Scott Bridger, head chef, Bib & Tucker, North Fremantle.

After almost two years without a break, Scott Bridger wasted no time taking his family camping and fishing for four days at Preston Beach, relishing the time to create the same kind of memories for sons Beau and Flynn that have stayed with him since his own childhood. “I lit the barbie at 6am on the first day and cooked all our meals on it, ” Bridger said. “We had bacon in the morning and fresh fish that we caught that day, along with squid, prawns and steak. Barbecues bring families together — I’ve always looked forward to them, ” he said.

“Everyone’s going back to using those great charred flavours, with simple tasty rubs and seasonings. It suits our lifestyle and they’re so versatile. You can do anything on a barbie.”

David Coomer, head chef, Pata Negra, Nedlands.

There’s a huge thick single hotplate that occupies a fair bit of space at Pata Negra, in Nedlands. Known as “la plancha”, it’s the way Spaniards love to grill and where award-winning David Coomer sears prawns, scallops, octopus and anchovies for his discerning diners. “It’s a typically Spanish way to cook seafood. It’s such a great cooking method — there’s less mess, it’s outdoors and you can cook everything from sweet corn and peppers to whole fish. At the moment I’m using a wet rub, that’s typical in the south of Spain, which has Moroccan influences. It’s a mix of garlic, oregano, Spanish paprika, vinegar and olive oil. Rub it on meat or seafood, have the grill plate nice and hot and sear it for a couple of minutes.”

Kiren Mainwaring, head chef, Co-Op Dining, East Perth.

Despite growing up in wet and windy Pembrokeshire, on the south-west coast of Wales, Kiren Mainwaring and his friends would often barbecue their fresh catch on the beach. “We’d cook up whatever we caught; it’s always been a really simple, honest way to eat, ” he said. “I really love this time of the year because you can cook everything from breakfast to a lovely slow-cooked pork belly or shoulder for dinner. My favourite style at the moment is the Jamaican-style jerk with lots of chilli, onion, garlic, nutmeg, pimento and lemon with ripened peaches for a sweet tang. WA is the best place for barbecues — there is so much good produce here. It’s amazing really to be able to put chicken, fish, pork or tofu on and get those lovely charcoal flavours.”

Peter Manifis, head chef, Incontro, South Perth.

When it comes to cooking outdoors, Peter Manifis can’t go past the simple flavours and fresh herbs that have been used for centuries by his Greek ancestors. Although American style slow-cooked ribs, briskets and whole joints are popular, Manifis predicts simplicity will make a comeback. “Don’t underestimate how wonderful those simple flavours can be, ” he said. “Chargrilled seafood has to be my favourite way to cook, with coals and wood embers underneath. Barbecues are clean, easy and universal. I like to use chilli, garlic, lemon, oregano and olive oil on just about anything. When it comes to salads, fennel is beautiful, along with pilaf rice and burnt butter yoghurts.”


© The West Australian

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