work. My test garden is where I can observe the life cycle of plants and test different varieties of heirloom and rare plants. This gives me unique raw materials, different flavours, textures and colours to work with. I then work closely with growers and farmers to produce beautiful bespoke produce on a larger scale for the restaurant. This direct approach of working closely with farmers has been successful for many years now.

Aspire Lifestyles: Have you always wanted to be a Chef and how do you draw your inspiration?

Chef Gilmore: Yes, from the age of 12, I have known I wanted to be a Chef. My inspiration comes from lots of different sources – from the produce itself, travelling, seeing and learning new techniques, from my imagination and from nature. When you start to work through a new idea, the creative process takes over and often leads to further ideas.

Aspire Lifestyles: What are your favourite flavours for this year?

Chef Gilmore: I’ve always have a huge interest in umami and that continues to be a prominent theme in what I do.

Aspire Lifestyles: Who does the cooking at home?

Chef Gilmore: It is equally shared between me and my wife – I’m not home often so don’t mind getting into the kitchen when I am!

Aspire Lifestyles: What is your ‘Go to’ hidden gem dining experience and the most unique food pairing you have experienced?

Chef Gilmore: I’m a sucker for a really good dim sum and the best food pairing I’ve tasted was sea urchin with crunchy fish maw. The textures of the two work really well together.

Aspire Lifestyles: Lastly, who would you invite to a dinner party that you’re hosting?

Chef Gilmore: Colleagues I don’t get to see very often like Brett Graham. It would be a nice time to catch up with everyone since we hardly get to talk when we’re all busy working.

As a member of the Aspire Lifestyles Global Preferred Restaurant program, our clients’ customers can enjoy top of waitlist, premium seating and a complimentary tasting cheese course with every booking.