It was 2005 when this story began, Chris a bartender and Dani an apprentice chef. Their paths crossed soon after the opening of the newest hotspot in town, Zinc.
“13 years after arriving in the majestic seaside town of Port Douglas who would have guessed that we would now own the venue where we first met.”
Growing up in Far North Queensland on her grandparent’s cane farm, Dani has always had a passion for food. The abundance of quality products such as local reef fish, tropical fruit and tableland grown vegetables has inspired her throughout her career. Her mother, a talented pastry chef planted the seed at a young age.
“I remember celebrating my birthday where my mum was working at the time, there was a life size horse carved out of butter for a Melbourne Cup centre piece, this sparked my imagination and interest in cooking.”
Having left school, Chris found himself working in kitchens, washing dishes and prepping food for the chefs.
“It was the social aspect that first grabbed my interest in the industry.”
Moving quickly to the front of house, learning the trade as a bartender and transitioning into management is when he realised his passion.
“Delivering an experience that is talked about time and time again is an addiction, having people share their social and special occasions with us and seeing pure enjoyment.”
Working side by side for almost 10 years, Dani and Chris have always strived to create an environment where all the team feel welcomed and valued.
“Having fun while remaining a constant professional is very important, this translates onto the plate and through the smiles out the front.”
Something Chris has learned over time is:
“You will never know everything, so learn from everyone. Getting our team involved in projects and giving creative freedom lets talent blossom. Together we will continue to develop and grow, pushing hard day-after-day to create smiles & memories.”
Born in 1982 in Invercargill, the southernmost city in the deep south of New Zealand. He studied tourism and found himself living in the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown. This is where he was introduced the hospitality industry for the first time. He made his way through every restaurant department, from washing dishes, cooking, bartending, front of house management, and now owning his own venue.
“It’s very important to know the inner workings of every section throughout the restaurant, to understand every aspect of the business. This makes decisions easier and more effective.”
Arriving in Port Douglas in 2005 Chris has accomplished many goals. Managing Finz Seafood restaurant (Best New Restaurant 2009), guiding the multi award winning 2 Fish Seafood Restaurant to consecutive national awards in 2016 /17, and taking on the resort game at Silky Oaks Lodge and QT Port Douglas.
“One of the most rewarding aspects is the challenge of consistency, continual improvement and striving for balance.”
Chris is excited to be opening Zinc as it is the perfect combination of restaurant & cocktail bar.
“Our Alfresco or indoor settings offer a sophisticated tropical dining experience, an elegant venue for a romantic dinner or casual catch up with friends. Embracing these social gatherings and delivering unforgettable experiences day in and day out is very rewarding.”