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CONTENTS // February

Contents FEBRUARY 2020

16 Regulars 6 // IN FOCUS Do scents have a place in venues? 8 // NEWS The latest in openings, books, products and more. 10 // PRODUCE Shishito: the little pepper with plenty of bite. 12 // SEAFOOD A lesson on Australian prawns. 14 // COLUMN Michael James on walking away from Tivoli Road Bakery.

22 15 // BEST PRACTICE Why all businesses need a mental health program. 16 // PROFILE Curtis Stone had a high-profile career as a chef before he hit TV screens. 20 // DRINKS An ode to ice. 40 // BEHIND THE SCENES Mitch Orr’s cherry tomato and bottarga linguine. 41 // EQUIPMENT From mash to gnocchi, potato ricers are all-rounders.

30 Features 22 // COLLABORATIONS Are two chefs better than one when it comes to launching a restaurant? 26 // CHILLED REDS Venues are moving reds from the cellar to the fridge. 30 // GLUTEN-FREE Dishes that cater to dietary requirements shouldn’t be an afterthought. 36 // POINT OF SALE Operators reveal the latest point of sale technologies they’re investing in.

42 // 5 MINUTES WITH … Sarah Scott from Joy.

February 2020 | 3



Keep up with the Hospitality team

Scroll on First attempt at cinnamon scrolls. How did I go? @annabellecloros

Hit refresh

Slurp up Tori Paitan — aka chicken tonkotsu — at RaRa Ramen in Redfern. @madeline.woolway

IT’S HARD TO believe it, but we’re back for

a venue with two chefs instead of one?

another year. The Christmas break was tragic

Victor Liong and Chase Kojima chronicle how

and somber for many Australians, but it’s

Chuuka came to be.

been heart-warming to see the industry band together to raise money for those affected. At Nomad in Sydney, 100 venues

The drinks scene is also changing for the better, with a greater number of venues opting to chill red wines instead of store

collaborated for a brunch and bake sale

them. Australia is finally catching up with the

which saw treats sold from Quay to Flour and

rest of the world!

Stone and everything in between. The event

We also cover the rise of gluten-free

raised $100,000 and counting, with initiatives

products and look at the latest innovations

still on the go. Not to forget the efforts from

in POS.

other venues, which varied from donating proceeds from dishes to one-off dinners. This issue, we look at the value of teamwork. What are the perks of launching

I hope you enjoy this issue, Annabelle Cloros

Oyster time One Fish Two Fish brought oyster frenzy to Brisbane with a six-course degustation. @hospitalitymagazine

Follow us


@hospitalitymagazine #hospitalitymagazine PUBLISHER Paul Wootton pwootton@intermedia.com.au EDITOR Annabelle Cloros T: 02 8586 6226 acloros@intermedia.com.au JOURNALIST Madeline Woolway T: 02 8586 6194 mwoolway@intermedia.com.au

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4 | Hospitality

IN FOCUS // Interior decoration

Ambient venues Candles, diffusers and other scented vessels are the go-to for adding atmosphere, but do they have a place in a restaurant? WORDS Annabelle Cloros


lemon tree, so Acre’s scent celebrates

Sous chef Joshua Huxtable says Aubergine

their venues, the consensus was a firm no,

lavender and sage.”

you’ll only find them in the bathroom. “We

Instagram followers if they used candles in to the tune of 58 per cent.

But a hard stance might be jumping the

gun a little. While heavily scented candles and co. can wreak havoc in an experience as sensory as dining out, makers are

producing goods that complement instead of dominate. Plus, location is everything. Hunter Candles founder Vianney Hunter

has worked with a number of hospitality venues in Sydney to create bespoke

candles, recently collaborating with

Chiswick and Acre Eatery. Hunter says

each scent was curated according to the

ethos of the venues. “Both these beautiful restaurants celebrate fresh produce

from their on-site gardens,” she says. “At

Chiswick, we created a native bee honey

lemon bark and lemon myrtle with white The perks of the scents are two-fold for

Chiswick and Acre: they burn them and they sell them to customers wanting to

The Butcher’s Block Group, which operates

— they aren’t all scented! Joe Jones

venues in Wahroonga, Barangaroo

and Granville are firmly on the candle

bandwagon. Group manager Chris Clarke says candles add a luxe touch which ties in with the dining experience. So what’s

their scent of choice? Glasshouse’s Kyoto,

which diners will find in all Butcher’s Block bathrooms. “We allocate one candle per

bathroom which sits on the sink shelf,” says Clarke. “We receive many compliments about the attention to detail we add.”

The group buy the candles in bulk, but

earthy honey, it takes on the notes of the

come across any candle snatchers just yet,”

this case.”

Acre executive head chef Gareth

Howard took Hunter on a tour of the Acre gardens in Camperdown, which produces everything from flowers to greens and

herbs. “We crushed many types of lavender and bonded over the versatility of the 6 | Hospitality

of a flower or a native branch,” he says.

While it’s easy to forgo candles, don’t

they’re still pricey. Luckily, the venue hasn’t

herbs surrounding it, which was thyme, in

avoid anything in the dining room in favour

take their experience home.

and thyme scent as they have a native bee hive in their garden. When you taste the

uses them “to ensure a clean look” — but

forget about their ambient characteristics uses tea lights in crystal vessels at his Melbourne bar Romeo Lane and says

they can romanticise anything — even

a plain old white wall. “Candles play an irreplaceable homage to ambience and positively affect people’s moods,” says

Jones. “Scents, however, I don’t f**k with. One scented thing can ruin the smell of

the bar quickly. No point paying $20 for a

drink with a beautiful bouquet and all you can smell is ‘mountain mist’ instead of the food you’ve ordered.

“Plus you’ve got to consider what you’re

experienced any theft so far. “We haven’t

taking away. The bar smells beautiful

says Clarke.

fire emanating from the fireplace, the actual

Aubergine restaurant in Canberra are

also fans of using scents in bathrooms, but

anyway, like the smoky husk of last night’s fire in itself or bright fresh citrus juice.”

with mist diffusers. Diffusers are relatively

So there you have it — whether it’s

lifecyle compared to a candle or reed diffuser.

in a new revenue stream or creating an

inexpensive to purchase and have a long

But good-quality essential oils will set you back around the $20-plus mark for 10ml.

brightening up a bathroom, bringing

atmospheric environment, there’s plenty to gain from a little aura. ■

Discover our

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The Food Company’s Lemon Myrtle Dressing drizzled sparingly over freshly shucked oysters.


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NEWS // Entrée


The latest openings, books, events and more. EDITED BY Annabelle Cloros

Cool for the summer Seven Miles Coffee Roasters has debuted a new product that guarantees the perfect cold brew. The Cold Brew Summer Blend features a lighter roast, resulting in raspberry and cocoa notes, but works just as well with the addition of milk, with chocolate and honeycomb flavours coming through. The brand has launched a cold brew starter kit for $59.90 which includes 250g of pre-ground beans and a Toddy brewer which is available at Seven Miles Manlyvale, Sydney, and online. sevenmiles.com.au

Jessi Singh continues Aussie expansion Chef and restaurateur Jessi Singh is kicking off 2020 with a bang with the launch of Mrs Singh on Flinders Lane in Melbourne. The 65-seat bar/restaurant will offer a limited menu of 10–12 dishes inspired by the chef’s time in the US, India and Australia. Menu items include duck leg and ceviche that can be teamed with one of 300 wines. Photography by Griffin Simm

Bar Totti’s opens Merivale’s highly anticipated Bar Totti’s has opened in the ivy complex in the Sydney CBD. Described as the younger sibling to the Bondi original, the new venue features more than 20 antipasti options and a selection of dishes cooked over the grill. The Neopolitan sandwich also makes an appearance along with the wood-fired puffy bread. Retro Italian cocktails are a key part of the drinks list and there’s a lean towards low-intervention wines. Bar Totti’s is open from 12pm until late seven days a week. merivale.com Photography by Nikki To 8 | Hospitality

NEWS // Entrée

Beatrix Bakes at home

Analiese Gregory’s next move

Baker Natalie Paull is the owner of one of Melbourne’s most revered

Analiese Gregory announced she was leaving Franklin last year, and

cake shops Beatrix, and she’s put pen to paper in her first ‘bakebook’.

while diners were devastated for a couple of months, the despair is

Beatrix Bakes features more than 70 recipes including shop classics

over; the acclaimed chef has found a new home at the Detatched

lemon curd cream crepe cake and pecan maple cinnamon scrolls.

