Capella Executive Chef Cooper Dickson spends his time away from the kitchen on the hunt for food – either fishing the oceans surrounding the tiny island in the Tasman Sea for its abundant tuna and kingfish or roaming Lord Howe’s sheltered coves and hidden shores for the chance to forage for edible sea vegetables.

A ‘new local’ on Lord Howe since he came to head up the kitchen at the island’s most premium accommodation in 2015, Cooper is a convert. Along with his wife Viktoria who runs the restaurant and is also Assistant Lodge Manager, Cooper has settled into the laid-back island lifestyle with its tight-knit community and healthy outdoors vibe.

Depending on the swell and if the fish are rumoured to be running, Cooper and his mates head out in their boat most days, bringing back a bounty of seafood from wahoo to kingfish and red emperor. At other times Cooper enjoys foraging for the edible sea succulents and salads that bring a distinctly Lord Howe flavour to the menu on offer for guests in the Capella restaurant. Rocket flowers, nasturtiums, watercress, oxalis, and various sea herbs are just a small example of the local leaves and flowers Cooper uses on all of his dishes.