Hospitality April 2019

Page 1

NO.752 APRIL 2019



Contents APRIL 2019


Regulars 5 // IN FOCUS Dodgy employers could face jail time after the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce handed its findings to the government. 6 // NEWS The latest in openings, events, books and more. 8 // PRODUCE All about yuzu. 10 // COLUMN Why Flour and Stone’s Nadine Ingram won’t compromise when it comes to quality.


12 // BEST PRACTICE Huxtaburger CEO Matt Fickling’s advice on expanding your business the right way. 14 // BUSINESS PROFILE One-on-one with Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham from Mary’s Group. 18 // DRINKS Is cascara as sustainable as we’re led to believe? 40 // BEHIND THE SCENES Chu The Phat’s mung bean pancakes.


Features 20 // SIGNATURE DISHES Diner drawcards or the end of creativity? 26 // FRONT OF HOUSE Management strategies from the industry’s finest. 30 // KITCHEN EQUIPMENT Chefs reveal their kitchen essentials. 34 // CARBON NEUTRAL MEAT The practicality of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.

41 // EQUIPMENT The diversity of the cleaver. 42 // 5 MINUTES WITH … Tonka and Coda’s Kay-Lene Tan.

April 2019 | 3



Keep up with the Hospitality team

MERU MISO X BENTLEY Chef Brent Savage created a red miso and pumpkin curd tart with citrus sorbet to celebrate the Meru Miso brand. @annabellecloros

The golden ticket HOW MANY TIMES have you gone to a

recognised, cascara is a product not

restaurant to try a particular dish? For

many people know about. Labelled as

me, the muffuletta was the motivator for

a sustainable by-product of coffee, the

A1 Canteen and the snow egg (RIP) front

dried skins of coffee cherries are used to

of mind each time I’ve dined at Quay. I

make a beverage known as cascara. But

recently interviewed Tetsuya Wakuda,

there is conflicting information about how

Lennox Hastie and Evan Moore (p20)

sustainable cascara really is. Read all

about the varied role signature dishes

about it on page 18.

have played at their restaurants. Testuya’s


This issue, chefs reveal the kitchen

confit of ocean trout is arguably one of

essentials they can’t live without, Jake

Australia’s most recognisable dishes and

Smyth and Kenny Graham from Mary’s

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal’s meat fruit

Group talk about their journey thus far and

is the embodiment of the restaurant’s

Huxtaburger’s Matt Fickling pens a column

whimsy ethos. At Hastie’s Firedoor, most

on expanding the right way.

of the menu revolves around seafood and vegetables, but the dry-aged beef has

Until next time,

customers booking months in advance.

Annabelle Cloros

While some dishes are globally

The cult noodle brand has launched a stall at HWKR in Melbourne with Indonesian-style dishes on offer. @hospitalitymagazine

SHINE ON Chef Cam Matthews plated up some of the Sunshine Coast’s best produce at Spicers Retreat Potts Point. @madeline.woolway

Follow us


@hospitalitymagazine #hospitalitymagazine PUBLISHER Paul Wootton EDITOR Annabelle Cloros T: 02 8586 6226 JOURNALIST Madeline Woolway T: 02 8586 6194


HEAD OF CIRCULATION Chris Blacklock To subscribe please call 1800 651 422. HospitalityMagazine

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4 | Hospitality

IN FOCUS // Migrant Workers’ Taskforce

Jail time

for dodgy employers Employers who knowingly underpay workers could face jail time, with the Coalition backing new reforms. WORDS Madeline Woolway EMPLOYERS WHO

a visa,” said O’Dwyer. “For the

hospitality industry as one of the

with an additional $14.4 million

DELIBERATELY underpay workers

very first time, we will introduce

agency’s top five compliance

to focus on the protection of

could face jail time under new

criminal sanctions for the most

priorities. According to the

migrant workers. The funding is in

reforms announced by the

serious and egregious forms

report, “the most comprehensive

addition to an extra $20.1 million

federal government.

of deliberate exploitation

academic survey to date on the

provided in 2016-17 to help the

of workers.”

issue suggests as many as 50

FWO crackdown on law breaking.

per cent of temporary migrant

While extra funding will assist

The introduction of criminal sanctions is just one of 22

O’Dwyer confirmed employers

recommendations made by the

who unintentionally underpay

workers may be being underpaid

the Ombudsman, the Taskforce

Migrant Workers’ Taskforce,

workers will not face the tough

in their employment.”

argued there was a need to

which was established in 2016.

penalties. “Only the most serious

The Taskforce, chaired by

The report also found that,

raise the FWO profile among

and egregious cases would be

while the FWO has recently

migrant workers. “The evidence

Professor Allan Fels AO — known

subject to criminal penalties,

reacted with strength to systemic

now suggests the organisation is

for his role as chairman of the

not employers that accidentally

underpayment, the scale and

not well known or understood,”

ACCC — and Dr David Cousins

or inadvertently do the wrong

entrenched nature of the problem

stated the report.

AM, recently handed its findings

thing,” she said.

requires a more robust response.

to the government.

As a resolution, it is recommended

the report include developing

will work with stakeholders as

the FWO be given the same

legislation to make it an

Industrial Relations Kelly

it considers the circumstances

powers as other regulators, such

offence to knowingly unduly

O’Dwyer MP announced

and most appropriate legislative

as the ACCC, when it comes to

influence, pressure or coerce

on Thursday 7 March the

vehicle to give effect to criminal

information gathering.

a temporary migrant worker to

Coalition government has

sanctions. While the Taskforce

accepted ‘in principle’ all

was set up in response to

suggested the government

22 recommendations. “The

the widely reported 7-Eleven

consider the need to provide the

temporary visa holders for

Coalition government has

wage theft scandal, worker

FWO with further resources, tools

a specific period is also

no tolerance for those who

exploitation has proven to be a

and powers to help it effectively

recommended for employers

repeatedly and deliberately

systemic issue in many industries.

combat underpayments.

convicted by a court of

Minister for Jobs and

underpay workers, whether they are an Australian or a worker on

The Morrison government

Other recommendations from

In 2017, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) listed the

Subsequently, the Taskforce

Minister O’Dwyer said the FWO had recently been provided

breach visa conditions. A ban on employing new

underpaying temporary migrant workers. ■ April 2019 | 5

NEWS // Entrée

Arthur opens for lunch Sydney restaurant Arthur is now serving lunch on the weekend after initially opening for dinner service.


The Tristan Rosier eatery has become known for its sustainable approach and revolving menu that changes according to seasonality.

The latest openings, books, events and more.

Diners can enjoy the set menu for $70 per person during a 12:30pm sitting.

EDITED BY Annabelle Cloros

Photography by LYHT — Damian Flanagan

Bar Margaux opens in Melbourne Michael and Zara Madrusan of Made in the Shade hospitality group (The Everleigh, Heartbreaker) have expanded their portfolio with the launch of Bar Margaux in the CBD. The 80-seat venue takes cues from New Yorkstyle brasseries and offers a full dinner menu alongside cocktails, wine and an extensive Champagne list. Chef Daniel Southern is running the kitchen and Michael has taken care of the drinks program with group manager Marty McCaig.

Cracking convention McLaren Vale winery Riot Wine Co have added Riot Rogue Grenache to its can range. The cans are sealed in an anaerobic environment away from UVR,

Passport to Bangkok

meaning the wine stays at maximum freshness. “The advantage of wine in a

Bangkok Local

can is its portability,” says winemaker

Sareen Rojanametin and Jean Thamthanakorn $39.99; Smith Street Books

Tommy O’Donnell. “It is now even easier

Chefs and former Nora restaurateurs Sareen Rojanametin and Jean

to enjoy quality wine in any location.”

Thamthanakorn have penned

RRP $24.99 for a four pack of 250ml

a book on Bangkok’s iconic


street food. After closing their Melbourne eatery in 2017, the pair decided to move back to Bangkok and write their first book. Bangkok Local is split into three sections — early, mid and late — and follows the formula of ‘one culinary day’. The book is full of recipes including pork meatballs in a bowl of jok, pad kaphrao, tom yum goong and jungle curry. 6 | Hospitality

NEWS // Entrée

Cornersmith x MCA Marrickville café Cornersmith has created a vegetarian menu for Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art. The menu has been influenced by the Janet Laurence: After Nature exhibition and revolves around Cornersmith’s minimal waste ethos. Dishes include a seasonal autumn salad, kimchi toast and a baked

Bush Tucker gin

pineapple and coconut loaf with pineapple skin syrup. The menu is available at the MCA Café until 10 June. Photography by Anna Kucera

Larrikin Gin has released a new product that showcases 10 native Australian botanicals including Kakadu plum, lemon aspen, roast wattleseed and strawberry gum. Bush Tucker gin can be used in a range of cocktails or sipped solo over ice. Tasting notes describe the first sips as sweet, soft and smooth with hints of dry plum and lime zest. ABV 50.7 per cent

Recipes from the world’s best chefs The Recipe Josh Emett $39.99; Hardie Grant Books Michelin star chef Josh Emett has compiled 150 classic recipes from the world’s best chefs. The Recipe is divided into 12 sections from stocks, sauces and dressings to grains, vegetables, meats and baking. The chef has tested each and every recipe in his home kitchen and offers thoughtful tips to readers.

for 700ml. RRP $100.

