Forget State of Origin, NSW has lured Queensland's hottest young chef south of the border.
Ben Devlin, who nabbed the 2014 Brisbane Times Good Food Guide Young Chef of the Year gong when he was at Esquire, is head chef at Paper Daisy, which opens on Wednesday in the north of the state.
Part of the new Halcyon House boutique hotel at Cabarita Beach, 40 minutes north of Byron Bay, Paper Daisy's menu heavily taps local seafood, fruit, pork and even pecans. Devlin, who has also worked at Rene Redzepi's Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, says he isn't trying to transplant Noma or Esquire style food.
"It's casual fine dining. Something you'd like to eat when you are on holidays," he says.
The 90-seat restaurant, named after the Paper Daisy wildflowers that grow locally, will serve pippies with lemon myrtle and warrigal greens, paper bark grilled cod with seaweed and wagyu rump with green onion and black garlic.
"There's a guy growing vanilla nearby, I'm using it to make little milk bottle sweets, " Devlin says.