Hospitality June 2020

Page 1

NO.764 JUNE/JULY 2020


CONTENTS // June/July

Contents JUNE/JULY 2020


Regulars 4 // IN FOCUS Navigating a pandemic in Hong Kong. 6 // PRODUCE The versatility of blueberries. 8 // SEAFOOD 2020’s scallop season is set to be a bumper one. 10 // BEST PRACTICE Tips to consider if you’re reopening with restrictions. 12 // COLUMN Chris Lucas on steering his group through COVID-19.

2 | Hospitality


14 // DRINKS Bottled cocktails are having a moment. 18 // BUSINESS PROFILE Chef Josh Fry planned to open a multi-level bistro in April, COVID-19 led him to open a pop-up instead — and it’s been a success. 42 // BEHIND THE SCENES Salt Meats Cheese’s garlic focaccia. 44 // EQUIPMENT The right grater is the ultimate time-saver. 46 // 5 MINUTES WITH … Chefs and culinary students Marco Zambon and Silvia Rozas from Venice.


Features 24 // BASQUE CULINARY WORLD PRIZE Internationally recognised chefs share their thoughts on using gastronomy to tackle COVID-19. 30 // PRODUCERS Producers have found new markets to make sure they’re around when restaurants are back in the swing of things. 34 // SHUTDOWN ACTIVITIES How hospitality professionals have stayed motivated at home.



Keep up with the Hospitality team

CLASSIC FOR A REASON Lotus Potts Point’s cheeseburger is available for dine-in and takeaway – what more could you want? @hospitalitymagazine

PEAR-Y NICE First crack at a pear frangipane cake was an exercise in pure indulgence. @annabellecloros

Back in business THE PAST FEW months have been a

restaurants in droves, spend big and perhaps

rollercoaster, to say the least. But there’s finally

become a little more appreciative of an

light at the end of the tunnel with the easing

industry that’s essential to all our lives.

of restrictions. While dine-in numbers are

This issue, Chris Lucas pens a column

capped across the country, many venues have

on how he’s steered his restaurant group

seized the opportunity to bring back a sense of

through the pandemic and why closing down

normalcy and some much-needed revenue.

just wasn’t an option. We also cover bottled

I enjoyed a meal out at one of my favourite

GRATE GRILLED CHEESE A coat of mayonnaise is the secret to this crispy three-cheese toastie. @madelinewoolway

chefs linked to the Basque Culinary World

last week. As a customer, it was damn good

Prize and talk to producers who have tapped

to be back in a venue. But I’m sure seating

into new markets to stay afloat.

such a small number of diners was a little strange for the restaurant, which is usually

I hope you enjoy this issue.


Annabelle Cloros

It’s my hope the public will head back to

Follow us

cocktails, share lessons from a Zoom call with

Sydney restaurants, La Disfida, in Haberfield


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


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June/July 2020 | 3

IN FOCUS // International insights

4 | Hospitality

Hong Kong

Australian venues should look abroad to operators running restaurants as safely as possible. WORDS Annabelle Cloros PHOTOGRAPHY Yardbird Hong Kong VENUES HAVE BEEN given the green

Jang says most customers have been

Those who have been to Yardbird Hong

is far from normal. Strict social distancing

naturally front of mind for most people

buzziest, busiest restaurants in the city,

light to open once again, but the situation practices remain in place as well as increased hygiene protocols and the rollout of new

“extremely understanding” and safety is who choose to eat at a restaurant.

Nonetheless, staff have been trained to

procedures — where do operators begin?

deal with the occasional disruptor. “We’ve

These are the operators who are leading

the rules and we gently ask them to leave,”

Looking to international peers is a start.

the charge on what running a business in a pandemic looks like, with safety at the core of each and every move.

Hospitality speaks to Hong Kong-based

Kong have experienced one of the

but dining out at the yakitori venue feels a little different right now.

That said, Jang says the allure remains,

had a handful who don’t want to abide by

and it’s business as usual in the most

she says. “These times require adherence

hasn’t changed, so besides the fact that

to the rules, anyone who doesn’t comply is putting everyone at risk.”

important ways. “Our style of service

it’s not super crowded, the experience is similar, just more mellow.”

