Rocky Hollingsworth has been cooking up a storm for many years in the Bellingen Shire. This ‘true local’ is just about to celebrate 6 months as principal chef at the Bellingen Valley Lodge (BVL). For anyone who has visited the Lodge recently and indulged in the fireside ambience, while enjoying the reincarnated menu, you’ll agree that Rocky and the BVL are a good fit.
“Its very different to be able cook and create in a quiet kitchen by myself. Listening to a book on my head phones and just cooking,” says Rocky.
With BVL ‘Christmas in July’ celebrations on the horizon, it was time for Rod and Rocky to chew the fat.
What’s your background as a chef?
I was trained in Adelaide and started my career there. The last 18 years I have been mainly running large pub kitchens in the Bellingen Shire.
How would you describe the style of cooking now available at BVL?
I would say the style of cooking is now very much ingredients driven cooking, with a multi cultural feel. On any one day you could find French, Greek, Thai, Japanese or even Indian influences, along with beautiful local seafood, selected meats and the best local vegetables available.
Do you have a signature dish?
I don’t like to single out any one dish but I know that I have a signature style with quite a few signature dishes and ingredients that I like to play with and improve. I am probably best known for my duck & whole fish dishes.
And a secret tip for us novices?
Its not a secret but my tip would be- taste what you are cooking often, let the ingredients inspire you and always remember that if it smells great it will taste great.
‘Christmas in July’- that’s a new concept for these parts. What have you got planned?
The Terrace Restaurant will come alive with Yuletide Festivities for the last two weekends in July. Enjoy a warm, Christmas-themed meal beside the roaring fire. And with our new ‘courtesy bus’ to deliver you home afterwards, overindulging won’t be an issue! Friday and Saturday nights July 19th, 26th and 27th.
Any other special events being planned at BVL?
Returning Sunday August 4th is ‘SUNDAZE’ on the terrace. This involves a late lunch from 2 – 7 pm with our local DJ, plus happy hours 5 – 7 pm…… I cant wait for that.
Your best memory of childhood was?
Being rowed out in a tinny with my grandpa to catch whiting in South Australia.
Your best sporting moment was?
Winning ribbons at pony club.
What would you like to be remembered for?
Just being an all-round great guy.
What are you reading right now?
Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ series.
What are you listening to right now?
3 Nights by Dominick Fike.
What really annoys you?
Answering generic, non-relevant questions.
Ouch- should I be taking that personally.
What project are you currently working on?
Planting winter veggies like snow peas and broccoli.
How do you relax?
By gardening and fishing.
Favourite holiday destination & why?
I like to travel but I think exploring some where new is the best so no favourites.
In the Movie Rockygate, who would play you?
Now I was sure you were going to say Sly Stallone.