Byron Bay has snared another prized restaurant recruit, with former Saint Peter and Arc Dining chef Alanna Sapwell set to join the Fink Group's Beach Byron Bay early next year as head chef.
The coastal town has become a magnet for top-shelf sea-change food talent, with a posse of chefs including Matt Kemp, Jason Saxby, David Moyle, Jo Barrett and Matt Stone riding into town, and restaurateurs Maurice Terzini and Justin Hemmes poised to open venues there.
Word has started to leak on Byron's eat streets that Sapwell will be joining the party. The chef confirms she'll land at Beach next February and says some of the embedded Byron Bay chef talent have already reached out to introduce her to local suppliers.
What are her plans at the restaurant, which is overlooking Clarkes Beach? Given her background, Sapwell agreed there'll be a strong seafood line-up.
"I really enjoy cooking it [seafood] but there'll be a good range of things on the menu," she says.
As for earmarking some of her signature dishes, Sapwell argues it is a backward way to write an opening menu and she'll be driven by local produce.
In the past year, Sapwell has had good notices at her Esmay pop-up, which has followed the food festival circuit around the country. Sydneysiders will get a final taste of her cooking before she joins Beach, with Sapwell confirming she's bring her culinary act to Sydney in January as part of Good Food Month.
Departing Beach chef Simon Palmer is tipped to be headed to Queensland after he steps out of the kitchen towards the end of summer.