He’s the man who turned custard into an art form with his passion for Australian produce and deep respect for local ingredients, now ready to transform Brisbane into a culinary hot spot.

Josue Lopez’s wattle seed custard, Daintree chocolate and vanilla curd dish gives me a thrill each time I see it.  Every plate is a work of art, a salute to your taste buds.  It is one of GOMA’s signature dishes.

In an exciting development for Brisbane, Josue (Josh) Lopez has announced he is moving from his position as Executive Chef at GOMA Restaurant, where he was awarded a prestigious two hats by the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide in 2016 and CITI Chef of the Year, as well an Australian Gourmet Traveller Star for 2017.  It is the end of his five-year tenure.

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Lopez is joining Emporium Hotels as Executive Chef, based at the new flagship Hotel in South Bank, due to open in mid- 2018.

It’s a watershed moment for the hotel, and one quickly acknowledged by Emporium Hotel owner and Anthony John Group Managing Director Tony John.

“We are very excited and humbled that Josh has confirmed he will join our award-winning team. As Executive Chef at GOMA Restaurant Josh continually impressed with high quality, innovative dishes that always deliver on flavour,” Mr John said.

“It is his commitment to celebrating local produce and his international experience, together with his vision for the Brisbane dining scene that makes him such a wonderful culinary leader for Emporium Hotels,” he said.

“This is a partnership based on a mutual commitment to quality and excellence as well as a desire to continue enhancing Brisbane’s position as a new world city. Like its sister in Fortitude Valley, we expect Emporium Hotel Southpoint to support Brisbane and Queensland’s focus on creating new pathways for tourism and see Josh as key to helping us achieve this.”

Exciting times ahead as Josh will have full control over the direction of the hotel’s dining options, creating the menu and flavour proposition for the yet-to-be-named signature restaurant, as well as the rooftop bar, piano bar, Belle Époque Patisserie, in-suite dining and conferencing and events.

“This is an incredibly exciting moment,” says Josh.  “I am so proud of what I have achieved at the GOMA Restaurant, and in this next chapter for me as a Chef, I want to take my cuisine to the next level and create a crucible for creativity.”

“Brisbane’s dining scene has changed and grown in the last few years, but I believe there is still immense potential. I was blessed to meet Ferran Adrià (Head Chef, El Bulli – five times world’s best restaurant) at GOMA in 2014. He inspired me by saying Australia’s food culture is only just beginning to come into her time. He encouraged me by saying that as chefs we have the potential to develop a cuisine with international impact.”

“I’m also thrilled that I will be remaining in the South Brisbane precinct, truly a hub of creativity and a culinary hotspot in what is, in my opinion, the best city in the country.”

Born in El Salvador and raised in Brisbane, Josh has worked in some of Brisbane and Europe’s most acclaimed restaurants. Before his celebrated position with QAGOMA, he was previously head chef at iconic Brisbane restaurants Moda, Two Small Rooms and Spring. In 2011, he spent three months working under René Redzepi at Copenhagen’s Noma –four times named Best Restaurant in the World by Restaurant magazine and early in his career worked at Gordon Ramsey’s Maze in London.

In November 2014, Josh created a contemporary Australian flavour event for the Brisbane G20 leaders’ working dinner at QAGOMA, with both the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and President of the United States Barack Obama in attendance.

Just two months ago he took a starring role on Masterchef, where his 14- element-Emu-three-ways dish proved a major hurdle for contestants.

Josue Lopez will commence with Emporium Hotels on November 1.

Emporium Hotel Southpoint will be a sister to Emporium Hotel Fortitude Valley, Australia’s most awarded boutique luxury hotel. The hotel will open in mid-2018, and feature 143 appointed suites, Belle Époque Patisserie, restaurant and Sky Bar, overlooking the spectacular 23m infinity edge pool with views to Brisbane’s CBD and beyond. Located in the same tower as the hotel are 217 apartments, with owners enjoying exclusive access to Emporium’s services.