Delivery and takeaway was never part

restaurateur Lindsay Jang about the steps

On the topic of staff, the Yardbird Hong

of Yardbird Hong Kong’s DNA, but the

people fed and staff in jobs.

any new rules and regulations from the

the powers above (delivery platforms)

Yardbird Hong Kong has taken to keep

While life for Australian restaurant

owners has revolved around delivery and takeaway for months, venues in Hong

Kong team attend daily briefings to ensure government are implemented swiftly.

Measures are constantly changing, as is the case in Australia.

Restaurants in Hong Kong must also

Kong have remained open. So how have

conduct temperature checks of customers

on all fronts.

sanitiser, have at least 1.5m between

they been able to do it? By upping the ante Venues in Hong Kong must adhere to

government regulations which require

before they enter a venue, provide hand tables and cap groups to four people.

Interestingly, many operators in Hong

customers to fill out a health declaration

Kong are taking extra precautions,

positive for COVID-19, been outside the

Customers must wear face masks at all

form to confirm they have not tested

country or had direct contact with a known case within 14 days, among other points. “Establishments are using these forms to

protect everyone that enters the premise,” says Jang. “We keep ours for 21 days on-

including Yardbird Hong Kong.

a few months ago to keep the orders coming in.

While it’s a great option for customers

to support restaurants from afar, it’s most likely temporary. “We already pivoted

to offer delivery and takeout, which has really saved us, but it’s not a long-term plan,” says Jang.

As for some advice for her peers some 5,600km away?

“We have learned that it takes time

times unless they are eating or drinking

to prepare and be ready for a new style

retrofitted panels between booths,

always be rushed,” says Jang. “We always

and the restaurant has also installed ensuring protection between tables.

Extra measures add up quick, and while

premise. If someone was to get sick, we

they are additional costs, Jang says they

space that day know that they may be at risk.”

their benefits”.

would be able to let everyone that was in the

venue launched takeaway and turned to

aren’t “significant enough to outweigh

of service and operations and it can’t

consider the safety and health of our team first and foremost and the minute you

open your doors to the public, everyone is at risk if you’re not ready for it.” ■

June/July 2020 | 5

IN FOCUS // International insights

Navigating a pandemic in

PRODUCE // Blueberries

Blueberries are typically picked, packed and delivered to their destination within a 24-hour period

Berries should be a rich purple or blue colour before picked

Fruit has a ‘crown’ at the bottom

18,000 tones of blueberries are produced per annum

10 per cent of blueberries are exported to Asia

It only takes four minutes to freeze blueberries at -18 degrees Celsius

Blueberries The small blue fruit is one of the most popular in Australia, but has only been grown on home soil for the last 50 years.


Southern New Sales Wales with

conditions compared to the

in height. The plants are covered

Blueberries are perennial

southern highbush grown in

northern highbush, which grows

in green leaves and clusters

flowering plants from the

Northern New South Wales and

best in areas with cold winters.

of urn-shaped flowers. Fruit

Ericaceae family, genus

Southern Queensland. Rabbiteye

Vaccinium, which also includes

is produced in Northern New

usually grown in sandy or loam

ripening to a red-purple colour

cranberries, bilberries and

South Wales and Queensland.

soils and require acidic soil with

and finally dark purple/blue.

good drainage. Special attention

The berries have a ‘crown’ at the

ligonberries. Blueberries are native

Blueberries are grown in all six

Highbush blueberries are

is initially pale green before

to North America and Canada,

states of Australia; however New

should be paid to irrigation as

top and are coated in ‘bloom’

with highbush and lowbush the

South Wales produces the most

blueberry plants may not show any

— a powdery substance that

most common varieties.

fruit, to the tune of 84 per cent.

signs of over- or under-watering.

indicates freshness.

Blueberries were first

The plants should have full sun and

Blueberries have a sweet taste

Growing conditions and harvest

typically peak between October

when mature, with varying levels

1950s, however the attempt

and February, however are grown

of acidity. The berries are juicy

was unsuccessful. The Victorian

New blueberry plants are grown

from July to April.

and can sometimes have tart

Department of Agriculture

from cuttings clipped from

imported seeds from the US

established plants. They are

harvest when they have turned

in the ’70s, which led to the

planted in trays and moved to

red-purple or blue in colour. They

Culinary uses

creation of a commercial

an open field after around five

are usually picked by hand due to

Blueberries can be used in

industry by 1974.

months. It can take up to three

the delicate nature of the fruit.

multiple applications depending

introduced to Australia in the

Highbush and rabbiteye are the most common varietal families grown across Australia.