Pinchy’s opens at Emporium collaboration with Veuve Clicquot. The seafood eatery has become known

Truffle Kerfuffle

for their Maine lobster and Alaskan king crab rolls which owners Jeremy

The Truffle Kerfuffle will return to Manjimup in Western

Schinck and Nick Young discovered during their travels around the US. Former

Australia from 21–23 June, showcasing Australian black

Vue de monde chef Thibault Boggio is running the kitchen and has plans to

truffles. The festival will feature demonstrations, food and

incorporate new dishes in the coming months from octopus and prawns to

wine tastings, truffle hunts and a range of unique dining

smoked ocean trout. Veuve Clicquot’s Brut and Rose is available by the glass.

experiences. Tickets on sale soon.

Photography by Jessica Wyld.

Pinchy’s Co has opened a new pop-up at Emporium Melbourne in

April 2019 | 7



The deliciously ugly fruit has origins in China, but has become synonymous with Japanese cuisine.

Long thorns make yuzu difficult to harvest and can damage fruit

WORDS Annabelle Cloros ILLUSTRATIONS Elena Fombertaux

Flesh often has

Yellow in colour

dark or brown

with bumpy,


uneven skin


green leaves and long thorns. Branches grow

mandarin. The fruit has uneven, bumpy skin

Yuzu is a cold climate citrus fruit that

close together, but should be separated to

and yellow flesh which often features brown

originated in China before it was introduced

prevent thorns from puncturing the fruit.

patches. The flesh is difficult to extract

to Japan and Korea. It is a hybrid of a sour

Trees grow at different rates according to

due to the large number of seeds and is

mandarin and Ichang papeda, a slow-

region, but in Victoria, trees flower from late

growing tropical fruit with large seeds,

October with baby fruit appearing by mid-

uneven skin and oval shape.

November. Smaller green fruit is harvested


Japan and Korea are the largest producers

unpalatable to consume raw.

in April and is commonly used to make yuzu

Fresh yuzu typically last for two to three

of yuzu, but Australia has also begun

kosho (chili and yuzu peel paste). Yellow

weeks once they have been picked. Casey

propagating the fruit, with Buck Buchanan

fruit — approximately the size of a large

recommends storing the fruit in the fridge to

from Buck’s Farm in Chillingham, New South

mandarin — is harvested from May to late

ensure maximum lifespan. The juice and pulp

Wales, the first to start commercially growing

June and should be firm to touch. Yuzu aren’t

of fresh yuzu can be frozen for later use and

yuzu. Buchanan started more than 20 years

able to be picked from trees and must be

the rind can be dried or candied.

ago after Japanese tourists suggested he

cut to avoid damage to the top of the fruit.

grow the fruit. The Australian yuzu industry

Mountain Yuzu use a purpose-built piece of

Culinary uses

is in the ‘embryonic’ stages, and there are

equipment from Japan which has pliers on

Yuzu is prized for its juice, rind and pulp. The

only two other known commercial growers;

the end of a long pole. Users are able to cut

rind is often grated over sushi and the juice

Mountain Yuzu in Eurobin, Victoria, and G.M.

and hold the fruit, preventing it from falling

is used to make ponzu. The fruit is often used

Arnold & Son in Waikerie, South Australia.

on the ground.

as a cooking vessel, with chefs scooping

Growing conditions and harvest

Flavour profile and appearance

vegetables. Yuzu juice and rind is commonly

Yuzu prospers in cool-climate regions and

Yuzu has an intense sour taste which

used in desserts such as sorbet and tarts and

is difficult to grow. The trees can reach six

Mountain Yuzu’s Jane Casey likens to a

is also prevalent in alcoholic (yuzushu, gin)

feet tall and have brown branches with dark

combination of a grapefruit, lime and

and non-alcoholic beverages. ■

out the flesh and steaming with protein or

8 | Hospitality

ussie Goo ted A dn s u es Tr s


Full page ad The Armory


Serving Suggestions

COLUMN // Nadine Ingram

The embrace of a warm pain au chocolat Quality will disappear unless we start supporting small food producers. WORDS Nadine Ingram PHOTOGRAPHY Petrina Tinslay


products that reflect imagination

the best ingredients affects

up with Brickfields, Kristen

people started putting cost

and skill, while charging a price

our bottom line dramatically.

Allan Cheesemaker, Coffee

above quality, makers moved to

that will encourage customers

When we decide to put three

Alchemy and Ms Peacock Fine

shorter product life or reduced

to relive their experience. This

sticks of chocolate in the

Chocolates to bring a career

quality. Things aren’t made to

standard is one I share with

pain au chocolat, it has to be

development program to our

last longer anymore, and the

many small producers out there

Valrhona because it is the best.

staff. A little off-site excursion

decision to make things in a

who want to do the right thing

Some might think going above

to these artisan producers every

cheaper manner has been driven


the standard one stick and

now and then works wonders

putting in two is enough, but it’s

for their souls. Not to mention

small costs money. Big

the complete lack of restraint

Mary our croissant maestro who

the challenge to make things

makers might negotiate

that is key here. Some say there’s

trains members of staff three

quicker and without compromising

discounts on pallets of

a proper ratio of chocolate

times a week to improve our

the integrity of our products. ‘Work

flour, whereas we have no space

and three is over the top. I say

sense of value and worth as

hard, be generous and the rest will

for storage and pay a premium

to those people stop being so

a team.

follow’ is my maxim and drives my

for it. The space issue also has a

calculating. It’s like when you

core values.

knock-on effect. We need to take

approach someone and you

artisan by both design and

in deliveries every day, which

don’t know whether to hug or kiss

financial necessity. Artisan

insecurity and fear that

means having someone rostered

them — the awkwardness can be

doesn’t of course guarantee the

anyone might dare suggest I

to receive product ingredients.

uncomfortable. Think ahead and

highest quality, but rest assured,

by the customer. I am confronted every day by

You see, I have an innate

would reserve something for

The decision to stay

approach everyone with a full-

those involved are doing the

my own selfish gain. Hence,

small. Though, they are

on hug and kiss. It’s the same as

best they can in their own

my lashing out at the recent

testament to our quality

three sticks of chocolate; no one

circumstances. They believe

allegation that a $6 croissant “is

and enable us to maintain

is going to squirm in the embrace

their customers will show enough

a joke”.

consistency. The flip side is

if it’s given unreservedly.

faith in these products to give

My core values centre around

Our batch sizes remain

Most small producers are

the cost of labour to produce

Of course, there is also

producers the heart to strive

staff, customers, quality of

a smaller batch is more. We

my heartfelt obligation to

to do even better. There are

ingredients and the production

choose quality before profit.

training the next wave of

choices to be made by every one

of a range of beautifully baked

Our decision to only use

bakers. We have teamed

of us. ■

10 | Hospitality



| helloloverlatte

BEST PRACTICE // Interstate expansion

Growing pains Huxtaburger CEO Matt Fickling’s advice on how to grow your brand the right way. WORDS Matt Fickling



across our national restaurant

ensure we executed marketing

interstate is an accomplishment,

Location, lease and development

network in a venue that is less

and operational plans.

but can cause troubles for

cannot be rushed and are

than 12 months old.

owners and executives when

crucial to future success when

trying to achieve the same

entering a new market. Engaging


Don’t make compromises on

success experienced locally. In

a local leasing agent and

With an entry-to-market venue,

what has made your brand

2018, Huxtaburger grew out of

project manager will ensure you

consider doing a PR launch

successful. The supply and

Melbourne for the first time

have experts on the ground. Get

with an agency to generate

procurement function is vital

with the launch of two stores

more than one opinion and do

brand stunts and influencer

to ensuring the consistency

in Perth and Sydney. There

not rush — due diligence around

engagement as well as

of your product nationally. At

are many important elements

location and property can save

implement local area marketing

Huxtaburger, we use fresh and

to consider when opening a

you thousands of dollars.

plans. A well-thought-out plan

local where possible, but it is

begins with a strong launch

essential the customer gets the same experience.

venue in a new city, especially


when there may not be the

People and franchising

and builds momentum over a

same consumer recognition or

Huxtaburger are new-age

12-month period. Thereafter,

in-house market knowledge

franchisors. We franchise as a

you could investigate above-

an easy task and there are

at home. Here, some tips to

people strategy, not a capital-

the-line opportunities such as

many elements operators need

consider before taking your

raising activity. Two years ago,

radio, but ensure you build the

to consider before taking the

business to the

we asked ourselves how we

foundations on a local level.

plunge. To maximise your chances

next level.

could attract talent we could

Don’t get caught up in the

of success and get a quicker

not afford to pay for and the

glitz and glam and big spends

return on investment, it’s all about

Start with a strategy

answer was franchising. It could

— word of mouth and digital

the planning and strategy. Don’t

A well-thought-out strategic

be an important consideration

engagement will see the highest

rush or get caught up in the hype

plan is essential — start with

when going interstate as having

success with the best return.

and excitement — be disciplined

the end result in mind. Ask

some ‘skin in the game’ and a

yourself what you want to

higher skill level than a typical

Finance and budgeting

achieve then roadmap the path

restaurant or venue manager

Opening venues interstate are

to achievement. A significant

can produce higher revenues.

much more costly. Recruitment,

analysis needs to be completed

We have attracted talent

and diligent. ■

training, flights, travel, marketing

— what are the strengths,

across the country who we

are all higher and there are

weaknesses, opportunities and

typically would not have been

lower economies of scale

threats of interstate expansion?

able to engage otherwise. Our

when doing it in another city. A

These will differ state-to-state

first Perth franchisee David

disciplined, but realistic budget

depending on the market and

O’Brien is the perfect example

needs to be in place for an

the brand you’re representing.

of a high calibre and highly

entry-to-market location. When

Clearly set out targets and

experienced hospitality operator.

