Dan Mulheron and Black Bear Head Chef Graham John.
Dan Mulheron and Black Bear Head Chef Graham John.

MKR stars’ team to ‘turn foodie scene on its head’

DAN and Steph Mulheron scoured the region and beyond for the best mix of hospitality workers to front their latest restaurant venture.

With a goal to open their new Canadian-themed brew house and sports bar Black Bear by mid-September it was all hands on deck to get the renovations complete and assemble a dream team.

"We all have a thousand things going on and in the next two weeks it is all going to come together," Dan said.

"It is really ramping up now and we are dotting the i's and crossing the t's"

Award-winning chef Graham Johns, Italian cocktail mastermind Mykol Cavalieri and Canadian hospitality guru Chelsea McKenna will take on management roles at the Torquay venue which used to house Coast Restaurant.

Graham has worked around Australia and in 2018 was awarded Northern Territory chef of the year.

With a contemporary Australian cooking background the new Hervey Bay resident has virtually travelled around Canada to prepare for his new role.

"I worked in hotels, semi-formal high dining to high turnover bistros so this is new for me but I have done an extensive amount of research," he said.

"I have travelled around Canada without getting on a plane."

Dan described bar manager Mykol as "out of this world".

"He is going to put the venue on the map with his cocktails," Dan said.

"We can't wait to unleash him on the Fraser Coast.

"Some of the stuff he has come up with I think 'who comes up with this stuff?'"

Chelsea is taking on the role of front of house manager.

She has worked as a bar manager in Canada for the past few years and brings first-hand experience.

"We want to be authentic Canadian here," Dan said.

"All our gravy and clamato is spot on and our maple syrup is Canadian and comes in 20 litre drums.

"When people come in they are going to notice the difference it is not going to be chips, cheese and gravy.

"It is real cheese curd, poutine gravy with the best chips you can eat."


Dan and Steph Mulheron started renovations on Wednesday at their new restaurant.
Dan and Steph Mulheron started renovations on Wednesday at their new restaurant.


Dan said 200 resumes were submitted, narrowed down to 40 and after interviews, 30 people were hired.

"We didn't worry too much about their skill level - it was really about personality for us," he said.

"We are going train them up to be what we need.

"There is a few others who had spent time in Canada which is exciting but overall we have a great team."

Dan said he hoped the new eatery would fill a gap in the Hervey Bay foodie scene.

"There is pubs everywhere doing their thing but there isn't anything else after that," he said.

Another unique feature of the restaurant is the team will be serving food all day until 11pm every night.

"Especially in current times people are eating all through the afternoon.

"We have noticed it at Eat … we had busy patterns but now people are dining all the time so we are going to have that option here."