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Culinary talents put to the test with Presidential visit

Chef Gareth Collins

Chef Gareth Collins is no stranger to VIP guests, but a presidential visit this week at Hyatt Regency Coolum Golf Resort and Spa has put his culinary talents firmly in the international spotlight.

Visiting as a guest of the resort’s owner Professor Clive Palmer, the President of French Polynesia Oscar Temaru was welcomed at a VIP dinner for 50 people on Wednesday night (Feb 8 ) at Hyatt Regency Coolum’s signature restaurant Eliza’s.

The president had earlier played golf on the resort’s famous PGA Championship course and joined Professor Palmer for a press conference to outline their shared ambition to boost tourism between Australia and French Polynesia.

Eliza’s Chef de Cuisine Gareth Collins was given the task of creating a special menu for the president, rich in local delicacies.

“We wanted to create a menu that would celebrate the best fresh ingredients we have available in Queensland, so we offered some of our favourite produce like Hervey Bay scallops, Mooloolaba prawns and Bendelle Farm duck,” Collins said.

Professor Clive Palmer and President of French Polynesia Oscar Temaru

“It became a showcase of some of our best dishes at Eliza’s and included one or two of Professor Palmer’s personal favourites that he wanted the president to try.”

Highlights of the menu included beef tataki served with Japanese mayonnaise, soy sauce sorbet and wasabi foam, and a confit of Bendelle Farm duck with smoked duck breast, potato gratin and a duck and orange jus.

Originally from Wales, Collins has more than 25 years’ culinary experience in restaurants around the world, having worked alongside high-profile chefs like Jamie Oliver and Ben O’Donoghue, plus a stint at the renowned River Café in London.  He forms part of a talented culinary team at Hyatt Regency Coolum led by Executive Chef Jan van Dyk.

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