Blueberries are ready for

years for bushes to flower and fruit. Rabbiteye and southern


on whether they’re fresh, dried,

Flavour profile and appearance

frozen, preserved or cooked. The fruit is commonly used to make

Northern highbush are produced

highbush can tolerate warmer

Blueberries grow on woody

jams and compotes as well as

in Victoria, Tasmania and

and more humid weather

shrubs that can reach up to 4m

cakes and other desserts. ■

6 | Hospitality



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SEAFOOD // Scallops

Scallops Milky translucent when raw, opaque white when cooked, intensely sweet and rich, scallops are true luxury. WORDS John Susman

THERE ARE THREE main commercial

A smaller fishery exists in South Australia for

the moment they leave the water, as

The two most significant are the Commercial

Queen scallop (Chlamys bifrons), which is

sugar stores and losing the characteristic

species of scallops harvested in Australia.

scallop (Pecten fumatus) and the Saucer or SEA scallop (Amusium balloti).

The Commercial scallop is the most

the exotic purple-shelled and purple roe’d

hand harvested by divers off Kangaroo Island and the west coast in Coffin Bay.

The traditional harvesting of scallops

commonly caught scallop in Southern

using scallop dredges results in most of

mid-Western Australia, but particularly in

harvested scallops are typically better able

Australia from mid-New South Wales to

the Bass Strait, hence its colloquial name

the Tasmanian scallop. With its distinctive

them being drowned during harvest. Handto survive and are inevitably less gritty.

Shell motor oil scalloped shell and bright

roe, the Tassie has a rich flavour with deep

notes of clotted cream and savoury umami. The Saucer scallop is caught in

temperate tropical waters off Western

Australia and Queensland, particularly in

the Hervey Bay region of Queensland and Shark Bay, Abrolhos Islands and Rottnest in Western Australia.

The scallops have a smooth shell and

typically lower-profile meat without roe as the roe forms part of the scallop gut and

is removed when the scallops are shucked. Preferring a clean sand seabed, the Saucer

Live scallops should be treated with care from the moment they leave the water, as they quickly start consuming their own sugar stores and losing the characteristic sweetness. Scallops feed on plankton, and local

lasting iodine zing. A very delicate flesh, it

regional variation in scallop flavour. Live

should not be exposed to prolonged heat. 8 | Hospitality

sweetness. They can also imbibe their own waste, fast rendering them with

musty and earthy notes in aroma and

texture. Unless they’re kept in tanks to

extend their shelf life, they won’t remain in top condition for any longer than 48 hours after harvest.

There are a range of imported scallops,

and the premium products come from

scallop is characterised by its clean bright flavour with light seaweed notes and

they quickly start consuming their own

variations in plankton species lead to

scallops should be treated with care from

Japan and Canada. The world-famous

Clearwater scallops from Nova Scotia are

especially well regarded, being one of the few fisheries where the scallops are dry processed and super-frozen at sea.

With frozen scallops, it’s important to

check if they have been soaked or dipped prior to freezing. Scallops rapidly absorb water, which not only adds weight, but

reduces both the flavour and texture of the flesh.

With the 2020 catches in Queensland,

Western Australia and Victoria expected

to be bumpers and a significantly reduced export market due to the COVID-19

pandemic, expect scallops to be plentiful and great value this winter. ■

Stronger Together Saputo is incredibly proud to support and be a part of our foodservice industry. We’re proud of the tenacity and resilience demonstrated in the face of this ongoing health crisis, battling both the limitations of restrictions and ever changing legislation. Your innovative spirit and ability to adapt to every challenge that’s come your way has been central to not only your survival, but to our industry as a whole. As restrictions finally begin to ease, we look forward together to a brighter future for us all. A new tomorrow where we’re not just surviving, but thriving once again.


BEST PRACTICE // Reopening

Points to consider before reopening Running a venue with a reduced number of diners will be a new experience for most operators. WORDS Annabelle Cloros

STATES ACROSS AUSTRALIA have revealed their blueprints to reopen venues.

coffee and a small menu item. While most customers will be

an estimate of how much

streamline customers coming in

customers will spend, and

and out.

understanding, communication

perhaps influence the decision

is essential. It’s up to staff to

to open or remain closed for

Expand take-home items

currently capped in all states

give customers a heads up on

dine-in trade.

While dining in will be a

except the Northern Territory,

time restrictions before they

which is only limiting the amount

sit down; this ensures a mutual

Encourage bookings

customers right now, it doesn’t

of time customers can spend in a

understanding of the situation.

