by Jacob Wilson
WALTER'S Lounge head chef Rob Mohr was lost for words when he was singled out on the biggest night of tourism in the Whitsundays.
Mr Mohr won the Young Achiever's Award at the Whitsunday Tourism Awards Night and considering his success as head chef at the age of 25, this accolade came as no surprise to many in the community.
"I was pretty excited, I didn't think I'd win at all. A few people said they thought I would win, but I didn't even prepare a speech,” he said
"So when I heard them say my name I was so excited, and going up on stage I didn't know what to say - it's just such a massive achievement for someone my age.”
Mr Mohr attained head chef status at the young age of 23, having started in the industry at 15 years old in Perth.
He got his first taste of the Whitsundays when he started at the Yacht Club on Hamilton Island in 2013.
After six months in the role, he did some travelling before returning to the region to start his career at Walter's Lounge.
Mr Mohr said the key to the restaurant's success as a number one ranked venue on Trip Advisor all came down to "consistency”.
"It shouldn't matter whether I'm making something on the menu or the sous chef makes it, it should always be the same,” he said.
"When people come in for the first time and then return back in two months and it's still the same product, that is what me and my team strive on, it's something I always had drilled into me.
"I love having my own touch and flair to food and producing something which is different to what anyone else in the area is producing.”
With respect to future career goals, Mr Mohr said the Whitsunday community should get used to seeing him in town.
"I can see myself staying here for another three to five years because the Whitsundays is such a great place for tourism and I can really see it progressing and building, and I want to be here when it happens,” he said.
"I have my own plans for Walter's. Being in the head chef role, I can have a say on what I want to do with the food and where I want to go. It's a great opportunity.”
ROB MOHR'S Braised Beef Cheek recipe
Braising The Beef Cheeks
4 beef cheeks (1.6-2kg)
From your local butcher.
1 onion peeled and cut into 8
1 carrot peeled and quartered
1 celery stick quartered
1 TBSP garlic
1/2 TBSP salt
1 tsp white pepper
1 rosemary stick
¼ bunch thyme
1 star anise
500ml red wine
250ml apricot nectar
1l beef stock
½ cup brown sugar
Pome Fruit Puree
300g Diced Pear
300g Diced Apple
100ml white wine vinegar
50ml apple juice
¾ tsp Black Peppercorns
½ tsp Cardamon Pods
½ tsp Allspice Whole
3 Dried Bayleaves
10 Sprigs of thyme
0.5 g Saffron threads
25ml Fresh Lemon juice strained
250ml Red wine (we use cab shiraz at Walter's for cooking)
150ml Apricot nectar
250ml Beef Jus
1 tsp Brown Sugar
Salted Cashews 100g
Blanched Almonds 50g
Dates, Chopped 15g
Dried Cranberry, Chopped 15g
Lemon Zest ½
Thyme, Chopped 4 sprigs
Sea salt flakes ½ tsp
White pepper ¼ tsp
Mix of green and red seedless cut in half.
About 30 grapes
Braising the Cheeks
Saute off onion and garlic, then add carrots and celery.
Deglaze with red wine, reduce by half.
Whilst your red wine and mirepoix is reducing, bring the beef stock, apricot nectar, brown sugar, thyme, rosemary, star anise and seasoning to the boil in your braising dish.
Once boiling add the red wine and mirepoix, place beef cheeks carefully, then lay a sheet of baking paper over the top of the beef cheeks, wrap tray with foil and cook for 3 hours on 140°C.
Your Beef Cheeks should be soft to touch with a pair of tongs, if so remove from the oven and let sit for 1 hour in the braising liquor.
Pome fruit puree
Collect all ingredients, leave fruit whole.
Once ingredients are gathered, peel and dice your fruit into 2cm cubes, ensuring that there is no peel or core of the fruit remaining.
Place into a pot with the remaining ingredients besides the lemon juice.
Cook out all ingredients on a medium heat until soft and resembles a stewed texture. Most of the liquid should have reduced.
If your fruit is soft, the liquid has reduced and the fruit is thick enough that it holds its place in the pot when you drag your wooden spoon through, then you can add your lemon juice.
Stir that through, let stand for 5 minutes.
Blend your cooked fruit mix in a jug blender, once it is pureed then you can pass it through a fine sieve using a whisk or metal spoon to push the mixture through into a bowl to ensure your puree is smooth, then the pome fruit puree is ready to be served.
You can choose to reheat and serve it hot, or just warmed.
Cook off wine in a pot until reduced by half, add apricot nectar and beef stock pots.
Simmer for 5 minutes until your sauce has thickened and will coat the back of your spoon.
(consistency should resemble a syrup such as maple).
Pre heat oven to 180
Roast nuts in the oven in a metal frying pan until lightly browned 15-20 minutes.
Tossing inside pan every 5-10 to rotate the heat through the nuts.
Let stand for 10 minutes to cool down then break roughly either by hand, or using a mortar and pestle.
Mix with dried fruit and thyme then add salt and white pepper to season.