Huxtaburger opened in Perth,

goals for the market. If it’s not

He is currently achieving the

we flew a team of 10 people

measured, it’s not done!

second highest sales volume

across the country for a month to

12 | Hospitality

Expanding interstate is not

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IT’S NO SECRET Kenny Graham and Jake Smyth founded their hospitality

group on ‘hatred’. The pair first bonded over a frustration with the industry,

but their decision to open six venues in

Sydney — a city that’s come under fire for its unsupportive policies — begs to be interrogated.

In the Smarter Living newsletter,

founding editor Tim Herrera wrote we

often see disgruntled people as “dementors who suck the joy out of the room”, before making the case it’s possible to take

dissatisfaction and use it to fuel creativity. If there are two people who are proof

that two negatives add up to a positive,

it’s Graham and Smyth, and Mary’s Group might just be the Patronus Sydney needs. Driven by antipathy, they made fun their cause. The result? A suite of venues that

reject the status quo while respecting the legacy of hospitality from bygone eras. Having met in Edinburgh, in Graham’s

native Scotland, the duo found themselves reunited in Australia — Graham in Melbourne, Smyth in Sydney.

“We started talking about what we

should do, which was built around a

mutual hatred of the hospitality industry and how f*cking boring it was,” says

Graham. With sneakers on the pavement

in both cities, Smyth and Graham had an

honest conversation about locations for a

potential venue. “At that point, Melbourne was saturated with really great bars and Sydney wasn’t,” says Smyth.

Instead, hotel bars reigned supreme

Mary’s Group Kenny Graham and Jake Smyth are the libertine duo turning their discontent into a legacy. WORDS Madeline Woolway

14 | Hospitality

across the city in the pre-Swillhouse age.

There was a gap in the market, which led to Graham and Smyth building a venue

that would become the namesake for their hospitality group. “We knew what we

wanted — something that wasn’t built on

pretense or theme,” says Smyth. “The best way to do that is to build an environment

you’re comfortable in.” And that’s why the

Mary’s Newtown venue has the vibe it does — unabashed, but laidback.

“It’s 100 per cent personal,” adds

Graham. “Chefs and restaurant owners aren’t always masters of environment, which is one of the major parts of

hospitality. Instead, they’re just like,

‘Let’s overcharge for fancy food’. These

within an hour-long interview.

not just going to roll out

With five venues — Mary’s Newtown,

a bunch of cookie-cutter

Mary’s City, The Unicorn Hotel and The

Mary’s that strangle the

Lansdowne — currently under their belt

industry.” — Jake Smyth

and a sixth — Mary’s Underground —

set to open in May, Graham and Smyth

people are not qualified to provide an

are at the helm of one of Sydney’s most

environment for fun. If there’s one thing

prominent hospitality groups. But that

we’re qualified for, it’s probably that. We

doesn’t mean they’re ready to rest on their

learnt how to cook and make drinks to facilitate the other part.”

engagement between the people behind the bar and the humans in front of it. There’s no doubt it’s a successful approach. Not

and pick your bar snack — ‘this one will

be mezcal and popcorn’ — it’s so f*cking

on the hospitality community and the

Graham and Smyth are conscious the

interactions Graham and Smyth have with

veneration Sydneysiders feel for Mary’s

public — an impact that’s evident in the

Mary’s Newtown,” says Smyth. “We want to be respectful to every new venue we

do and its environment. We don’t want to do cookie-cutter. When people come to

Newtown, we want them to say, ‘Let’s go see the old girl’.”

While they brought their legendary

serving up bourbon and beers; instead

joint,” admits Smyth.

opened in 2013, they’ve made their mark

so much; there will never be a Mary’s like

to joke the concept was pick your spirit

turned into the Jack Daniels and burger

to their business since Mary’s Newtown

new venues. “We value Mary’s Newtown

burgers to the CBD, Mary’s City is a

boring,” says Graham. “Ironically, we kinda

only have they added another five venues

forefront of their approach to opening

laurels. Graham admits they were terrified of becoming ‘the burger people’. “We used

According to Smyth, it’s all about the

Newtown. And the awareness is at the

recognition they receive derives from the

different beast. There’s no raucous bar burgers and fried chicken are doled out with thickshakes. It’s about fitting the

venue to the environment. The same ethos is apparent in the group’s third venue, The Unicorn Hotel, which opened in Paddington in late 2015.

“When we first opened The Unicorn,

people were like, ‘Why don’t you open

another Mary’s?’” says Smyth. “We bought

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April 2019 | 15


multiple passersby and the owner of a café

“At the same time, we’re


a classic Art Deco pub as our third venue

Jake Smyth

instead of just pushing out a series of

Mary’s. It would have made us a heap

more money, but it wouldn’t have been creatively satisfying and it would have been bereft of integrity.”

It’s about respecting a venue’s history,

says Graham. “We’d never look at a pub

and think it could be anything other than a pub. At some point, it’s been the hub

of a community and it’s been taken away through mismanagement; the biggest motivation for us is to bring it back.” “If we’d opened another Mary’s, I

don’t think we’d be here having this

conversation right now,” says Smyth. “I don’t think people would be taking us seriously enough to be going into The

Lansdowne or reopening The Basement.”

The attitude sets them apart from much

of Sydney’s hospitality industry, which has

become dominated by operators fixated on

tethering multiple venues to a group brand. “There’s no greater danger than restaurant groups to the vibrancy of our community,” says Smyth. “I firmly believe that. I feel

like we can comment on this because we

have such a variety of venues. It’s not just restaurants with a different theme.”

Graham and Smyth aren’t just critical of

the industry, though, they cast the same cynical eye over their own operation. “I

think we’re pretty good at asking ourselves questions,” says Smyth. “We are part of

an industry we’re critical of, and not just

“When you work with amazing people, it’s a big motivator to try to create opportunities for them.” — Kenny Graham When it comes to expansion, it’s about

more than filling the Mary’s coffers. “It’s not about our own progression and self-

to try to create opportunities for them.”

role. “I was asking Dave Chang because

with amazing people, it’s a big motivator And that’s where the self-questioning

what we can contribute that’s honest and

us?” asks Smyth. “Are we just suffocating

It’s the reason Smyth spent four months

last year getting down and dirty at The Lansdowne. “I was there 50 hours a

at what point does it just become about

the next generation of people underneath us? Are we just taking up real estate and

having conversations and it’s all about us?” Along with teaming up with other

week — out of the office, out of the other

industry players (Porteño, Young

service because it wasn’t right,” he says.

Unicorn Hotel, Graham and Smyth have

venues — fully focused on the food and

“We pulled the exec chef [Jimmy Garside] out of The Unicorn and Mary’s and said,

‘You and me together — we’re going to get this right’. We redid the wine list, redid

everything and now we’re seeing a huge

response to Mary’s Pizzeria. I don’t know

a restaurant that’s got it right 100 per cent of the time — Attica was a Thai restaurant and now look at Ben Shewry.” 16 | Hospitality

Rumination, though, is something

Graham and Smyth revert to constantly

comes in. “When we expand as a group,

has integrity.”

says Smyth.

worth,” says Graham. “When you work

critical as in negative — we’re looking at it and asking what can we do better and

coming to us with an idea and a dream,”

and they’ve yet to make peace with their he’s one of the classically great mentors

in the industry,” says Smyth. “Think about

the people he’s brought through, Christina Tosi, Rich Hargreave, Paul Carmichael

— he’s bringing all these people up, but

they’re under the Momofuku umbrella. It’s kind of like, well, would Carmichael have opened his own venue?”

Chang didn’t answer — “I was

Henrys) to open venues such as The

hammered,” says Smyth — but the

encouraged employees to take the reins of

wrestling with right now. We do have a

different projects. “We got a shoe in from Joey [Valore] and Elvis [Abrahanowicz]

from Porteño and we’re forever indebted and grateful,” says Graham, adding

that they’ve tried to pay it forward with ventures such as P&V Merchants. “That

was Louise [Dowling, former bar manager at Mary’s Newtown and The Unicorn]

question stands. “That’s what we’re

role in it, and until the answer appears from the cloud of consciousness, we’ll

continue down the path of supporting

great people with their own dreams as much as we possibly can. At the same time, we’re not just going to roll out a bunch of cookie-cutter Mary’s that strangle the industry.” ■

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DRINKS // Cascara

In Ethiopia, In Yemen,

hashara is

qishr is made

made with

with spiced

spices such as

coffee husks

ginger, nutmeg

and ginger

or cinnamon

In Bolivia, the

In Australia,

drink is known

cascara is

as sultana

brewed like tea

a Geisha variety produced by Morgan

Iced cascara garnished with elderflower and cascara at Went to See the Gypsy

Estate, Panama. “It has rockmelon and

watermelon notes,” he says. “You can also


have ones that are more floral.” The geisha variety exhibits a fruity profile with notes

of sultana, apricot, honey and papaya and

the fruits

It’s been heralded as a sustainable by-product of coffee capable of reducing waste and increasing profits, but is carscara all it’s cracked up to be?

is also produced by Rachel Peterson of Hacienda La Esmerelda in Panama. De Jong works closely with fifth-

generation producer Aida Batlle from

El Salvador, who’s widely cited as being behind the US’ cascara boom. Batlle

sources the Finca Kilamanjaro variety,

which exhibits flavours of hibiscus, citrus, rosehip and tamarind.