Cultural Organisation in Hobart. Gregory is in residence for one year

The book is chock-full of illustrations, ‘adaptrix’ suggestions for

from May 2020 and will focus on sustainable culinary practices, which

alternatives and tips in the form of infographics. $45; Hardie Grant.

will be on display in a series of meals for small groups. The chef will also


host masterclasses and workshops with collaborations on the cards. detached.com.au Photography by Nikki To

Mr Black launches Single Origin The coffee roastery and distillery has announced a Single Origin series, highlighting the top coffee growing regions around the globe. The first release utilises Luis Anibal’s beans from Colombia, resulting in notes of figs, chocolate and dark berries. Best consumed neat or over ice, the liqueur can also be used in cocktails. $75 for 700ml. mrblack.co Photography by Guy Davies

Strange Love & Poor Toms’ RTD Love Can is the latest collaboration on the drinks scene between Sydney-based distillery Poor Toms and Melbourne soft drink producer Strange Love. The debut range includes a gin and tonic, yuzu soda and spritz which are available in 250ml cans. All the drinks are low-ABV and distilled in Sydney. Available at selected BWS and Dan Murphy’s stores. lovecan.com.au February 2020 | 9

Flavour profile

PRODUCE // Shishito pepper

is savoury with a


grassy citrus hit

and eaten while green

Can be grilled, deep-fried or eaten raw

The tip of the pepper is said to resemble a lion’s head

Shishito pepper

Known as kkwari-gochu in Korea due to its wrinkled

Pick when


peppers are at least 10cm in length

Named after its lion-esque appearance, the shishito pepper’s bite is more savoury than hot. WORDS Olivier and Falani Sofo, Living Earth Farm ILLUSTRATIONS Elena Fombertaux Origins

climate and growing condition

about 55–65 days before you can

some more than others. Not an

The shishito pepper originated


harvest green peppers. Healthy

intense heat, it’s more like a mild

plants will give multiple flowers

pepperiness that lingers warmth

in Japan, but like most peppers,

Shishito arrived on menus here

started its journey in the central

in the past decade, most likely via

and fruit flushes and are quite

in the mouth instead of leaving

and southern Americas. The

North America. The peppers have

prolific bearers.

you gasping for air and water.

name is derived from two

a more delicate flavour with a

words; shishi meaning lion and

finer, thinner shape and less heat,

eaten while green. It is best to

Culinary applications

togarashi meaning pepper. The

making them a popular choice on

wait until fruit is 10cm in length

The best introduction to these

lion reference comes from the

bar and share plate menus.

and fills out a little. When ready,

peppers is in a medium hot

they should be easily plucked

fry pan with a little oil. Sear

from the plant.

until blistered and finish with a

tip of the pepper, which is said

The fruit is almost always

to resemble the head of the big

Growth conditions

cat. Not quite sure if we see the

Shishito belongs to the genus

relationship to a lion with this

Capsicum annuum and is a

Flavour profile

pepper, but perhaps it’s in the

sun-loving plant that thrives

Even though the peppers are

we often do while harvesting),

noble taste.

in temperate summers and

classified as a chilli pepper,

but applying heat brings

subtropic and tropical winters.

their flavour is savoury. They

out their juicy, savoury, hot

Australia seems to have been the

Like all peppers, the conditions

have a crisp, soft crunch on

character. Some people stuff

Padron pepper, having similar

need to warm up before the

the palate with a grassy/citrus,

and fry them, others batter and

characteristics of being a hot/

plant thrives and bears fruit. The

green capsicum flavour. The

fry, but you can also dry roast or

savoury frying pepper with thin

seed germinates at optimum

distinctiveness of these peppers

grill them on a barbecue with no

skin and an unexpected heat in

temperature in around 10–14

are in their elusive heat that

oil to enjoy their concentrated

around 10 per cent of the fruit;

days, and once growing, takes

can be more pronounced in

flavour. ■

Shishito’s predecessor in

10 | Hospitality

sprinkle of good-quality sea salt. They can be eaten raw (which

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SEAFOOD // Prawns

What’s the prawn story? There are around 70 species of prawns found in Australia, with a range of flavours, textures and prices to suit pretty much any use. WORDS John Susman MOST PRAWNS SOLD in Australian

the mighty Skull Island tiger prawn from

endured days of variable handling in a

such as the Gulf of Carpentaria, Shark

As a general rule, if you are going to use a

pound, thus if a prawn is graded as U6,

of Australia. Other fisheries exist in

them once. If you are going to use them for

pieces per kg; a 10–15 indicates there

fish shops are caught by trawlers in

tropical and subtropical waters, in places Bay, Exmouth and off the east coast

estuaries farther south including Lakes Entrance, Gulf St Vincent and Spencer Gulf in South Australia. In Australia, prawns are also farmed in seawater ponds on coastal farms.

Prawns are the scavengers of the seas,

eating almost anything they come across.

the Gulf of Carpentaria.

prawn for a hot dish, buy them raw and cook a salad, buy them pre-cooked. Pre-cooked

prawns are mostly cooked live on the boat or at the farm, then refreshed in brine ice.

Handled this way, the prawns will always be firmer, crisper and sweeter than a dead, raw prawn put through the same process.

Prawns are arguably one of the most

The flavour and texture of prawns are a

fragile proteins you will handle in your

which they come, from the grassy taste

option. The integrity and quality of a

direct reflection of the environment in

and soft texture of the river or lake school prawn to the umami-rich and crisp bite of 12 | Hospitality

kitchen, buying frozen is a genuine

raw prawn packed and frozen from live will often be superior to one which has

‘fresh’ highly fragile state.

Prawns are graded in pieces per

it indicates there are approximately #14 are approximately 22 to 36 pieces per kg. Consider what you are going to use the

prawns for, they don’t always have to be the biggest and the smaller grades are

generally cheaper than the larger ones. Prawns vary in price almost as much as they do in quality — price is not

exclusively an indicator of quality. But you can expect to pay more for Australian-

produced prawns than imported and more for wild caught than farmed. ■

COLUMN // Moving on

Letting go of Tivoli Road Bakery The sacrifice of running a small business and the benefits of stepping away. WORDS Michael James

Michael and Pippa James

MY WIFE PIPPA and I opened Tivoli Road

additional financial pressure of a struggling

I don’t regret selling, and I certainly

almost six years, we decided to sell. Ours was

we were in that regard. But incremental

interruptions when you are off. It has been

Bakery in South Yarra in August 2013. After a successful business and it was a difficult

decision, with multiple factors contributing. Any small business owner will tell you

business. We never lost sight of how lucky stress can also make it hard to deal with

situations that arise outside of the business.

Our daughter was born the year after we

that day-to-day operations can be hard,

started the bakery and we felt like we were

husband-and-wife team with no other

my Grandad died in the UK, we were able

both mentally and physically. Being a

partners meant the associated pressures

inevitably impacted all aspects of our lives. When you have a small business, you

feel like you’re responsible for everything. Perhaps a staff member has to take an

missing important time with her. When

to travel to attend his funeral, but hit the ground running again as soon as we got

home. When we had our second stillborn

baby within four years, we had no space or

don’t miss the early starts or the constant

great to take a step back and enjoy life, get fit and keep learning, which I think is so

important. We’ve travelled to the USA and

met so many inspiring bakers. I was able to do the Modern Bread Theory class at the San Francisco Baking Institute and work on a book in the UK. We were also able

to help run our local grain event GrAiNZ, which was a huge success last year.

time to process what was happening.

I’m really glad we had the bakery — it

due to family illness or a baker forgets their

about how to tweak the business to make

learning experience. But to be honest, I

then makes no attempt to assist to fix it or

Close one day a week? Scale back

extended leave of absence at short notice

keys and smashes a window to get in, and

repay you. The delivery driver is on holiday when your child is admitted to hospital

overnight and there’s no one else to deliver bread in the morning. The oven breaks

down at 5am on a public holiday. Again.

We had seemingly endless discussions

it more manageable — cut wholesale?

production? Employ more senior staff? But we were perhaps too emotionally

invested, and all of those options felt like a compromise we weren’t prepared to make.

Over time, these stresses accumulate.

