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09 13 Australia’s leading news magazine for the hospitality industry


Nothing to sneeze at Understanding food allergies The care factor Dealing with complaints


Perfect portion

New range of Patisserie d’Artiste desserts CAB Audited. Circulation 20,555 — March 2013

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Australia’s top young talent named T

he Electrolux Appetite for Excellence 2013 winners have been announced, with 29-year-old Jacob Davey, a sous chef from Sydney’s Marque Restaurant (pictured), being named Electrolux Australian Young Chef. Sommelier Sonia Bandera, from Rockpool Bar & Grill (Melbourne), took out the Electrolux Australian Young Waiter award, while James Viles, executive chef and owner of Biota Dining, was named Electrolux Australian Young Restaurateur. The awards were presented by some of the nation’s best known culinary figures including Lisa van Haandel, Andrew McConnell and Christine Manfield, with the winners each receiving a cash prize and the opportunity to expand their food and wine skills overseas. Watch the video in the Open House iPad app.

Cafes, restaurants and caterers face audit blitz The Fair Work Ombudsman is auditing up to 1500 cafes, restaurants and catering businesses across Australia as part of a national education and compliance campaign. Fair Work Inspectors will check businesses are paying employees their minimum entitlements, including hourly rates, shift loadings and penalty rates, maintaining appropriate records and providing pay slips. Fair Work Ombudsman, Natalie James, said cafes, restaurants and caterers generate a large number of complaints, and as part of the broader accommodation and food services sector is consistently in the top three industries that generates complaints. “This sector employs many young and foreign workers who can be vulnerable if they are not fully aware of their workplace rights,” she said. “They can often be reluctant to complain or how to approach the issue if there’s a concern about their entitlements.”


This is the second phase of a wider three year Fair Work

Ombudsman campaign focusing on the hospitality industry. Fair Work Inspectors audited hundreds of accommodation providers, pubs, taverns and bars earlier this year and plan to focus on take-away food operators in early 2014. The Fair Work Ombudsman conducted a similar campaign in the hospitality industry in 2008, auditing 664 employers nationally. That campaign found that more than a third (36 per cent) of employers weren’t meeting their obligations under workplace law, and recovered $1.6 million in back-pay for 4679 underpaid employees nationally. James says these campaigns provide an opportunity for employers to improve their understanding of, and compliance with, workplace laws. “We have excellent resources available to help businesses in the hospitality industry, along with tools that employees can use to check they’re receiving everything they should,” she said.

Industry news......................................... 04

Allergies................................................. 18

Cover story – Patisserie d’Artiste Portion As You Please......................... 10

Dealing with complaints........................ 22

Profile – Neil Abrahams......................... 12 Q&A – Carolyn Plummer, Fonterra Proud to be a Chef............................... 14 Origins of bagels.................................... 16

Editor’s word


hile ratings suggest that the popularity of MasterChef television series is on the wane, let’s hope the same can’t be said for the MasterChef Dining & Bar Pop Up Restaurant, which has just completed a three-week stint in Sydney for the second year, and will launch in Melbourne for the first time on October 1. The restaurant’s partner American Express has pledged to match tips dollar for dollar, with the proceeds going to OzHarvest and Foodbank. Both of these charitable organisations not only rescue useful food that would otherwise end up in landfill, but also play a vital role in helping to support disadvantaged Australians and relieve hunger around the country. Last year’s MasterChef pop up restaurant raised more than $40,000 for OzHarvest, thanks to the generosity of patrons and American Express. This year it’s hoped that initiative will raise around $100,000 across both cities. Good luck to all concerned!

Ylla Wright Managing Editor @ohfoodservice


Kitchen equipment................................. 24 Dude food............................................... 26 Bakery.................................................... 30 Cooking the books................................. 34

Consultant chef...................................... 16

Products................................................. 36

Sustainability......................................... 17

Culinary clippings.................................. 38

Dude food.    Open House, September 2013   3


Employers reward talent A

Restaurant named as sustainability finalist

ustralia’s hospitality industry is rewarding experience and skill with attractive salary packages, according to industry recruitment firm Hospoworld’s 2013 Salary Survey.

Cecconi’s Restaurant in Melbourne has been selected as a finalist in the Agriculture and Food category of the 2013 Banksia Sustainability Awards, run by the Banksia Foundation, a national not-for-profit organisation that promotes environmental excellence and sustainability.

The annual survey revealed that employers are willing to pay for quality staff as the industry shifts focus from cost-cutting toward developing exceptional “customer experiences”. “Businesses have realised that cutting levels of service is not the answer to a sluggish market,” said John Caldwell, chief executive of Hospoworld's parent company RWR Group. “Rather, attracting talented staff and delivering rewarding experiences to clientele is fundamental to success.” Senior level positions have seen their overall salary bands increase over the past 12 months while others remained steady. The survey revealed that the GFC-initiated belt tightening, seen throughout 2012, had relaxed but employers were more aware than ever that high quality service and staff are essential to surviving in a sensitive market. “The results of the survey clearly indicate an industry focused on the ‘customer experience’. Employers are seeking skilled executives and senior managers to deliver premium levels of service to patrons,” he said. “Veteran hospitality staff can expect to be rewarded for experience and skill, while junior employees are benefiting from a revitalised industry and a series of clear career paths where talent is rewarded.”

Nothing to wine about for Perth venue Perth restaurant Print Hall has been announced the winner of the annual Wine List of the Year awards. The restaurant’s sommelier, Daniel Wegener, formerly of Sydney’s Quay restaurant, was also awarded the Judy Hirst Award, which goes to the sommelier behind the Wine List of the Year.

Toko in Sydney has participated in DineSmart since 2007.

To be held from November 11 to December 31, 2013, StreetSmart Australia’s annual campaign calls for restaurants to ask customers to add a $2 donation to their table’s bill. Every dollar collected will then be donated directly to support homeless refuges and charities selected based on their need and proximity to participating restaurants. Ambassadors for the campaign include chefs Sam Christie (Longrain), Teage Ezard (Ezard/ Black), Adam Cash (Union Dining) and Simon Denton (Izakaya Den). Long-term StreetSmart supporter Janna Szangolies from the Urban Purveyor Group, the company which runs restaurant favourites Bavarian Bier Café, Saké Restaurant & Bar and Ananas Bar & Brasserie, is one of those actively urging her peers to get involved.

DineSmart on again

“As an industry we are asked to contribute to charities all year round, but I implore restaurateurs to consider a partnership with StreetSmart,” she says. “DineSmart is such a worthwhile initiative. It costs the restaurant nothing to run and 100 per cent of the money raised by our diners is put back into the local community, and the campaign is well run, promoted and supported.”

Some of Australia’s top restaurateurs are calling on the foodservice industry to help fight homelessness by signing up for the DineSmart 2013 campaign.

Last year’s event generated $361,471 and funded 99 grassroots projects delivering emergency aid, as well as longer term programs helping people to move on from homelessness.

“As a group Australia’s sommeliers continue to rise to the challenge improving their skill-set and serving the hospitality industry with panache,” said chief judge Peter Forrestal.

Cecconi’s has implemented a number of sustainable practices over many years, including recycling cardboard, glass and comingled waste; implementing low energy lighting; and working with suppliers to create a return and collect system for hard plastic containers and waxed cardboard. A major criteria for choosing both food and produce suppliers for the restaurant is their credentials as sustainable operators. The use of the Closed Loop Organics composting unit, which has a capacity of 100kg of food waste per day which is converted to valuable and nutrient rich compost within 24 hours, sets it apart from other similar businesses. The compost is used at owner Maria Bortolotto’s farm in Lorne, home to a large vegetable patch, orchard and herb garden, which is in turn used in the Cecconi’s kitchen. “We have always cultivated a productive garden based on organic principles and it followed fairly naturally that these ideas would find expression in my work at Cecconi’s, an environment which typically sees high levels of waste generally,” said owner Maria Bortolotto. “The Closed Loop Organics composting unit has really completed our sustainable approach.” The winner of the category will be announced at the 2013 Banksia Sustainability Awards night on Wednesday October 9, 2013, at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Apprentice wages rise after Fair Work ruling First year apprentices are to get a 13 per cent wage increase over the next two years, following a decision last month by the Fair Work Commission. People starting apprenticeships over the age of 21 will receive 80 per cent of the rate for a fully trained worker. The move is designed to improve retention rates for apprentices. Currently almost 50 per

Want more industry news? For even more industry news, in-depth reports and new product information, or to sign up for Open House weekly email newsletter, visit You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@ohfoodservice). Or download the free Open House iPad app, packed with additional, exclusive content and updated monthly, from the iTunes app store.

4   Open House, September 2013

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cent of people who start apprenticeships don’t complete them, with low wages commonly cited as a major factor. The move has been welcomed by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), with ACTU secretary Dave Oliver saying it is a “great outcome for current and future apprentices and for the broader economy”. “Boosting the skill level in the Australian workforce is critical to driving productivity and preventing future skills shortages,” he said. “To boost skill levels, we need to increase participation and completion rates in vocational education and training. Raising apprentice pay in an important part of the solution.” However, The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) believes the move is a “body blow to the capacity and confidence of employers to offer new apprenticeships”. “Increasing the costs of employing an apprentice not only impacts employers, but destroys the opportunities for many young people who want to develop a career in the trades,” said ACCI chief executive Peter Anderson. “Coming so soon after the Federal Government again cut back employer incentive payments in the July mini budget, it is a double whammy that will keep catapulting apprenticeship start-ups into free fall.”

catering establishments and were involved in everything from assisting in menu and recipe development to working with their mentors on publicity events, cooking demonstrations, food styling and photo shoots. The program also gives students a unique opportunity to be mentored by some of Australia’s most renowned chefs. This year’s mentors included Peter Gilmore, Sean Moran, Kylie Kwong, Alex Herbert, Martin Boetz, Paris Cutler, and Uwe Habermehl. 

Restaurant industry shows ups and downs The restaurant industry is showing signs of recovery after posting national growth of 3.17 per cent to $254 million in the 20122013 financial year, according to the Dimmi Australian Dining Index 2013. The report, which gathered data from more than 2500 restaurants, five million bookings and 250,000 reviews, showed a varied picture from state to state, with the ACT growing by 10.8 per cent, New South Wales by 6.3 per cent and South Australia by 4.7 per cent, while Victoria recorded a decline of -0.4 per cent. However, the average spend nationally was $54 per person, down from $64 in December 2011. The way Australians book a table has also changed with mobile bookings now representing 33 per cent of all online bookings, up from just 8 per cent two years ago. Booking lead times have also shortened with 43 per cent of all bookings now being made within six hours of dining, while bookings more than two weeks prior have fallen by 32 per cent. Lunch data pointed to a continue slowdown of the corporate lunch with a further decline of 0.04 per cent.

Michael Bennett, CEO of HTN, Hannah Holden and Lyndey Milan.

