Up close with Dan Arnold
When people usually ask us where's the next place they should dine at in Brisbane, our response is nearly always Restaurant Dan Arnold. Headed up by local lad Dan who spent years in France in Michelin starred restaurants; a visit at Restaurant Dan Arnold is a true feast for the senses, and surely impresses. Here, Dan Arnold shares his journey.
What is your favourite food memory growing up?
My Grandma used to make oxtail stew when I was very young. It was my Dad’s favourite dish, and it took me a long time to come round, but I remember the aromas the first time I tasted it, and thinking this is great, I want to learn to make this.
Who or what inspired you to become a chef?
I fell for the adrenaline and camaraderie of the kitchen. Part time jobs through high school turned into an apprenticeship, which turned into a career of passion and I haven’t looked back since then.
Tell us about your time when you were part of the Bocuse D'Or team to represent Australia?
Bocuse d’Or is the Olympics of cooking, held every 2 years in Lyon since 1987. Australia has been invited to compete and until recently we were subjected to a intercontinental selection process. My commis Ryan Cosentino and myself, were selected to represent Australia, and placed 3rd at the Asia/Pacific intercontinental selection, the first time Australia has podiumed in any Bocuse d’Or competition.
We were granted our place in the world final, competing against 24 nations, and placed 8th, which is the best ever result by an Australian team to date (previously 12th).
It was an amazing experience, both from the cooking aspect, as well as the people met and the relationships formed. There is no greater honour then to represent your country, and the 2 years of commitment and dedication were well worth it.
What was it like to be able to live and work in France?
An amazing experience, to be able to immerse myself in another culture and become part of the gastronomic restaurant culture in France.
What is your favourite city or town in France for food?
Lyon – For the traditional Bouchon Lyonnaise, and vibrant food culture.
Auvergne region – For the wide variety of cheese and charcuterie products, all artisanal and unique to the region
When did you decide you wanted to open your own restaurant and move back to Brisbane?
After the birth of our son, who is now 3 years old, we started to consider where we wanted to be for the early years of his life. France is a beautiful country, but Brisbane is a special place for young families, and my memories as a child growing up are very special.
What do you love about working for yourself?
I enjoy the challenge of running my own restaurant, I am no longer just a cook, but handyman, marketing and social media specialist, customer liaison, human relations and many other hats I wear throughout the day.
What is the philosophy behind Restaurant Dan Arnold?
Nature meets creativity. Sounds cheesy, but we try to work with the best of our terroir, creatively respecting the traditional methods of cookery learnt while working in France. The restaurant is a culmination of our experiences working and travelling abroad.
What is your go-to meal when you cook at home?
I enjoy making lasagna at home and getting Aiden my son involved in the process, from woe to go. But of late, a good steak with a green salad is becoming a weekend staple. Aiden in particular is enjoying his steak as much as his Dad
Any advice for aspiring chefs out there?
Don’t wait to be taught, learn by looking, asking questions. Read books, not just look at photos, seek to understand how things work, not just how they look, and always strive to be better. Go and eat in other restaurants, not to judge, but to support the industry you are passionate about, and celebrate the differences between chefs and restaurants.
Images supplied by Dan Arnold and #DiscoverBrisbane