We were getting to breaking point, both

The bakery was going really well, selling

spend quality family time together. Selling a

out every day with big queues on the

weekends. The release of our book The

Tivoli Road Baker in November 2017 made

it more popular than ever. We were grateful to be in such a fortunate position — plenty

of people have the stresses we had, with the 14 | Hospitality

exhausted, in need of rest and wanting to

was hugely rewarding and a massive

don’t think owning a business is the be

all and end all. It’s very hard and can be

lonely at times, costs are high, staff costs are very high and people don’t always appreciate the value of what you’re

offering. If you have a good, well-paid

job and you can help the boss with ideas and leadership, that can be just as rewarding.

I have not been back to the bakery since

business can take a long time, and for me, the

we sold; I feel that chapter is in the past

staff, suppliers and our loyal customers

time to look forward, making sure any

process of selling was very stressful. Telling that we were leaving was hard, but we had a great community who were very

understanding, so we went out on a big high.

now. At some stage, we will be back. It’s future projects are in good spaces that

are well set up, and that the business is

designed around the life we want to live. ■

BEST PRACTICE // Mental health programs

Big picture Why mental health training needs to be a part of all management programs. WORDS Jeremy Courmadias

FOR ANY BUSINESS, employees struggling

us to equip our management team with

advice and assistance to management, who

productivity and your overall culture.

struggling and how they can help — even

on everything from reviewing internal

with mental health can affect staff retention, Prevention is ideal, but it’s not always

possible, so it’s critical to be prepared.

Offering metal health support not only

creates a more positive workplace for

employees, but can also position you as a

preferred employer. But first, it’s important to educate yourself on the most common types of mental health issues along with their characteristics and triggers.

According to research from R U

the tools to recognise when someone is if it’s just to pass on a support number. At Fink, we provide solutions to

management and staff when mental

health issues arise — this is crucial to

ensuring staff receive timely assistance.

undergo training with external contractors processes to how to deal with mental

health issues. In my opinion, this type of

training should become an integral part of all programs.

PeopleSense by Altius is an employee

When an issue arises with a staff member,

with access to confidential counsellors

at the isolated performance breach as

assistance program that provides all staff during difficult times.

We subscribe to the program annually,

too often, inexperienced managers look

opposed to why it happened. By upskilling

our managers to look at the big picture, we

OK?, 80 per cent of hospitality workers

which ensures access to information and

feeling depressed, anxious or manic are

annual subscription are only charged when

grow this area as it’s of huge importance

staff and their families.

improve mental health awareness at all

agreed that mental health issues such as a challenge, with fatigue listed as the

number one issue faced by hospitality

professionals. It’s important all staff learn to recognise the signs, and the first step

can be as simple as asking “are you ok?” A lot of people struggle to speak up about how they are feeling. It’s important for

counsellors are available. Fees beyond the

the counselling services are utilised by the Since implementing the program, we

have had employees use the hotline, so it’s

good to see the message is getting through. Furthermore, staff often reach out to their managers for assistance now.

The program also provides professional

can better create a culture of support. Fink are always looking at ways to

to us as a business. In 2020, we strive to levels by normalising the conversation during staff induction. ■

Jeremy Courmadias is the general manager of Fink, the group behind restaurants including Quay, Bennelong and Otto.

February 2020 | 15

PROFILE // Curtis Stone

Curtis Stone TV star, supermarket ambassador, author, cookware connoisseur. Despite the many hats Curtis Stone wears, there’s more to the chef than his public persona. WORDS Annabelle Cloros PHOTOGRAPHY Ray Kachatorian for profile shots

16 | Hospitality

PROFILE // Curtis Stone

CURTIS STONE IS perhaps one of the

most recognisable Australians in the world. But in the midst of stints on Top Chef spinoffs and fronting supermarket campaigns,

it can be easy to forget Stone is a chef; one who completed his apprenticeship just like any other, one who worked his way up the

ranks and one who just wanted to open his own restaurant.

Stone sat down with Hospitality magazine

to talk about his dual life as a chef and

a TV persona, giving a second chance to

those doing it tough and why he relishes

monotony in spite of a career peppered with the type of glitz some can only dream of … Curtis Stone wasn’t banking on hitting it

big in the media — a career in television

wasn’t something he pursued. But the chef certainly welcomed the opportunity when it came knocking. During his time in the

UK working at Marco Pierre White’s Quo

Vadis, Stone was asked to submit a recipe for a book titled London on a Plate, which featured the city’s best chefs.

A morning TV show wanted to run

a promotional segment on the book,

and Stone was asked to plug his steak carpaccio recipe. Those few minutes

on screen in the early aughts marked

the chef’s first media appearance and

ultimately, the beginning of a new chapter outside the kitchen.

The sabbatical of sorts lasted for more

Back home, a producer saw the segment

on shows such as Take Home Chef and

and asked Stone if he’d be interested in a

show where two chefs surfed and travelled around Australia. Stone’s answer was a

resounding “hell yeah”, but he needed the green light from Pierre White first, who

than a decade and saw Stone appear

The Oprah Winfrey Show. But he put his media career on the backburner when he opened his first restaurant with his brother Luke Stone in 2014.

Named after their grandmother, Maude,

gave Stone two months off.

the 24-seat restaurant in Beverley Hills,

The chef travelled back home in 2002 to

the then 39-year-old Stone to prove he

film Surfing the Menu before returning to

London, but it wasn’t long before producers asked if he wanted to film season two.

While Stone was prepared to return to the

kitchen, it was Pierre White who made the

call. “He said, ‘It’s time for you to leave’, so I didn’t go back,” says Stone.

The end result was three seasons of Surfing the Menu, but Stone says getting back in the kitchen was always on the cards. “In my mind, I was on a sabbatical.”

Los Angeles, provided an opportunity for wasn’t just that guy from TV. “My whole

life was about restaurants, but I went on this slightly different journey with the

media,” he says. “I really missed all the

funny things about a restaurant. The other

Stone’s career

The chef was

kicked off when

39 when he

he contributed a

opened his

recipe to London

first restaurant,

on a Plate


Stone appeared

Maude received

day I cut lemon wedges for an hour and a

half and I loved it. Most people think it’s a horrible job, but there’s something I love about the monotony.”

Repetition aside, opening Maude was

about more than slicing citrus. It was a chance for the chef to show the public

on The Oprah

a Michelin

Winfrey Show

star in 2019

February 2020 | 17

PROFILE // Curtis Stone

where Curtis Stone got his start — in

the kitchen, not the TV studio. “In a way, maybe Maude was me proving a point,” says Stone. “When I think about it now,

why did I do that? It was ambitious and a little crazy, a 24-seat restaurant. So what was the driving force? to prove something to myself … and maybe a little to other people.”

His prolific presence on the small screen

was by and large a blessing for Stone,

but when it came to getting back in the

formerly incarcerated, homeless or

his favour. “When I was hiring people for

Since the inception of Maude and Gwen,

restaurant game, it didn’t exactly work in

drug-addicted people find employment.

Maude, they were like, ‘Why would I want

the restaurants have hired around 30

to work for him? I’ll work for a real chef’.”

employees through Chrysalis, some of

The reality is Stone came to Pierre White

which have been there since day dot.

with a number of years’ experience under

“They’re salt of the earth,” says Stone.

his belt, but he started as a commis

“They mean a lot to me and we’ve watched

wanted to be in that business so you had

When people come out of jail, a lot of

chef cutting up chives. “A lot of people

their lives totally change and turn around.

to earn your stripes,” says Stone. “You

them have no family to turn to or a place

didn’t progress faster than you deserved

to live. They have no job, and they can’t

to with Marco.”

get one because they’re just out of jail.

Stone ended up working his way

These people look around and think, ‘No

up to head chef and spent eight years

one wants me, no one thinks I have any

working for Pierre White. But his years

worth — so do I try and fix my life or go

on television skewed his pedigree as

back to what I used to do?’. More often,

a talented chef, with Stone musing

they end up doing what it was that got

that people “imagined I would open a

them in jail.”

restaurant in Vegas with 200 seats, but I

Stone’s group is just one business

did the exact opposite.”

trying to change the statistics, and

After launching Maude, Stone didn’t wait

positive for the employees as it has

working with Chrysalis has been as

long to expand his restaurant presence in

the US. He opened Gwen in Hollywood in

2016 and Georgie by Curtis Stone in Dallas last November. Stone’s restaurants have

been well received, so well received that Maude received a Michelin star in 2019.

