Bikie links of award-winning restaurant
The Foraging Quail revealed
so f ing what !!!
Josh RobertsonThomas Chamberlin
The Sunday Mail (Qld)
July 13, 201412:00AM
The Foraging Quail, at New Farm,
scored two top gongs at Fairfax’s Good Food Guide
Awards this week.
Matt Lucas and Courtney Andries
QUEENSLAND’S “Best New Restaurant” is
bankrolled by the young wife of an ex-Hells Angel cocaine
trafficker and a chef once jailed over a $1 million heroin
A Sunday Mail investigation has
uncovered the unlikely gang links to acclaimed eatery The
Foraging Quail, just days after food critics awarded it a “one
The New Farm restaurant is 80 per cent owned
by Courtney Andries, who police claimed in court documents in an
unrelated bail hearing previously acted as “frontwoman” for a
tattoo parlour controlled by her husband Matthew Lucas.
Ms Andries, 23, invested in the restaurant
days after selling out of Platinum Ink, which earned notoriety
after its staff were attacked during Brisbane’s bikie wars.
Chef Minh Le, who owns the other 20 per cent
of The Foraging Quail, was also just 23 when he was busted
dealing heroin sourced from Cabramatta’s infamous 5T crime gang.
He was sentenced to eight years’ jail in 1999.
He later lived with Ms Andries and Lucas, who
joined the Hells Angels after he was jailed with Le’s brother
Son over a cocaine ring in 2008. Lucas served 14 months of a
three-and-a-half year sentence.
The Vietnamese-born chef has overcome his
criminal past to become a rising star of the state’s food scene.
His restaurant scooped two top gongs at Fairfax’s Good Food
Guide Awards this week, just three months after opening.
Le was open about his troubled past when
interviewed by The Sunday Mail and had “taken mass steps
to rectify” his life path.
“This is a legitimate business. It speaks for
itself,” Le said. “When I was young I did make mistakes and I
obviously served my time. I came out and basically said that’s
not the life I want to live and I just started cooking.”
Le said he would “never have the financial
backing to do it myself” so he turned to Ms Andries and Lucas.
“I approached her and said, ‘I heard you guys
have a bit of money to invest, this is what I want to do’,” he
said. “I run the business and the daily operations, they’re more
the finance side of it.
“I don’t ask too many questions but for me I
was given an opportunity to open my own place.”
However, the business partners will likely
draw scrutiny under new laws to screen restaurant licensees for
Le, whose conviction would disqualify him from
a liquor licence, quit as director of The Foraging Quail Pty Ltd
in November, leaving Ms Andries as sole director.
Chef Minh Le at The Foraging Quail.
Photographer: Liam Kidston.
The Sunday Mail
does not suggest those involved in The Foraging Quail are
involved in any criminal activity in running the restaurant.
Ms Andries had been unemployed for a year when
she and another bikie’s fiancee replaced Lucas and convicted
speed cook Peter Sidirourgos as owners of Platinum Ink in May
This was to hide the fact the Norman Park
parlour was still controlled by Lucas and Broncos
footballer-turned-bikie Michael Spence, police claim in court
documents. Ms Andries resigned as a Platinum Ink director on
October 1, the day after the Newman Government flagged its bikie
crackdown, including banning them from the tattoo industry.
Lucas quit the Hells’ Brisbane City Crew around
the same time.
Ms Andries unloaded her Platinum Ink shares on
October 24 and bought into The Foraging Quail days later.
Transcripts of secret police recordings taken
last August — while Ms Andries owned Platinum — which were filed
in court allegedly detail a senior Hells Angel giving Spence
“advice about the tattoo shop and how to account for the money
earned”. “There is also a reference to Matty which investigators
believe is (Hells Angels) member Matthew Lucas, indicating that
he still has an involvement in the business,” police allege.
New laws in effect this month follow a police
warning bikies had switched their
investments from nightclubs to restaurants.