Female apprentices ‘taste success’ Eight female cookery students and apprentices from Sydney TAFE have graduated from the 2013 Tasting Success Mentoring Program, with two, Tina Nguyen and Hannah Holden, receiving scholarships from HTN-Hospitality Employment Solutions and Clubs NSW. Since its inception in 2007, more than 50 women have participated in the Tasting Success Program. Co-founded by Lyndey Milan with Sydney TAFE and supported by the NSW Office for Women’s Policy, Department of Premier and Cabinet, it aims to inspire talented female chefs in NSW to reach their full potential within the hospitality industry. Students received hands-on advice and access to a network of senior chefs and industry professionals. They also experienced firsthand the workings of high end restaurants and

“Lunch remains the Achilles heel of the industry and goes to the heart of a restaurants ability to boost its profitability,” said Dimmi chief executive Stevan Premutico. “Restaurants can’t be sustainable if they are empty at lunch. We need to fight together to get Australian’s back to lunch.”

SA and WA’s best named

compete with other region finalists in the national finals to be held at Royal Randwick in Sydney on October 28.

New online community for baristas Leading coffee brand Espresso di Manfredi has launched Caffè di Manfredi, an online coffee community for baristas and café owners. An first for the coffee industry, customers of Espresso di Manfredi will have exclusive access to a private social community and industry exclusive news site, offering expert coffee making tips, regular recipes from Stefano Manfredi focusing on seasonality and profitability, business tips from leading hospitality experts and access to exclusive chat online with Manfredi and master blender Wayne Archer, where they can ask questions and stay on top of industry trends. A series of educational videos will launch in 2014 providing cafes with opportunities to train their workforce and build their businesses.

Momofuku Seiobo tops Gourmet Traveller list Sydney restaurant Momofuku Seiobo has beaten a competitive field to be named the number one restaurant in Australia by Gourmet Traveller magazine. The magazine’s editors singled the restaurant out for its innovation and the quality of its service, despite the fact that in many ways it’s completely unlike traditional fine-dining restaurants. Other winners included Tasmania’s The Stackings, which was named Regional Restaurant of the Year, Sydney’s Mr Wong, which picked up New Restaurant of the Year, and Monopole (also in Sydney) which scored with Wine List of the Year. Sam Ward, the 24-year-old chef of Perth’s Mexican El Público, was named Best New Talent, while in the peer-voted Chef of the Year award, Andrew McConnell, of Melbourne’s Cutler & Co and Cumulus Inc., took out top honours. OH

The award season continues apace, with the winners of the South Australian and Western Australian heats of the 2013 Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Hostplus Awards for Excellence named last month. In South Australia Windy Point Restaurant was named Restaurant of The Year, while Best Chef was awarded to Stewart Wesson, from Public CBD in Franklin Street, Adelaide. Mosmans Restaurant in Mosmans Park has been named Restaurant of the Year, as well as Seafood Restaurant of the Year. The Old Brewery in Perth also won two awards, being named Caterer of the Year and winning the Steak Restaurant category. A full list of the winners is available on the Restaurant & Catering website. Winners will

6   Open House, September 2013

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cover story

Surpassing expectations The call of the market has been answered with the launch of a new range of Patisserie d’Artiste desserts which combine flexibility with ease of use, backed up by Nestlé Professional’s reputation for quality and consistency.


unique new range of Patisserie d’Artiste desserts called “Portion As You Please” are being snapped up by chefs, pubs and cafes around Australia.

“The unique design of ‘Portion As You Please’ desserts puts flexibility right back into the hands of chefs and allows time for personal touches in plating and garnishing before serving.”

The triangular and semi-circular shaped desserts are a market first and form part of Nestlé Professional’s ongoing programme to provide innovative product solutions to the hospitality and commercial sector.

“‘Portion As You Please’ works in every way – answering a need that has been out in the market place for some time and giving chefs the ability to determine serving sizes and price points to suit.”

Each ready-made dessert comes in a stick format which allows foodservice operators to cut up to 15 portions for quick and easy service as required. “One portion is an ideal accompaniment to a beverage, while two or more can be applied to tasting plates or standalone desserts,” says Andrew Madill, Nestlé Professional marketing manager – sweet flavour solutions.

The product is particularly suited to situations where volume and speed of service is paramount, such as large-scale functions at convention centres and casinos, pub chains and airlines. “Portion As You Please” desserts are simply cut from frozen, plated and then thawed in refrigeration. Once defrosted, kitchen plating

10   Open House, September 2013

lines can provide beautiful finishing touches in an instant. There are four varieties available: Bacio Dessert – a rich Nestlé Chocolate Hazelnut combination; Lemon and Lime Dessert – a silky lemon citrus filling encased in a lime mousse; White Chocolate and Raspberry Dessert – a velvety Nestlé White Chocolate and vanilla mousse with raspberry topping; and Mango and Coconut Dessert – a coconut mousse and mango macadamia cheesecake. All of the desserts have a sweet pastry base. Each inner carton of “Portion as You Please” contains six sticks which yield 90 single serves of product. “The quality and consistency of the products are exemplary and customers are telling us that they are really hitting the mark,” says Madill. Patisserie d’Artiste “Portion As You Please” desserts are now available from all good foodservice distributors. OH




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A real talent The winner of this year’s Rare Medium Top Chef of the Year competition, Neil Abrahams, believes in “keeping it real”, in and out of the competition kitchen, discovers Ylla Wright. competition is “as tough as heading off to Culinary Olympics”. “With other competitions you work out the dish in advance and you train for that dish for days, or for weeks sometimes, but with a ‘mystery box’ challenge you’re relying on years of experience to come up with a dish on the spot,” he says. “Half the time you’re creating the dish as you start prepping it and when you start down one path you have to continue, you can’t change your mind.”


hen Neil Abrahams, executive chef at the Royal Canberra Golf Club, took his place in front of the stove at this year’s Rare Medium Top Chef of the Year competition, held at the 2013 Foodservice Australia show in May, he didn’t expect to win for a second year running. The first chef to do so, Abrahams beat fellow grand finalists Mauro Callegari from True South, Daniel Wilson from Huxtable and Steven Nelson from Bistro Gitan, to win the $10,000 prize. “I certainly go in competitions to win but I don’t think I ever expect to win,” he says. “The level of competition was pretty tough. I had to bring my ‘A game’, for sure.” During the competition, competitors were given one hour and a mystery box of ingredients that included veal, a rack of lamb, Kipfler potatoes, puffed rice, pine mushrooms and polenta, from which they had to prepare two dishes. Abrahams’ winning dishes were a veal tartare, which he hand-cut himself using the backstrap to produce the tartare, topped with an egg coddled in the sous vide machine at 62°C, warm potato salad, a cress salad and puffed rice; and a roasted rack of lamb that he sliced into cutlets and cooked to mediumrare, served on polenta along with

balsamic pine mushrooms, turned vegetables including baby carrots and turnips and a jus drizzled over the top. Winning the competition was just the latest of Abrahams’ achievements in the competition scene. On the Australian Culinary team for six years, Abrahams is a passionate advocate for chefs testing their skills by competing. “I think it’s important to put yourself out there from time to time,” he says. “Some people get a bit more addicted than others but it’s good for chefs to know where they sit in the culinary world. Quite often we get carried away, as chefs, with good reviews, but that’s a team environment. How do you sit as an individual against top chefs in the country? “You don’t get a better opportunity to see what other establishments are doing under one roof, and I think it’s an important way of developing your skills. Even if you take away just one new skill, then that’s one more skill than you’re already using in your kitchen. There are also opportunities for personal development and great networking. It’s all important for any chef, at any level.” He believes competing in the Rare Medium Top Chef of the Year

12   Open House, September 2013

While Abrahams admits he’s more selective about the competitions he competes in as he gets older, it’s not because he’s relaxing into comfortable middle age. Along with his role at the Royal Canberra Golf Club, the chef is currently president of the NSW, ACT and Regions chapter of the Australian Culinary Federation (ACF), an office he is passionate about. “It’s so easy to sit and criticise associations and the work they do but in order to be part of the solution you have to get involved and you have to work towards change,” he says. “I hear chefs say all the time, our conditions are bad, or this is bad, or that is bad, but do they get involved with their association and be a part of the change and the cure in our industry? “[The ACF] is like any association – the more members we have the bigger our voice and the more people will listen to what we have to say. Even if you don’t have time to commit to assist in programs that we do, even being a member is a good step.” As part of his work with the association, Abrahams spends a lot of time in schools and colleges training and talking to young people about the realities of the industry. “I think there is a very unrealistic view of our industry in the public eye,” he says. “It’s all this big, glamorous ‘rock-star’ stuff; I think it’s important that people have a realistic view so I spend a lot of time in high schools educating kids about our industry. Having said that, you can’t

just talk about the negatives; you need to outline them obviously, but there are a lot of positives. I think the positives outweigh them 10 to one.” Abrahams has also been involved in running the ACT Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge, which this year was won by Daramalan College, who will compete in the International Secondary Schools Challenge in Japan this month. “We had 36 students competing in the competition and even if we get one or two out of those 36 students into the industry – and we can follow their progress and see, place them in strong places to learn and develop their skills – that’s the future of our industry,” he says. On a day-to-day level, Abrahams oversees the food at the iconic Royal Canberra Golf Club, where he has worked for 11 years, which he calls a “very mixed bag”. “That’s what keeps it exciting,” he says. “We might do 150 sandwiches in the morning, turn around and do 30 fish and chips for lunch in the restaurant, and then do an eightcourse degustation matched with wine for dinner.” The club has three main outlets, the Spike Bar, a cafeteria-style venue downstairs and a members’ dining room, and it also caters for functions. “We have three golf courses here and all the ‘nines’ comes back to the club house, so Spike Bar can get quite busy,” he says. “It can do 260-300 covers a day, and on a Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday the restaurant can do up to 60-70 covers a la carte.” With a food philosophy of “keeping it real”, Abrahams says he believes in “delivering the right product to the right market”. “If I put Beef Wellington on here at the club, the market understands that,” he says. “They understand prawn cocktail. That doesn’t mean I’m restricted to putting lettuce with a few prawns tossed in cocktail sauce on the plate; I can certainly change and add to those dishes to modernise them. “My personal view is that often we do get carried away with a lot of the fancy products out there, and forget how to cook. A lot of chefs would rather chuck everything on a char grill and get it out in 10 minutes, than actually cook. My idea is to find a menu that hones those skills of being a chef. At the end of the day we’re cooks and we need to cook.” OH


Supporting Australia’s apprentices As the Fonterra Proud to be a Chef Program returns for its 15th year, Open House asked the program’s coordinator, Carolyn Plummer, exactly what’s involved in the contest and what the successful applicants can expect from the 2014 program. Q: What does the Fonterra Proud to be a Chef Program offer apprentices who participate? A: The program is offered to apprentices over four nights from Sunday, February 23, 2014. As part of the program the contestants will dine at several award winning restaurants, as well as get handson cooking experience with Matthew Macartney (executive chef at Chateau Yering), Jake Nicholson (former executive chef at Circa) and Darren Purchese (owner and chef at Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio). As part of the original application they’ll have to submit a recipe which they will cook on a separate day, and they’ll also work with a food photographer who will take a professional shot of their creation, which will go into the year book. We’ll also be taking the contestants out to the Yarra Valley where they will visit a winery and take part in a wine master class. They will find out how cheese is made as well as take part in cheese tasting. It’s a mixture of experience, fun and education.

competition is someone who has demonstrated passion, dedication and skills throughout the program. They have been organised and prompt when confirming arrangements prior to arriving in Melbourne; they work well with others, are enthusiastic, and have a positive attitude to their culinary profession. Q: The program has been running for 15 years. Do you follow the same guidelines as you always have? A: When it first started it was really for the elite apprentices whereas now we try to get a good cross section of apprentices. We select from pubs and clubs, restaurants and we’ve been extending it to those involved in catering and health care to give people who may never have been in a contest like this before an opportunity to see what it’s like. Q: Have there been significant changes in the cooking skills of contestants over the years?

