Raising The Steaks

Chef Dumi Diamini Waterbar & Grill Steakhouse By Janie Barton

Dumi Diamini

There are a number of reasons why Dumi Diamini, head chef at Waterbar & Grill Steakhouse, keeps getting headhunted by the top restauranteurs.

The South African born chef, who has been head chef at Waterbar since it opened in 2006, was working at a top restaurant in South Africa when he was lured to Australia 22 years ago.

“The owner of a big restaurant I worked for in South Africa immigrated to Australia and he kept coming back to South Africa and said he wanted me to help him set up a restaurant in Sydney,” Dumi said. “So I said I’d give it a go.”

Dumi helped him set up Sydney’s famous Hurricane’s Bar and Steakhouse, which has since generated a chain of Hurricane restaurants. It was while there that his friend Allan Simpson (owner of Waterbar) talked him into coming to Cairns 11 years ago to help him set up Waterbar’s steakhouse. Not only is Dumi an in-demand chef and master of setting up kitchen systems, he knows the best cuts of meat, the best meats to pick and, most importantly, the best ways to cook meat.

“You have to be consistent with meat,” said Dumi, who personally tastes his meat each week to check for quality. “It has to be aged enough and when you’re cooking it you have to know the results you’re going to get because you can cook up to 40 to 50 different cuts of meat a day.”

Dumi, who has served more than 700,000 meals at Waterbar & Grill, is known to personally select his cuts of meat from his favourite meat source, Atherton’s Morganbury Meat Company, which specialises in grain-fed, aged organic beef. From the melt-in-your-mouth 250g fillet of tenderloin to the ever-popular and largest cut of beef, the 500g Lazy Aged Rump, Dumi is renowned for ensuring his ten chefs and three cooks are consistent in preparing and cooking all types of meats. While an exceptional chef makes a restaurant a success, so does the running of the kitchen.

“If you don’t have a good system in place, you’ll have pans being thrown around the kitchen,” Dumi joked. “Running a kitchen is the hardest thing. You’re dealing with staff, customers and suppliers and everything has to run smoothly.

“I’m lucky because I have a good team at Waterbar. We laugh a lot, and we work well together as a team.”

Waterbar & Grill Steakhouse, The Pier, Cairns www.waterbarandgrill.com.au 

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