Abundant rainfall. Temperate climate. Rich, volcanic soils. What more could a stranded chef ask for?
This is Lord Howe Island, an island nearly 800 kilometres off the coast of Australia at the same latitude as Port Macquarie, New South Wales. The World-Heritage-Listed island is home to just 350 residents and, with a 400-person guest limit at any one time, feels like a country town. That is, a country town just 11 kilometres long and 2 kilometres wide surrounded by ocean with more swimming, diving, walking, fishing and surfing that you could pack into a year.
Since 2007 I’ve called this place home. And although I love exploring the rest of the world, I always look forward to returning. Where else could I, after a hot night cooking in the kitchen, be swimming in a calm, quiet bay within five minutes of knocking off? Or enjoy late night drinks on the jetty with friends jigging for squid then showing them how to cook and clean our catch. By day I free-dive for crayfish beneath the sheer peaks of Mt Gower and Mt Lidgbird or explore the many gullies that this sub-tropical island has to offer.
It’s a chef’s life but someone has to do it.