The chef says refinement over racking up

accolades was the priority for Maude, but when the Michelin Guide announced it

would release a California-only edition,

the team paid attention. “You’re driving

for Stone. Take Darrell Stevenson, for

“In a way, maybe Maude was me proving a point … To prove something to myself … and maybe a little to other people.” – Curtis Stone

for excellence, but then suddenly they

conscious that someone is looking over our

“We all want to be recognised — that’s

and we drive to refine more than we ever

were here, so everybody was,” he says. the strongest guide in the world.”

At the end of the day, Maude is a

shoulder,” says Stone. “We try even harder

did. What changed? Nothing. It’s a little bit

example, who started working at Maude as a kitchen hand six years ago. Now, he’s responsible for both Maude and

Gwen. “He’s our back of house manager, he looks after a dozen staff and has the

keys to both spots,” says Stone. “Another guy has become our handy man and

takes care of anything that breaks. He

started as a dishwasher and now he uses

his mechanical skills. It’s awesome to put a bit of faith in a human and see them pay it back. It’s not perfect, there are

bumps in the road, and that’s alright.”

of recognition.”

So the next time you catch a rerun of

change. There are only so many covers the

What people might not know about

Aussie produce, just remember he

remain the same, in spite of the newly

group works closely with Chrysalis,

24-seat venue and that’s not going to

restaurant can do a night, and the motions minted star. “If anything, it’s made us more 18 | Hospitality

Stone’s restaurant portfolio is the

a non-profit organisation that helps

Take Home Chef or watch Stone spruiking followed the same path many chefs take; his just happened to veer off towards Hollywood.

DRINKS // Artisanal ice

The new

ice age A cocktail is just four elements. But one of them — ice — is often overlooked, seen as an extra rather than an integral ingredient. WORDS Madeline Woolway PHOTOGRAPHY Navy Strength Ice Co.

Michael Madrusan


Classic cocktails are naught but four

explains. Any impurities will devalue the

from a Clinebell machine. He’d shipped the

With just a handful of components in

melting faster and tainting the cocktail as

destroyed the first block of ice he pulled

Cadillac of ice makers to Melbourne from

the US and waited three days for it to spit

out a 150 kilogram block of dense, crystal clear ice … only for the block to break

when he poured room temperature water on it.

“It cracked like thunder,” says Madrusan.

“I don’t know what I was thinking.” It

things; spirits, sugar, bitters and water. each glass, there’s no room for error and that means every element needs to be

When it comes to a cocktail’s integrity,

Made in the Shade portfolio which also

dilute and it does so best in frozen form.

“over-dilution is one of the biggest killers,” says Madrusan.

Store-bought machine-cut ice will add

exposed to artisanal ice. While bartending

bigger the block, the denser the ice, the

team at the late Sasha Petraske’s New York

during mixing or served in the glass. The more control.

“Along with bringing the drink down to

City institution were freezing and cutting

temp, [ice] has a really important role to

chisel, mallet and bare hands. It took two

the role of ice? It chills and adds dilution.

70 quart pans of ice a day using a two-inch hours and, in the depths of a New York winter, it was “a f**king sh*t job”.

Madrusan arrived in New York in 2003,

just as the global cocktail renaissance

was taking off. While bartenders were

Bar Margaux. Four ex-bartenders work seven days a week with eight Clinebell machines to produce clear blocks that

are thrice-frozen. The ice gets harder the more it sweats and freezes, making for a

diamond-like end product in both clarity and hardness.

Why is bigger better? Because it actually

heat of service, offering flexibility when

maintains the temperature of the drink

without over diluting; you maintain the

integrity of the cocktail for much longer.” The other big question, according to

many understood the true value of

“Cloudy ice contains gas, minerals and

20 | Hospitality

includes venues such as The Everleigh and

The durability of ‘hand cut’ high-quality ice

Madrusan, is why clear ice is better than

‘iceberg’ blocks beyond aesthetics.

Strength Ice Company is part of his

play in dilution,” says Madrusan. “So, what’s

impressed by the finesse clear ice brought to their drinks, Madrusan suspects not

Madrusan’s knowledge on the topic

is vast, which makes sense given Navy

a lot of dilution all at once, whether used

at Milk & Honey in the early aughts, the

it does.

considered, including ice. Water’s role is to

had been more than a decade since the

Made in the Shade group co-founder was

structure of the ice itself, leading it to start

cloudy. Again, there’s more to it than looks. all these impurities — it’s quite weak,” he

also gives bartenders time to breathe in the making rounds or working with customers. “If you pour a Negroni over machine

ice, the drink has to get to the customer

straight away,” says Madrusan. Artisanal

ice, on the other hand, can sit in the drink

for longer. “But we always say get it out of the shaker straight away and onto a fresh piece of ice.”

DRINKS // Artisanal ice

While crushed ice is always on hand

— there are plenty of drinks that call for it, after all — The Everleigh team only shakes with block ice. “It gives us the

most amount of control over the cooling and dilution,” says Madrusan. “Same for stirring.”

Ice is temperamental in nature, but

its nature can be moulded with the right

knowledge. “It’s really important to sweat the ice before you add it to liquid,” says

Madrusan. The difference between fresh ice straight from the freezer and room

temperature liquid will lead to one result

— a cracked block. “We like to warm [the blocks] up by rolling them around before we shake,” he says.

Of course, it all comes at a cost. A block of

hand-cut ice from a Clinebell machine will set a bar back around 85 cents, with some

suppliers charging up to a dollar per block. Even if he’s a little biased, for Madrusan, the choice to invest is a no-brainer.

“People need to see ice as an ingredient,”

he says. “It’s imperative for any cocktail ...

they start to die as soon as you make them.

“It really is the most interesting ingredient in a drink for me.” – Michael Madrusan

With the attention given to food and drinks now, any bar that’s not prioritising quality in drinks is really missing the mark.”

In the end, the issue is clear cut for

Madrusan: “It really is the most interesting ingredient in a drink to me.” ■

Don’t store ice in the freezer

Temper ice

with pungent

before you

ingredients such as

shake with it


or serve it

Navy Strength

Ice is best

have eight

handled with

Clinebell machines

bare hands

that produce 150kg blocks February 2020 | 21

FEATURE // Collaborations Victor Liong and Chase Kojima

Two of a kind

Collabs and pop-ups are hosted by venues across Australia, but a true collaboration — with the potential to stand the test of time — has to be a permanent fixture. WORDS Annabelle Cloros

In a two-part series, Hospitality talks to four professionals about the inner workings of going into business on an equal playing field.

CHASE KOJIMA AND Victor Liong weren’t the closest of friends when Chuuka was in

“I felt I would definitely benefit with

to live in two cities and he could work

want to learn a lot, so having someone

Plus, Chuuka was a portal for Liong to

another strong chef,” says Kojima. “I still join, I get their knowledge and I can share with them, too. As chefs, we’re always

thinking of creating new things — it’s a never-ending journey.”

chef wanted to create a Chinese restaurant

“The deal worked well because The

the management is awesome and the

to each other’s restaurants,” says Kojima. “I

Star in Sydney and the Gold Coast, and the

a small business owner.

“We weren’t close friends, but we’d been

each other’s work, but the reality is, Chuuka Kojima operates two venues within The

as large as The Star — invaluable intel for

Star were going to come to the party

Melbourne-based chef Victor Liong.

all started with a DM on Instagram.

experience the inner workings of a group

Enter Lee Ho Fook founder and

its embryonic stage. The pair met once or

twice over the years and were familiar with

on a project on a purely creative level.

approached him [on Instagram] and said, ‘Hey I have this opportunity, do you want to join?’”

The conversation piqued Liong’s interest,

with the back of house operations;

resources are insane,” says Liong. “If I

wanted to do something in Sydney, it had to be facilitated to a certain degree. I’m still based in Melbourne and we had to

work out an arrangement where everyone

akin to what you’d see in Japan. When

and he was soon on a plane to Sydney

Wharf, The Star acquired the property

management team from The Star with

So how did Chuuka get off the ground?

collaboration,” says Liong. “They said it

I’d fly to Melbourne and we’d just work

Flying Fish vacated its site on Jones Bay and Kojima pitched the concept to the management team.