A: To be selected the finalists must be over 18 and a first, second or third year apprentice chef as well as be enrolled in a recognised course. Through the application process they need to display why they chose to be an apprentice chef, and what we’re really looking for are those who are passionate and want to stay in the industry.

A: The Fonterra Proud to be a Chef program evolves every year, as does the ability and skills of the contestants. The number of entries each year rises significantly which also reflects the success of the program and calibre of apprentices. Over the past few years there has been a definite focus on desserts showcasing the talents of the chefs utilising Western Star and Girgar butter and Anchor cooking cream in their creations.

Q: What can the contestants look forward to after the program?

Q: How do Australian apprentice chefs compare on a world scale?

A: We choose one winner and they are able to choose where they would like to go to complete their overseas internship. This year’s winner was Jacob Hoskin from Traralgon, Victoria, and he is currently in Brussels. Last year’s winner, Sonja Dawson, went to New York – so we keep it quite open as to where they’d like to go. We’ve also had past alumni who have had experience at the Fine Food event [held in Sydney this month, where they’ve had their own stand and are able to conduct their own cooking session. Most years we get people back to explain what they’ve done and provide tips to the new finalists.

A: Although they don’t compete against other countries, when our winners go overseas we find they do fit in really well and the feedback from other chefs who have worked with them has always been of a high standard.

Q: What criteria do the 32 finalists have to meet to be selected?

Q: What does it take to win the competition, and what will the winner take away from the experience? A: Judging of the Fonterra Proud to be a Chef event starts on December 1, when the apprentices are advised that they have been selected as one of 32 finalists, and continues until the last day of the event in Melbourne. The winner of the

example, Jamie Oliver is always a name that pops up when we ask them who they are inspired by. Q: Is there any interest in “greener” or organic cooking from the contestants? A: Organic recipes don’t come up regularly in applications, although we have seen apprentices who’ve had their own beehives at home. It is quite interesting to see people becoming more aware of greener practices; we’re looking at touring kitchens that are more along that environmentally friendly line with the contestants this year. Q: What’s the most memorable recipe you’ve seen come out of the contest from recent years? A: That would have to be a contestant from this year, Stephanie Peirce; she created a recipe based on Cinderella’s golden carriage. The carriage was a white chocolate shell and once a caramel sauce was poured over it, the chocolate melted and exposed a pumpkin mousse – it was amazing! OH

Q: Do you find the boom in televised cooking contests has had any influence over the contestants or what they choose to cook? A: We definitely have applicants who would like to specialise in savoury or sweet and some of the recipes that we get in the applications are really high quality for apprentices. A lot of the inspiration is coming from reality TV and they seem to have a lot of heroes, for Watch the video in the Open House iPad app.

14   Open House, September 2013

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origins of...

Nutmeg This versatile spice was once so precious that countries waged war over its cultivation, discovers Megan Kessler.

century that it reached Rome, and from there the rest of Europe. One early reference cites Greek monk St Theodore allowing his monks to sprinkle nutmeg on their “pease pudding”, a savoury pudding, on non-meat days. By the 12th century nutmeg was well known in Europe where it was used as a flavouring and preserving agent. In Elizabethan times nutritionists would recommend nutmeg as a dietary supplement and chemists stocked candied nutmeg. It was believed to help fight colds, headaches, stomach aches and even ward off the plague so it became very popular and expensive. The Portuguese reached the Banda Islands in 1514 where they took over much of the nutmeg trade. They were able to supply England and the rest of Europe with large amounts of the spice, which was in high demand. It did not come cheaply though; half a kilogram of nutmeg cost as much as three sheep or a cow.


utmeg is indigenous to the Banda Islands, considered the spice islands of Indonesia, where it grows on trees. Along with nutmeg, these trees also produce another

spice, mace, which is made from the lacy red outer skin of the seed. Nutmeg was used in Indonesian cuisine for hundreds of years however it wasn’t until the 9th

Recipe for success I always find it interesting listening to the latest and greatest chefs and their opinions on food and business. My opinion has been the same for years, and I don’t see it changing. There are any number of businesses taking on consultants at the moment; the food industry is growing almost at the same rate internet scams are. Chefs also have similar traits globally, which is a little scary for the business community who generally have a sound concept they wish to try but then make the fatal mistake of employing someone to deliver the food side of their concept for them, the chef. Unless you speak fluent “chef” you have probably taken the first step to failure. If you have never been in the food business that is step two and if you go in underfinanced you’re now just about at the point of gasping for air. So what is the answer? Well, let’s take a look at one style of business

that is growing in popularity – the gourmet deli/caterer. People go into it thinking it’s a great idea to set up a business that will cater for breakfast and lunches, and if we also do some corporate and private catering, that sounds fair. We can make all our own food and cater for the events in the area as required. If I had a thousand dollars for every one of these businesses I have seen fail I would be a multi-millionaire. So where do they go wrong? There are three common mistakes. Firstly they employ a chef who specialises in doing “their food”. The last time I saw this was in Brisbane, the problem being that the chef had been trained in second rate 3.5- to 4-star hotels in the '90s, and this style was inflicted on a public that simply required well-made sandwiches. Fortunately this was an owneroperated business and when the bills

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In the 17th century the Dutch seized control of the nutmeg trade from the Portuguese. Not only did they try to stop cultivation of the spice from spreading to other islands in an attempt to keep the

Consultant chef

Glenn Austin started rolling in it was decided that the fillet of beef was probably not the best option for a sandwich. Employing contestants from reality TV comes in as the second worst thing you can do. Chefs are not meant to be there for public appearances, but to cook. And the last greatest mistake is not having enough money to keep your business afloat whilst you

lucrative trade to themselves, but the Dutch waged war in the East Indies to maintain their trade of nutmeg, and were responsible for massacring and enslaving inhabitants of surrounding islands. The Dutch maintained their power over the nutmeg trade for 150 years until the 18th century when the British took temporary control of the islands. During this time they planted nutmeg trees in Penang, Mauritius and Grenada, helping to spread the precious spice to other areas and make it more widely available. During the 18th and 19th centuries nutmeg was very popular in England and France. Gentlemen carried their nutmeg in a silver box which doubled as a grater they used to grate the spice into their hot chocolate drinks. It also became a favourite flavour for adding to cakes and desserts. Amongst the biggest consumers of nutmeg these days are the French who use nutmeg in a variety of dishes such as béchamel sauce, and the Dutch, who use it to flavour sweet and savoury dishes like vegetables, stews, biscuits and sweets. Its versatility makes it the perfect addition to porridge, French toast and muesli or savoury dishes such as curry, spinach or onions. OH

create a cliental. So what is the recipe to success? Well it is really simple: get rid of all the consultants advising you, unless they have a sound track record in making money. Forget about letting the chef do “their food” and get them to do the food you want for your clients. If it happens to be a sandwich, ensure the sandwich is well made and well costed. Plan the dish, construct the dish and make it work. Find a well trained chef that has the ability to listen, cook and work towards the common goal – profit. And lastly, ensure you have a sound budget in place that identifies the potentially slow periods and allows you to weather the storm. It comes down to this: prepare food in a clean regulated legal environment; do not try and exceed the customers’ requirements, just meet them; and ensure you can afford to start and run the business because if you cannot you are simply harming the business down the road that has done the hard yards for a lot of years. To long-term operators this is not a game, it’s our life.


Let it grow Having a kitchen garden allows chefs to have the freshest produce on their very own doorsteps, writes Megan Kessler.


ith the ever-increasing interest in locally grown seasonal produce, it was perhaps only a matter of time before the idea of growing your own caught on with chefs across the nation. What could be more local or fresher than veggies harvested that morning from outside your back door? For businesses with the space, kitchen gardens ensure a supply of fresh, seasonal produce, while allowing you to control what and how much is grown, so nothing goes to waste. One of the venues best known for its kitchen garden is Manfredi at Killcare at the Bells at Killcare Boutique Hotel, Restaurant and Spa. The hotel boasts 500sqm of gardens for growing food and won the Good Living Sustainability Award at the 2012 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Awards. Chef Stefano Manfredi is the man behind the hotel’s gardens. A variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs are grown for use in the restaurant and Manfredi particularly likes to grow produce that is often hard to find. “We will grow anything that takes our fancy,” explains Manfredi. “We are attracted especially to things that are difficult to get, for example, I think we were the first to grow a variety of chicory called puntarelle some years ago from seeds I brought back from Italy.”

The produce grown at the hotel inspires Manfredi to create fresh, seasonal dishes for the restaurant menu, which is adapted to suit what is in the garden and in season. Items on the menu include roast carrot and radish salad and eggplant, rocket and goat’s cheese lasagne. “At the moment we are getting ready for spring with potatoes, artichokes, and garlic well under way but we are harvesting cime di rapa (turnip tops), varieties of radicchio, scarola lettuce, beetroot, carrots, fennel, sorrel and rocket,” says Manfredi. “We have a lot of citrus on the property that is great at the moment; grapefruit, lemons and finger limes. There’s an abundance of avocados that are more than enough for our needs.” The ability to use fresh produce grown on the premises is something that customers value and appreciate. “There are always people who stroll through the garden and we often take them on guided tours,” Manfredi says. “The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.” As well as being able to showcase the gardens to diners, Manfredi points out that having a kitchen garden at the restaurant and hotel has many other benefits. “The garden takes quite a bit of work and thankfully our head chef and keen gardener Cameron

Brett Deverall tends his Elevated Gardens indoor garden.

Cansdell oversees the day-to-day maintenance and instructs the gardeners,” Manfredi says. “It is a substantial investment and does not necessarily mean cheaper produce. But it does mean fresher produce and working with ingredients that are not readily available.” The Sydney Cooking School has also recently invested in their own kitchen garden. Owner Brett Deverall has worked as a chef for 30 years at numerous restaurants in Sydney and is passionate about using the freshest produce possible. The kitchen garden allows him to take fresh herbs straight from the garden to be used in the cooking classes he runs. The cooking school grows an array of common herbs including sage, chilli, thyme, parsley, lemongrass, curry leaf, ginger, kaffir lime and galangal. “We use the produce grown in all our cooking classes,” says manager, Morenna Burn. “We use basil for pesto, Thai basil for our Thai class, and mint for our dessert class.” As well as being able to access home grown herbs for their classes, the school sees the kitchen garden as a great way to show students how easy it is to be sustainable. “We aim to support our surrounding environment as much as we can; from recycling to using environmentally recycled and renewable products, we always aim to do our bit.” Deverall uses Elevated Gardens for the kitchen garden, a self contained in-door growing system which is solar powered and can operate for up to two months without having to be watered.

