Culinary Trends  

Chef Guru

Focusing on making a difference

Kate Robertson

If not for an advertisement for Australian student visas, Guru Bhathal would probably be working as an accountant in India rather than as Head Chef at CSI Club Southport on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

‘That's how the journey started. That's how Australia came into my head,’ Guru says.

With his parent’s blessing, Guru arrived in Queensland at the age of 20 with his younger sister in tow.

‘We came together because my Dad said, “If you are going, take your sister so you have two family members and you can look after each other”.’


The siblings enrolled in cooking classes and Guru took a job as a kitchen hand at a busy club restaurant to learn the business from the bottom up. Then he began working at a burger joint. ‘I started working as a burger maker and then, for three years, I ran that shop — managing the ordering, prepping, and trying out new ideas.’

When he felt it was time for a change, Guru applied for a job at the Palazzo Versace Gold Coast.

‘I started learning a bit more about the fine dining restaurant scene and food up there.

So, I did pretty much everything. I worked the breakfast shift, as the buffet guy, and in the production kitchen.’


The luxury hotel upheld high fine dining standards and saw him cook for global celebrities and politicians. 

‘It was a great experience for me to go from basic street food, to restaurant food and fine dining,’

Guru says.


‘Being a chef, you work in different places to gain different experience.’

That ethos led him to work as a sous-chef at a surf club for three and a half years.

‘Because it is close to the ocean, you learn a bit more about seafood because that’s what people prefer. Nowadays surf clubs are trendy restaurants to eat at and that keeps you on your toes. You’ve got to be a bit more creative and that's where I learned how to basically run the show.

‘I did my time there, then it was time for me to move and I saw a bigger opportunity, at CSI Club Southport.’

The club is a large and lively family venue that offers global bistro fare such as burgers and garlic prawns, alongside live music and a gaming room.


Fish is still a major part of the menu, and Guru is a big fan of I&J Crispy Battered Hoki.

‘We go through a lot. I use it in at least two items.

It's quite popular in our seniors’ meal, and in my main meals as well. I use it in my fish burgers as well because it's a great fillet to put on the burger and it's nice and light.

In some places, when you eat fish and chips it fills you up too quickly because of the oil base but this product maintains that crispiness. Sometimes I cut a 140g fillet in half, and put it into a taco as well, so that's why I like the I&J Crispy Battered Hoki fillet so much.’


Guru started at CSI Club Southport as sous chef but has been Head Chef for three years now and is firmly settled in Australia. He has a son and daughter with his wife Simi.

‘It’s because of Simi that I am still working as a chef as it would have hard for me without her support. As a chef, public holidays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and school holidays can be very busy. I am able to focus more at work because my family is understanding of the demands of the industry.’

Guru is still close to his sister, who works with her husband, a fellow chef.

‘Being in the same industry, we have a healthy discussion about the food and about products and how it can be presented. We all have worked at the Palazzo Versace Gold Coast and similar restaurants.’

The siblings are both very happy that Guru noticed that advertisement all those years ago.

‘For me, the exciting part is that I can make a difference in the workplace - I can make a difference in my job...that success makes me more excited than doing anything else.’



400g shredded green cabbage 
400g shredded red cabbage 
200g julienned carrot 
Lime juice dressing
20 x frozen 50g I&J Crispy Battered MSC Hoki Fillets
20 x 12cm mini tortillas, grilled
4 x 75mm Edgell Supersweet Corn Cobettes, grilled and kernels cut off
Coriander leaves, for garnish 
Chipotle mayonnaise and lime wedges, for serving 

1. Combine cabbages and carrot. Dress with lime juice dressing. 
2. Cook frozen I&J Fish following packet directions. 
3. Top tortillas with coleslaw, fish and a sprinkle of Edgell Corn Cobettes kernels. Garnish with coriander and serve with chipotle mayonnaise and lime wedges.

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