WORDS Madeline Woolway

While it’s possible to combine cascara

AUSTRALIA HAS ONE of the most highly

Cascara may come from the same fruit as

with all sorts of things — De Jong

But despite our love of the bean, we’ve

product. “It’s not that complex, but it is

Ballsy Brewing and culinary uses such as

regarded coffee cultures in the world.

overlooked the fruit that surrounds it. The husks of the coffee cherry can be

brewed into a tea-like beverage once separated from the beans and dried.

coffee beans, however it’s an entirely different interesting,” says Wendy De Jong, director

of coffee at Single O. “It’s different to coffee because it stays raw throughout its life.” The roasting process enhances the

Relatively uncommon in Australia, the

characteristic of beans, meaning different

as Yemen, Ethiopia and Bolivia. At the start of

cascara is a dried product, it also reveals

product has a long history in countries such

the decade, it began to take off across the US. Major chains including Starbucks and Blue

Bottle Coffee Company now stock a variety

of drinks made using cascara — a name that comes from the Spanish word for husks. Cascara has since made its way to

Australian shores, but it’s yet to extend

beyond a small number of specialty cafés and roasters.

18 | Hospitality

flavour profiles shine through. While

mentions a kombucha collaboration with poaching liquids or syrups — Gautherin

is sticking to a simple iced drink for now. “I just want to showcase the real profile of cascara,” he says. “The whole idea of

serving cascara is to remind people coffee is a fruit.”

some of the nuances that can be found

Cascara is often categorised as a by-

lesser extent. “People are aware coffees

could be based on a simplification of

in coffees from different origins, but to a have different profiles,” says Simon

Gautherin, head barista at Gypsy Espresso. “It’s the same thing with cascara.”

At Went to See the Gypsy — Gypsy

Espresso’s new venue in Alexandria,

Sydney — Gautherin stocks cascara from

product of coffee; however, the notion coffee processing methods. “It can be

considered a by-product of coffee,” says

De Jong. “But it’s something you have to get intentionally.”

It all comes down to processing

methods. Producers typically use one of

everything but the beans — into other

processing is best. To produce cascara

fertiliser,” says De Jong. “People are doing

it comes to producing cascara, natural La Esmeralda, Peterson’s team take

the cherries and sundry for a few days before machine drying. The husks are

then peeled away and sent to Single O, while the beans go to auction.

The method seems simple, but

DRINKS // Cascara

two techniques: wet or natural. When

avenues such as fertiliser. “It’s very good

a good job of capturing waste at that level and finding ways to compost it.”

Cascara might be a viable way to reduce

waste from dry processing, but it’s not

necessarily panacea for the environmental impacts of coffee production.

requires time and careful labour.

Washing is the most common practice,

While supply issues plague the

production according to Seven Miles

cafés, it could be worth the effort.

accounting for roughly 50 per cent of

research. It is possible to obtain cascara

availability of cascara, for specialty De Jong says growing concerns about

from the wet method because the

biosecurity as well as a lack of interest

but producers need to quickly and

she’ll put cascara on hold for the time

cherries have been submerged in water, meticulously dry the skins to prevent mould from growing.

“Basically, it’s a raw food product, so

you have to take a lot of care with it,” says De Jong. “It’s very susceptible to

toxins and moulds even when it’s dried.

from Single O’s wholesale clients means being. “It’s a novelty product. People will buy it once or twice, but they don’t keep it in stock. We have some in stock, but once it’s gone, I don’t plan on getting any more in.”

With plans to move ahead, Gautherin

It’s one of those things that Aida and

might be among a new wave of baristas

away from what they usually do.”

put a few more cascaras with completely

Rachel will do for clients, but it’s far

to champion cascara. “We’re going to

Cascara supply is far from free-flowing. On the whole, Gautherin has a more

positive outlook on cascara, although he

different flavour profiles on the menu just to showcase the fruit,” he says.

concedes supply is a hurdle the industry

The variety of applications

importers that have cascara,” he says. “It’s

to mean cascara remains niche.

has yet to overcome. “There are very few very hard to source and it’s hard to find

notwithstanding, limited supply is likely De Jong and Gautherin may disagree

one supplier that has different varieties.”

on the potential of cascara when it

claim cascara needs to be intentionally

sustainability, but they both acknowledge

All things considered, De Jong’s

produced rings true. When it comes to wet-processed coffee, it may be more

pragmatic to divert the waste — that is,

comes to commercial applications and the significance of producers. As with coffee, it all comes down to strong relationships with the producer. ■

How to make cascara

1. Measure cascara and

2. Fill plunger with

place husks in a plunger.

water, making sure it’s

or if using as a mixer,

3. For iced variations

A 1:20 ratio is best.

not boiling. Give the

increase the ratio

water a swirl to fully

of cascara.

submerge husks. Steep for at least two minutes.

April 2019 | 19

FEATURE // Signature dishes


following Are signature dishes a blessing or a curse to the chefs who created them?

WORDS Annabelle Cloros PHOTOGRAPHY Nikki To for Firedoor and Karon Photography for Evan Moore

20 | Hospitality

centre of the restaurant. The same notion

that have become intrinsically linked to the

Dinner opened in 2015 — meat fruit was

Heston Blumenthal are all behind dishes

restaurants they run. Heston Blumenthal’s meat fruit is known the world over, confit of ocean trout has been on the Tetsuya’s

menu for more than 25 years and Hastie’s

applied when the Melbourne iteration of

a no-brainer. “It’s been on every single day,


Dinner serves

every single service — we probably serve


1,500 meat


fruit a week

The lifelike mandarin has racked up



of trout

London and

each week


120 a day,” says Evan Moore.

Firedoor won an award for red meat

nearly 8,000 posts on Instagram and

revolves around seafood and vegetables.

Blumenthal has forged a career from.

cookery — even though most of the menu When a dish achieves cult status, a

mixed bag of thoughts often follows.

‘Am I pigeonholing my restaurant?’ ‘Will

people order anything else?’ ‘Can I create something just as good?’ These are all

questions chefs may ask after a dish hits the big time.

Hospitality speaks to Hastie, Wakuda and

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal Melbourne

head chef Evan Moore about the pressure and processes behind cult creations,

dealing with great expectations and if

they will ever take their respective golden tickets off the menu.

It might be hard to believe, but Tetsuya Wakuda’s confit of ocean trout didn’t

involve trout in the beginning — it all started with salmon. Salmon became

a popular choice at restaurants in the

early ’80s, but supply was a problem for restaurateurs. “It wasn’t available every

day or even every week,” says Wakuda. “In

the first three months, we used salmon and

has an unmistakable sense of whimsy While masquerading as a mandarin, the fruit is in fact spherical chicken parfait

dipped in two layers of mandarin jelly. In

spite of its novelty appearance, Moore says there’s much more depth and complexity

to the meat fruit than meets the eye. “The great thing about the dish is that it has a

unique presentation, classic flavours and it

eats really well,” says the chef. “The parfait

Tasmania, confit of ocean trout became a fixture on the Tetsuya’s menu and hasn’t

left since 1991. “I never thought it would

become my signature, but that’s what the guests decided,” says Wakuda.

Meat fruit piqued worldwide interest

Heston Blumenthal London, chef Ashley

Palmer-Watts decided to take the meat fruit from the small screen and put it front and


Sydney and steak is broadly represented

in the Australian market,” he says. While the majority of the menu showcases fish, shellfish and vegetables, Hastie decided to put one steak on the menu on the

condition it was the best meat he could get his hands on.

But things took an unexpected turn

becoming the dish du jour for Firedoor. Anthony Puharich [Victor Churchill, Vic’s

Meat], so it had a compelling enough story

to put on the menu,” says Hastie. “The beef is such a rare ingredient — it’s essentially a freak of nature and only happens to three per cent of the entire herd. We’re ageing for a minimum of 150 days and we only get two to 10 sides a fortnight.”

Demand for the dry-aged beef has

dish once they’ve tried it. “When they put it

When developing the menu for Dinner by



steakhouse because there are a lot in

the dish, which was served at the Royal

viewers were captivated by the concept.

is seafood

in 2015. “I wasn’t keen on becoming a

been high from the start, and Hastie says

Court of King Henry VIII circa 1500, and

for 150–200

launched Firedoor with the Fink Group

when it appeared in 2009 on television

show Heston’s Feasts. Blumenthal recreated


thing on Lennox Hastie’s mind when he

“We produce it with the farmer and

of ocean trout from Petuna Seafoods

his beef

Becoming known for beef was the last

but I preferred the taste and colour of the

After the chef secured a year-round supply

of Firedoor’s

jelly is just the right touch.”

when the dry-aged beef ended up

ocean trout as salmon becomes really soft.”


