Posted on January 14, 2013
I received a restaurant commission in about 2003 ... or thereabouts ... to create several dozen wooden dishes to serve bread on. Chef Erwann Salaun, then executive chef at Nautilus Restaurant in Port Douglas (Australia), asked me to create dishes that embodied flowing 'organic' shape with a high degree of artistic design.
They had to accommodate a Cob style loaf (for 2 people) and small butter ramekin. Furthermore, they were to be shaped and balanced in such a way that the wait staff could carry and present them elegantly at the table for restaurant patrons. The brief really centered around a desire to present parts of the food on ware that was unique and different to the other restaurants in town ... in other words, serving ware not purchased from the same catering suppliers that everybody used.
So, this range of small functional serving dishes was born and carries the name 'Nautilus' in tribute to the restaurant which hosted their beginning.
Fast-forwarding to the present ... I still make Nautilus Dishes to the original design although they have become more refined and conform more closely to the style that has become ... 'mine'. The original set was mostly made from a fallen tree which I salvaged on the roadside in Julatten near my home. Today, I still make them from recycled or salvaged woods to honour the original concept.
Nautilus is available in two sizes ... the original small size (approx. 200mm - 8" long) and also a larger version (approx. 300mm - 12" long) which is great for larger servings. They can also be created in other one-off sizes to suit. The series are produced as one-offs ... all different but embodying a general common theme of shape and fluid lines.
Nautilus dishes are fully sealed and can tolerate most cleaning practices. Their appearance can be enhanced and maintained by application of vegetable or mineral oil after cleaning, although this is not mandatory. The finish is fine with 'wet' food items and the dish can be washed with water and normal detergent ... please keep it out of the dishwasher, though. The finish is the same as that which I apply to my cooking utensils, and is quite robust.