Stefano Manfredi in the garden at Manfredi at Killcare.

“The sheer ease and convenience of this system being fully self sufficient and being solar powered makes it easy for everyone to use,” says Burn. “We would definitely recommend it to anyone who is thinking of growing

their own herbs or building their own garden.” Elevated Gardens are a good option for restaurants because they virtually look after themselves, according to Tracey Perez, manager of sales and marketing. “There is no need to remember to water the plants and there is minimal maintenance,” she says. “Chefs do not have time to fuss over a garden. “Nutrient rich water is recycled through the system from the water reservoir in the base of the growing tank, making it highly water efficient.” This makes the gardens very environmentally friendly and it also ensures that the plants grow quickly because of the consistent nutrient and moisture levels, which is important when growing plants for a restaurant. And as they don’t use soil, they’re cleaner than most gardens. “The Cocopeat growing medium is ground coconut husk and is 100 per cent organic,” says Perez. “It does not have the contaminates that soil may have; also soil has a tendency to attract undesirable insects.” Insects are something that can be expected with any kitchen garden, a fact which suprises many guests of Manfredi at Killcare when given a tour of the gardens. “There is the occasional person that is perhaps not used to a working garden and wonders why a section looks scrappy or why there are worms in the soil or bugs on some leaves,” says Manfredi. But it is all part of the process and he encourages more chefs and restaurants to consider growing their own produce. “I would absolutely encourage not only chefs and restaurants but everybody to start up a garden,” he says. “You’ll be surprised at how little room you need to produce quite a lot of food.” OH    Open House, September 2013   17

Food Allergies

Time to take action Dismissing food allergies as a fad isn’t just putting your customers at risk, it may also have the potential to hurt your turnover, discovers Ylla Wright.


ustralia’s foodservice businesses need to take steps to educate front- and back-of-house staff about food allergies if they’re to avoid losing an increasing portion of their customer base as food allergy numbers continue to rise, according to Maria Said, national president of Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia, who recently spoke on the topic at the 20th Australian HACCP Food Safety Conference in Melbourne.

Research shows that the number of infants developing one or more food allergies in the first year of life has grown: it’s estimated that one in 10 Australian infants aged 12 months now have a food allergy and, while many outgrow this, those with peanut and tree nut allergy often have it for life. Currently up to 2 per cent of Australian adults and 6 per cent of children have a food allergy. Hospitalisations for severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) have doubled in the last decade in Australia, with the number of admissions for anaphylaxis due to food allergy in children under fouryears-old are even higher, having increased fivefold over the same period. In some cases reactions can

prove fatal. While the jury is still out on why the number of food allergies is skyrocketing, Said believes it’s an issue that we all “need to be taking very seriously”. “This is a public health issue and something that everyone in the community needs to have an understanding of,” Said says. “It comes down to education. Educating allergic consumers; educating health professionals; and educating the food manufacturing and foodservice industries. We tell allergic individuals to never ask for a guarantee that a food is safe because no one can ever give it to you. But if everyone has an understanding of what food allergies are and puts in a few common sense measures to help reduce the risk of allergic reactions, then we’re a long way down to track to being able to accommodate people with allergies.’ While food manufacturers have since the early ’90s come to the party with a number of “precautionary warnings” and better listing of ingredients, Said believes there is still a way to go. Inconsistent precautionary cautioning is of particular concern; there are currently more than 20 varieties of precautionary statements in the Australian marketplace, many of which are unclear. A recent study of the parents of 246 children with a food allergy who attended the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, found that up to 84

18   Open House, September 2013

per cent considered the warnings “not useful and they did not know whether the food was safe to eat irrespective of the labels”. The authors of the study said “precautionary labelling for food allergens such as ‘may contain traces of’, are now present on more than half of all packaged processed foods in Australian supermarkets”. Previous studies have suggested that this high prevalence of precautionary labelling as well as consumer’s understanding that these statements are voluntary, may have led to consumers not heeding precautionary statements. The study also found that 65 per cent of parents ignored labels warning food was “made in the same factory”. However, only 22 per cent ignored labels warning that traces of allergens “may be present” in the product, even though these warnings may represent a similar amount of risk. “I think we need to be doing more around the precautionary statement issue, but we’re on the right track as far as food manufacturing goes,” Said says. For foodservice businesses, being allergy aware is not about providing a guarantee a particular food is safe for someone to eat, but putting in place strategies to reduce risk including effective communication between diners and staff. “First and foremost, allergic individuals need to take responsibility for their allergy; they need to disclose their allergy when

they visit any foodservice facility,” she says. “And then hopefully that business will have a process in place for when they have an allergic customer. Sadly that’s not always the case. “Most foodservice businesses will say, we write the allergy on the docket, but what does that do? You need to have a system in place that alerts everyone front- and back-of-house that you have an at risk person eating there. We’re not talking about jumping huge hurdles here, however, if a person says I’m allergic to milk and can’t have any dairy products, someone needs to see that through and check every component of that person’s plate for dairy, and to check that no cross-contamination with dairy occurs.” While the New South Wales government recently marked the start of Food Allergy Awareness Week by reminding foodservice businesses to be “alert to the nine key food allergy triggers”, responsible for 90 per cent of food allergies (peanuts; tree nuts such as

almonds and cashews; eggs; milk; fish; crustaceans such as prawns and lobsters; sesame; soy; and wheat), Said says having the right systems in place will ensure you can accommodate any trigger. “It’s about having the systems in place because there are also people who have a life threatening allergy to mushrooms, or celery, or mustard, and it’s important that restaurateurs aren’t just aware of the top nine. “The reality is that while 90 per cent of reactions are served by that top nine, any food has the potential to trigger anaphylaxis in someone who has a sensitivity to it.” Said admits food allergies are a difficult issue for the food industry. “No one sets out to hurt or injure people with a food that has nothing intrinsically wrong with it, but foodservice needs to be clear about what’s in food because of those people who have an allergy,” she says.

Along with avoiding the negative publicity of someone having a bad reaction to your food, advocating a consistent approach to managing customers’ food allergies can increase brand reputation and sales, according to Said. “If you agree to get out a clean saucepan to fry someone’s meat, instead of frying it on a hotplate where you have all the meat marinate and so forth, then people are going to remember that,” she says. “And it’s not just that customer that will be loyal to you; it will be their family and friends they’re with as well. “In the same breath, I don’t think its right for allergic consumers to not consider the foodservice facility. I’ve had people call me, for example, who will go to a seafood restaurant and tell them they’re allergic to shellfish, and then get annoyed they can’t be guaranteed their food will be safe. It’s not rocket science. If you

Allergy aware checklist To get you started, Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia has produced this handy checklist for commercial kitchens.

Eggs, peanuts and shellfish such as prawns are three of the most common triggers for food allergies.

have a seafood allergy, don’t go to a seafood restaurant and expect food that isn’t contaminated. “Things like turning up at a function where 500 people are going to be fed and not disclosing your allergy until you’re placed at the table. That is not okay. People with allergies need to forward plan.” While it’s been a hard slog to “get people to understand that this needs to be part of food safety education”, Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia, in partnership with the

NSW Food Authority has produced a Be Prepared, Be Allergy Aware, It’s Worth The Effort booklet for foodservice, which can be found at, as well as an interactive CD Rom for foodservice, available from “The CD Rom gives people a basic understanding of the seriousness of allergies and practical ideas that are doable in a foodservice facility to help reduce risk,” she says. OH

Know your products • Only accept correctly labelled foods. • Check all ingredients even in sauces, spices, garnish, oils, dressings etc for allergens. • Avoid ingredient substitution. Educate your staff • Train and test your staff regularly in food safety, hygiene and allergen awareness. • Teach staff of their obligation to declare certain allergens. • Display “allergy aware” posters. Ensure good preparation and hygiene practices • Always double check the ingredients with the chef. • Handle food safely. Start fresh for meals that must be allergen-free. • Clean and sanitise work surfaces, utensils and other food-contact items between foods. • Even trace amounts can be harmful. • Store food safely. • Have a dedicated area for preparing allergen free meals (be aware that food that is safe for one person with a food allergy may be unsafe for another person with a food allergy). • Whenever possible, prepare foods for people with a food allergy first. Communicate with your customers • Take customer requests about allergens seriously. Listen carefully. • Give customers accurate information about the content of meals if they ask. • Have a specific protocol to follow if a customer says they are allergic. • Place the name of known allergens next to menu items. For more detailed information, you can purchase Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia’s “Food Service Kit” and allergy aware posters, available at:    Open House, September 2013   19


Silver linings Complaints can be an operator’s worst nightmare but if viewed objectively they can be turned into a chance to show you care about all your customers, writes Sheridan Randall.


rofessional potty mouth and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay firing off f-words at a hapless diner who has the temerity to say he doesn’t like the way his food has been cooked. Hapless hotel owner Basil Fawlty, from television show Fawlty Towers, chastising his guests for getting in the way of his running of the hotel. The Sydney restaurant owner who made headlines earlier this year when he decided to try to turn an unhappy customer into a sheesh kebab. Inappropriate responses to criticism are the stuff of great drama, and if we’re honest, a lot of fun to watch from afar. But in reality this sort of emotive response to negative

feedback is not the best way to handle a situation. “A lot of business owners take it very personally and they respond with a lot emotion and can be very defensive or even attack that reviewer,” says Fiona Adler, chief executive and founder of business review website (word of mouth online). “I think that is the worst way to do it. You want to come across as a business that cares about your customers and their experiences with you.” The first thing to remember is that people are more inclined to give praise rather than complain,

according to Adler. “Complaints make up only about 8 per cent of online reviews, which is surprising to a lot of people who thought it would be a lot higher,” she says. The reason that many people may feel there has been a rise in the number of complaints online is that “it’s just a lot more public and permanent now”. For some people saying sorry is the hardest thing to do, as they believe it implies they are in the wrong.


