Flipping a cabbage on its head.
When Dan Hunter (ex-Royal Mail Hotel, Mugaritz) wanted to realise his vision of a place that would be an authentic reflection of his values, ambition and personality as a chef he approached us to make it come to life.
Seasonality is very much the guiding principle of the dining experience at Brae, with ingredients sourced solely from local producers and from the restaurant’s on-site kitchen garden. To communicate Dan’s philosophy we wanted to strike a balance between the two sides of his of his professional identity: his status as a highly technical and skilled Michelin-starred contemporary chef, versus his reverence for the seasons, connectedness to nature and uniquely Australian pragmatism.
To fully capture the essence of Dan’s vision and values for the business, we worked in partnership with the restaurant’s architects, Six Degrees, to develop a palette of earthy neutrals – utilising unexpected material treatments – that would strike a balance with the identity we were developing for Brae.
What we needed now was a visual manifestation of Dan’s philosophy. Yet it needed to be as far removed from the traditional approach of photographing the chef in their kitchen or finished plates at empty tables, as possible. Brae was no cliché and its identity needed to reflect that.
Working with photographer Scottie Cameron we created a series of still life and landscape images based on ingredients that represent each season. Guided by ingredients chosen by Dan, we captured the Brae garden’s bounty in all its raw, natural glory – roots, earth and all. These images have become a powerful metaphor for the studied, holistic simplicity that the Brae experience has come to embody.
Since opening, Brae has received a number of accolades including the 2014 Good Food Guide’s Restaurant of the Year; three stars in Gourmet Traveller’s 2015 Restaurant Guide Awards; and more recently being ranked as the number 87 restaurant in the world.