Social distancing measures

mean they can’t enjoy what they

However, diner numbers are

venue (two hours).

different experience for

must still be adhered to, and you

love about your venue once they

Restrict menus

don’t want hoards of customers

leave. Preparing take-home

customers is obviously not ideal,

Reworking your menu to

hanging around inside your

meals, selling alcohol or making

and leaves operators in a less-

showcase dishes with higher

venue. If you don’t have an

a small range of items (pickles,

than-desirable situation.

margins is a good option to

online reservations system, now

sauces, jams, etc) available to

streamline the kitchen and

is a good time to get one.

customers is a good way for

Reduced numbers of

Do you wait it out until stage three (100 diners) under the

ensure you’re maximising

Use social media platforms to

Australian Government’s plan?

them to support your business

average revenue per user. By

let customers know your opening

and spend a little extra on the

That said, it’s all up to the states

limiting the menu, it reduces

hours and stress the importance

way out.

to determine dining restrictions.

the types of produce required

of booking in advance. This will

and boosts chef productivity.

allow you to confirm bookings,

if you are giving restricted dining

Alternatively, offer a set menu

send reminders of any dining

Keep promoting takeaway and delivery

a go.

only. It could also give you

conditions and importantly,

It’s important to still push

Here are some tips to consider

takeaway and delivery sales.

Staged dining times

For many operators, the current

Limiting the amount of time

number of customers allowed to

customers can spend in a

eat at a venue is a fraction of

venue is essential to increasing

the patrons they would usually

turnover and getting as many

see during a normal trade day.

people through the doors as

If you’ve got too many people

possible. A 1.5-hour limit should

lining up or have reached

be enough time for customers to

capacity for the day, ordering

order and eat their meals, and

takeaway is the next best option

the time should be even less if

for those who have missed out

a customer is only ordering a

on a table. ■

10 | Hospitality

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COLUMN // Chris Lucas WITHIN 48 HOURS of the industry being shutdown, a decision was made to move

to the takeaway model and we were open and operating. I was determined to keep

the restaurants open for as long as possible and to keep as many staff employed as

possible; especially our visa holders. We employ roughly 200 international visa

holders across the group who had nowhere to turn. They had been shunned by the

government and could not get home due

to the travel bans or financial restrictions.

Forging ahead For Lucas Restaurants, closing simply wasn’t an option. WORDS Chris Lucas

Obviously, our restaurants are not

geared to operate as takeaway models, so there was a great deal of work to be done

to modify kitchens, websites, point of sales systems, etc and working out how we

could operate in a manner that was safe for the health of our staff and guests.

To close an entire global economy down is

something I don’t think anyone could have anticipated. I feel the most dramatic effect has been psychological and the damage it is doing to our confidence.

As many have pointed out, our

industry works on small margins and

such a disruption has really rocked our confidence and caused severe financial hardship. Like many challenges in the past, we will again rise.

The restaurant industry and tourism have

been the hardest hit, and conversely needs the greatest support from government and

the community to ensure we can reestablish our restaurants successfully. 12 | Hospitality

COLUMN // Chris Lucas

I was determined to keep the restaurants open for as long as possible and to keep as many staff employed as possible. We are currently working on reopening

and extra sanitisation of workstations

20 diners from 1 June, NSW venues are

normal. Our employees have always

plans [Victorian venues can open with allowed 50 diners from 1 June] and will follow guidelines set out by the

authorities. The government will need to stimulate the economy to restore

and high-contact areas will be the new followed strict hygiene habits and our management teams will continue to ensure these are adhered to.

I could possibly see temperature checks for

employment numbers and stimulate

employees becoming a part of the daily staff

momentum of the various groups working

work busy kitchen and floor spaces wearing

confidence in spending. The current together should continue and new

workplace reforms should be put in place to make employment easier.

I feel it’s tremendously important that we reopen on an ‘as usual as possible’ basis. My feeling is that people are mentally

briefing, however it is not very practical to gloves and masks during service. Plus, a

social transaction occurs when dining out, and it is tremendously important for the

The group has 'COVID cops'


efficiently and to be understood for a

working across

around 200

all venues

visa holders

parties involved to be able to communicate successful transaction to occur.

exhausted and have had their confidence

People have been hugely traumatised by the

COVID-19 is. As long as it is deemed safe

us who will be slow to return and it will take

damaged with all the talk of how dangerous to get back to work, I think we should set up our restaurants as they were — places

where fun, ambience and social interaction are once again celebrated.