‘fat ages’

is the best parfait and the acidity from the

then moved to ocean trout before going

back to salmon again. I tried to use both,

Lennox Hastie

customers can’t get enough of the coveted in their mouth, they realise it’s something

else — it’s ridiculous,” says the chef. “I love giving it to people for the first time. They

can be mid-conversation and suddenly they stop and make some of the most amazing faces like, ‘What is this?’ It’s incredible.”

“I never thought it would become my signature, but that’s what the guests decided.” – Tetsuya Wakuda April 2019 | 21

FEATURE // Signature dishes

TETSUYA WAKUDA, Lennox Hastie and

FEATURE // Signature dishes

Evan Moore

There’s no doubt signature dishes are a

steak given its widespread availability.

lose the joy and novelty of it when your job

and customers are happy to fork out

visualise and imagine what it might taste

they don’t get to the customer. But we have

dangling carrot for the culinary industry, to experience cult dishes in the flesh.

But when a creation receives significant acclaim and a flood of attention,

expectations are elevated and become

difficult to manage and sometimes even impossible to meet.

Moore says diner reactions to the

meat fruit are largely positive, but some

customers simply aren’t able to wrap their heads around the concept. “Some diners

don’t really get it … they peel the jelly off or just eat the toast and never touch the

“People expect a lot from a steak, they can like to a certain degree,” he says. The chef is often met with surprise when diners

learn the restaurant only has a few red

meat options. “People assume it’s going

to be like any other grill restaurant if you have a wood fire,” says the chef. “But

restaurant The Fat Duck — the dish

ultimately offers a portal for Australian diners to experience the three Michelin

star restaurant on home ground. “It’s the

slight smokiness [of these ingredients], which almost exhibit meat flavours.”

Hastie uses his menu as a springboard

alternatives. “Beef is limited and has

forms of livestock such as kangaroo,” says

Hastie. “A lot of people come for the steak,

but they will try other things such as quail,

While the aged beef brings diners to

have preconceived ideas surrounding 22 | Hospitality

century on the menu, but the chef says

making the dish only increases in difficulty as the years go by. “People think you can

close your eyes and make it,” says Wakuda. “They think it’s easier because you make

the same thing everyday, but it’s harder. It

has to be the same every day and there is a lot of effort that goes into it.”

Working with natural products comes

“In summer, sometimes the fish are smaller

creative, and cranking out the same dish for

Firedoor, Hastie says customers often

of consistency. Wakuda’s ocean trout

the foods of the future.”

the foods we should be eating more of and

on your senses — which is the most literal ours,” says Moore.

Making the same dish for an extensive

with fluctuations in flavour profile and size

Creating signature dishes can be an

translation from The Fat Duck menu to

enjoying it.”

camel or kangaroo and love it. These are

most tangible link between The Fat Duck and Dinner — that kind of whimsy, play

them for the first time and see people

is celebrating more than a quarter of a

environmental impacts as opposed to other

its association with Blumenthal’s Bray

It’s a nice feeling to experience it through

extremely surprised by the chariness and

fish, shellfish and vegetables. People are

chef also believes one of the reasons why for the Melbourne location is because of

of people in who have waited years to try it.

period of time underlines the importance

to educate customers on sustainable

the dish has become one of the top sellers

the chefs table behind us, and we get a lot

80–90 per cent of the menu showcases

fruit,” says Moore. “We’ve had people come in who just want to take a photo of it.” The

is to pick out imperfections and make sure

exhausting and fatiguing process. Chefs are years on end can take away the excitement

experienced during the research and launch

which can change throughout the seasons.

and it can be hard to get the volume of fish that meet our specs,” says Wakuda. “We

only use the centre cut and it’s a deep red colour, which can be a struggle to get in summer, but Petuna look after us.”

phase. “I’ve been with the company since

Signature dishes often exhibit highly

of meat fruits,” says Moore. “You kind of

preparation processes. The meat fruit

we opened and seen hundreds of thousands

technical elements and require lengthy

FEATURE // Signature dishes

“The whole idea of shelving 120 sides of beef for 150–200 days makes no sense. It’s time-consuming, costly and I question it all the time, but it makes complete sense when you see people enjoy it.” – Lennox Hastie takes a whopping three days to make

120 sides of beef for 150–200 days

constant demand has led to the trout

Moore describes as a relatively traditional

consuming, costly and I question it all the

restaurant because of the trout, so we keep

from start to finish and begins with what parfait. “The parfait is put into a terrine mould and baked to 64 degrees Celsius

in a bain-marie,” says the chef. “It’s then

makes no sense,” says Hastie. “It’s time-

time, but it makes complete sense when you see people enjoy it.”

chilled over ice and left to set overnight

Changing a signature dish can be

is scraped off the top in the morning and

peak popularity. Chefs may feel pressured

where it starts to oxidise. Any oxidisation the parfait is piped into flexible semi-

spherical moulds. The moulds are then frozen before the spheres are joined

together, dipped in mandarin jelly and left to frost over. Once the jelly has frosted

problematic, especially once it has reached

say the least.

For Firedoor’s beef, the dry-ageing

process takes place at Vic’s Meat and

requires a minimum of 150 days that

often extends beyond 200. “Our beef is

dry aged and left to hang at a controlled temperature,” says Hastie. “Myself and Anthony coined the term ‘fat ageing’,

which is dry ageing the beef in its own

fat. You lose less of the overall weight — dry ageing loses between 30 and 50 per

cent weight whereas fat ageing only loses

created in another country.

Meat fruit is made with foie gras in

be imported to Australia, production is

knew it wasn’t going to be available, so

we started making it with chicken liver,”

says Moore. The team have also localised

highly doubts it. “I would be very surprised if it ever came off,” he says. For Wakuda,

it all comes down to demand. “One day, if

the guests say they’ve had enough, I would make the decision,” he says. “But at the moment, people still want it.”

Hastie admits he has been contemplating

has made the call to remove it from the

“We had to balance the sweetness of the

alcohol and take out some eggs and add

some butter. If you did a blind taste test,

you wouldn’t be able to pick between the two.” The restaurant has also dabbled in creating other meat fruits including the launch of a plum during winter, which featured spiced wine jelly.

Wakuda’s confit of ocean trout swaps

witlof salad to celery or fennel. Although

24 | Hospitality

if Dinner would ditch meat fruit, Moore

alternatives, which led to a recipe tweak.

the process is significant for all parties

and the chef. “The whole idea of shelving

end, but in the case of signature dishes, the

taking the dry-aged beef off the menu to

and Portuguese ports for Australian

out accompaniments according to season,

involved, from the farmer to the butcher

have enjoyed it long-term.”

the dish by switching out European wines

18 per cent.”

While the end product speaks for itself,

people coming back and I’m grateful people

notion doesn’t always apply. When asked

prohibited, which led to a switch. “We

you can see, the process is extensive, to

of course I have to keep it. It’s nice to have

necessary, especially when a dish has been

effect. The domes are placed in the fridge a ruscus leaf on the day of serving.” As

“Diners have decided it’s our signature and

They say all good things must come to an

disappointment, but sometimes change is

London. While the ingredient is able to

to thaw and are shaped and finished with

doing it and we try to be better,” he says.

to leave dishes as is to avoid diner

over, the domes are dipped in jelly again,

trapping the frost and achieving a mottled

remaining as is. “Guests are coming to the

with options ranging from apple and

the side components change, Wakuda

has considered altering the dish, but the

make way for new culinary challenges, and set menu. “We’re going to put on a new

chefs menu at the beginning of April which will be a premium menu without the dry steak,” he says. “It’s an active decision

to say ‘that was that and this is this’. We

need to move forward and showcase other ingredients in the same light.”

Cult creations are a double-edged

sword. Restaurants are able to attract customers and garner attention, but creativity can falter. Whichever way

you look at it, there’s one certainty — signature dishes are signature for a reason — they’re delicious.

FEATURE // Front of house Parlour Group venue Stanton & Co

Front of mind Kitchens may be referred to as pressure cookers, but front of house also feel the effects of stress. WORDS Madeline Woolway MENTAL HEALTH HAS rightly become a

with the normal pattern of life — it can be

hard to swallow for most people.”

high-profile discussions on the topic have

relationships outside of the industry, so it

times, too, adding to the pressure felt by

team is strong, it can be a really supportive

“From a front of house perspective, we’re

focus for the industry. While many of the

come from chefs including Lûmé’s Shaun

Quade, Subo’s Mal Meiers and Oakridge’s George Wintle, front of house managers

are also taking steps to reduce the impact of job-related stress.

In late 2015, research from China

suggested waitstaff roles were among some of the most stress-inducing occupations in the world. The statistics were well-

circulated at the time, however, practical

advice on how to combat the epidemic was thin. To begin, an understanding of the nature of stress is necessary.

According to Appetite for Excellence

co-founder Lucy Allon, there are a range of job-related causes, many of which are

industry-wide. “The hours are incompatible 26 | Hospitality

isolating,” she says. “It’s difficult to sustain can make your world a bit narrow. If the

environment, but if you don’t have a strong leader, it can be a problem.”