150 mm

“I think you can say sorry about [a customer] not having a good experience, and it is not necessarily admitting that their problem actually happened,” she says. “People reading reviews are pretty savvy and can read between the lines and see whether a complaint is a reasonable complaint or whether the person was never going to be pleased and had unrealistic expectations. “But for whatever reason the customer is unhappy and so you should apologise as they have left your premises not having had a great experience. And then you can use that to explain your side of the story. “Whether or not you want to get that particular customer back or not, if you can get online and apologise and empathise with the customer’s experience and tell your side of the story, then that 110 mm

22   Open House, September 2013

will go down really well with other people reading it online.” Online complaints are in the public forum and need to be addressed in the same way and promptly, according to Adler, who recommends setting up Google Alert to keep on top of things and monitor everything that appears online regarding your business. “Businesses really need their finger on the pulse and address things in a timely way,” she says. “If you have a really bad experience and only hear back from the business a month later it’s going to be very hard for them to pick up and rectify that situation. Whereas if they can do it a couple of days later then there is a good chance to win that customer back.” Adler says that Australian businesses have yet to fully embrace the online world, and are even a little wary of it. “In the US every business knows that reviews are where consumers are turning, but I think Australian businesses are not quite there yet,” she says. “More and more consumers are turning to review websites as their first port of call, whereas businesses don’t yet realise the power reviews have and they’re a little afraid of them.

They’re trying to avoid the whole area rather than embracing it. If most businesses provide good service most of the time their reviews will reflect that and they will come out looking good.”

On the front line Jo Ucukalo, chief executive of, says that it helps to be objective. “A complaint is just a form of feedback,” says Ucukalo. “The first thing to acknowledge is that customers do have a right to be upset, but it doesn’t mean you have done something wrong. It’s not the fact that a problem has occurred it is how you deal with it that is most important and allows you to turn

things around.” The foodservice sector gets more face-to-face complaints than many other sectors, and “people can be a little more heated”. “People can get stuck in the venting mode, but you should try and transition the customer into the outcome mode, and find out what outcome would make them satisfied,” Ucukalo says. “Acknowledge the person’s feelings. If there has been a fault it’s good to acknowledge that fault even if you don’t admit responsibility, and then move to resolution.” However, that shouldn’t mean simply offering the customer something for free that is

Fiona Adler, chief executive and founder of business review website, shares her tips on how to react to a negative review. Don’t panic The moment you first become aware of a negative review is not the time to respond. Yes, you should respond and address their feedback quickly, but you need to make sure you’re in the right mindset.  

convenient to you, without first finding out how they want the situation resolved. “There is a difference between proposing a solution and asking the question,” she says. “By asking that question you are actually satisfying a need that the customer has instead of suggesting something that is convenient to you. “You might suggest chucking in a free dessert but that might not be what they want. A glass of your top of the range port might be more appropriate. It’s also important to remember that by asking that question it is still open to negotiation. Maybe the top of the range port is too much, so you can offer the house port. At least it means you are on the same page and what you have ascertained this customer wants is something you can now deliver to them. You have empowered them.” Empowerment should extend to the staff as well, according to Ucukalo, who recommends that operators train their staff to read customer body language for signs of dissatisfaction and give them

the tools to be able to handle the situation themselves. “Train your staff to be more specific – instead of asking ‘how was your meal’ say ‘how was your French toast’ as it shows that they are paying attention to you as a customer,” she says. Teaching staff members how to react in a calm and objective way using “open body language” is also vital to smoothing things over. “Make eye contact and use an open arm stance,” she says. “Don’t interrupt them and allow them the chance to say what they need to say, and don’t try to correct them. Once they have finished then you can go in.” Once trained, giving individual staff a set budget to use to resolve issues can be helpful as “it speeds up the process”. “If you can give people a solution immediately they will really appreciate it a lot more than having to wait or cause a scene,” she says. “They don’t want to ruin their night or have the manager come over. They just want to state what the problem is and have it fixed.” OH

Respond publicly Even if you know the customer, responding publicly is a great idea as it gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your business’ values and showcase your concern for customers.

Be gracious and keep your cool Take a deep breath and think carefully about what you’re going to say. Even if the reviewer seems to be making unfounded claims, don’t lash out, get personal or argue against their review.

Offer to make amends Where possible contact the customer directly with some sort of offer to resolve their issue or compensate them for having a bad experience. With proper handling, often an unhappy customer can turn out to become one of your most loyal fans.

Take feedback onboard No, the customer isn’t always right, but if you get a similar complaint several times, chances are you should do something about it. Customer reviews are basically cheap market research so use them to your advantage.

Address dubious reviews If you doubt that a review is from a real customer of yours, or believe it to be factually inaccurate, don’t make this public as you’ll only sound bitter. Instead, flag the review as “Inappropriate or Suspect”. Explain the reason for your suspicions and WOMO will investigate by contacting the reviewer directly.

Encourage other reviews The more positive reviews you have, the less impact each negative review has. Once you have several good reviews, the odd negative review can actually add more weight and credibility to those positive reviews.    Open House, September 2013   23

kitchen equipment

Space race The rigours of setting up a commercial kitchen are hard enough, but trying to do it in the back of a van throws up even more challenges, discovers Sheridan Randall.


ydney’s food trucks are now an established part of the city’s dining scene, but at the beginning there were no templates for setting up a kitchen on the back of a van.

serves a progressive menu that takes street food dishes from around the world and adapts them with the skills learnt along the way at some of Australia’s top restaurants.

“Everyone was pretty cagey about what they were doing in the sense that they all wanted to do their own thing,” says Stuart McGill, ex-sous chef of Tetsuya’s and one of the three partners behind the Eat Art Truck, along with former Quay chef Brenton Balicki and Mo Moubayed. Currently collaborating with MasterChef the food truck

Despite having plenty of kitchen experience between the three partners, and having seen how the food truck phenomena had taken off in the US, when it came to designing their own truck it was a case of learning as they went. “It was a lot of research and trial and error,” says Moubayed.

“We found it was a lot harder to execute because the market was so new here. You don’t have food truck builders here, people who have done this before. So we learnt along the way.” Building the truck up from the chassis, it was a case of “looking at a whole range of options”, according to Moubayed. “I was really ambitious in the style of food I wanted to do,” says McGill. However, being able to design the kitchen that needed to deliver on

that was not without its challenges. “It makes it easier if you have a clear idea of what you really need as opposed to what you want, especially given the space,” he says. “We wanted to be able serve pretty much anything out of our truck, so that’s the reason we have a char grill and induction, and all those kind of elements. “You are only kidding yourself if you don’t think of it as fast food, and given the nature of the style of food we do we need a bain-marie.” On top of that comes an induction cooktop, two combination steam ovens, a char-grill, deep fryer and microwave all courtesy of Electrolux – and something to power it all. In this case a generator built into the chassis. “I think it is about really understanding what you are going to do and making sure that everything inside the truck allows you to deliver it,” says Moubayed. “We built the truck to the best specs we could and there are advantages

Watch the video in the Open House iPad app. 24   Open House, September 2013

washing them himself, or getting some help for the bigger jobs. “You don’t need a lot of space to cook,” he says. “You’re really just standing there. If you are organised it’s easily done. My truck is smaller than most domestic kitchens. I do most of my cooking in the one wok burner – they are fantastic. I actually carry a portable gas burner to put on the stove top if I need two wok burners. I can use one for speed and deep frying and one for pan work. The ovens are underneath.” Being mobile means it is essential to have everything secured. “The stoves legs are bolted to the floor of the truck and the fridge has a strap to hold it in place,” he says. “All the cupboards have doors that can be locked and there is non-stick matting on the bench top.” and disadvantages to that. The main disadvantage being the more equipment you have the less prep space there is and the more power you need.”

industry on location, and all from the back of a three-tonne truck.

Some of the prep work is done outside of the truck, such as when 12-hour cooked pulled pork and beef brisket that is smoked for up six hours are on the menu, but the majority of the cooking is done from scratch in the truck.

“They are your two main considerations when setting up a mobile kitchen. I try and be selfsufficient in power, so I don’t have to stop and look for electricity to plug into. Some film trucks use generators for electricity, but you can imagine at six o’clock in the morning the last thing you want is a generator running in a neighbourhood. I use gas, for the fridge, LPG for cooking and LED lights powered by the car battery which charge up when I drive. My ventilation is really simple – I just had a hole cut in the roof and out it goes.”

“Everyone thinks we could do a ridiculous amount of [serves] an hour, but you can’t as it’s quite limited,” says Moubayed. “Unless you are serving pre-packaged food it’s really difficult to do big numbers. Our service time is still very fast – we aim for around four minutes. Obviously sometimes with a new menu it might take a bit longer.” For McGill working in small kitchen “is nothing new to me”, but working in one that moves is. “In this environment everything moves, and the induction cooktop is made of glass,” he says. “We have broken it a few times already. Anything that is not tightened down is going to move and you spend the next 30 minutes reorganising everything.”

Lights, camera, food Food trucks in the city are challenging enough for their operators, but film caterers have the added factor that they may be quite literally in the middle of nowhere. Robert Jang is the head chef and owner of Eat and Shoot Through, a catering company that services the film, television and advertising

“With film sets you often have to be in locations without any power or water,” says Jang.

four dual stacked trays in. Next to it I have a wok ring that was made specially. Typical wok burners have a water supply to keep the surrounds cool, but I don’t have limitless water supply, so I had it made without it.”

With dishes such as char grilled chicken with mango hollandaise, roast duck and prawn with Hokkien noodles and spicy lamb rump with sweet potato mash on offer, the cast and crew are never going hungry. “I am very efficient, and as they say, ‘efficiency is just a clever way of being lazy’,” says Jang. OH

A limited supply of water also rules out a dishwasher, so it’s a case of




• non-slip, ergonomic design for demanding kitchen environments • stain-free, high-carbon steel blade with an individually ground and honed edge

On location Jang can cater up to 300, but film shoots usually mean feeding around 150 people with just him behind the stove and some help washing up. “I don’t have much in the way of refrigeration in my truck because what I get that day I cook that day,” he says. “I pick up my produce from the markets at 5am and then off I go. I have a small freezer that fits around 16 litres of ice cream and that’s about it.”

• edges are sharp right out of the box, long lasting and can easily be resharpened

Film crews are usually served breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, with everything prepared onsite. “The cooker has just had its jets modified for LPG and that’s it,” he says. “Any commercial cooker can be easily modified. I have six burners on the top and underneath my [Wolf Range] stove is able to get

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INTERNATIONAL    Open House, September 2013   25

Dude food

Into the mainstream From small bars and pubs to upmarket eateries, “dude food” has made its mark on Australian menus and it’s here to stay, discovers Ylla Wright.


ne of the most enduring food trends in recent years has been the popularity of so-called “dude food”, which has swept out from the bars of inner-city venues onto the menus of even high-end restaurants. Originating in the US, where urban food trucks have popularised the style, here in Australia dude food crosses culinary borders to draw on dishes from around the globe. Encompassing everything from sliders and tacos to steamed pork

buns and sugar-cane prawns, dude food is comfort food made with premium ingredients, care and, most often, panache. Ideal for sharing with friends over a few drinks, diners can try a variety of different dishes in any one sitting; order as little or as much as they like; to replace a meal or to stave of hunger pangs until dinner. In short, it’s the sort of food chefs say they want to eat after they knock off from a shift.

“Dude food is centred around barbeque and classic American meat feasts,” says Peter McCloskey, managing director of Fresh Catering, the company behind a number of venues in Sydney including The Bar at the End of the Wharf, Cornerstone Bar & Food and the MCA Café.

it has to be junk food. It can still be made well, with quality ingredients and the best produce.

