Hobart's Garagistes was the first restaurant to open in Australia that had a wine list with all-natural wines. That was four years ago. Chef and co-owner Luke Burgess talks to us about what the future holds and his next staff meal for A Taste of Harmony.
11 Mar 2014 - 12:10 PM  UPDATED 2 Jul 2014 - 3:54 PM

So the rumors are true, Garagistes is closing? Yeah, it’s on the market. What prompted the decision? It’s time for something new. We’re four years into a five-year lease. We [partners Kirk and Kat] want to move on to do something else. Without sounding too brash, the business has created lots of different opportunities for all of us. When you own a business, you’re rooted to the spot, no different from anyone else in a job, and there comes a time when you desire a change like everyone else. What’s next then? I have no idea. A million people have asked me. Will there be a chance for people to get one last Garagistes meal in? For sure. March and April are a good time for ingredients because summer arrives late in Tassie. Tomatoes and eggplants are around then, apples are back in, seafood is starting to build up toward the autumn run, the land is productive and the gardens are abundant.

I saw on your instragram feed you were in Paris then at MAD [Copenhagen's festival of food ideas] last year. Where to next? I’m hoping to go to Brazil. Maybe for the tail end of the World Cup. Look at the food scene. It’s the place where my girlfriend’s from. You're not usually shy about combining work with a holiday. Will you be a stagiaire anywhere?  My days of stageing are over. It will be holiday, no work, eating and watching football. I’m a crazy soccer fan. Who do you support? I like to support Australia, but it’s always good to have a backup – the Brazilian team have the same colours, so I support them too. Really, I support the game. I’ve been watching it on SBS since I was five years old.

What do you know about Brazilian cuisine? I know about 1% of Brazilian food. There’s a strong history of Portuguese cooking techniques and also African-inspired dishes using the native ingredients of Brazil. They have a fried pastry made with pork and black–eyed peas, called acarajé ­– a Portuguese version of an empanada.

You’re an ambassador for A Taste of Harmony. How will you be participating? I’ll be putting on a special staff meal. We might even put something on the menu too. We cook in a way that is inspired by other cultures, so it’s not much of a detour to what we do [at the restaurant]. I’m thinking of doing a pasta to honour growing up in [Sydney’s] Haberfield or something Lebanese that references Belmore.


Get to Garagistes (103 Murray St, Hobart) before it's too late, and don't forget to register your workplace today at A Taste of Harmony, from 17—23 March.