Executive Chef & Reef House Cuisine

Introducing Ben Canham

Our executive chef Ben Canham, 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."

Wines to Compliment by Matia, Restaurant Manager

Wine & food matching is the process of pairing dishes with wine to enhance the dining experience.

The main concept behind pairings is that certain elements (such as texture and flavor) in both food and wine interact with each other in the palate.  Finding the right combination of these elements will make the entire dining experience more enjoyable. However, taste and enjoyment are very subjective and what may be a 'textbook perfect' pairing for one person may not be to another.  That's why there is no strictly right or wrong, you may have the perfect wine match for a dish, but your taste perception may say different.

Signature Dish:  Queensland Saltwater Barramundi in Mild Thai red curry, braised pineapple & coconut pilaf
Wine pairing - Vasse Felix, Chardonnay, WA

When matching wine with spicy foods it is best to choose low alcohol wines as alcohol accentuates the oils that make spicy food hot.   Some Chardonnay go through a Maloalctic fermentation which is a winemaking process in which tart tasting mlic acid, naturally present in grape 'must' is converted to a softer tasting lactic acid.   This process can impart a 'buttery' flavour which compliments spicy food.

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Pork Belly & Scallops

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Cape grim rib fillet

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sEAfood Taster

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Soft Shell Crab

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barramundi thai curry

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Atlantic Salmon