“We sat in the luxurious cool of Toowoomba and watched the seasons pass by as we bided our time waiting for the right venue to become available,” said Amanda.
When it became time to start fresh, Amanda and her partner Larry knew they wanted to be surrounded by different flavours and produce from those to which they had grown accustomed. “We had always wanted a restaurant in the country. We also wanted a rest in an area that was different to what we had called home for the last 15 years,” said Amanda.
Though she may have left Bundaberg behind, Amanda’s reputation as an architect of gourmet, locally sourced dishes, has followed her to Toowoomba. “We’re super excited and a little bit nervous, but the challenge of starting again is invigorating. We know a lot more now than what we did 14 years ago, but there are always new things to learn,” she said.
Amanda and Larry have embraced their opportunity to start over with their new micro-regional eatery Emeraude.
The restaurant is nestled 712 metres above sea level in a mountain top position on the edge of the Great Dividing Range.
“We see Emeraude as a destination where people can be welcomed with a friendly country smile, with a focus on an authentic experience that is rich in quality produce. We love farmers and we are extremely passionate about the produce the area has to offer.”
Amanda counts herself lucky to have joined a closely knit community of local farmers, enabling her to directly source all produce from local growers, or from her own farm.
“Oh, the joys of having talented organic farmers 150 metres across the road, and the organic blueberries at our back door from Hampton Blue,” Amanda said.
“It’s wonderful; we have access to the Hampton scarlet rhubarb and super greens from Halo farms, the high country Ravensbourne avocado, lemons, persimmons, walnuts, kiwi fruits and exquisite flowers that are delivered each week.”
Knowing where her produce comes from is as important to Amanda as the flavours she puts on the plate.
“This is all real food, we know where it comes from and we know the men and women who grew and nurtured it,” Amanda said.
Emeraude is more than a restaurant. It is an embodiment of Amanda and Larry’s fundamental outlook on living, eating, and connecting.
“It’s the kind of food your grandmother would have cooked. Living and eating off the land has always had a place in modern day society, we just need to educate new generations about the food they enjoy eating,” Amanda said.
Since joining the local community of Hampton, Amanda says they have felt an amazing sense of support from the people around her.
She admits it is a privilege to be able to open her dream restaurant in such a beautiful, abundant, and welcoming place.
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