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We sat down with Queensland Parliament Executive Chef Anthony Naylor to find out what inspires his food philosophy.

When and how did you know you wanted to become a chef?

I’ve been in kitchens from a very young age, either with my Mum at her café or at home with my grandfather cooking up dishes like rabbit stew or Dublin Coddle. As I grew into my teens I spent a lot more time helping Mum at her Café – I was involved in all aspects of food preparation and service. Also loved the interaction with guests. I guess it was just a natural progression from there.

Where was your first job and what was it like?

L’Ecrivain restaurant Dublin is where I started as a commis under Michelin Star chef Derry Clarke. This was a big eye opener for me, and an amazing start to my professional career. It was hard work with long days spent in the kitchen, I loved it from the start.

Have you ever cooked for anyone famous?

Over the years I have had the pleasure of cooking for some very well-known celebrities like Bono, Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson, Robert De Niro.

Is there a cookbook you look to for inspiration?
Currently I would look to Organum by Peter Gilmore for inspiration, chef Gilmore shows amazing technique while using some of Australia’s best native ingredients. I’m always inspired by how beautifully he honours ingredients by paring everything back until you’re just left with sophisticated flavour.

What’s your favourite Australian ingredient?
This would have to be finger lime, it’s amazing, it suits sweet and savoury dishes and is a stand out ingredient that speaks for itself.
What’s something you just can’t eat?
Casu martzu. –  it’s a Sardinian sheep milk cheese that contains live larvae.
What’s surprised you most about working at Parliament House?
The skill and knowledge within my team. Honestly there’s not a week that goes by that I haven’t learnt something new from these guys, this is also why I enjoy cooking so much, the learning is endless.
What is the focus of your food at Parliament House?
Our aim is to deliver the very best of our locally sourced ingredients from Queensland, while also concentrating on providing room to use more native ingredients within our menus.
What’s your favourite catering space at Parliament House?
This would have to be Strangers’ Restaurant – that juxtaposition between heritage architecture and the contemporary food we create leads the inspiration across all of our venues and menus at Parliament House.
If you could have any 6 people for dinner who would they be and why?
My daughter Mia, I just love watching her enjoy what I have prepared, my partner Adelina, son Anthony and mum Barbara  as it gives me a sense of pride, when I cook for them. Marco Pierre White as I loved to know what a true culinary legend thinks of my food and Gordon Ramsey for critique and entertainment.

Is your mouth watering yet? 

Book your table at Strangers’ Restaurant to try Chef Anthony’s seasonally inspired food offering.

We suggest the five-course tasting, where you get to sample the best of Queensland, right now.