From paddock to plate
As a young chef, Chris White clocked up thousands of frequent flyer miles, working and eating his way around Europe and beyond. But with his feet firmly planted on
Sunshine Coast soil, he’s more about food steps, not food miles.
“We were just preparing soil yesterday for growing bananas,” Chris White says, explaining where the produce he cooks comes from.
Their chicken is certified free range from Imbil, pork is from Kingaroy, beef is grass fed from Warwick, certified organic duck from Kilkivan, seafood is locally caught or from Queensland waters, and their Veal is from Gympie and Casino.
Their cheeses are produced in Maleny and Woombye, olive oil and olive leaf teas from Obi Obi, free range farm eggs from Kenilworth, fresh raspberries from Elimbah and Buderim, and mushrooms from Palmwoods.
Then there are the ingredients Hungry Feel grows in the kitchen garden in Buderim – beans, beetroot, radish, rocket, turmeric, ginger, tomatoes, herbs and flowers.
Their association with Urban Food Street also provides a generous supply of honey, bananas, citrus and an assortment of other foraged goodies.
“I’ve always loved gardening, my family are nursery men, so I’ve had that background of being in the garden and we’ve always grown food, but now we’re growing lots of food for the restaurant,” he says.
“It’s exciting for me as a chef, because the food I’m cooking I’ve seen it from inception to conception. It’s good to know where our food comes from.”
In keeping with his food philosophy, Chris and I are chatting al fresco, a wall of herbs growing to his left and a vegetable garden flourishing behind him, an organic buffer between footpath diners and the outside world.
Chris opened Hungry Feel 15 years ago to fuel his newfound love of cooking and preserving the authenticity of worldly food and flavours.
“The dream started from surfing around the world,” he says with a smile.
It’s exciting for me as a chef, because the food I’m cooking I’ve seen it from inception to conception.”
“I was a boilermaker in a past life, I used to build trains for the Sydney network and then I travelled around the world for two or three years and realised if I wanted to keep doing that I’d need to find a job where I can and cooking was what I decided to do.
“We were in London and went to Leeds in Yorkshire and Bath, and then we travelled through Spain, Italy, Portugal, living that lifestyle and being influenced by food culture. That’s why Hungry Feel is what it is, it’s trying to be true to the origins of the food of the world and using seasonal local produce.”
Chris is also passionate about educating the Sunshine Coast community about the abundance of produce right on our doorstep, and a key player in this movement is the Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN), which has spent the past year showcasing our region as a food and agribusiness mecca.
“There are a lot of producers and artisans out there and it’s a way to get together and put our products out there so we can grow.”