There will certainly be a distinct

presence of hand sanitiser everywhere

Lucas Restaurants

pandemic, so certainly there will be those of

time for confidence to be renewed. In a way, we will have to relearn social behaviours.

I’m very confident that people will quickly

All restaurants

Chin Chin’s

have remained

‘feed me’ menu

a real surge in the first months. I really feel

open for

is available



resume going out. In fact, I think there will be people are desperate to get back out there. ■

June/July 2020 | 13

DRINKS // Bottled cocktails Santé's bottled cocktails

Bottled up Bottled cocktails are helping bars fill revenue gaps — the challenge is in providing an experience. WORDS Madeline Woolway

WHILE BARS WERE forced to close their doors temporarily, governments and

councils around the country extended a

now,” says head bartender-cum-shopkeeper Michael Nicolian.

In South East Queensland, Toowoomba’s

the difference in price. “We charge less for

[takeaway],” he says. “We wanted to make it approachable and a price point where

lifeline in the shape of relaxed licensing

Santé Cocktail Bar had plans to develop

turning their attention to bottled cocktails.

December 2019, but licensing costs proved

purchase week in, week out, not just as a

forced the bar to close less than six months

That’s what makes Continental’s canned

laws. The result? More drinks professionals Already a bonafide industry trend,

they’ve become the sole focus and only

source of revenue for many businesses. Unable to rely on the usual crowd of customers, bartenders have found a

way to imbue their packaged imbibes with character

Continental Deli in Sydney’s Newtown

and the CBD has built a reputation that

bottled cocktails when they opened in

prohibitive. When COVID-19 restrictions later, owners Alexandra Percy and Loïc Mouchelin initially put out a range of

creating canned classics from the get go. It made the move from bar to general store a little smoother.

“We were already doing them as part

of our menu anyway, but the transition to retail [only] has meant it’s higher volume 14 | Hospitality

With just Percy and Mouchelin on staff,

expected,” says Percy. “And it’s basically

and Mouchelin would craft bespoke mixers. “If you’ve got vodka, rum or gin, it’s

peanut brittle liqueur and all that kind of

natural extension, and the team has been

cocktail range viable long term.

their home liquor cabinet, from which Percy

include fish, soup and everything in

recent addition of flan. Cocktails are a

one-off novelty to support a local business.

Santé is a lean business. “The takeaway

home. Customers would send in a photo of

fairly straightforward, but we had some

between. Even dessert is covered with the

Accessibility means people can make a

non-alcoholic bases for consumers to use at

extends beyond its four walls. The brand is known for its canned goods, which

people can buy them and then come back.”

has been going quite well, better than we been keeping us afloat. It covers rent and it covers food.”

quite interesting ones like smoked gin and

Generating revenue is just one concern.

stuff,” says Percy. “Then [the Queensland

immediate cashflow needs, but the service

government] changed the restrictions, so we started doing takeaway.”

Takeaway options haven’t made up for lost

revenue from bar service, but it’s still worth the time and logistics. It’s hard to compare

serving drinks in-house to serving takeaway drinks, says Nicolian. To begin with, there’s

Making bottled cocktails might fulfil

side of bartending simply isn’t there.

“How long is it going to keep me or

other people captivated and interested

and motivated to keep doing it all?” asks Nicolian. “Certainly a few months. But

after that, you lose the sense of the thing that you love and the reason you got

into the industry, which is making people

Celebrating Poorman’s orange and the beauty and diversity of Australia’s annual harvest.


DRINKS // Bottled cocktails

“How long is it going to keep me or other people captivated and interested and motivated to keep doing it all?” — Michael Nicolian

martinis. You walk through the door and

there’s someone hanging from the ceiling, there’s music playing. Things like that enhance the experience.”

Now Santé can supply complete cocktails,

alcohol included, requests have dropped off for the bespoke bases, but a few regulars

still make use of the option. It’s proven an invaluable way to maintain a connection

with the local community and remind them of their experiences in the bar.

“There’s one couple that does it every

week,” says Percy. “They send us a photo of what they’ve got. And then we try to come up with different flavour profiles tailored to them.”