The Star was on board and Kojima was

sent on a trip to China for inspiration and eating purposes in early 2019 — but the reality is he couldn’t do it alone. Three

to learn more about Chuuka. “I met the Chase and they pitched the idea of a full wouldn’t be in the casino — I didn’t want to do a casino restaurant — and it grew from there.”

venues is a lot for one person to handle,

Liong describes Kojima as “the architect” of

two cuisines, which is where the idea of dual

of reasons. The restaurant provided an

especially when the concept revolves around executive chefs came into the equation. 22 | Hospitality

could work to the best of their abilities.”

Kojima explains. “Victor would fly here and the line,” says the chef. “He would show

me how he does things and then we would chat over wine; but the main development was when he came to Sydney.”

Liong travelled to Sydney up to three

Chuuka and says it appealed for a number

times a month to flesh out dishes with

opportunity for Liong’s culinary adeptness

says the creation of the menu took

Kojima in Sokyo’s prep kitchen. Kojima

FEATURE // Collaborations

Almond jelly, perfumed fruits, coconut and umeshu

around three months and was a relatively

Liong and Kojima are both executive

personal relationship. “When we got into

Liong, his prerogative at Chuuka is food

smooth process given the pair’s limited

disagreements, it could get sour, but we

are two professionals and when we don’t

agree, we just let it go,” says Kojima. “We

know what the other does and doesn’t like, but I think we match quite well. We’re like brothers now.”

Despite limitations on their time on the

ground together, Liong says the creative

guy on the ground; he understands the

customer and the team more and he makes adjustments to suit the restaurant better.” Kojima says it’s all about respect when

it comes to making changes when one is home and one is away. “I try to get his

approval before I run things just to show that respect,” he says. “We’re 50/50 as

executive chefs; I really want to go through him. And if he says yes or no, there is a good reason and I really like that.”

popular dishes

It took roughly

Chuuka was

three months to

Liong’s first

design the menu

project as

for the restaurant

a consultant

creative which is awesome for me,” he says. “I come up with the menus, train the staff and put forward the style of hospitality I want and The Star backs it up with their

matrix program for running restaurants.”

The new role has been an experiment of

my only job?’ At Lee Ho Fook, I have to fix

a sounding board and he’s the main

of the most

The Star

expectations for this project are purely

designing the food where we each cook

change,” says the chef. “It’s nice to have

restaurant for

and training — that’s it (so he says). “My

sorts for Liong, and it’s working for him.

a version and work out what we would

Tempura yuzu chicken is one

chefs of Chuuka, but their roles vary. For

process has been ironed out, for the

most part. “We have figured out a way of

Chuuka is the debut external

“It’s been ages since I’ve thought, ‘This is

the toilet, I have to pay staff, pay tax — I’m everyone at Lee Ho Fook. At Chuuka, I’m just a creative dude.”

Sashimi of scallop, tuna, cucumber, infused soy and pickled sansho

But Kojima says Liong is playing his role

down. He’s just as involved in the day-to-

day running of Chuuka as Kojima, despite being in another city some of the time.

“He’s definitely involved — a lot,” he says. “He’s not physically here all the time, but

he has a particular finesse when he is. He sees all the numbers and definitely helps

with the financial side of the menu. He’ll say, ‘Let’s modify this’, so we can save

money or labour. But going to the meetings

“It’s hard to go from being CEO of your own company to a consultant … but a selling point for me to come on board was to see how much I can learn from a company like The Star.” – Victor Liong February 2020 | 23

FEATURE // Collaborations and explaining things to the big bosses is on me.”

While Liong and Kojima both say Chuuka wouldn’t be much different to how it is now if The Star wasn’t involved, there

amazingly from the reporting to the

customer feedback. The training and

learnings in the past year have been huge — I couldn’t have figured it out by myself in an 80-cover restaurant.”

are a number of perks to working with

Chuuka has settled into the Sydney dining

during the start, launch and now day-to-

seven-month birthday. You’ll still find Liong

a large group. The assistance provided

day operations take a huge weight off the faces of the restaurant. “Everything has

been done before and there’s someone to help with every problem,” says Kojima. “If something breaks, there’s a team to

help, if we have financial issues, we can get support.”

For Liong, the educational opportunities

were a huge drawcard to being a part of the project. Chuuka was almost a ‘back

to school’ opp for the chef, who has been navigating life as a small business owner

for the past six years. “It’s hard to go from

scene now and has recently celebrated its in the kitchen cutting onions — to the

surprise of his team — one week a month and Kojima gets his step count up going

between The Star and the wharf. For both, the collaboration has been positive — for different reasons.

“Running your own business is a

black-belt level of intensity,” says Liong.

“When you hit a certain stage, you feel the

learning slows. Doing this was eye-opening to see how bigger companies run quite personal hospitality businesses.”

For Kojima, who has worked for The Star

being CEO of your own company to a

for 10 years, it was personal. “I couldn’t

to come on board was to see how much I

do some creative things with the combined

consultant … but a selling point for me

can learn from a company like The Star,” he says. “They facilitate the restaurants 24 | Hospitality

do it without Victor,” he says. “We get to

knowledge of two chefs. The trust has to be there — it’s a long-term thing.” ■

“I still want to learn a lot, so having someone join, I get their knowledge and I can share with them, too.” – Chase Kojima

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FEATURE // Chilled reds



wine In 2020, reds are moving from the shelf to the fridge — and it’s about time. WORDS Madeline Woolway AUSTRALIANS HAVE BEEN trained to

enjoy red wines at room temperature, but

the tides may be turning. When Hospitality asked Icebergs’ group wine director James

Hird for his opinion on trends to watch, he predicted 2020 would see more wine lists including reds from the fridge.

He’s not alone — leading wine

professionals across the country think it’s

time to adjust the Aussie palate. Hospitality speaks to Hird as well as Sam Winfield of Perth’s Wines of While and Bailee Dewes

of Brisbane’s La Lune Wine Co and Corella about why chilled reds deserve a spot on wine lists.

Australia is behind the eight ball when it comes to pouring chilled red wines.

“We’ve been told to drink red wine at room temperature for a long time,” explains Hird, who manages the lists at The

Dolphin in Surry Hills and CicciaBella in Bondi, Sydney.

So what’s the root of our unquestioned

preference for cool whites and room temp reds? It’s simple — drinkers have been

following ‘the rules’. It’s a common ailment for the wine industry, which has long been

associated with rigidity, pomp and ceremony.

“We’re used to drinking whites in summer

and reds in winter,” says Hird. “People drink white with fish and red with meat.”

The industry is evolving, though.

Winemaking techniques are loosening

up, in part as a result of the natural wine 26 | Hospitality


FEATURE // Chilled reds

movement, and wine merchants — from

alleyway bars to table-clothed restaurants — are doing away with formalities.

“It’s strange that it hasn’t kicked off

quicker, but I think it’s going to blow up

now that people have cottoned on to it,” says Hird.

The time is ripe for rule-breaking,

especially when the rules served no real purpose to begin with.

Younger generations, venues in warmer cities such as Brisbane and Perth, and

those that specialise in pouring minimalintervention wines are leading the way.

Dewes doesn’t miss a beat when asked

why La Lune have chilled reds on offer. “Living in Brisbane during summer, sometimes you don’t want a room

La Lune Wine Co.

temperature red, you want a chilled one.” The venue’s guests, she adds, have

enjoyed the opportunity to “try new and

different varietals that should actually be served chilled”.

The same goes for operators on the west

coast. “Perth is so hot; we have about three months of it being cold enough to want a nice comforting red,” says Winfield. Chilled reds are the second most

poured option after orange wines at the natural wine bar on the edge of Perth’s

CBD. Their popularity at the venue could

fruits and muting terroir. Neither of those

“Don’t get lost in finding a number … but never drink red wine off the shelf in summer.” – James Hird

have something to do with demographics

suspects Winfield, although he has noticed

more varietals creeping into the fridges at a

range of restaurants and bars across the city. Winfield points to the area’s younger

demographic as a key reason chilled

reds seem to be more popular in his bar compared to others around Perth. “The

percentage of drinkers over the age of 50 is

probably 10 per cent,” he says. “Our drinkers

things bode well for drinkability, especially in a restaurant context.

“If you want to have a wine list that’s about

food, the wine needs to be chilled,” says Hird. “From our point of view, wine is about food

and food is about wine — everything is going to be that little bit more enjoyable if you’re respecting the product more.”

