Warehouse Wonderland – Venū
Deb Caruso sees what’s cooking in the Coast’s latest creative space.
The Ohana Group has built a reputation for creative catering, stunning styling and impeccable attention-to-detail. Chef Ryan Fitzpatrick and stylist Rashi Devendra encapsulate good taste in everything they do. Their latest project, VENŪ, sees a warehouse in Coolum’s industrial precinct transformed into a multipurpose creative space.
Once you open the door, you are transported to another world – a feast for all the senses.
Bespoke vintage furniture, including two Versace Chesterfield couches from Ryan’s Superyacht days; carefully-curated books adorning shelves full of curiosities and memories; and artwork gathered from the couple’s global adventures adorn the executive lounge area. But there is no time to rest, the aroma of something cooking draws your attention to perfectly-set Chef’s Table that almost hugs the classy-not-clinical, full service commercial kitchen
This is where Ryan will unleash his magic. There is no menu at VENŪ, just a guarantee that you will experience an unforgettable three-to-four-hour food immersion with creative, native and superlative tasting dishes expertly matched by The Ohana Group collaborators, The Bartenders.
Ryan, who boasts more than 15 years’ experience in restaurants, private yachts and venues throughout the globe, said the idea was to create something that no-one else was doing.
“We’ve purposely kept the seating to ten to ensure intimacy and exclusivity,” he said. “The Chef’s Table offers a premium experience whether it’s for a special occasion or high-powered meeting, everything will be slick yet simple, stylish and sophisticated.
His extensive knowledge on a wide range of cuisines, allows him to create menus that are varied, seasonal and sustainable.
“I’ll be creating the food that I love – very coastal with ingredients that you wouldn’t normally experience,” he said.
Think wild foraged ingredients like Saltbush, Purslane, fingerlime; finessed with the likes of whipped Fetta; air-dried olive; vegemite mayo and proteins cooked to perfection.
“My food philosophy is no-fuss with a visually pleasing plating style,” he explains. “I keep garnishing and accompaniments simple, yet the techniques used to cook the produce is complex. Adding several cooking methods to one dish, even though there are four or so ingredients, creates a different depth of flavour and texture to the finished product.
“By using sustainably sourced produce, we share the same passion as the producer and need to give it the same love as they do.
“Creating bespoke menus gives us greater freedom to do what we love and enjoy and to use whatever has been freshly caught, grown or created.”
While the food is the star of the experience, Rashi’s stylish touches are evident at every turn.
“Chef’s Table at VENŪ is an experience you won’t find elsewhere; everything is exclusive,” Rashi said. “It’s not going to be the cheapest option but then again booking out a whole restaurant is never going to be the cheapest option either. For the experience and privacy you get, we think it’s certainly worth it.”
The Chef’s Table also caters for executive meetings and private bookings with three or four set courses with matching beverages.
Like everything in VENŪ, there is a practical element to the stunning design. The kitchen is used to to prep food for offsite catering jobs; The Bartenders create their range of dehydrated citrus here and other chefs are able to hire the space for filming or photography.
Ryan said the space was designed to be both functional and flexible.
“We have already had a Netflix pilot filmed in here and the space works really well because it isn’t over-styled and Rashi can create whatever mood or tone is needed,” he said.
A staircase to the left invites you to explore further. If the Chef’s Table caters for an exclusive and intimate experience, the Mezzanine is literally, next level. Created with adventure in mind, there is purpose-built space to party with seating for 50 people or stand-up cocktial party for up to 80. The Bartenders have their own bar to shake their groove thing; and a dedicated DJ booth that can be rolled in or out; and Rashi’s styling prowess can bring the space to life. Looking down on the executive lounge area, it’s easy to picture a dance floor and suddenly getting the whole joint jumping.
The all-inclusive packages cover food, styling and premium beverages from The Bartenders, who will also be running masterclasses from the space.
And the location? Being in an industrial estate has its benefits such as limited noise restrictions, ample parking and privacy, Venu has teamed up with executive transport companies to ensure you can enjoy responsibly.
At its most basic level, a base for The Ohana Group and The Bartenders with a commercial kitchen, coldroom and storage for the equipment and accessories for offsite catering.”
What they have actually created is a warehouse-cum-wonderland creative space that allows them to be creative and share the things they are passionate about with people who appreciate it.
It’s a place for both companies to grow and push creative boundaries to deliver amazing experiences.
With the offsite events market still facing uncertainty, it’s a smart move, and a bold move. It would be easy to set up the space to deliver what the punters want. But The Ohana Group – and The Bartenders – have never been mainstream. And we, the customer, are the better for it. Without chefs, stylists, mixologists – even artists – challenging the norms and taking things to the next level, life would be boringly predictable. And who wants that?
A personal food experience for up to 10 guests with front row seats to the magic of the kitchen and an executive lounge to the right. Enjoy an impressive mouth-watering tasting menu featuring distinctive native ingredients with matching beverages
Exclusive space for larger groups, from formal to fun. It’s the full package from immaculate styling to silver service; seated or standing.
Creative food & production space
A purpose-built creative food production studio, with fully-equipped open plan chef kitchen is perfect for the food storytellers.