This style of service has been the

focus since opening. “We’re based in

Toowoomba, which, at the end of the day, is a small town [with a] country

mentality,” says Percy. “We try to remember people’s names or what they drank and

make sure they always enjoy what they’re

drinking. Losing the element of service has been really tough on our business.”

Following up has proved useful in the

interim. “We will usually send a message after their first order just to check if they

liked it,” says Percy. “Then we try to tailor it a bit. We’ve got one customer who

[finds] everything too sweet, so we’ve

been trying to find a drink for her that she enjoys and tone down the sweetness.” Continental's canning machine

As always, it’s all in the pursuit of quality. happy and excited and creating a fun thing for them to enjoy.”

Nicolian has found some sense of

enjoyment watching customers share Continental

Santé’s full

has five canned

list usually

drinks on


its roster

160 cocktails

imaginative uses for Continental’s cans — plant pots, money jars, pen holders — on

do to replace the experience provided by a

good alternative

drinks in

to cocktails

500ml bottles

16 | Hospitality

Now, it’s a different world and quality is more important than ever.

“We have to hang our hat on the quality of

it tastes, how it smells; everything has to be

Ultimately, there’s only so much you can


cracking martini at a boring bar,” he says.

means people are doing something with

interacting with the customer.”

Santé packages

a Budweiser at an amazing bar over a

the product,” he says. “And, of course, that’s

the drink and then it’s done’,” he says. “It

different way of getting the satisfaction of

mixers are a

strong vibe over the drinks list — “I’d drink

Instagram. “It means that it’s not just ‘nail

the product and then it lives on. It’s just a


Pre-shutdown, Nicolian would choose a

all part and parcel of how it’s presented, how on point. You can’t fall back on the fact that you’re in a really cool room, playing cool

music and there’s 15 people around you just loving what’s going on.”

Perhaps there’s some comfort in the

bar. “What our particular joint in Newtown

notion — after all this, people will be

you want to consume a certain thing,” he

are mostly eased, a bottled beverage can

does is create an environment in which

says. “You feel like you’re in Europe, you want to drink Sherry, you want to drink

back for the experience. Until restrictions remind consumers what they have to look forward to. ■

You’ve supported the Australian pork industry and now it’s our turn to support you.

This image was taken at Redleaf Farm, NSW

PROFILE // Josh Fry

18 | Hospitality

PROFILE // Josh Fry

Josh Fry Chef Josh Fry was just weeks away from opening a new venue when the hospitality industry was shutdown. WORDS Madeline Woolway

AT ROCCO’S BOLOGNA Discoteca, things

A certified leader, Fry went on a

are going “great guns”, says Josh Fry. The

sabbatical of sorts, undertaking a series

takeaway sandwich bar is surprised by

including French Saloon and Leonardo’s

head chef and co-owner of the Fitzroy

just how receptive Melbourne has been,

even though the venue is currently behind scaffolding. No one would expect opening

a pop-up during stage 3 restrictions would be such a success either.

It certainly wasn’t the plan for Fry or

co-owners Zoë Rubino and Emilio Scalzo. So, how did they end up launching an

Italian-inspired sandwich shop and deli mid-pandemic?

Fry has 13 years in kitchens under his

belt. After completing his apprenticeship at Tutto Bene in Melbourne’s Southgate

and Nobu in Crown Towers, he worked at a few restaurants around town, including Verge, before landing under the wing of

Andrew McConnell. Fry’s years at what is now known as Trader House Restaurants

were particularly formative. Over the course of seven years, he progressed from commis

chef at Cutler & Co to head chef at Marion. “Working alongside Andrew was very

formative, especially when I was more in

the senior roles,” says Fry. “I think it really formed the way I look at food and cook.” Moving through stations steadily, he also

learned from the head chefs he worked

under; Chris Watson and Casey McDonald. “I

think those two taught me a heap about food

and just kitchen culture in general,” says Fry.

of stints in cult Melbourne kitchens

Pizza Palace. A 2019 trip to Sydney saw

[about] ‘What kind of party can we throw? What kind of vibe can we offer?’ The food would almost play second fiddle. Now, that’s all we have to offer.”

Currently, the plan is to wait until physical

him at Firedoor and Sixpenny. Two and a

distancing requirements, particularly the

Fry was ready to hit the ground running

square metres, are removed.

half years after leaving his post at Marion, in 2020, with plans to open a multi-level

bar and bistro. But he was faced with the

unexpected — an industry-wide shutdown.