With a preponderance of natural wines

on hand at Wines of While, Winfield’s primary concern is volatile acidity, a

volatile organic compound that’s signified James Hird

by a vinegar-like aroma. “Some wines can be really great with that compound in it,

which makes them savoury and juicy and delicious,” he says. “But, if it’s slightly

out of balance and the wine is served too warm, it can be overpowering. Chilling down any wine with a level of volatile acidity can do it big favours.”

In fact, Winfield takes a hardline stance

don’t have that historical connection.”

on the matter. “Between October and May,

as simple as shifting bottles from the shelf

degrees Celsius, which is too hot for any

Of course, capitalising on the trend isn’t

or cellar to the fridge.

Tweaking the temperature alters our

perception of characteristics that affect

room temperature is going to be over 22

wine,” he says. “In my opinion, every wine should be chilled during those months —

there’s a range of temperatures within that.” Not all reds are created equal. Each

the overall flavour of wine. When a wine

style and variety requires a different

an unlikely ambient temperature in the

those that are non-oaked, unwooded and

is sitting above 20 degrees Celsius — not peak of an Australian summer — alcohols and sugars will be amplified, masking

the softer more nuanced qualities such as

drinking temperature. “You want to target not high in tannin because chilling reds

emphasises the amount of tannins and oak profiles,” says Dewes.

February 2020 | 27

FEATURE // Chilled reds

Wines of While

“You want to target those that are non-oaked, unwooded and not high in tannin because chilling reds emphasises the amount of tannin and oak profiles.” – Bailee Dewes

How do you find the right temperature for

There is one hard rule: the goal is to serve

enjoy finding new wines that can be served

a lot of the flavours and amplifies other

the right red? Experiment. “People should chilled,” says Dewes. For her part, Dewes thinks lighter styles work best, listing

Pinot Noir, Gamay, Beaujolais, Valpolicella,

Cabernet Franc and some Spanish varietals. “I’ve recently found a really wonderful

Xinomavro, which is a Greek wine [and] is delicious when chilled,” she adds.

Hird’s advice is similar. “Don’t get

lost in finding a number,” he says,

these wines chilled not cold. “This masks characteristics in the wine that may not need to be amplified,” says Dewes.

Winfield agrees. “Be careful not to chill

things down too much because when a red wine is cold it’s totally muted.”

It comes back to experimentation: “It’s

a wine by wine, case by case choice,” says Winfield.

because as soon as we take it out of the

fridge the temperature rises super quickly.” Custom fridges are in use at CicciaBella

and The Dolphin, too, but Hird is quick to stress it’s not necessary to take things so

can just] stick wine in the fridge so they 16–18˚C



parameters can help to begin with.



Gamay, Pinot



Noir, Finso,




is about forgetting the rules, a few general

full-bodied should be between 16 and 18

temperature we want to serve the wine at

want people to get the sense that [you

Even if including chilled reds on a wine list

that have big tannins or that are really

reason. “They’re all set slightly under the

wine should be fun,” he says. “We just

off the shelf in summer.”

to put it into broad categories: wines

Winfield has four fridges, also set

at different temperatures for the same

Vintecs and wine fridges because I think

temperature. “[But] never drink red wine

chill it down,” says Winfield. “If I were

ideal temperature.”

seriously. “I’ve sort of moved away from

encouraging people to play with

“The lighter the body, the more you can

make sure our reds are served at the

understand throwing wine in the fridge no matter the colour is a great thing to do.”

Cabernet, Merlot

When the mercury skyrockets to 39

degrees Celsius outside, the problem is magnified. “We put red wines in an ice

bucket if people want to drink outside,” says Winfield.

Even in the cooler climes of Sydney’s

degrees Celsius. Medium-bodied wines can

To achieve the optimum temperature,

coastal suburbs, Hird struggles with

fruitier wines with no tannin and lighter

right equipment.

CicciaBella, if it’s a table of two drinking

sit between 14 and 16 degrees Celsius and

bodies can probably go between 12 and 15

whatever that may be, you’ll need the “Ideally, Pinots, Gamays and the

degrees Celsius.”

like should be served at around 12–14

the team chills all wines within set

most other Spanish varietals should be

At CicciaBella and The Dolphin,

temperature ranges. Bigger, more serious and structured reds are cooled to 15

degrees Celsius, while lighter and fresher styles are poured at 10 degrees Celsius.

“15 degrees Celsius is a great temperature to drink most things at,” says Hird. 28 | Hospitality

degrees Celsius while Tempranillos and served at 12–16 degrees Celsius,” says

Dewes, echoing Winfield’s suggestions.

the propensity of wine to warm up. “At slowly, we’ll throw it in an ice bucket

without the ice,” he says. “Ultimately

though, if you start at 15 degrees Celsius

and it warms up to 18 or 19 while you’re drinking, it’s not the end of the world.”

“In the summer heat, I find some of

The question, then, is not whether red wines

because they warm up as you’re drinking.

and with what methods. The answers are up

these varieties can be served even colder We have wine fridges and a Vintec to

should be served chilled, but to what extent to individual venues to decide. ■



Every PorkStar needs a star upfront. It’s not just a chef’s passion that dazzles diners with culinary masterpieces, it’s team work! The perfect example is Nick Hildebrandt, sommelier and restaurateur, with over 20 years experience in the industry, 12 of which have been with chef Brent Savage. Nick’s talent and experience is unwavering, continually bringing it all together, perfectly matching wine to food, every time! PorkStar Upfront, the perfect double act. Get some Pork on your menu.

Nick Hildebrandt – Sommelier and Restaurateur Brent Savage – Chef, The Bentley Group

FEATURE // Gluten-free

The growth of gluten-free The number of Australians cutting out gluten continues to grow, which means foodservice venues need to think about more than just offering gluten-free bread. WORDS Annabelle Cloros

IT’S ESTIMATED 1 in 70 Australians live

Quick Brown Fox café in Sydney is known

population avoid wheat and/or gluten.

another drawcard for the Pyrmont locale

with coeliac disease and 12 per cent of the The figures have steadily increased over the years and show no sign of slowing

down, with health and wellness a core

consideration for many consumers when they dine out.

While gluten-free products have come

a long way (there’s no excuse for bread

that emulates cardboard in 2020!) creating a menu that doesn’t revolve around

basic swaps is the key to catering to the burgeoning market.

Hospitality talks to food consultant

Tomislav Martinovic and Seedling Café

director and chef Georgia Mackie about

what it takes to create dishes that aren’t an afterthought, how far gluten-free products have come and why every venue needs to offer more than one gluten-free option. 30 | Hospitality

Working for a gluten-free venue also

for their signature congee dish, but there’s

resonated with Georgia Mackie, who

— nine out of 15 options on the menu

as head chef around five years ago before

are gluten-free or gluten-free available. Owners and siblings Ben and Emily

Calabro put dietary requirements front

and centre during the development phase of the venue, calling on consultant and

former Fat Duck chef Tomislav Martinovic to create a widespread food offering. The goal? To design a menu that

didn’t put gluten-free dishes on the

backburner. “Emily has a lot of dietary

requirements, and she wanted to see more options compared to other venues,” says Martinovic. “I encourage all my clients not to think of gluten-free options as a

secondary thought — if a [gluten-free]

product is good, scrap the regular option and create from there.”

initially joined Melbourne café Seedling

taking over as director. Mackie trained as a holistic health coach before she arrived

in the Seedling kitchen, which at the time offered a handful of gluten-free options. “We had standard Paninis and a few

gluten-free options, but we slowly

converted to a more whole foods-focused menu,” says the chef. The Seedling team noticed the gluten-free traction was

gaining momentum, and took it as a sign to do something different. “We had a lot of people coming in who were glutenfree, but they couldn’t eat at the cafe

because we were using the same grill and space to make all the food,” says Mackie. “At the time, more and more gluten-free

products were becoming available, so we

doesn’t impact the bottom line for them.”

apart and gave us a niche in a city with a

comes to pricing, but customer education

gluten-free about four years ago. It set us lot of competition.”

It’s no secret gluten-free products are

more expensive than standard options. For

example, a kilo of gluten-free plain flour will set you back over $5, while the standard is

around the $1.50 mark. But if the customer demand is there, some businesses are

able to work with the costs. Mackie and Martinovic both agree customers are

willing to pay for peace of mind and dishes that use ‘healthier’ ingredients.

