The Scenic Rim’s first Regional Food Ambassador, Josue Lopez, visited a Scenic Rim vegetable and beef farm this week, ahead of his new restaurant opening.

Josue brought his team of chefs to the region to experience the depth of produce available an hour from Brisbane.

Josue and his kitchen team chat carrots with Kalbar vegetable farmer Ed Windley. Image by Timothy Allen.

Josue and his team are finalising menu details ahead of the opening of the Opal Restaurant in August at the new Emporium Hotel South Bank.

Josh says he visited the Windley’s vegetable and beef farm at Kalbar, because he wants his kitchen team to meet the people who grow the ingredients they use every day.

“I want my team to understand who grows our food and the dedication and innovation behind modern farming,” he explains.

“For chefs, flavour is king and you will never eat a more delicious carrot than one pulled straight from the ground.”

During Eat Local Week, Josue will give a sneak peek of his new Opal Restaurant menu, featuring Scenic Rim produce, at a dinner with matched wines at Witches Falls Winery.

Tickets are limited, buy them online.

From Scenic Rim paddocks to your plate. Image by Timothy Allen.

While in the Scenic Rim, the chefs spoke to farmer Ed Windley about how he grows carrots, green beans, onions, and corn and the sustainable farming systems he has adopted on his Kalbar property.

“Ed told us how local growers will produce some 21-million carrots this winter and about 700 tonnes of onions. I love having these experiences and really value my role as a regional food ambassador with the Scenic Rim. Eating fresh, local produce is so important to me.”

Josue says visiting farms and meeting farmers is a valuable experience for everyone, not only chefs.

“Scenic Rim Eat Local Week and the Winter Harvest Festival are great opportunities for anyone to come to the region, meet the farmers and even try fresh carrots straight out of the ground.”

But if you prefer your food ready-to-eat and prepared by a chef of Josue’s calibre – there are plenty of gourmet food events, including An Evening with Josh at Witches Falls Winery, where Josue will give a sneak peek of the new Opal Restaurant menu.

“I’m always looking for quality and less conventional ingredients to feature in restaurant dishes and be able to offer diners something truly special,” he says.

“I’m so thankful for the heart of local farmers and their hospitality in allow chefs like me to come to the farm and be educated about produce and allow us to be creative in exploring the leaves, roots, seeds and complimentary plants growing alongside.”