We caught up with British born Chef and owner of the Thomas Corner eatery, David Rayner, to find out what keeps him over on the Sunshine Coast.
Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do
I was born in London and trained and worked there as a chef for many years. I came to Australia over 20 years ago to meet up with a relative who my family had lost contact with for over 25 years. Whilst visiting him I met Belinda, my wife to be, in Melbourne. We travelled extensively around Australia before settling in Sydney. When a work opportunity arose to relocate to Noosa we jumped at the chance. I am the owner and head chef of Thomas Corner eatery, a modern restaurant that overlooks the Noosa River in Noosaville. This is the second restaurant I have established in Noosa, the first one I sold after five years so I could relocate to capture a venue with a lovely outlook.
How long have you lived on the Sunshine Coast and what keeps you here?
I have lived in Noosa for 15 years, which has been the perfect place to raise our two children. There is so much freedom, a beautiful climate with some of the world’s best beaches at our doorstep. The sunshine coast is blessed to have a strong food scene and access to amazing local produce. This is very important to me being a chef.
How does the Sunshine Coast inspire your work and creativity?
Noosa is surrounded by an abundance of fresh fish and seafood, and large variety of boutique growers and farms providing nearly everything you need to produce a full menu for the restaurant. This is inspiring. Produce coming straight from the farm direct to the restaurant. I liaise directly with multiple farmers, growers and fishmen whom guide and motivate me and feed my creativity.
What is your favourite outdoor activity?
I love taking my 2 dogs to the impressive Peregian beach on my days off. It’s my favourite beach. The water is amazing, sand has soft fine grains, it is never overly crowded and any one who is there is really friendly.
Are there any new openings in the area that can’t be missed?
That is a tricky one, it all depends who you are looking for, as there is something for all ages. There are lots of new activities for kids like the aqua fun park in Coolum. For adults and retail addicts there are a number of new home ware and clothing shops opened in Noosaville. I have recently discovered Massage Noosa, which gives the best remedial massage, and rooms that are sitting on top of the Noosa River.
If you only had one day to show us the best of the Sunshine Coast, where would you take us?
That’s easy. I would take you directly to Thomas Corner eatery for a long lazy lunch where you could sit and watch the people along the river, swimming, paddle boarding, canoeing and sailing. But then again, I am a little bias.
How would you spend your perfect evening on the Sunshine Coast?
Enjoying the outdoors, surrounded by close friends and family and good food and wine.
Where is your favourite local’s hangout?
My favourite hangout is where I spend most of my time when I am not at work – Noosa Box Office. It is a large studio tucked away in the industrial estate, where I do kickboxing and boxing sessions. It is amazing how fit and healthy the locals like to keep themselves so it is also a bit of a social get together.
What’s your best time of year on the Sunshine Coast and why?
Without a doubt it is May. The water temperature is warm, days are still warm and nights are just beginning to get a bit cooler. The humidity has passed and the days are generally sunny. It is not one of the busy months for tourism so I have a nice balance between work and home.