“From an owner’s point of view, I think

cost is the biggest hurdle — people want to head down that road, but it’s a tough

Mackie says it’s a balancing act when it

can go a long way. “It does cost more

and all of our customers aren’t glutenfree — we’ve had people come in and

say, ‘Why is a muffin $6?’ but it’s made

with organic coconut flour. Our staff are

really knowledgeable about what’s in our

products and they can explain to customers what goes into things. There are some who don’t understand why it’s expensive, but


Seedling display

they know. For us, it’s been about making

can be

allergy matrixes in

accredited by

their kitchens

Coeliac Australia

for staff

people are usually happy to pay extra once sure we cover our costs with a profit margin in there while offering a price range people can afford to pay regularly.”

business,” says Martinovic. QBF co-owner

According to the 2018/19 Coeliac Australia

restrictions led the café to commit to a

would return to a restaurant where

Emily’s own experiences with dietary

larger number of gluten-free options, and it seems the decision has paid off. The top-selling dish at the café is avocado

with a soft-boiled egg, Nonie’s charcoal

bread, chilli labneh, pickled radishes and

salsa verde — and it just happens to be a gluten-free option. “Generally speaking,

eggs on toast overtake avocado on toast, so that was surprising for me to hear,”

says Martinovic. “Customers love it and it

FEATURE // Gluten-free

made the decision to become 100 per cent

Eating Out survey, 99 per cent of coeliacs they had a good gluten-free experience, and Seedling has witnessed this loyalty

firsthand. “We have regular customers and

Make sure you

Avocado charcoal

buy dedicated


equipment to

toast is the

avoid gluten

top seller at


Quick Brown Fox

people who come in everyday; it’s not a

brunch café that you go to once a week.

While it has created a tighter margin, we’ve gained a committed following and we’re

busy every lunch with lines out the door.” Worrying about whether gluten

contamination has occurred is a major

“There are a lot of ingredients out there and chefs just need to tweak recipes slightly. It’s re-engineering as opposed to a massive shift.” – Tomislav Martinovic

February 2020 | 31

FEATURE // Gluten-free

issue for coeliacs or those with gluten

intolerances, and Seedling is able to provide peace of mind as the venue is totally glutenfree. “People know they can come and eat anything off the menu,” says Mackie. “We

have all our food and products tested by the council for gluten contamination and we

have always passed. People know it’s a safe space where they can come and eat.”

Martinovic is also familiar with the

stress eating out can cause gluten-free

individuals, and says a diverse offering is key to gaining repeat customers. “From

an owner’s point of view, if you can get as many options out there, there’s a certain level of trust and consumers will keep coming back.”

The chef says some venues are a little

wary about expanding their range of glutenfree dishes, but the volume of products

available means there’s no excuse. “There

seems to be a little bit too much resistance out there, but it’s not a massive shift from a kitchen perspective; there are a lot of

ingredients out there and chefs just need to tweak recipes slightly. It’s re-engineering as opposed to a massive shift.”

As for some go-to dishes? Both chefs say there are no limits. Martinovic credits

Nonie’s as one of his favourite gluten-free

suppliers and says savvy operators should consider creating gluten-free dishes from the get go. “Eight years ago, I’d probably be venting about not getting anywhere,”

says Martinovic. “There are so many great products around now.”

Seedling make the majority of their

products in-house and Mackie says most

people don’t realise their food is sans gluten. “We have so many suppliers and there are

great options for everything, so there’s not really a limit to what we can put on the

menu. The smashed avo is pretty popular

and we do a Buddha brown rice bowl with

broccoli, beetroot hummus, sauerkraut and

poached chicken. You’d never guess the food was gluten-free if someone didn’t tell you.”

From attracting new customers to adding variety to your menu, offering a range of gluten-free options is a no-brainer in the current culinary climate. “I think it’s a

selling point,” says Mackie. “I’m surprised more people aren’t offering it.” ■ 32 | Hospitality

“We made the decision to become 100 per cent gluten-free about four years ago. It set us apart and gave us a niche in a city with a lot of competition.” – Georgia Mackie

ADVERTORIAL // Julian’s Gluten Free Pizza Bases

Gluten-free revolution

Gluten-free products don’t have the best reputation when it comes to taste, but Julian’s Gluten Free and vegan Pizza Bases have changed that.

IN 2005, JOE and Tracey Hassarati

launched Julian’s Gluten Free Pizza

Bases after making them for their own

revolve around the foundation that taste,

products create a loyal customer base and

Julian’s par-cook and snap-freeze the

due to the rise in coeliacs and gluten-free

not price, will result in return patronage.

businesses should see constant growth

restaurant. The product was the first

pizza bases, which thaw fast and enable

the Australian market and has since

The bases do not contain preservatives and

market with the launch of a new range of

Coeliac Society to ensure there is no cross-

spinach cannelloni and other gluten-

gluten-free and vegan pizza base in

gone on to remain the number oneselling product.

Julian’s pizza bases quickly gained

popularity through word of mouth. It wasn’t long before restaurants began

calling and requesting Julian’s supply them

chefs to top and cook in a timely manner. the company has worked closely with the contamination, meaning customers can

rest assured knowing they are consuming a safe food product.

With approximately 1 in 70 Australians

with wholesale gluten-free and vegan

living with coeliac disease and a growing

cent of the business now coming from the

from their diets, it’s important restaurants

bases for their customers, with 90 per foodservice sector.

The company has never changed the

formula for the bases, which strictly 34 | Hospitality

number of consumers removing gluten

offer a diverse range of products to cater to their requirements.

“Quality gluten-free and vegan

individuals,” says Tracey.

Julian’s is continuing to serve the

products including gluten-free lasagne, free and vegan items. “This will totally

change the market for us as we will no

longer be limited to pizza outlets and we can expand into a range of venues from

hotels to restaurants,” says Tracey. “This philosophy of ‘make it taste great and

the customers will come’ applies to all our products.”

For more information, contact





Established 2005

All Sales and Enquiries admin@juliansglutenfree.com.au

FEATURE // Point of sale

Mission POS-sible Operators share their experiences implementing innovative POS technology that improves customer experience and business efficiency.

Marianne Mewett Head of digital, Australian Venue Co. Why did you implement scannable menus at AVC venues?

The idea started with a meeting with Mr Yum, who were, at the

time, a visual menu start-up. Our objectives aligned and we had both noticed a change in customer behaviour, watching people

browse Instagram to see photos of food and the general size of

dishes. The next obvious iteration of the visual menus was giving customers the ability to order what they saw.

What was the implementation process like?

We moved really quickly with the Mr Yum team, scoping the

basic product requirements and taking it to market as quickly

as possible, relying on real-time customer feedback to work on feature development. The ordering experience we launched at

one venue in September has changed dramatically based on the feedback received.

Any venue styles you think the concept is better suited to?


of venues weren’t considering upgrading their POS system in 2019.


of operators were committed to a major upgrade or total refit of their POS systems in 2019.

Busy/high-volume bars and venues where there is distance

between customer seating and service bars have worked best. In saying that, we’ve been really surprised at the success at table service venues.

How have diners responded?

The response has been positive. Giving the customer the

opportunity to create their own ordering experience has been

critical in gaining trust and positive responses. Tracking ratings

and feedback in real time has given us insights on potential issues to delve into.

Any other POS innovations you have your eye on?

The big trend in POS is around data and how venues and groups can leverage it to inform marketing and business decision-

making. Expanding ordering and payment options is another

big one; venues will need to meet customers where they are and deliver the ordering and payment experience they expect in any given moment. 36 | Hospitality

of operators categorise keeping up with and paying for technology as a quite or very significant cost. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia,


of payments are made with card and two-thirds of in-person card payments are contactless.

General manager, Chargrill Charlie’s Where did the idea to develop an app come from?

We’ve always had an old fashioned loyalty card. We realised customers were using Apple Pay and using their phones more. If they forgot their loyalty card, they would get

frustrated. On top of that, they wanted to be rewarded more and we want to take care of them. Instead of earning a

stamp for every $20 spent, you earn points on every dollar. It was built to take care of our customers, but now we’re looking at efficiencies such as order ahead.

The app has to be used in store. Customers get a number

on their screen and the number shows up on our POS with a photo of the customer’s face. No matter what venue a customer goes to, they’re treated like a regular. How did you go about developing the app?

We worked with a hospitality developer in Melbourne called Loke. It didn’t take too long to build the app — the main

complication was the installation. Some of our stores are

quite old and a lot of them didn’t have modern cloud-based point of sale systems.

How have diners responded?

