Executive Chef & Reef House Cuisine

Introducing Ben Canham

Our executive chef Ben Canham, joined us this year at The Reef House.  Ben is excited about his challenge to tantalise the taste buds of diners visiting Palm Cove.  The Reef House Restaurant has a long-standing reputation with locals and tourists alike. He is passionate about food and enjoys sharing his love of all things culinary with his customers.

Ben is inspired by the scenery at the Reef House, with the beach within close vicinity, as well as tropical Far North Queensland produce and the opportunity to support local farmers and fishermen.  

Ben's career spans 20 years and an impressive line-up of restaurants, including Villa Romana, the Salt House, Perotta's, the Waterbar & Grill, the Shangri-La, Hotel Cairns and Rydges Esplanade.

He is an award-winning chef, securing first and second place in the Best Restaurant in Queensland awards, as chosen by the Australian Culinary Federation.

 "I believe in constant challenges, as well as redeveloping and reinventing myself on a daily basis," Ben said.     "When you have good teamwork you have good results. I love the thrill of a good service and the compliments we receive.     "I believe in a positive, can-do attitude, as well as being creative, efficient, hard-working and customer-focused."

The Reef House focuses on modern Australian cuisine with Asian and European influences.  There is definitely a focus on fresh, local seafood, with beautiful views and a relaxed atmosphere.

Their signature dish is Sea Scallops with Twice Cooked Pork Belly, with other favorites including Cape Grim Rib Fillet, Cold & Hot Seafood Tasters, Atlantic Salmon, Confit Duck, Braised Beef Cheeks.

 "We have a great view and great ambience combined with great service and great food," Ben said. "I am looking forward to making my mark on Far North Queensland."

In Season - In the Tropics

Beautiful juicy & fragrant Bowen Mangoes are plentiful this time of year in North Queensland.    

Ben has created a delicious Chocolate Mango Pecan Tart to finish your evening meal in tropical style. 

Wines to Compliment by Matia, Restaurant Manager

Wine and food pairing is a balancing act, an art rather than an exact science. You want to balance flavors, weight and intensity.

When matching with food we have to take into consideration many factors.  What is the protein, sauce and what’s the garnish?    

Pork Belly & Scallops

       I suggest to match this with West Cape Howe from WA, Mount Barker.

Pork can be quite fatty, so I look for something to clear the pores on your tongue.  We need dry white wine, plus scallops need lime or lemon.  Quite dry wine which will help pork and with lots of lime and lemon flavors, to complement scallops. Plus all those citrus flavors will be perfect with Pineapple jam.   A perfect match!


Cape Grim rib fillet, parsnip puree, asparagus, roast mushroom, Merlot jus & black garlic butter.      

I suggest matching with,  Sister's Run Old Testament Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, SA.

Rib Fillet is very rich and full of flavor steak, with some fat content so we look for a red wine with full body and tannins, which pair well with fat.  That’s because the astringency of the tannin cuts through the viscosity of the fat.   Sisters Run Cabernet will give us some big tannins, and lovely earthy flavors.   This will also compliment the mushroom and parsnip.  

There is one tricky item on the plate which will slightly change the wine flavor,  and it's the asparagus, which contains methyl mercaptan, this can give wine a vegetal character.      Try it first with and then without!

Template Image 1

Pork Belly & Scallops

Template Image 2

Cape grim rib fillet

Template Image 3

sEAfood Taster

Template Image 4

Beef Cheeks


Template Image 2

Soft Shell Crab

Template Image 3

barramundi thai curry

Template Image 3

Atlantic Salmon