For more than three decades All’ Antica has been serving delectable eats to Sunshine Coast locals from their cosy family-owned trattoria. Sarah Vercoe finds out what goes into creating the delicious fare served up by its head chef and owner.
Shane McNally, 47, Head Chef / Owner of All’ Antica Italian Restaurant, Buddina.
How/Why did you become a chef?
I guess I became a chef by accident. While studying a Bachelor of Applied Science at university on the Gold Coast
I worked as a line cook in a busy 24-hour restaurant. When I completed my degree I found there was no work in my field so I committed to a chef’s apprenticeship. This allowed me to hone my skills and easily find work while travelling. Plus the fast-paced environment, constant parties and salt-of-the-earth characters you find in the kitchen is very appealing when you’re in your 20s…
What do you love about being a chef?
Being a chef has its ups and downs but I love the creativity involved in creating a meal; working with your hands to create something people can enjoy. I’m not so fond of being in the kitchen during the summer months though! And the hours can be a bit difficult in terms of having a social life. But the fast pace, laughs and camaraderie definitely make up for it.
What have been some of your career highlights so far?
A definite highlight was being approved for a business loan to open my own restaurant. Prior to that working as a chef in the Banff International Hotel in Canada was a fantastic experience. I got to work with a diverse group of European chefs who taught me a lot.
Who are your favourite local producers?
I love working with local producers. One of my favourites is Mount Byron Free Range Pork. They’re so easy to work with; I can call the farm direct, Adrian will tell me what is available and ask which cuts I’d like. In just a few days the meat is in the restaurant, fresh and ready to be prepared for our customers.
What is your approach to food?
I strongly believe the ingredients used in a dish can be prepared respectfully, without pretension and too much manipulation. Experience and knowledge can enhance any ingredient, making it special and memorable.
Who would you love to cook for?
Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer from Iron Maiden. They travel on tour in their own 747 jumbo called Ed Force One with Bruce as the pilot. I could quite happily be a private chef for those guys!
Who is your culinary inspiration?
My mum, my nanna, Anthony Bourdain, Marco and Ramsey – in that order.
What do you love to cook at home?
Self-saucing puddings! We have a pudding steamer at home and it’s our favourite thing to use in the kitchen. We make all kinds of crazy puddings.
What is your favourite dish?
My favourite dish is any that’s been prepared for me by someone else because I know how much goes into it.
What do you love most about the Sunshine Coast?
I love ocean and surfing. And I also love the small-town feel, we know most of our customers on a first-name basis.
Any advice for young chefs?
It’s important to listen, no matter how humble the venue you work in. There’s always something you can learn that’s going to help you throughout your career.
What is your favourite ingredient?
One of my favourite ingredients is Certified Grana Padano Aged Parmesan Cheese from Emiliana in Italy. It has a natural sharpness and flavour from the ageing process that you cannot replicate. It goes with all of pasta and risotto dishes in the restaurant.
• A bunch of basil
• 2 handfuls of rocket
• A handful of pistachio
• Salt and pepper
• Squeeze of one lemon
• 1/2 cup Grana Padano cheese
• 1/4-1/2 cup of vegetable oil
Your favourite pasta, pappardelle in chefs’ case
To make the Pesto
• Using whatever kind of blender available to you, blitz everything together and enjoy, this will also keep in the fridge for up to week!
•Cook your favourite pasta to al dente keep a little pasta water on the side
•Heat up a thick based saucepan with a generous dollop of pesto in it
•Add the pasta and a spoon of water and toss
•Garnish with some extra cheese and nuts and fresh basil