Former Tetsuya’s and Rockpool chefs turn to surprising new solo ventures

Chef Josh Raine flies solo with a $200 six-course degustation, while Corey Costelloe shirks the high end of town for his first venture at the former STIX Cafe site.

Scott Bolles

The former head chef at Tetsuya’s is opening a pop-up at the Blue Door restaurant in Surry Hills while its owners are away next month on holidays, and rising Sydney hospo star Alex Cameron has swapped the inner city for the beaches, purchasing the 23-year-old Wet Paint restaurant in Bronte. Welcome to the left-field ways “gen next” is getting the foot in the door on the way to opening their first solo ventures.

Former Tetsuya’s chef Josh Raine.
Former Tetsuya’s chef Josh Raine.TNM Creative Media

High rents, rising costs and an oversupply of restaurants make launching a new venue a daunting proposition. Chef Josh Raine, who earlier this year called time on his six-year run at the soon-to-close Tetsuya’s, has dreams of opening his own pub-style eatery with a small fine diner attached. For now, his ambitions are a little more pragmatic.

“This is a way of me testing the waters before jumping in,” Raine says of his four-week residency, which kicks off on Wednesday, July 3 called A Spot of Raine at Blue Door. “The owners need a well-deserved short holiday, so this is the perfect opportunity to use someone else’s space.”

With a six-course degustation priced at $200, Raine hopes to discover if there is an appetite for what he’d like to eventually parlay into a permanent restaurant.

Rising Sydney hospo star Alex Cameron will open Table Manners in Bronte in August.
Rising Sydney hospo star Alex Cameron will open Table Manners in Bronte in August.Steven Woodburn

Alex Cameron cut his teeth as group general manager of hatted Sydney venues Franca and Parlar at Potts Point and Armorica in Surry Hills, but deliberately ignored those more venue-heavy suburbs for his first restaurant.

“It isn’t an area with a lot going on, but the fact Wet Paint lasted 23 years is a good sign,” Cameron says. He’ll reopen the space in August as Table Manners, with dishes such as brioche and spanner crab on the menu.

Cameron was drawn to the double shopfront space, and as a local he saw the potential in the area. A 12-seat bar where you can slip in for a post-swim drink and a club sandwich is also planned.

The 20 Chapel team (left to right): Owen Okada, Dave Allison, Corey Costelloe and Anthony Qalilawa.
The 20 Chapel team (left to right): Owen Okada, Dave Allison, Corey Costelloe and Anthony Qalilawa.Supplied

Chef Corey Costelloe has also shirked the high end of town for his first venture since departing earlier this year from Rockpool Bar & Grill, where he was culinary director.

Costelloe settled on Marrickville, where 20 Chapel opens later this month. Part of the appeal was inheriting an existing space, where his partner in the venture Dave Allison previously ran STIX Cafe, keeping the launch budget down.

Attracted to Marrickville’s vibrant hospo scene as well as the lower entry costs, Costelloe will still bring plenty of luxe to the launch. The chef will use top produce and admits to going a little overboard, ordering steak knives hand-carved from Portuguese timber he hopes will arrive before 20 Chapel’s opening on Friday, June 21.

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Scott BollesScott Bolles writes the weekly Short Black column in Good Food.

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