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Bikie links of award-winning restaurant The Foraging Quail revealed


so f ing what !!!

The Foraging Quail, at New Farm, scored two top gongs at Fairfax’s Good Food Guide Awards

The Foraging Quail, at New Farm, scored two top gongs at Fairfax’s Good Food Guide Awards this week.

Matt Lucas and Courtney Andries

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 bust.

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 hat” rating.

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 criminal connections.

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.

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 2013.

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.