“There’s been a growing trend toward serving this type of food from food trucks [in Australia]; you’ll see many of these around Sydney’s suburbs. Taking it off the trucks and putting it into bars, the concept remains the same but served in cool, innovative ways with the focus on shared items.

With many dishes drawing inspiration from childhood favourites such as ham and cheese toasties, there’s also often a dash of nostalgia in its appeal. Customers

“While it generally goes well with a casual dining experience, the trend is very open to interpretation. Elements of it can even appear in a fine dining degustation.”

“Dude food is not about the gourmet version of a classic burger but rather about the original version done really well, using great quality produce.” With dude food “all about the way it tastes and less about its nutritional value”, McCloskey cites chicken wings in garlic with ranch dressing, pulled pork taco with lime salt and smoked tomato salsa, and chicken and roast corn quesadilla, smoked tomato relish as examples from Fresh’s menus. McCloskey puts its popularity down to a “swing away from over complicated and delicate healthy food to more honest, tasty, comfort food”. “It’s great food to eat while drinking,” he adds. “More generous than canapés, it’s honest, gutsy food with great flavours, and using fantastic ingredients.”

Chef Adam D'Sylva from Melbourne's Coda restaurant.

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“I don’t think there’s necessarily one clear definition of dude food,” he says. “It’s generally food that is hearty, casual, comforting, non-fussy and accessible, but this doesn’t mean

Photo by Fresh Catering.

Danny Russo, executive chef at the newly renovated The Oaks in Sydney’s Neutral Bay, has recently redone the hotel’s menus to make them more accessible, adding a number of US-inspired dishes including buffalo wings with blue cheese aioli, popcorn shrimp with chilli mayonnaise and fried buttermilk chicken pieces with aioli.

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at The Oaks “all have a story to tell about eating those kinds of foods as a child”, according to Russo. “Is it dude food, or great comfort food, or food from your childhood memories?” he says. “Either way it tastes great and people love it.” Rob Gringlas, owner of Americanstyle diner Joe’s Bar and Dining Hall in Melbourne, describes dude food as “comfortable food that’s fingerlicking good”. “It’s synonymous with casual dining, but I think this term means something different now than what it did years ago,” he says. “It doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of theatre or quality of food; it means a more welcoming experiencing, friendly service. Casual dining allows staff to use the skill of their personalities, which then feeds the overall environment of the restaurant.” With Joe’s known for its “all

American cuisine”, adding dude food dishes such as ribs and tacos to the menu was a “no brainer” for Gringlas and executive chef Andrew Blake. “While these dishes are everywhere in the US, they’re not done well in Australia,” he says. “Our chef recently travelled to America and discovered the technique of smoking ribs. We were really interested in this and started to play around with it on the menu. The other thing? As the owner, I absolutely love ribs and the ribs at Joe’s in particular. I stand behind them 100 per cent.” David Cowie, author of cook book Sliders & Rollers, due for release next month, which focuses on mini hamburgers and hot dogs, agrees that this style of food is suited to a casual, social environment, enjoyed with a group of friends over a food drinks. “It’s fun food,” he says. “They’re great for shared platters, with a selection of

varieties, and everyone can take one of each, or pick just one. “And because they’re so small, people keep coming back for more; you can do several courses of them throughout the afternoon or evening.” Adam D’Sylva, chef at Melbourne’s Coda and Tonka restaurants, says while he’s not sold on the label of dude food (“why call it dude food, like it’s something only blokes eat, when its food everyone eats?”), for him the style is summed up by “simple, really tasty food done well”. With Australians increasingly moving away from formal styles of dining and eating out more often, D’Sylva believes that far from being a flash-in-the-pan trend, dude food is here is to stay. “It’s gone beyond being a trend,” he says. “It’s just the way Australians are eating these days. People are time poor; they go out a lot more.

People might go out three or four times a week to socialise with friends and they don’t want to eat a structured meal. They want something casual and accessible.” The good news for restaurateurs, points out D’Sylva, is that casual doesn’t necessarily equate to cheap. While customers may be paying less for individual dishes, by the time the customer has ordered several, the price per head can come out much the same. “There can be value for the diner in the sense that you don’t have to eat a lot – you can just have one or two dishes – but all those little dishes add up.” Even if diners aren’t necessarily spending as much each time they eat out, a more flexible pricing structure allows even budgetconscious people to eat out more often, which has to be good for the industry as a whole.

Better burgers remain strong The “better burger” market, which brought us the likes of Grill’d, Moo Gourmet Burgers and Burger Edge, remains strong in the US, according to new research by Technomic. “As the burger category evolves, consumer demands are changing,” says Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic. “Consumers expect ‘something extra’ when dining out, and better burgers – with quality ingredients and customer-chosen toppings or specialty preparations – can really help deliver that as part of a solid value equation.” According to the new Burger Consumer Trend Report quality is key, with 51 per cent of consumers saying it’s highly important that the burgers they order are made from never-frozen beef – an increase from 43 per cent two years ago. More than half (55 per cent) want menus to specify the type of beef used, up from 48 per cent in 2011. Nearly two-thirds of consumers found the buildyour-own burger concept appealing, and 64 per cent also believe that being able to customise burger toppings and condiments is important. The data also found that interest in special diets, driven by younger consumers, continues to grow, as more than a fifth of all consumers who eat burgers say that gluten-free (23 per cent), vegan (23 per cent) and vegetarian (22 per cent – up from 18 percent in 2011) burger options are important to them.    Open House, September 2013   27

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Popcorn shrimp Serves: 4

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Heat the oil to 180°C or until a drop of batter crisps without browning. To make the batter, mix the egg yolk and iced water lightly in a bowl. Place the flour and cornflour into the bowl and mix lightly with a fork, leaving it rough and lumpy. Working in small batches, coat the prawns in the batter and fry for 2 minutes or until lightly golden. Drain well on paper towel, scatter with sea salt and serve immediately with spicy mayonnaise and lime wedges. ● Recipe by Danny Russo, The Oaks Hotel, Neutral Bay.

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Pork belly sliders with spicy caramel sauce 1kg boneless pork belly 1 cup water ½ cup sugar 1-2 long red chillies, deseeded 1 teaspoon fish sauce 1 tablespoon soy sauce Juice of half a lime ½ cup fresh coriander Salt and pepper to taste 12 brioche buns Preheat the oven to 220°C. Score the pork belly skin at 1 cm intervals in squares the same size as the buns. Place the pork on a rack in a roasting pan, skin side up. Pat dry the pork belly with paper towel and rub salt into the

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skin. Pour water into the roasting pan, enough to fill the pan to just under the rack. Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes or until the skin is crispy. Reduce the heat to 180°C and roast for a further 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender, topping up with water as necessary. Remove the pork and cut into squares to fit the buns, as scored before cooking. In a saucepan, bring the water and sugar to the boil. Boil until it starts to caramelise. Add the chillies, fish sauce and soy sauce. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, squeeze in the

lime juice, then set aside for later use. Slide the buns in half lengthways. To assemble the sliders, add a piece of pork and drizzle over some caramel dressing. Top with a few coriander leaves then the top bun. Hold together with a cocktail stick. Serve with Asian-style coleslaw on the side. ● Recipe and image from Sliders & Rollers by David Cowie (New Holland, $35). OH

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The art of artisan Before the age of mass production it used to be all bread was handmade by an artisan. But today trying to define artisanal bread is harder than it looks – is it the way it looks or the way it is made, asks Sheridan Randall.


rtisinal is a very loose term,” says Brett Noy, managing director at Uncle Bob’s Bakery. “You’ve got everyone claiming it and it has become very much overused and can describe just about anything. It certainly describes the process far more than the end product. I suppose if you look at it from a general public perspective, they would typically say it would have to be handmade. But there are factories in the world making this style of bread so it is possible to replicate the process in an automated way.” For Noy, a better term to describe it is as pre-fermented bread, with the fermentation happening prior to being mixed with the main part of the dough. “We use that terminology far more than artisan anymore,” he says. “By comparison with an average square loaf of bread, you’ve got factories putting out those products in just over an hour and a half from start to finish. For our process, the bread we baked today was mixed yesterday and the pre-ferment was made the day before. In total it’s a three day process. So it does take a lot longer.” The stereotypical image of an artisan baker as artist makes for great advertising, but doesn’t carry much

You’ve got everyone claiming it and it has become very much overused and can describe just about anything. weight in the real world, according to Noy, who says that this “open, loose approach is used as an excuse for a lack of knowledge of the process”. “A lot of people have their bucket of slop in the corner and they feed it every day, they don’t measure, saying they are an artist and going with the flow,” he says. “You may make very high quality bread but you will struggle with consistency.” Like a scientist, Noy understands that a small change in the raw ingredients can create unintended changes in the final result. “Every time you get a different batch of flour you get the potential for change and therefore the potential for different results or a fluctuation in quality,” he says. “When you remove all the chemicals

and the things that strengthen a product and allow it to go through a fast process you rely solely on the raw ingredients of the product – flour, salt and water. You are then relying on your knowledge and the quality of those ingredients, particularly the flour.

fresh ingredients has grown. “They are looking for bread that complements the rest of their processes,” he says.

“It’s a very scientific approach to making that bread at the highest level particularly if you want consistency. We measure the PH of our sourdough, because at every stage we are looking to hit specific points in order to make sure that our level of acidity, which contributes very much to the flavour of the sourdough, is the same day in day out.”

“A lot of restaurants have moved away from pre-prepared, packet and canned sauces and bases and flavourings and are going back to using fresh ingredients as much as possible. They are now looking for breads that complement that.”

Restaurants have been “the leader in demand for this sort of product”, as the trend for locally sourced and

“For us and our customers it is about bread quality, even from an artisan based product,” says Noy.

However, restaurants are still demanding a quality product that is consistent, with the “same volume, colour and shape”.

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30   Open House, September 2013

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C Brand ambassador The consumer shift towards products with a difference has pushed some restaurants to bake their own bread onsite. Sydney’s Pendolino restaurant is one such venue. “Our point of difference is that everything is handmade, so we want to make things as authentic and as high quality as we possibly can in an Italian framework,” says Nino Zoccali, owner and executive chef at Pendolino. “At the end of the day we are at the pointy end of the food pyramid, where we are supposed to be about high quality and innovation. Our bread is unique to us and that’s half the point.” This demand for quality is also being driven by “a dining public that has never been so sophisticated in Australia”. “People are travelling more than they ever have before,” he says. “It’s not surprising artisanal has become so popular.” Pendolino began by baking its own focaccia, partly as an exercise in creativity and partly because they wanted bread that would really showcase their carefully selected range of boutique Italian olive oils. Since then the restaurant has introduced a ciabatta style, with roasted garlic and black olives, and

a rye, walnut and fennel seed loaf, “which was inspired by spending time in the Trentino-Alto Adige region in the north of Italy”. “The experience of the olive oil is enhanced so much by the quality of the bread,” he says. “We make our breads everyday just prior to service, so we are really putting the freshest bread we can on the table.” The reaction to the introduction of house bread was “overwhelmingly well received by our dining public”. The bread and a selection of oils are placed on the table as a complimentary introduction to the meal, which “gives a level of satisfaction straight off the bat”. “People are really relaxed straight away,” he says. “And I think that people in high end restaurants often don’t feel relaxed. I think that bread does that for you, especially an abundance of bread. People say ‘you’re doing yourself out of a dessert sale if you give too much free’, but for me it just drives so much satisfaction up front. It really puts people in the zone. “I don’t think people are so concerned about portion size if you have been generous with the bread to start with. It’s also very Italian. Italians don’t eat a meal without bread, and there is also a sense of abundance with Italian dining. I

allebaut, the finest Belgium Chocolate in the World, and Savour School’s award winning pastry chef Kirsten Tibballs are proud to present a delicious recipe for you to serve with coffee or as a petit four.


