Brisbane-based chef Josue (Josh) Lopez will join Emporium Hotels as executive chef at the new flagship Hotel in South Bank, due to open in mid-2018.

Most recently Josh spent five years as executive chef at GOMA Restaurant, where he was awarded a two hats by the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide in 2016 and CITI Chef of the Year, as well an Australian Gourmet Traveller Star for 2017.

Emporium Hotel owner and Anthony John group managing director Tony John said Lopez’s acceptance of the position was a watershed moment for the Hotel.

“We are very excited and humbled that Josh has confirmed he will join our award-winning team. As executive chef at GOMA Restaurant Josh continually impressed with high quality, innovative dishes that always deliver on flavour,” says John.

“It is his commitment to celebrating local produce and his international experience, together with his vision for the Brisbane dining scene that makes him such a wonderful culinary leader for Emporium Hotels.

“This is a partnership based on a mutual commitment to quality and excellence as well as a desire to continue enhancing Brisbane’s position as a new world city. Like its sister in Fortitude Valley, we expect Emporium Hotel Southpoint to support Brisbane and Queensland’s focus on creating new pathways for tourism and see Josh as key to helping us achieve this.”

Lopez will have full-control over the direction of the hotel’s dining options, creating the menu for the yet-to-be-named signature restaurant, as well as the rooftop bar, piano bar, Belle Époque Patisserie, in-suite dining, conferencing and events.

“This is an incredibly exciting moment. I am so proud of what I have achieved at the GOMA Restaurant, and in this next chapter for me as a chef, I want to take my cuisine to the next level, and create a crucible for creativity, working alongside Anthony John Group,” Lopez says.

“Brisbane’s dining scene has changed and grown in the last few years, but I believe there is still immense potential. I was blessed to meet Ferran Adrià (head chef, El Bulli — five times world’s best restaurant) at GOMA in 2014, he inspired me by saying Australia’s food culture is only just beginning to come into her time. He encouraged me by saying that as chefs we have the potential to develop a cuisine with international impact.

“I’m also thrilled that I will be remaining in the South Brisbane precinct, truly a hub of creativity and a culinary hotspot in what is, in my opinion, the best city in the country.”

Born in El Salvador and raised in Brisbane, before his role at QAGOMA Lopez was previously head chef at Brisbane restaurants Moda, Two Small Rooms and Spring. In 2011, he spent three months working under René Redzepi at Copenhagen’s Noma and early in his career worked at Gordon Ramsey’s Maze in London.

Image: Weekend Edition

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