Uptake has been phenomenal. Nearly all of our customers who had our previous paper-based loyalty cards have

transitioned. New customers have found us because we

advertise the app through social media and offer prizes or rewards to new customers.

What advice do you have for others looking to develop a loyalty app?

It’s not the design of the app, it’s implementing it: the big cost for anyone who wants to do an app is getting the

in-store technology right. If customers can’t use it, they’re

really unhappy. It’s about ensuring the structure and support team is in place. For example, we’ve had to put in back-

up 4G modems because there have been a lot of outages with the NBN.

What other kind of POS innovations are you working on? We are going to implement order ahead and we’re working with Loke again to build it.

A key focus for 2020 is working with our delivery

partners and our POS system to integrate delivery.

We’re also thinking about the trend toward kiosks.

We have a very personal style of service, with the food

changing daily, so it’s hard for us compared to a business

like McDonald’s. We’re looking at artificial intelligence to see how we can build a kiosk that almost emulates our

style of service without being creepy. It’s not intended to

replace staff, it’s just to make the ordering process quicker and free workers up to spend more time at tables talking to customers.

February 2020 | 37

FEATURE // Point of sale


Saul Katz

FEATURE // Point of sale

“If you introduce a system to your customers and it doesn’t work, you don’t look great.” – Simon Blacher

Simon Blacher Co-founder, Commune Group What POS innovations are you currently working on?

We are introducing an online ordering system that integrates directly with our point of sales system. Essentially, someone

orders online and it prints straight to our kitchen, bills them and automatically deducts the money.

Why did you implement an online ordering platform?

We do quite a lot of takeaway, so to eliminate two processes — the phone ringing and the payment process — is pretty advantageous for us. It’ll take out the front of house element: hopefully it’s a labour saver and will eliminate any mistakes that can happen.

The way it’s set up will also be better for customer experience.

There are images of the food and there are lots of additional

options, which gives the consumer flexibility and means they

Globally, Australia has among the highest penetrations of POS devices, says the Australian Payments Network. In the mobile POS payments segment, the number of users is expected to reach 2.3 million by 2023. (statisa.com) Almost three out of four millennials would prefer to pay at the table if it was available. (kounta)

won’t feel rushed.

The automatic payment system means the consumer doesn’t

have to line up to pay, plus we get the money straight away.

We want to integrate the technology with our catering offer as

well. At the moment, people who want catering look at our menu,

they email, they call — there’s a lot of human interaction, which is great in some ways, but is often just unnecessary ‘busy work’. How will the platform work?

It will start off online; people will sign in and provide their details. Then we’ll look at implementing an app shortly after, which should make it even more efficient.

How did you go about developing the system?

We have looked at an integrated ordering system in the past. It had a few glitches with third-party integration — we found it

more problematic than beneficial. If you introduce a system to your customers and it doesn’t work, you don’t look great. Our

POS company has now built the integration for a number of their

clients and talked to us about what we need. We think having less parties involved will make the integration smoother. ■ 38 | Hospitality


@TABLE ORDERING STREAMLINE OPERATIONS BUSINESS INSIGHTS “ In a market where costs are increasing and profit margins are lower than ever, we help operators run better businesses.” Contact our Sales team at 1300 667 067 or sales@ordermate.com.au Quote ‘Hospitality Magazine’ for a special offer! Integrated POS solutions | Self-service technology | Online & in-venue ordering


VIDEO // Behind the scenes

Linguine with cherry tomatoes and bottarga An in-depth look at Hospitality’s masterclass series. CicciaBella head chef Mitch Orr’s recipe for linguine with cherry tomatoes and bottarga pays homage to his time working with Giovanni Pilu. It has a classic Sardinian flavour profile with an extra dose of umami thanks to Orr’s preference for a ‘Japanese touch’. The end result is an intense hit of tomato combined with the flavour of the sea. In Orr’s words: “It’s really delicious.”








15g butter 5g garlic, minced Eschalot Pinch of Murray River pink salt 60ml tomato dashi 80g pasta 6 cherry tomatoes, blistered 15g extra virgin olive oil 5g lemon juice 5g grated bottarga

Method To make dashi, combine a tin of tomatoes to 80 degrees Celsius with an equal quantity of water and a leaf of kombu in a saucepan and cook for 20 minutes. Remove kombu, blitz and season with shiro dashi, white soy and mirin. Heat a heavy-based pan over medium to high heat. Add the butter. Once the butter is foaming, add the eschalot, garlic and a pinch of salt. Sautée until the garlic is cooked, with minimal colour. Add cherry tomatoes and tomato dashi and let the stock and butter emulsify to start forming a sauce. At the same time, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Add pasta to sauce. Toss the pasta through, adding half the bottarga and a squeeze of lemon juice. Toss and check seasoning. Add extra virgin olive oil and toss hard to emulsify the oil into the stock, forming a shiny, creamy sauce. Plate and finish with a dusting of bottarga. Watch the full video at hospitalitymagazine.com.au

40 | Hospitality

use a ricer to make bean dips, guacamole and apple

The simple gadget can be used for a wide range of applications.

sauce, crush tomatoes and create smooth fruit for pie fillings.

Ingredients are extruded through a rice grain-sized hole.

Depending on the design, ricers can also be used to make tomato sauce or remove excess moisture from blanched greens.

Ricers are ideal for Curved handles with

Many brands come

cushioning are the best

with a number of

ergonomic choice.

interchangeable disks for different textures.

dishes such as mashed potato and gnocchi because they create a uniform texture without overworking the starch.

Look for a ricer with more holes — they’ ll require less force when pressing.

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February 2020 | 41

EQUIPMENT // Potato ricer

Potato ricer

Think beyond potatoes:

5 MINUTES WITH ... // Sarah Scott

Sarah Scott Meet one half of Brisbane’s favourite new spot, Joy.

WHEN WE WERE thinking about

running a kitchen has been really helpful.

ordering. The only con is when one of us

know from the beginning 10 seats was

ingrained without us even realising … and

did have to call everyone booked in and

launching Joy, we [Tim Scott] didn’t

the number, but we knew it had to be

small. Once we found the venue, 10 felt right. The main reason Joy is so small is

The kitchen management skills have been we felt these skills start to surface when we had to start using them.

is sick. It has only happened once, but we reschedule their reservation when one of us was too sick to work.

because we thought about restaurants we

The pros of running a small venue far

At the moment, we do four service days

all the things about those experiences we

small enough that we can manage every

months of opening for us to get to a point

have worked in and dined at and deleted didn’t like. It meant we were left with 10 customers at a time, one menu option

and just the two of us doing everything. Knowing every part of our business is really important.

Neither of us have actually run a kitchen

before, but have been so lucky to be part of kitchens with good leadership. I have

only worked in kitchens where my head chef is also the restaurant owner, and

being exposed to that attitude towards 42 | Hospitality

outweigh the cons. Having something part of it ourselves is the main reason

we made Joy the size it is. We answer

every email, take every phone call and

solve every problem. To not have to rely

on other people to do things the way we need them done is a huge stress that we

don’t have to think about. We get to know every single customer as well, which is a

nice change! On a more serious note, we can also control things like wastage, the

standard of the prep and staying on top of

and two prep days. It took about six

where we weren’t working seven days a week. To be honest, I love being in the

shop six days a week. I dedicate one of the days to paperwork while Tim runs

around picking up orders. For the first time since we opened, it is starting to

feel like we have some balance and can breathe a little bit.

I truly hope Joy can keep feeding

people. Feeding people makes me happier than anything else. ■

ESSENZA S.Pellegrino Essenza, a twist of Mediterranean flavours with gentle bubbles from S.Pellegrino

100% NATURAL – NO SUGARS – NATURAL FLAVOURS – ZERO CALORIES For trade enquiries, please contact your local distributor. NSW – Mayers Fine Food +61 2 9669 2211 QLD – Global Food & Wine 1300 362 673 SA – Rio Coffee +61 8 8362 3376 VIC/TAS – Mayers Fine Food +61 3 9372 5222 WA – European Foods +61 8 9328 7455 NZ – Federal Merchants & Co +64 9578 2619

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Hospitality February 2020  

Hospitality is the magazine for chefs, restaurant operators and foodservice professionals across Australia. It combines the latest industry...

Hospitality February 2020  

Hospitality is the magazine for chefs, restaurant operators and foodservice professionals across Australia. It combines the latest industry...