While some challenges are common to

front and back of house, others are unique. “Food is extremely volatile and customers

are more demanding,” says Jules Damjano, venue manager at Parlour Group’s Stanton

Expectations have evolved with modern

front of house professionals to perform. dealing with people who have access

to information and therefore have high

expectations,” says Allon. “We have to not only fulfil these expectations, but exceed

them. It’s easy to feel you might not have achieved your best night after night.”

There’s no denying there has been a

& Co. “The standards are higher across

meteoric rise of appreciation for chefs,

everything is a ticking time-bomb if not

widely accepted as a career path. Allon

the board and competition is stronger,

dished out like precise clockwork. Front of

house have to deal with customers face-toface and you always have to put your best foot forward and lose your ego, which is

but front of house has yet to become

faced resistance from family, who felt

she should use her university education to pursue a ‘profession’. “I think the big issue in Australia is that front of house

Straight to the Source food tours alongside

reason to want to pursue a career in

why they’re in the food industry.”

says. “People have to fight for their

front of house and you have to justify why you’re doing it.”

It’s a structural problem based on a

pervasive lack of recognition that front of

house roles require skills. “You have to be

a quick thinker, charismatic and you need to have information at your fingertips,” says Allon. “You need the skills of an

entrepreneur, which is why the industry is so dynamic.”

Tawnya Bahr. “It restores inspiration for

It’s not just about bonding among the

front of house team either. While there are unique stressors on the floor and in the kitchen, creating cohesion between the

two zones can relieve strain. “I’ve worked

in Hospitality for 12 years and often what lacks is cohesiveness between the kitchen and front of house,” says Commerford.

“They’re two separate entities, but stress can be reduced when they talk about issues and find a resolution.”

Given there are two sets of concerns —

Team dynamic can make or break a

stress among front of house staff requires a

the importance of strong leaders. “It’s all

day-to-day and long-term — combating multipronged approach.

When it comes to unfriendly hours, the

industry’s tight margins and staffing crisis

make the fix easier said than done. For his

part, Damjano tries to spread the workload and give staff two consecutive days off. He also avoids rostering individuals for both open and close shifts.

Work–life balance is not always easy to

achieve and workplace culture needs to be prioritised. “We obviously don’t want high stress levels and we want a good working environment,” says Joey Commerford,

venue manager at The Press Club. “It’s

service, which is why Allon emphasises

about having open communication — they need to feel they can come and talk to you without it affecting their role,” says Allon.

“As an employer or team manager, it’s about initiating conversations and not making it

a case of them having to come to you. Ask

focus is on creating a family work culture where everyone looks out for each other.

strategies to help reduce stress levels. “The you have knowledge, you have confidence on the floor and you can better deal with stress than someone who isn’t equipped with knowledge.”

To this end, Commerford suggests

structured around different topics. “We

Alexandria,” says Damjano. The manager

also recommends creating a sporting team

on Mondays to bond, release the pressures of being in the frontlines at work and see

approach includes weekly training

have a whole channel dedicated to

training,” he says. “It might be sequence

of service one week or ethos training. All

communication app] and we have a

mental health,” says Allon, who also runs

career in front of house.” — Lucy Allon

When training is paired with

planned outside a venue are essential.

out of the business is for team bonding and

reason to want to pursue a

need to be confident on the floor.”

empowerment, it results in staff who

“People are realising how important getting

“People have to fight for their

these things are giving people what they

another side of your colleagues.

Allon agrees, and says team activities

— Jules Damjano

what’s going on.”

just go to bars and restaurants, we go to

such as Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq in

to swallow for most people.”

on it, even though they might not know

investing in education. The Press Club’s

parks, beaches or adult amusement centres

lose your ego, which is hard

intrinsic to service and diners will pick up

Management organise regular outings for

staff to help foster team building. “We don’t

your best foot forward and

pass or behind the scenes. The dynamic is

first is knowledge,” says Commerford. “If

Damjano agrees. At Stanton & Co, the

and you always have to put

people off the floor and put them on the

Food & Wine Festival, other restaurants related to hospo.”

with customers face-to-face

“If we were having problems, I’d pull

On the job, Commerford’s team has a few

and even things that aren’t 100 per cent

“Front of house have to deal

questions like ‘is everything okay?’

not just things they do in the restaurant,

it’s about getting staff to go to Melbourne

FEATURE // Front of house

is not recognised as a career path,” she

feel valued. “We have Slack [team

channel for creativity,” says Commerford. “Staff are encouraged to post anything

they find creative there. We also work on April 2019 | 27

FEATURE // Front of house

“It’s not just about what they do here; it’s about what they take with them into the future.” — Joey Commerford The Press Club projects next door and

they do here; it’s about what they take with

produce tour, a lot of what we’re

staff to believe they can make a difference

“If you have knowledge you learned here,

challenges and dealing with them,” says

develop ideas — it’s all about empowering in the restaurant.”

Encouraging staff to set their own goals

them into the future,” says Commerford. you’ll be a better operator in the future.”

Front of house professionals are in need

is another avenue managers can explore.

of something to work towards, Allon adds.

for the week,” says Commerford. “It’s

my parents, I had to get formal training,

“At Monday dinner service, we set goals

indirectly related to stress. We talk about

targets they can achieve that will make the restaurant better and that will make them better as an operator. Our staff member

Jake set himself a goal to make the cocktail

“I realised with negative feedback from

but there wasn’t any and there isn’t really now. I had to find the best mentor to take me under their wing. You might have the resolve to do that, but it’s not necessarily

discussing is being aware of these

Allon. “We try to give them talks from experts in the field, people who lead

teams and can talk about things like nonverbal communication. The thing about

hospitality is that the genuine warmth of

service is something body language gives away. A lot of the training that’s hard to give is non-verbal training.”

Providing a platform for people to

easy to achieve.”

discuss stress management and the

week, he had a full system completed.”

Appetite for Excellence with Luke Mangan.

and team building is crucial. The earlier

The benefit of approaches such as this are

to mentors and practical training, it also

program more service friendly. Within a

two-fold. Staff are motivated on a short-

term basis and it can help change attitudes

about career opportunities in front of house in the long run. “It’s not just about what

It’s one of the reasons Allon started

Not only does the program provide access tackles team management and stress monitoring head on.

“When the finalists come to Sydney

for the judging period and go on the

benefits of practical training, goal setting the opportunity is offered, the better.

“If we can get these conversations and

thoughts happening early, managers can

find ways to innovatively deal with them,”

says Allon. “They can be there to move the industry forward.” ■

Appetite for Excellence 2018 Young Waiters national finalists

28 | Hospitality

FEATURE // Kitchen equipment

Tools of the trade

Australia’s top chefs reveal the equipment they can’t live without.

Photography by Nikki To

Jordan Toft EXECUTIVE CHEF, MERIVALE Essential pieces of kitchen equipment? Basics are best: a sharp knife, fire of some description, a grill to go over the fire is essential and a heavy base pot/pan. What are some unique elements in your kitchens?

Thomas Boyd

We have implemented eWater in the majority


of my kitchens. It is electrolysed water that

What pieces of equipment do you rely on the most?

cleans and sanitises and does not have an

My spoon; I know it’s not technically a piece of equipment, but I always have a spoon in

environmental impact.

my apron pocket and use it constantly throughout the day. It can’t be just any type of

Most underrated pieces of equipment?

spoon — it needs to be lightweight, not too deep and hold just enough to sauce a dish.

Tape/scissor/sharpe combo.

Most underrated piece of equipment?

Biggest investment?

In an open kitchen, you can never underestimate the need for a heat lamp. For everything

At Bert’s, we have four Josper units — two

from heating plates, resting proteins, checking finished dishes for imperfections and

are large charcoal ovens and the other two

of course keeping the food hot on the pass. It also helps create a nice ambience in the

are Basque-style adjustable grills that are

dining room at nighttime.

charcoal- and wood-driven.

Biggest investment piece? Our Unox combi oven receives a serious workout and is an integral part of the kitchen. It fulfils all our needs for everything from baking bread first thing in the morning to roasting meats during service and slow-cooking proteins overnight on the steam setting. Any unique pieces of equipment you’ve discovered on


your travels?

Five essential pieces of kitchen

When working in a foreign kitchen, you always come across new


and unique equipment. A Katsuramuki vegetable slicer is versatile

Knives, scales, robata grill, Vitamix and

and efficient. It produces a consistent thin ribbon of any hard

vac pack.

vegetable or fruit e.g kohlrabi, apple, beetroot.

Any unique pieces of equipment?

Which pieces of equipment make your life easier?

As we offer Sri Lankan cuisine, a string

As a restaurant based around our one-acre kitchen garden, a

hopper machine and coconut grater are

wheelbarrow comes in handy and makes the trips from the garden

unique to our kitchen.

to the kitchen a little more efficient. However, the Hobart machine

Most underrated piece of equipment?

saves a lot of manual labour of kneading dough for our house-baked

Microplanes are a very underrated tool.

bread. We also use the Hobart machine for churning our cultured cream into butter once a week — I couldn’t imagine doing it by hand! 30 | Hospitality

Claire Van Vuuren

FEATURE // Kitchen equipment

Photography by Nikki To

CHEF AND OWNER, BLOODWOOD What pieces of equipment do you rely on the most? My knives, I seem to have a slight problem/obsession with buying knives when I travel. Most underrated piece of equipment? Tea towels — when you run

Perry Hill

out, you realise just how important they are in the kitchen!


