Jeremy Davidson

Jeremy Davidson is one third of the brains behind Palmy’s market food-style venue, The Collective, and probably one of the most appreciated people on the Gold Coast for that very reason.

We sat down for a chat with Jeremy about a brand new menu (including warming winter cocktails) and Christmas in July celebrations à la The Collective.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
About 12 years now. I moved here from Newcastle in the north east of England when I was 18 and fell in love with the place and made it home.

What do you love most about living here?
The beaches, the people, the lifestyle, the climate. I think the Gold Coast really lends itself to being outdoorsy, enjoying good times outside and by the beach of course.

Tell us about how The Collective came about…
It kind of snowballed and evolved. We first started talking about it when we were on a lengthy holiday in Europe – my partner Chloe, her dad and myself. We were sitting in the markets in Barcelona and Madrid just enjoying all the food and within those markets, you can bounce from one place to another and have a little bit of tapas and a glass of wine at one spot and then do the same somewhere else. They’re all set up like little stalls and it’s absolutely amazing. We loved that style of dining where you have lots of little tastes of different types of dishes and talk about all the flavours as you’re going. So that’s where we first kind of started thinking about the concept. I’ve spent the last 20 odd years now in hospitality, from fine dining to five star hotels and right down to casual stuff. My passion is really in the whole experience and everyone sitting down and sharing a meal around the table. So the concept started to evolve into how do we take that selection of choice and good times into a fully serviced environment. A few bottles of wine later we got to where we are today.

Why did the Gold Coast need something like this?
It’s a really exciting time and having been here for 12 years, the food scene on the Gold Coast has continued to evolve and I think our customers are getting more discerning, they’re really appreciating good food but they also want lots of choice. The movement with share dining has obviously really taken off and in my opinion has become the most popular way for people to eat. The Gold Coast is also about experiences, we’re famous for fun and so people sharing experiences around a table seemed to really suit what we wanted to do. We love the Gold Coast and especially the Palm Beach area as well so it all fit in together.

Tell us about the new menu…
We try to keep it as seasonal as possible. It is getting a little bit colder so this menu change has been geared toward a warmer, heartier feeling. Thing like gnocchi and pasta this time of year are really popular because it’s the kind of food that makes you feel warm and good inside. In our Asian kitchen Umame we’ve introduced a noodle bar, ramen-type concept, which is a nice wintery dish. We like to keep the menus as fresh and different as we can and make sure we always have a good selection.

What about the new cocktails?
Again we’re going slightly more wintery. Back by popular demand we’ve got our mulled wine and mulled cider coming on, we’re doing an Egg Nog which is really fun. It’s a traditional homage to the Christmas style Egg Nog with rum, brandy, nutmeg and cinnamon, it’s really delicious. Once a quarter, with our bar team, we do a competition where every member of the team comes up with a cocktail. We all sit around the bar and judge and give them feedback then the top selections go onto the menu. The entire bar team have a really intrinsic part to play in putting that together which is fun.

What’s happening for Christmas in July?
Christmas is really close to my heart and every year when it comes around to that time of year I’m used to it being freezing cold with jumpers and all that kind of thing so for the first two years of being here I struggled to feel Christmasy when it was boiling hot. It’s fun to have a Christmas when it’s cold so we’ll have the heaters on, the mulled wine out, really cheesy Christmas tunes going. People are invited to wear silly Christmas jumpers and all that kind of thing so it’s just going to be a really fun, banquet-style Christmas party.

What else have you got in the pipeline for 2018?
We’re working on a few things. We’ve just applied for our live music license, which we’re really excited about. We’re hoping to launch some live music acts on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon by July. There’s more coming, we’re continually trying to keep things interesting.

What’s the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
I believe a great deal in karma so I guess it’s just being conscious of putting good stuff out there and hoping good stuff will come back.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Beach: I’m biased but the stretch between Tallebudgera Creek and Currumbin. That’s where we walk the dogs every morning, it’s just beautiful.
Café: It’s a toss up between Espresso Moto and Barefoot Barista.
Restaurant: One of our go tos is Glenelg Public House. Rabbath in Burleigh have a really great Lebanese-style tasting menu and closer to home, Zipang is a little local Japanese restaurant you can take your own wine too. The food is really beautiful.
How does your weekend usually look? Taking the dogs for a walk after a surf or the gym, breakfast at one of our favourite spots then in the afternoon catch up with close friends, maybe at Rick Shores sitting at Burleigh having a glass of wine or a cocktail or two and then trying to find somewhere delicious for dinner as well.

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