In the pink

Sue YeapThe West Australian
VideoDiscovery Rottnest Island will be Rottnest Island's first new accommodation in 30 years and its first eco-resort. Take a look inside one of the tents visitors can stay in.

When Karl Wulf arrived on Rottnest last month to take up the role of executive chef at Pinky’s Beach Club at the new Discovery Rottnest Island glamping eco resort, he had never laid eyes on the island, much less a foot.

Wulf put his faith in general manager and fellow kiwi Andy Cleverley, having worked with him twice previously, and Google.

“I have had really good experiences with Andrew, he is hands down the best GM I have ever worked for,” Wulf says. “I had never been to Western Australia before, I just had a quick Google of it and the information he told me.

“I thought it would be great, I have worked on islands before and worked in remote regions. We are not really that remote, being only 30 minutes from Fremantle. So I thought it would be a great lifestyle for myself, my wife and my little boy.”

Wulf put his newly commissioned kitchen at Pinky’s through its paces for the media launch on February 15, doing most of the prep at Thomsons, which he is also now in charge of.

He then went back to Melbourne to help his wife and son pack for their new island home. Wulf’s wife is Samoan and he said she enjoyed the casual, island lifestyle, and they had previously lived and worked on Hamilton Island and Hayman Island. Luckily Rottnest made a great first impression and was bigger and busier than Wulf expected.

“I just thought it was beautiful, the water really, really stood out,” he says. “It looked like it had been Instagram filtered but that is what it looks like.”

Cured salmon, goat cheese, pickled vegetables from Pinky’s Beach Club.
Camera IconCured salmon, goat cheese, pickled vegetables from Pinky’s Beach Club. Credit: The West Australian, Iain Gillespie

Wulf, who became interested in picking, curing and fermenting while working at MONA in Hobart, is keen to eventually introduce more woodfired and charcoal cooking to his repertoire at Pinky’s. The restaurant is open from breakfast through to dinner for resort guests as well as island visitors. His opening lunch and dinner menu features items such as heirloom tomatoes with guanciale, green olives and sorrel and Hiramasa kingfish lightly cured with pickled kohlrabi, finger lime and honey. Local fish tacos with corn tortillas, fermented hot sauce and lime are on the all-day menu.

Of utmost importance is working with sustainable, ecologically sound suppliers whose ethos matches that of the eco resort.

Wulf feels Thomsons has potential that is not being tapped into and he wants it to serve things that are not offered elsewhere on Rottnest.

“I would see Thomsons as a real emphasis on seafood, and a little more family friendly,” he says.

Sue Yeap visited Rottnest as a guest of Discovery.

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