“It’s such an odd feeling to be cooking food and not have the buzz of the restaurant.” — Josh Fry

need to keep density below one person per 4 “It’s something we’ve discussed at length

really, and we’re all chomping at the bit to serve someone sitting at a table, but

it’s just not offering the full potential we have,” says Fry. “If we’ve got something that’s working behind closed doors, we

might as well keep pushing until we can open something we are fully proud of.”

Opening Rocco’s Bologna Discoteca as a

pop-up has allowed the team to preserve

the brand. “We were talking about opening the original restaurant [concept] as a

takeaway and we thought we didn’t want everyone’s first impression to be a paper cup,” says Fry.

Fry, Rubino and Scalzo quickly made

While Fry has made a living cooking, a

concept and open Rocco’s Bologna

such an odd feeling to be cooking food and

the decision to hit pause on the original Discoteca in its place. “It’s completely different,” says Fry. “A couple of the

sandwiches [at Rocco’s] were always

going to be a part of it, but it was going to be more of a wine bar, dance party vibe. There was going to be a lot of people in

a room drinking wine and having a good

time under a disco ball. It was going to be

banging service is what he laments most. “It’s not have the buzz of the restaurant,” he says. “The first few weeks were pretty hard, just

because I’m so used to being in open kitchens and seeing the reactions on customers faces, seeing people enjoy themselves.

“That’s the biggest reason why I keep

getting up and doing this job. You’re

cooking for people and giving them a June/July 2020 | 19

PROFILE // Josh Fry

“It’s definitely going to change the way I operate as a leader and as a head chef, especially with staff.” — Josh Fry great experience, hopefully. To be so far

needs is a reset,” says Fry. “I think this is

an odd feeling.”

in a better light and treat people better.”

removed from that, doing takeaway, was The current occupant of the Fitzroy

going to push owners to look at their staff The chef is proud of how resilient the

space is far from what Fry had in mind, but

industry has been and how truly caring a

launch in full when restrictions are fully

be. “It’s definitely going to change the way

he isn’t delivering an elegy. The venue will

relaxed. In the meantime, there’s plenty to learn and a lot to be thankful for.

“We were set to open a restaurant in April,

so we had a core management and front of house team we’ve kept on,” says Fry. “They

rotate through the kitchen and help me and my sous chef out. They also pack the orders

lot of hospitality people have turned out to I operate as a leader and as a head chef,

especially with staff,” he says. “It is a family

at the end of the day and that gets lost when you’re doing big hours and big numbers and trying to make those wage costs and food costs … people become numbers.”

The reset isn’t all built on introspection,

and are at the door taking the orders.”

though. Hospitality is founded on

bonding experience. “It’s something I’m

others — that’s what Fry loves about

The set up has provided an invaluable

going to look at implementing when

restaurants are allowed to be restaurants again,” says Fry. “I want to be able to

switch the roles as well. Being able to have a chef polish glasses in the bar — just to cut out the divide between the two — is definitely beneficial.”

Fry hopes there’s a broader opportunity

for the industry as a whole. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdowns aren’t something to celebrate; but it doesn’t

preclude the potential for a better future. “Something the hospitality industry

20 | Hospitality

extroversion, on drawing energy from the industry. He hopes the same energy exchange will now be reciprocated. “I

think it’s also going to reset the public’s

expectations,” he says. “In Melbourne, it’s

hard to have a bad meal. People expect so much and don’t want to pay much for it. That’s a big reason why people don’t get

paid well enough because the profits are not there. So hopefully with restaurants

reopening, we get a good little reset, and we can go, ‘Okay, general public, this is what we actually need to charge.’

“Well, that’s what I’m hoping for anyway.

These are all things I’m hoping.” ■

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tools that speak to each other and helps you

Health Orders, flattening the curve, social

with home delivery, contactless payments

margins has never been more essential.

familiar with the COVID vernacular: Public distancing, three-stage plan …

Each came with its own set of restrictions

and left an air of uncertainty. Now, a new (and more positive) phrase echoes in the

industry: the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re getting there. Especially with

states like New South Wales easing

restrictions, which now allow up to 50 diners. So the pertinent question is no longer when, but how?

How do we reopen and abide by the

future are the ones that adapted quickly and a diversified product offering.

As we transition back to dining in, it’ll

be myopic to discard these new modes of trading such as online orders.

“While there are plenty of punters who

are itching for a nice meal in a restaurant

and a drink in their favourite bar, there are

anxieties about the new norm point us in the same direction: technology.

