Spotted Cow Blog


Kieran Toohey - Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Come November this year, Nicole Croker will have been Head Chef at the Spotted Cow’s Famous Steakhouse and Bar for 15 years.

“It’s been a great,” Nicole said.

“There’s been one guy I have cooked for the whole 15 years and has the same thing when he comes in for lunch, he’s never changed – a T-bone, pepper sauce, a few chips and salad.”

This scenario is very much a Spotted Cow Toowoomba story. Customers remaining loyal, not just because of the people and service, but because of the quality and consistency of product.

You just have to look at the lunch or dinner menus to understand why patrons have not only kept coming back but grown dramatically in numbers, throughout Nicole’s 15 years.

From the steak to the burgers, bangers and mash, schnitzels, seafood and in particular the signature dish of Mussels, the Famous Steakhouse & Bar caters for every taste at lunch right through to the Pick of the Paddock, Pizzeria and Homemade Lasagne, to name a few, at Dinner - not to mention the Desserts.

It’s a menu Nicole has stayed true to but at the same time subtlety developed. It’s testament to her vision of knowing what her market wants.

Nicole’s professional cooking career started at Toowoomba’s Wises Restaurant as a 17 year old. From there she ventured to the Sheraton Townsville and then on to China where she cooked at a Hotel opposite Tiananmen Square.

By the time she returned to the Garden City, Nicole knew how to create a restaurant culture of family that still exists in the Steakhouse & Bar Restaurant to this very day.

“A lot of what I do is ensuring the finest of products and it just so happens I am very passionate about good quality beef,” Nicole said.

“You can be the best chef in the world but if you don’t have the quality there, you’re gone.”

You can understand why when the order for Steak starts rolling in, as they consistently do, Nicole gets a massive adrenalin rush.

Nicole has seen the great times to the most challenging of times in the 2011 “inland tsunami” floods, but is quick to add “Everyday there is something funny when you work with Phil Coorey, he’s like a brother to me!”

And no doubt, there’s plenty of good times ahead, as she keeps on providing great meals and of course along with the regular T-Bone, pepper sauce, a few chips and salad.

“It’s really good to see people you’ve known for all those years,” Nicole said. “That’s a good thing, some really good customers.”