The Colonist: Man Behind the Menu

He’s experimental, creative and pours emotion into every menu. We visit eastern suburbs favourite, The Colonist, to find out what head chef Dean Lennerth is dishing up this autumn.

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You’ve previously said that a lot of your dishes represent your emotions – can you elaborate on certain dishes on the menu and what they mean to you?

All of the dishes are basically things that I want to eat, although the dishes obviously still need to suit the venue and, importantly, the customer’s tastes. So there needs to be  a balance between what I want to do with  a menu and what I can do too!

There are a lot of tapas and share plates. What does the experience of sharing a meal mean to you? Is this type of dining in line with the vibe of the venue?

I think so, it’s nice to sit with friends, family, partners and just be together – sharing plates are part of that experience. I also like the community spirit that sharing food can create.

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You’re always coming up with new dishes on your specials menu. Can you describe the process in creating new menu items?

I like to observe what is trending around the eastern states and look at ways we can incorporate parts of that into our menus. I’m also always looking at giving customers new and interesting foods and plates to try.

What is your current favourite menu item and why?

The Herbivore bowl! It’s fresh, tasty, not too heavy, easy on the eye and you walk away satisfied. Plus, it suits the veggie/vegan diner and, for those who like a bit of meat, protein can also be added.

You’re known for being quite experimental with your cooking style. What is the most unique dish you’ve ever created?

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That’s a hard one! As a chef I think you’re always creating something new and unique!

What can we expect from The Colonist in the coming weeks?

A new seasonal menu is coming up and we’re also looking towards using seasonal produce of the cooler months. It’s a good chance to introduce some new and interesting dishes!

Quick Questions

The last meal I ate was… a lamb ragu.
If I wasn’t a chef I’d be… something sports-related.
The chef who inspires me the most is… David White.
My all-time favourite South Australian ingredient is… King George whiting.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert? Dinner.

The Colonist
44 The Parade, Norwood
08 8362 3736