Almond Cake 1100g Odense almond paste 60% 600g Eggs 300g Melted lurpak unsalted butter at 30°C Beat almond paste until completely Smooth and add eggs very slowly to avoid lumps. Finally add melted butter. Place the mix in Demarle Flexipan Chocolate Mousse alternate bake proof mould. 300 g Caster sugar Cook at 180°C for about 40 minutes 90 g Water depending on your oven. 270 g Whole eggs 120 g Egg yolks Strawberry Confit 720 g Dark couverture chocolate 180g Boiron Strawberry Puree Madagascar 66% cocoa 120g Strawberries, diced 960 g Whipped cream 3g Mint Leaves 15g Citrus Pectin Beat the eggs and egg yolks with an 60g Caster Sugar electric mixer. Cook the sugar with 6g Lemon Juice the water at 118°C then pour over the whisked eggs and yolks to make Combine strawberry purée, and mint a bombe mixture. Continue whisking leaves, bring to a boil. until completely cold. Strain the strawberry purée mixture through a chinoise into another small pot. Melt the chocolate at 36°C. Add small diced strawberry and bring the Incorporate 1/5 of the whipped cream into the chocolate; add the mixture back to boil. Mix pectin and sugar. Then, gradually add bombe mixture then the rest of the whipped cream. Pipe into Demarle to boiling strawberry purée mixture. flexipan sphere mould. Boil for 2 minutes and add lemon juice. A signature recipe from Kirsten’s award winning cookbook ‘Chocolate to Savour’    Open House, September 2013   31

The appeal of Pendolino’s house bread fits in with the restaurant’s “handmade philosophy” but that doesn’t mean it would translate to other types of venue, according to Zoccali. “For a lot of people it would be just a headache,” he says. “It’s a lot more work especially in an industry that has enormous pressure from a labour perspective both in terms of cost and availability. “You have to have a real strategy around it and be clear how to do it and I’m not sure it would deliver for every restaurant. I’m not sure the bang for the buck would be there for everybody.”

Artisan on demand think bread does that.” The bread is made in the dessert section, under the guidance of the restaurant’s pastry chef. “It’s a great skill for the guys to learn how to do,” Zoccali adds. “We systemise the process and the apprentices can do the whole thing themselves. They are very good at it, although they are heavily trained into it.”

Artisanal bread may work well for a high end restaurants, but for manufacturers looking to cater to the demand for gourmet bread in the broader market there are other factors to consider. “There’s lots of talk about it and lots of the use of the word ‘artisan’ but exactly what it all is, is hard to put a handle on,” says Darren O’Brien, Tip Top national account manager

– foodservice. “The key thing is that there is a trend in cafes, for instance, where they used to use square white bread or maybe an English muffin as the bread component of a breakfast meal. That has now replaced by a piece of ciabatta bread, Turkish bread or sourdough bread. “So we are definitely seeing more enquiries, and more people buying it, and more in the franchise group area taking these things on. Have they hit the same levels as normal breads? No, but they are definitely growing.” Tip Top’s Speedibake offers an Artisan range of par-baked premium and rustic bread products specifically designed for high volume operators looking for a point of difference. Customers are looking to get more value for their money now, according to O’Brien, and by changing the bread offering many operators are appealing to that sense of increased value.

Pendolino pastry chef Elisa Toinoven.

to trick it up,” he says.

“We sell our Turkish roll now to a lot of clubs and pubs for a steak sandwich or chicken burger as they have found it is one of the easy ways

“They serve it with a nice sauce like a aioli and maybe Swiss cheese and rocket instead of iceberg lettuce. And instead of putting it on a normal hamburger bun they put it on a Turkish roll. “It’s only a relatively small increase

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The bread at Pendolino.

in price to actually put these together in a nicer format, and the bread component makes a massive difference to it. It doesn’t matter what you put in there, it is the bread that is on the outside and is the carrier.” Tip Top works closely with many QSR outlets in developing their products, as the more mainstream sector has some strict criteria that it needs to adhere to, both in terms of taste and texture. “A lot of QSR customers don’t want things that are too tough,” he says. “They have to be biteable, because if you bite into something that is hard and crusty all the filling goes flying out. “People are saying I want sourdough, but then there are levels of sourdough, from the extreme which is so crusty it will rip the inside of you mouth and the flavour is so strong it’s like it’s taking a swish of vinegar. The more mainstream cafés have to be careful because the taste your consumer is used to may not be at that level yet.” Noy also says that the trend for

See recipe in the Open House iPad app. gourmet breads “is moving from restaurants into cafés, sandwich bars, delis and caterers”, with taste being the primary driver. “They used to take it [bread] and slap stuff on it,” Noy says. “The flavour was coming from everything other than the bread. What people are understanding,

especially about sourdough, is that it is nicely balanced. You get this lovely undertone of acidity and when you put other things with it, it complements and rounds them far better than a stodgy white bread. You take something simple like a toasted chicken, cheese and mayonnaise sandwich – you put

that on sourdough instead of a white bread it’s like a completely different sandwich. “It’s the same filling, but the flavours that come out as a result of eating it with a sourdough are dramatically different to how they are when you have it with a standard bread.” OH    Open House, September 2013   33

cooking the Books

Summer lovin’ Serge Dansereau, the chef behind Sydney’s celebrated Bather’s Pavillion, is often called the “father of the fresh food movement”. Here he shares one of the seasonally-inspired recipes he is famous for.

Seared squid with chorizo, chickpeas and Sicilian olives Serves: 8

800g medium-sized squid tubes 2 tomatoes, blanched and peeled 4 chorizo sausages, sliced thickly 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped 1 small red chilli, deseeded and chopped 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, soaked in water for 2 hours and drained 170g (1 cup) Sicilian green olives 1 lemon, zested and juiced 60ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil 1 handful flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked Rinse the inside of the squid tubes and pull the transparent cartilage out of the tube. Split the tube in two and cut into 2-centimetre dice. Cut the tomatoes into 4 quarters and remove the core and seeds. Cut the flesh into 1½ centimetre cubes and reserve. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and cook the sliced chorizo for about 30 seconds or until crispy on one side, turn over with kitchen tongs and cook for a few more seconds on the other side. Place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain off the excess oil. Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat and fry half the squid, tossing for about 1 minute to cook lightly all over. Add half the garlic and chilli, season with salt then remove from the pan. Clean the pan and repeat for the second batch. Place the chorizo, squid mixture, tomato, chickpeas and olives loosely on a platter, squeeze the lemon juice on top, drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil, garnish with the parsley and lemon zest and serve.

34   Open House, September 2013

Image by William Meppem.

Serge’s notes: You could replace the Sicilian green olives with diced avocado and the chickpeas with crispy croutons or even diced, cooked potatoes. ● Recipe and image from Seasonal Kitchen: classic recipes from Australia’s Bathers’ Pavilion by Serge Dansereau (ABC Books, $59.99). OH

What’s on shelf this month?

D.O.M: Rediscovering Brazilian ingredients by Alex Atala (Phaidon, $59.95) Alex Atala has been called “the most interesting man in the world” by David Chang from Momofuku in New York, and “a giant amongst chefs” by Rene Redzepi from Noma in Copenhagen, and in this stunning book it’s easy to understand why the chef is so revered by his peers. Using often humble ingredients hailing from his native Brazil, dishes are elevated to the status of works of art through Atala’s technical brilliance. The result is a reinvention of Brazilian cuisine which will astound for years to come.

Bill’s Italian Food by Bill Granger (Harper Collins, $49.99) Known for his relaxed, crowd-pleasing food, Bill Granger finds inspiration in regional Italian cuisine and fresh, seasonal produce in this latest book. Showcasing simple, flavoursome dishes made with uncomplicated cooking methods, recipes are more rustic than sophisticated, making them well suited to an Australian summer. From Ligurian fish stew, and trofie, eggplant, cherry tomatoes and pecorino, to porchetta with roasted fruit, there’s plenty to inspire in the kitchen. Or let the travelogue-style images inspire you to book your own regional Italian fact-finding mission.

Almond Bar: 100 delicious Syrian recipes by Sharon Salloum (Lantern, $39.99) While Syria has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, this book from Sharon Salloum, co-owner and chef of Almond Bar in Sydney, is a celebration of the vibrant, exciting culinary landscape of the nation. With interest in Middle Eastern food at an all time high, many of the dishes will seem familiar, but Salloum has also created a host of new dishes, combining “old” (traditional ingredients) and “new” (modern techniques) in a way that, while recognisably Middle Eastern, is also all her own.

Get it while it’s hot! Open House is now available as an iPad app, offering even more ways to enjoy industry news, views and feature stories on the key issues and trends affecting the hospitality industry. This exciting free app is packed with bonus extras including recipes, behindthe-scenes videos and interactive features. Updated monthly, the Open House iPad app is available to download free at the iTunes app store or    Open House, September 2013   35

Products oven is ideal for restaurants that want to serve pizza quickly and efficiently. The stainless steel made ovens offer maximum reliability and productivity. The air blowing system, heating and conveyer belt can all be adjusted and controlled to suit the needs of your restaurant. ●

Sweet Treats Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies have introduced Raspberry Coconut Cupcakes and Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes to their glucose free and fructose friendly range of premixed cakes for food service professionals. Customers looking for a naturally sweetened special treat will find satisfaction with the allergen free cupcake choices.

Step back in time The Luigi Bormoli Bach range of new glassware adds a touch of retro style with durable, strong glass that is ideal for use in bar, pubs and restaurants.

to knocks and bumps and will keep its sparkle even after 4000 dishwasher cycles. ●

Retro style has gained popularity in bars and venues recently and can create a Gatsby-era feel. Often this type of glassware is very fragile and difficult to replace but Luigi Bormoli offers an affordable, sturdy alternative.