Biggest investment piece?

Top pieces of equipment? As a practitioner of the simple, I rely on unfussy old school

The Thermomix. We use them for everything from grinding spices to making nut butters and velvety–smooth sauces.

equipment including a chef’s knife and sharpening stone, a

Any unique pieces of equipment you’ve discovered on your travels?

steel fry pan, a micro plane, a stone, charcoal or wood-fired

A Japanese pickle press. It looks like a salad spinner and great to use when

grill and a smartphone — an indispensable part of modern-

making sauerkraut.

day cooking.

Which pieces of equipment make your life easier?

Most useful piece of equipment?

Stainless-steel bowls. We have loads of them and I love them to be stacked

A basic wall clock is essential to the running of our kitchen.

perfectly in ascending size.

We use it as a team to serve food without those noisy timers. Most underrated piece of equipment? Comfortable chef shoes. You’re on your feet all day, right?

Juan Pablo Sepulveda HEAD BARISTA, DEVON CAFÉ Barista essentials? A solid three group coffee machine — we use a La Marzocco Linea PB. An espresso grinder, single-origin and retail grinder, Puqpress, kettle, scales, jug rinser and tool box are also important. Best piece of cleaning advice? The Pallo barista brush is a lifesaver; it does so many things and lasts for months. It keeps our grinder and Puqpress free of coffee grounds during service and cleaning at the end of the day. What piece of equipment makes your life easier? The Puqpress is the best invention of the century. Consistency between baristas, injury-free wrist — it’s definitely changed the industry. April 2019 | 31

Garreth Robbs HEAD CHEF, BISTRO MOLINES What pieces of equipment do you rely on the most? Consider this checklist from Australia’s

A fine mesh chinois, everything gets

Commercial Capital Group before you

passed through it from stocks and sauces

sign a loan for equipment finance

to purées. The dishwasher is also a pretty

If you’re considering an upgrade of capital

integral piece of equipment in all kitchens.

equipment, what are your best finance

Most underrated piece of equipment?

options? There are a number of factors that

A good-quality, thin-bladed, sharp

can affect the loan you qualify for or even

vegetable peeler. The last thing you want

the type of loan you can be offered.

when prepping baby vegetables is a clunky

Starting with:

peeler that takes away half the carrot.

• The type of equipment — does it have a

Biggest investment piece?

serial number? • Is it a fixture? (attached to the floor or wall). • Do you quote ‘soft costs’ such as electrical, demolition, plumbing and carpentry? • Are you registered for GST? If so, for how long?

My cookbooks. They are a constant source of inspiration to myself and the chefs at Bistro Molines. I now have a custom-built bookcase for the books I’ve collected over the past 12 years. Any unique pieces of equipment you’ve discovered on your travels? When I was travelling through Japan a few years ago, I picked up two knives from the oldest knife store in Kyoto. They are both used for breaking down different types of fish and are a dream to use. On the same trip I also purchased a wasabi grater that is great for fresh horseradish as well. Which pieces of equipment make your life easier?

• Is your tax up to date?

Our Unox combi ovens. We have one for service and two for prep. When we installed the

• Does your business have up-to-date

two prep ovens, it changed the way we operated, allowing us to cook things for longer


times at low temps without worrying about taking up space during service.

There are only a few actual funding products (finance lease, chattel mortgage, operating finance lease (rental) and commercial hire purchase, but each lender can have different terms and conditions and requirements. Consider these points: 1. Are the loans you took out at the beginning of the business the best type of loan now you’re established? 2. What is the lifecycle or usable life of the equipment? Does it match the term on offer? 3. Do I want ownership now or in the future of this equipment? How does that work? 4. Can I payout early and get a discount on unpaid interest or costs? Are there any penalties? 5. What is the final payment (balloon/ residual) if any on my proposed loan? 6. You have been given the option to hand it back at the end of term, but you

James Privett EXECUTIVE CHEF, W SHORT GROUP Most expensive piece of equipment in your kitchen? We have a broiler that we installed recently at The Royal Leichhardt Hotel. The broiler cooks steaks under a 650-degree heat giving the most amazing results. It’s a huge investment for us, but the quality of the steaks coming out are amazing. What piece of equipment can’t you live without? It would be tough without a combi oven — they can pretty much do everything and get punished day and night.

couldn’t afford the downtime to replace

What are the essentials for a pub-style venue?

it. Is the loan the best option?

Of the big equipment, it’s deep fryers, a grill of some kind and a dishwasher that can

7. M ost suppliers need to be accredited

handle solid volume.

— do they have a website and are they

Most difficult piece of equipment to clean?

well established?

Everything is pretty easy if you stay on top of it, but a deep fryer is tough if you let the

8. Will the loan really suit my cashflow need?

32 | Hospitality

grease build up. Dealing with hot oil can often be a challenge in itself. ■

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FEATURE // Carbon neutral meat GLOBALLY, PRODUCTION OF red meat,


pastures The red meat industry is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases; it might also be one of the most well-equipped to achieve carbon neutrality. WORDS Madeline Woolway

including cattle and sheep, is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas

(GHG) emissions. According to Australian government reports, direct livestock

emissions account for about 70 per cent of GHG emissions by the Australian

agricultural sector and 11 percent of total national greenhouse gas emissions.

While other carbon-intensive industries

such as coal have failed to act thus far, the

red meat industry is taking steps to curb its GHG emissions, with Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.

The goal was set in response to

changing consumer demands as well as

emerging threats and market disruptors. When push comes to shove, the red

meat industry is both a cause of, and vulnerable to, the effects of climate

change. Contributing $18 billion dollars

to Australia’s gross domestic product, it’s 34 | Hospitality

for their livelihoods.

“Clearly, the red meat industry is

recognised as being high carbon, so

we’ve taken the lead,” says Pip Band,

Sustainability Strategy & Stakeholder manager at MLA.

To this end, MLA, the industry’s peak body

for research and advertising, commissioned a CSIRO-led report into the potential to

certification, the business was analysed by consultants from the Carbon Reduction Institute (CRI). The extensive process

threw up a number of opportunities for

emissions reductions and offsets, but it also highlighted the sheer size of the project.

“CRI did an analysis and came back to us

with a number things we might be able to do to reduce our footprint,” says Madden.

The audit looked at every aspect of the

reduce and then offset remaining GHG

business including direct and indirect

gas mitigation potential of the Australian red

owned and operated boilers, furnaces

emissions. Published in 2018, the Greenhouse meat production and processing sectors found

it would be possible for the industry to meet MLA’s target.

Enter Flinders + Co. In late 2018, the

foodservice meat distribution company announced it had become completely carbon neutral.

Originally known as Flinders Island

Meat, the company relaunched their brand

emissions. Emissions from Flinders + Co and vehicles were taken into account as

were emissions generated from purchased electricity and delivery vehicles. Even the transportation of employees to and from work was included in the business’ total

emissions. “The carbon footprint of those activities was very small in comparison

to the carbon footprint of the product we sell,” says Madden.

identity in 2018 with a renewed focus on

The industry was aware of the main

director James Madden, who founded the

long before the MLA report was published.

‘cultivating a better food world’. Managing company with his father David in 2011, says the decision to pursue carbon neutrality manifested out of a desire to develop

projects that would engage and challenge the company’s team on a daily basis. In order to gain carbon neutral

FEATURE // Carbon neutral meat

also a sector many Australians rely upon

sources behind its high GHG emissions

“We know the big ones are methane and

“The carbon footprint of those activities was very small in comparison to the carbon footprint of the product we sell.” – James Madden

any emissions from land use change,” says

Band. “It was more to look at theoretically, from a modelling perspective, is it worth setting a target?”

The MLA team had a hunch that while

the red meat industry is one of the biggest

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April 2019 | 35

FEATURE // Carbon neutral meat

“Probably 90 per cent of what we’ve uncovered also has productivity benefits.” – Pip Band

Australian red meat industry can meet both

expectations. The report highlighted several opportunities: land management practice

of the production systems used here, the

Australian industry is well placed to reduce and offset emissions.

animal husbandry and management to

way herds are managed in order to increase

increase production efficiencies.

“What we, as the research, development

and adoption body, have done is taken 12 months to unpick [the report] to look at

what’s practical, what’s commercially viable

with our production systems in Australia

being predominately grass-fed and utilising range lands and grass areas, would be in a really good spot — particularly compared to overseas systems — to become carbon neutral,” says Band.

Carbon neutrality is two-fold. First, all

possible emissions need to be reduced,

after which leftover emissions should be

offset by contributing to carbon reduction

schemes elsewhere. According to MLA, the 36 | Hospitality

emissions per unit of meat produced. No

matter the approach, remaining emissions would need to be offset.

area we’re really focused on is suppressing

ability to offset or store carbon,” says

methane. We know there are bioadditives that prohibit production of methane. One

of the most promising is red algae — it can reduce methane by 90 per cent.”

