Set on the banks of the Maroochy River, in the heart of the Sunshine Coast, Head Chef Ian Smith is cooking up a new culinary culture within Ingenia Holidays Rivershore’s Driftwood Restaurant and Bar.
Speaking through a thick Scottish accent, it doesn’t take long to realise, chef Ian is a man on a mission. A mission to share Queensland’s best produce with diners in a relaxed, coastal atmosphere. Connecting diners with local produce isn’t just a profession, it’s his passion, and one he’s happily sharing with Sunshine Coast locals and holidaymakers from within the Driftwood Restaurant and Bar.
Maroochydore might be a long way from his home city of Aberdeen in Scotland, but Ian has brought with him 15 years of chef skills, honed working in high-end and fast-paced restaurants across Europe to this small coastal town on the Sunshine Coast.
Showcasing local produce is at the heart of what chef Ian does at Driftwood Restaurant and Bar – whether it’s serving Mooloolaba prawns, a daily fish special dictated by the catch of the day or 100% grass-fed beef.
What’s more, you won’t just find glamping resort diners at Driftwood Restaurant & Bar either. Ian is quick to point out, “we have Sunshine Coast-regulars who come back every week.” Ian sees Driftwood Restaurant & Bar as a restaurant that happens to be inside a resort, rather than a resort’s restaurant, with a menu that changes as often as the produce.
“Australia’s local produce is some of the best in the world – whether its seafood, beef, fruit or vegetables, and it’s our pleasure to showcase it to the world.”
“People are constantly surprised by the quality of the food we’re serving. People don’t expect to find restaurant quality food inside what they think is just a holiday park,” said Ian.
This element of surprise brings Ian great pleasure – encouraging his team to create food that looks as good as it tastes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
Asking Ian to pick a signature Driftwood dish is a bit like choosing a favourite child, but he says the beef short ribs are not to be missed, slow-braised for six hours in a sticky Asian sauce. Diners evidently also agree since he’s not been ‘allowed’ to take it off the menu.