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The glassware features vertical facets that run around each glass to create a glistening optical effect. The collection includes martini, whisky and hi-ball glasses to suit various cocktails and other beverages. The glasses are made from leadfree crystal glass which is resistant

Melinda’s signature flour, lightly blended quality ingredients and natural sweeteners mean these cupcakes are ideal for entertaining event guests for morning or afternoon tea. For a flavour hit add fresh raspberries to the Raspberry Coconut cupcakes and fresh blueberries to the Blueberry Lemon cupcakes. The cupcakes are suitable for those with food allergies, coeliac disease, wheat intolerance, and irritable bowel syndrome and can be prepared egg and dairy free. ●

The Moretti Forni conveyor pizza

The Bonnet ovens are ideal for roasting or braising meat, steaming vegetables and fish and cooking quiches, pies or pastries.

Cap it off The sparkling fruit beverage range from Sanpellegrino is now available with a new twist-off cap. The innovative new cap is more convenient for staff and customers and eliminates the need for a bottle opener. The caps are coloured to match the flavour of each sparkling drink making it easy for staff to identify and serve the different flavours in the range. Flavours in the Sanpellegrino sparkling fruit range include Aranciata (orange), Limonata (lemon), Aranciata Rossa (blood orange), Chinotto (bitter citrus), Pompelmo (grapefruit) and

36   Open House, September 2013

Improve your food Bonnet Precisio Combination Ovens are a new range of ovens from Hobart Food Equipment designed specifically for commerical use. The ovens feature various modes and functions that help to improve all types of cooking.

Euroquip Food Service Equipment has made it possible for foodservice professionals in Australia to get their hands on a new pizza oven that has just reached our shores. The pizza ovens from Moretti Forni are used in a number of popular pizza and Italian restaurants in Australia including Rosso Pomodoro and La Rosa in Sydney. Celebrity chef Guy Grossi also uses one in his Melbourne restaurant Ombra Salumi Bar.

Mandarino (mandarin). ●

Bonnet Ovens efficiently deliver quality cooking results every time and have been used by renowned British chef Marco Pierre White. The ovens are available in six, 10, 20 and 40 tray varieties. ●

Making a comeback Cerebos Foodservice has recently relaunched into the foodservice market with a range of brands that cater to a variety of needs for the hospitality industry. Brands under Cerebos include Fountain, which is well known for their tomato sauce; Saxa, which supplies salt products; and Gravox, which provides quality gravy.

The bottler system is ideal for restaurants and is currently installed in Six Penny, which won Time Out magazine’s Restaurant of the Year 2013 award. The price of water is included per head charge and the restaurant has seen cost savings and improved table presentation since introducing the system.

Newer brands that have been added are Asian Home Gourmet spice pastes as well as Tandanco which offers coatings and seasonings. Cerebos are also the exclusive supplier of the all-natural sweetener Natvia to foodservice. “At Cerebos Food Service we’re proud to be able to build our reputation on strong heritage brands and the consistency, quality, functionality and applicability of our product range” says Alan Lineque, Cerebos national sales manager. “We believe that there’s a place for all our brands in every commercial kitchen, helping you to save time and money while keeping your customers satisfied.” ●

Juice range recycles Emma and Tom’s have announced that their whole fruit smoothie range will now be bottled in 100 per cent recycled Australian plastic (rPET). They are the first beverage company in Australia to move to using these bottles.

The move comes after the opening of a new recycling plant in NSW which will recycle an estimated 34,000 tonnes of plastic into rPET. The technology creates a food grade plastic that once used can be recycled again. This means that less plastic is imported into the country and less plastic is sent offshore for recycling. “We started Emma and Tom’s to help Australians look after themselves and looking after the environment is a part of that,” says Emma and Tom’s co-founder, Emma Welsh. “We estimate our move to rPET will help save more than a million plastic bottles from being produced each year.” ●

The bottler has various installation options to suit the needs of your business, including floor standing, under counter, counter top and wall mounted. The exclusive carafe-style bottles come with a once piece cap for sealing; the seal also retains bubbles in sparkling water for days. They are available in 425ml and 75ml sizes, and are dishwasher-safe so they can be easily cleaned and reused. ● its kind, designed specifically for those customers who suffer from nut allergies. The sauce is made with soy, canola oil, onion and a blend of spices for a tasty result that is completely free from nuts. It can be used as a salad dressing, dipping sauce, marinade or as a base for stir fries and curries.

Water works Brita Vivreau Bottler is an alternative option to bottled water which allows you to dispense filtered water that is still or sparkling. The reusable bottles eliminate the need for pre-bottled mineral water, saving on packaging and offering environmental benefits.

Go nut-free Australian Vegie Gourmet has recently launched a Nut-Free Satay Sauce for the foodservice industry. The product is the first of

The product is also suitable for hospitals, aged care centres and health food stores where serving nuts can be an issue. The sauce can last for two to three months when refrigerated. ● OH    Open House, September 2013   37


Bumper month T

he upcoming Australian Culinary Federation (ACF) events at Fine Food Australia, to be held at Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre at Darling Harbour this month, are on track to be our most successful. The combined efforts of NSW, ACT & Regions, supported by the Fonterra Food Service Chefs Battle of States and the new Chefs Studio fixture are set to make this a national success.


Peter Wright Australian Culinary Federation (ACF)

Highlights include a great herbs and spice masterclass with the team from Krio Krush, a sous vide workshop by Regethermic Australia, sustained seafood by Independent Fisheries and the combined efforts to showcase the hottest chef and Australian red meats thanks to Meat & Livestock Australia's Rare Medium, Tabasco and Bidvest Emerald Valley Beef. The kitchens supplied by Moffat and Robot Coupe ensure that all the chefs, apprentices and trainees can cook at their peak. Also a big thanks

to Diversified and all the supporters that have assisted in making this a magnificent success. During September we are also supporting the final of the Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award. This year’s event highlights the importance of supporting the young chefs of Australia by ensuring that we provide avenues for these young chefs to develop their culinary and leadership skills. The event culminates in a sensational dinner and presentation at the Sydney Sofitel on September 11. The team at Nestlé Professional have again shown their support for our chefs – a big thanks to Nestlé executive chef Mark Clayton, the ACF’s Deb Foreman, all the training schools and institutes, team mangers and of course the hundreds of competitors. One topic close to my heart is chef’s health. Last month I received troubling news that a long-term friend and pastry chef, who I worked

with as a commis in the 1980s, has been diagnosed with diabetes. His illness was so serious he almost went into a coma and he is now injecting himself twice daily with insulin. The underlying issue was he had not been for a medical check-up – that’s right never! In light of this I urge all chefs over 35 to have your health checked at least annually as early detection is a better cure than not. In a separate health risk, while working at a culinary institute I noticed that several of the young chefs had burns on their forearms. I suggested that long sleeve jackets with the sleeves rolled down might remove the risk, however the young chefs thought the burns were cool! For more details on our recent, current and future events go to or check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

Peter Wright National President Australian Culinary Federation

Call out for new dream team The Australian Culinary Federation is calling out for nominations for the Australian Culinary Squad. The Squad encompasses junior, senior and pastry chefs. To be considered for a position on the squad you will need an endorsement from your local ACF chapter and be able to demonstrate

the following: • The ability to commit to a training program with full support from family relationships and employer • An exceptional chef with an even temperament • Able to work under extreme conditions

Hot new partnership New South Wales largest employer of apprentices HTN has partnered with the Australian Culinary Federation to sign up all its apprentices to the ACF NSW, ACT and Region chapter. Acting chair of ACF NSW, ACT and Region Neil Abrahams made the announcement recently, following the formation of the newly established chapter of the ACF, which now has over 450 members.

38   Open House, September 2013

• Work in a team environment taking direction from management

random training sessions locally and interstate

• Develop your objectives in a timely manner according to management deadlines

• Track record outlining previous competition experience and skills at state or international level

• The ability to cope with criticism from your peers

For more information email the ACF head office at

• Be available for scheduled and

QLD duo scoop Schools Challenge Two culinary students from Trinity Lutheran College, Grace Norton and Sunni Roberts, beat 11 other regional finalists from across Queensland to win the 2013 EKKA Junior Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge, held at The Royal Brisbane Show last month. This year around 200 Year 10 students from 52 schools competed

in the Junior Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge, with Norton and Roberts taking home $700 prize money and $600 for their school for their winning recipe of a North African inspired chicken ballotine with charred vegetables, spiced chilli and pear, couscous filo spear with pomegranate syrup.

Nine teams to battle it out in golden final The last two regional finals of the 2013 Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award have been decided. Third year commercial cookery apprentice chefs Chris Malone, a student at West Coast Institute of Training, and Philip Grice, a student at Challenger Institute of Technology, who work together at Fraser’s Kings Park, won the West Australian heat (winning dishes pictured below), while chefs Libby Green and Daniel Garwood, both from The Henry Jones Art Hotel, achieved gold overall in the Tasmanian heats.

“We hoped to come away from the experience having learnt some new skills and just put ourselves up to see how we rate against other young chefs,” said Malone. “I’m so proud of us winning. We put in a lot of training time ahead of today and it’s really paid off.” For Green it was a case of third time lucky, saying she had “a lot to prove” this time round. “Having the chance to represent Tasmania again at the National

Final is awesome,” she said. “We’ll be going all out to win and bring the trophy home.” The nine finalist teams are heading to Sydney to compete in the 2013 Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award National Final CookOff at William Angliss Institute on September 10, with the winning team set to score a oncein-a-lifetime prize-trip

to London in October, to carry out work experience alongside legendary chef Alain Roux at worldrenowned, three Michelin-starred restaurant, The Waterside Inn. OH

Dessert – white chocolate mousse an d panna cotta, orange jell y, marsala compressed strawberry, salt and pepper caramel and Kit Kat crumb.

amundi, ared Barr nd Entrée – se scallop, a d e od smok lad. o w sa l le e p n p n a e and fe h ic v e c p a scallo

OPEN HOUSE FOODSERVICE is proud to be a diamond sponsor of the ACF.

Main course – Emerald Valley lamb leg; presented sous vide and braised, sweet potato crisp, polenta, spinach puree and red wine jus.

For information on ACF, visit, or contact the ACF National Office via or (03) 9816 9859.

PUBLISHER Alexandra Yeomans MANAGING EDITOR Ylla Wright Journalist Sheridan Randall Sales & Marketing Manager Jo Robinson Account Manager Leah Jensen

Official organ for the Australian Culinary Federation; Association of Professional Chefs and Cooks of NSW; Professional Chefs and Cooks Association of Queensland Inc.; Academie Culinaire de France; College of Catering Studies and Hotel Administration, Ryde, NSW; Les Toques Blanches, NSW Branch; Australasian Guild of Professional Cooks Ltd. Subscriptions: 1 yr $99; 2 yrs $174; 3 yrs $261 (incl. GST and surface mail).

ISSN 0312-5998


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Published in Australia by Creative Head Media Pty Ltd · P.O. Box 189, St Leonards, NSW 1590 House September Foodservice. Opinions expressed by the contributors in this magazine are not the opinion of Open    Open House, Letters to the editor are subject to editing.

2013   39



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Open House Food Service September Issue  

In every issue of the magazine our experienced editorial team brings readers the latest news affecting the food service industry, investigat...