While enteric fermentation that results

feedlot cattle, implementing the approach

neutrality. “We had a hypothesis that we,

productivity and thereby decrease methane

“When you think about carbon neutrality,

production and processing sectors report

pathways for the industry to achieve carbon

reduced deforestation and changing the

and what the best pathways are to enable us

in methane emissions could be reduced

began with the goal of identifying potential

Other pathways to emissions reduction

include savanna burning management,

reduce the release of methane and improved

Work on the Greenhouse Gas mitigation potential of the Australian red meat

extensive industry.

change, feed additives and vaccines to

as an industry to get there,” says Band. “A key contributors to GHG emissions, because

be developed to distribute it across the

it’s reducing emissions, but it’s also the

Band. While the meat industry works with an offsets program, it’s unique. “Unlike

other industries, we operate in the natural

environment,” says Band. “So, we have the ability to store carbon ourselves.”

There is scope for emissions from red

through feed additives or supplements in

meat production to be offset through

will require substantial investment in new

carbon in plants and soil. Theoretically,

technologies and delivery mechanisms

that are applicable to grazing livestock.

“There’s a whole range of options,” says

Band. “Slow-release devices or a vaccine

— which is probably not the preference — can do the job, but it’s about how to do it in a cost-effective and practical way.”

Presently, the CSIRO and James Cook

University are conducting trials and

research into incorporating red algae as

a feed additive in more intensive farming situations, with particular attention paid to how a commercialisation plan could

carbon sequestration or the storage of developing more efficient livestock

management practices could result in

the ability to reduce deforestation and encourage reforestation and human-

induced regeneration, all of which are

viable methods for carbon sequestration. “A lot of companies are looking at what

their overall balances are at the moment and what that might mean for say, more trees

in the landscape [in order] to have a longer

[term] carbon neutral approach,” says Band. In the meantime, there’s an ability for

brands to utilise offets in the short term.

Get more For the latest hospitality news, get our free e-newsletter at:


FEATURE // Carbon neutral meat Most of the offsets that are purchased are

convert all their equipment, but now the

a strategic motivation, too. “Looking

livestock, enterprises.

purchasing some of the carbon offsets

habits among millennials, we could see

generated through agricultural, especially

The CRI’s audit of Flinders + Co carbon

emissions revealed opportunities for the

business to reduce its emissions, such as

project generates carbon offsets and we’re from them,” says Madden. “It keeps all the money within the sector.”

Undertaking carbon balances on the

switching its facilities to renewable energy.

same level as Flinders + Co is incredibly

wouldn’t be possible. The analysis looked

projects looking at how we can simplify

However, it also exposed areas where that at each supply chain and calculated the

carbon footprint of each kilo of meat sold by the company. “There will always be

some carbon emissions that we put into

the atmosphere, so to offset that, we need to look at carbon credits and supporting

projects that help take that carbon out of the air,” says Madden.

Flinders + Co set out to achieve a

couple of things with their offset choices.

“First, we wanted to try to support projects based in Australia and in the agricultural industry,” says Madden. “If we’re going

to spend money on offsets, how can we

Co beef supplier Greenham in Tasmania.

balances with producers across different

cent productivity increase. It’s definitely

regions and styles of production, so we can take that modelled information and really ground truth it.”

Cape Grim and Robbins Island supplier’s carbon footprint by about 90 per cent.

“They had to invest quite a lot of money to 38 | Hospitality

a hard sell [in terms of just] reducing

methane production, but methane is lost energy, so it’s a loss in productivity.”

In its early days, the pursuit of carbon

emissions from the red meat production

absorbing the costs,” says Madden. He’s

pathways to reduce and offset carbon and processing industry makes sense, ethically and economically.

Of the $18bn in GDP the industry

domestic market. The primary reason

based on an understanding that consumer demands are changing, especially in high export markets.

Going carbon neutral will up the

higher value [export] markets as well

Switching fuels has decreased the

says Band. “The red algae has a 40–50 per

The effort is worth it — implementing

says Madden. “The renewable biomass

flowers, which are grown in Tasmania.”

another benefit.

uncovered also has productivity benefits,”

country,” says Band. “MLA is doing carbon

industry’s competitive advantage, says

is actually a waste product from daisy

Beyond changing consumer demands,

more accessible to producers around the

“They recently switched their steam

boiler from coal to a renewable biomass,”

clients key into that demographic.”

“Probably 90 per cent of what we’ve

behind MLA’s decision to set the target was

of the selected projects is from Flinders +

decisions,” he says. “We wanted to help our

the carbon calculator to make it a lot

programs could encourage farmers and

carbon neutral projects themselves. One

are playing more of a role in people’s

Band points to pay-offs in productivity as

generates, only 30 per cent is from the

other people in the supply chain to look at

environmentalism and social purpose

complicated. “We’ve got a couple of

support the industry we’re operating in?” Choosing the right carbon offset

at the data out there about purchasing

Band. “It’s a good opportunity to access as connect with [domestic] consumers

who value low-carbon, environmentally conscious food production.”

While Madden wanted an idealistic

project that would engage Flinders + Co employees, he’s the first to admit there’s

neutrality isn’t perfect. “At this stage, we’re adamant the decision will pay off. “For

every dollar I spend on carbon neutrality, I want to get an extra $100 in revenue.

It’s an idealistic project, but we’re looking at marketing activity as well. That’s how

we’re trying to rationalise the expense —

can we get more clients who are willing to consider us because of these credentials?”

It’s also about leading the way towards a

better food future. “What we want to do is show the consumer cares and that they’re willing to change their purchasing habits

to support it,” says Madden. “Then we can

start sending price signals down the supply chain. Ultimately, someone has to go first.” If the rest of the industry follows suit,

Australia could be well on the way to

becoming the first country in the world to have carbon neutral red meat. ■

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BEHIND THE SCENES // Mung bean pancakes

Chu The Phat’s

mung bean pancakes An in-depth look at Hospitality’s masterclass series.

CHU THE PHAT head chef Aaron Parry







talks us through the process of making mung bean pancakes, a traditional Korean street food. The pan-fried savoury pancakes are made using a mung bean batter, which doesn’t include any flour, making them glutenfree. While they usually include meat such as pork mince, Chu The Phat sticks to a vegetarian version with kimchi caramel, soy-pickled onions, Kewpie mayonnaise and a refreshing salad.

Pancake ingredients Dried mung beans Water Spring onions, julienned Mung bean sprouts Oil

Method Soak dried mung beans in water for 24 hours. Blitz the soaked mung beans in a food processor until a paste is formed. Add water to the paste and mix into a thin batter before adding spring onions and mung bean sprouts. Heat a generous amount of oil in a pan until hot. Add the mung bean batter to the pan and shallow fry until you get a golden seal on the bottom. Flip the pancake and cook until both sides are crispy. Remove from the heat and serve with preferred accompaniments. Watch the full video now at

40 | Hospitality

Cleavers can be used for everything from butchering meat to slicing and julienning vegetables.

EQUIPMENT // Cleaver

Cleaver Flat side can be used for crushing garlic and herbs and spices

Aim to make contact with ingredient with the top third of the blade

Caidao are used for slicing vegetables or strips of meat

The Chinese chef’s knife closely resembles the shape of a cleaver and Tough edge

is called caidao

can withstand impact of hacking motion

Cleaver edges are blunter than other knives due to sheer weight

Thick blade is designed to cut through bone, cartilage and thicker cuts of meat

Wooden handle ensures knife can be handled comfortably

April 2019 | 41

5 MINUTES WITH ... // Kay-Lene Tan

Kay-Lene Tan The Tonka and Coda pastry chef on food memories, thinking on her feet and the importance of collaboration.

MY FIRST FOOD memory is rolling sweet

to amplify my Asian flavour profile. But

and Grandma; it is a memory I hold dear

begun to reconnect with Asian pastry

glutinous rice dumplings with my Mum

to my heart and one of the reasons why I chose to specialise in pastry. Growing up

in a Peranakan household, I was brought

up with a great love and passion for food. I decided to take a leap of faith, and

enrolled myself into culinary school.

Upon graduation, I had the opportunity

to be part of the opening team for chef Joel Robuchon’s flagship restaurant in

Singapore. I stayed there for two years before moving on to work with Andres

Lara at Jason Atherton’s Pollen restaurant. My desserts are inspired by my food

memories growing up in Singapore and

the flavour profiles I loved as a child. Each of my desserts tell a unique story. I was

classically French trained, so I often find

myself turning to classic French techniques 42 | Hospitality

I have been blessed to have many

over the past few years, I have also slowly

incredible mentors, namely Andres Lara.

techniques that are slowly being forgotten.

kindness and lessons I have learned,

In order to know where you are going, you must appreciate where you came from. I

am very proud of my Peranakan heritage and my desserts celebrate that.

I have learned to be fast on my feet

and more quick-witted. I absolutely love working alongside chefs from

various backgrounds who bring different experiences to the table. You can learn something from everyone, regardless

of what rank they are in the kitchen. At

The time has come to pay forward the

and I love to mentor young, passionate

chefs. Another cause I feel strongly about is anti-bullying. I was bullied when I

was a child, which made me have low self-esteem and a lot of self-doubt for many years of my life. I believe these experiences have made me stronger, but I would like to help those who have gone though, or are going through, the same experience.

There is light at the end of the

Tonka, I was given the opportunity to run

tunnel and people should not let these

helped me perfect my organisational

they want to be. The world is a

the pass and manage the kitchen, which skills. I love the camaraderie of being in a kitchen team and the ‘no one gets left behind’ mentality shared by everyone.

moments define who they are or who big place, and there are endless

opportunities for those who keep pushing forward.

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