Hunter St Hospitality, one of Australia’s leading hospitality groups and owner of Rockpool Bar & Grill, announced last week it had let a group of senior staff go, including culinary director Corey Costelloe, who started as a sous chef under Neil Perry. Moving swiftly, Costelloe’s next venture is already locked in: a one-week residency at Kittawa Lodge on Tasmania’s King Island.

“I’m very excited,” Costelloe tells Broadsheet. “I’ve cooked with fire for the last 15 years, so going down there and setting up a little campfire stove, foraging for local produce, fishing [for] crays, that type of thing, is something I’m really looking forward to.”

Kittawa is an off-grid oceanfront beauty on 96 acres, offering spectacular vistas that saw it crowned number one in Conde Naste Traveler’s 2023 Reader’s Choice Awards.

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It offers a very different pace to the Rockpool kitchen. The chef will prepare local produce for lodge guests at a series of intimate four-person dinners. There are two packages available, from May 20–23 or May 23–26. Each includes three nights in a one-bedroom lodge, in-room breakfast, lunch daily (including one curated by Costelloe) and the nightly dinners with wine pairing. Tasmanian beers, wines and spirits are included – plus wheels to explore King Island.

When asked about his departure from Hunter St, Costelloe is diplomatic. “These things happen,” he says. “It’s just the business scaling down, condensing numbers – there’s not as much room in the company.”

In April 2023, the Australian Financial Review reported parent company Pacific Hunter had launched a review of its portfolio, following a $75.7-million loss for the 2022–23 financial year.

“That restaurant’s going to be part of my legacy,” Costelloe says. “And it is being very well looked after by the people that’ve been there just as long as I have.”

On what’s after Kittawa: “I’m just being open – there’ve been a lot of meetings.”

The three-night, all-inclusive Kittawa Lodge X Corey Costelloe package costs $11,250 per couple. Flights not included.