Authors of Spirit House the Cookbook, Helen Brierty and Annette Fear.
Authors of Spirit House the Cookbook, Helen Brierty and Annette Fear. Spirit House

Legendary Sunshine Coast restaurant releases cookbook

IT'S "same-same but different" for the Coast's newest cookbook.

The women behind legendary Yandina restaurant Spirit House's 300-page tome say it's set to become another best seller.

The successful first cookbook of chefs at the Thai and modern Asian restaurant sold 50,000 copies since it launched 12 years ago.

"It's the biggest book we've ever done - it's been a mammoth job," co-author Helen Brierty, owner of Spirit House, said.

Chef Annette Fear collaborated with Ms Brierty on the book, which was released last week and is now selling online and at bookshops on the Sunshine Coast and beyond.

"It has a modern Asian focus," Ms Brierty said. "Not strictly Thai - lots of salads."


The new offering has all the ingredients a home cook needs: easily-sourced ingredients, clear instructions, preparation and cooking times, degree of difficulty for each recipe, chef's tips and advice about how to use the more exotic spices and ingredients.

Ms Brierty's chefs travel to Bangkok every year to keep up with trends in modern Thai cuisine.

"They just go and they eat," she said.

"The modern Thai is all coming from Bangkok - American and Canadian chefs who have moved to Bangkok, and they're the ones who are really pushing the trend away from traditional Thai into modern Thai (cuisine)."

They often work voluntarily in restaurants to keep up-to-date, which was a shock to the system for the Australians.

"There's no such things as an eight-hour shift in Thailand - they work 80 to 90-hour weeks," Ms Brierty said.

Spirit House's cooking school has inspired modern Asian cooking for locals and visitors alike, and the site is growing fast as a must-see destination in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

The restaurant supports local producers by spending $4000 on Coast-grown vegetables and herbs every week, and between $5000-6000 on seafood from Mooloolaba trawlers.

Spirit House cooking school.
Spirit House cooking school. CONTRIBUTED

It's also expanding, with a new bar and dining room linked by a beautifully landscaped courtyard now being built. It will be available for private functions, weddings and corporate events sometime after Easter.

The private dining room will seat 24-26 people and has its own kitchen, bar and cocktail menu.

The spacious bar and deck area will accommodate about 80 people for "finger food functions", while casual drop-ins will be welcome during the day.

"We're doing a lot of unusual cocktails and things like that," she said, referring to the new space. "Some of the cocktails over there are just stunning.

"We're infusing spirits in barrels and things like that (in preparation). We'll open when the barman says we're ready to open.

"We'll also be serving bar food there. During the day, you can drop in for a quick snack. We get a lot of people coming here just to have a look."

With the restaurant still as busy as ever, Ms Brierty said she had no immediate plans to pen more recipes any time soon.

"Annette and I...we're very happy to sit back and not do another one for a while," Ms Brierty said.

"It's taken a year. It's such a lot of work."

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