Tech got us through the lockdown and tech

will help us adapt to life after the lockdown.

During the lockdown, the businesses that

— despite all odds — thrived and have 22 | Hospitality

businesses to pivot to delivery and complete contactless payment experiences.

But the merit of a cloud-based POS

of the industry (lockdown or not) and is

continue to be a dependable source of

muffled groans), most of our questions and

over the past few months and has enabled

out,” says Kounta CEO, Nick Cloete.

behaviour(s)? How do we maintain margins,

At the risk of oversimplification (and

connectivity has never been as apparent

far surpasses online orders. A cloud POS

and public spaces and are hesitant to dine

The online ordering platforms you’ve

recover losses and still be competitive?

Yes, we are referring to point of sale (POS)

systems. Cloud-based POS’ adaptability and

just as many who are cautious of crowds

new rules? How do we reconnect with our customers and adapt to their new

navigate what’s impacting your costs and

moves with the times, identifies the needs agile enough to deliver the right solutions.

It doesn’t passively surface issues in your

invested in over the past months will

business leaving you with a big why? Why

revenue. This is not the time to turn your

my reports not tallying?

back on online orders — this is when you

are my costs higher this month? Why are Instead, it directs you to the source of

should be optimising them.

the issue so you know how to resolve it;

the weeks and months to come, how will

calculating your exact wastage and

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FEATURE // Basque Culinary World Prize

Rising to the challenge In the midst of a crisis, it can be hard to think beyond the immediate future and surrounds. But the Basque Culinary World Prize is helping chefs to do just that. WORDS Madeline Woolway PHOTOGRAPHY Basque Culinary Center THIS YEAR, AN industry known for its

in gastronomy, celebrating its ability to

10 internationally recognised chefs

biggest challenge — restaurants, cafes and

lockdown, the Center is pushing on with its

three hours, the live-streamed event

vibrancy has come face to face with its

bars across the world have had to close

their doors. The global hospitality sector is diverse, with some challenges unique to specific venues and others felt by all.

The widespread shutdown of societies has touched countries across the globe, and

the culinary profession has been one of the hardest hit. But, if there’s a sector capable of adaptation, it’s the hospitality industry. The dedication to morphing is apparent

in the work of the Basque Culinary Center in San Sebastian, Spain. For the past decade, the institution has encouraged innovation 24 | Hospitality

transform society. Even with the world in

mission. The institution brought together

more than 1000 people to listen as previous

winners, nominees and jury members of the Basque Culinary World Prize discussed their

trials and tribulations along with their hopes for a post-pandemic world.

Hospitality stayed up late into the night

to join the Basque Culinary Center’s Sasha Correa as she spoke to chefs over Zoom. Here, we share lessons learned.

At 12:30am on Thursday 1 May, Australian time, the Basque Culinary Center gathered

together for a virtual discussion. Over tackled a pressing issue: the COVID-19

pandemic’s impact on restaurants and the possibility of lasting change, not just for the industry but for society at large.

Joxe Mari Aizega, director of the Basque

Culinary Center, led the discussion with a call to arms.

“Five years ago, we started walking down

the path of the Basque Culinary World

Prize,” he says. “There is no bigger challenge than the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the

defining issue of our times, and with the

culinary world disproportionately affected

FEATURE // Basque Culinary World Prize

[compared to] many other sectors, it is right to seek nominees that reflect the active role chefs have as agents of social change.” Basque-born chef Eneko Atxa of

restaurant Azurmendi agreed, imploring

those who work in the world of gastronomy to apply the talent they use in their

restaurants to the challenge presented by novel coronavirus. “We can be part

of the solution,” he says. “I understand gastronomy as a medicine, capable of

strengthening our health, our spirit and our culture, but also our economy. That’s why

we must take our knowledge and use it in this context to find solutions.”

It’s an attitude that was echoed

throughout the talks, with each chef

providing examples of the ethos in action. In Brazil, chef and founder of non-profit Gastromotiva David Hertz pointed to

an opportunity for change. Before the

pandemic hit, the South American country was facing a twin crisis, with political and

economic turbulence. “The people who are left behind in the favelas are more worried about losing their jobs than getting the virus,” says Hertz. “It’s impossible to

lock down everyone in a favela … many

David Hertz

“Every chef should feel responsible for the safety of the food they serve their community.” — Ebru Baybara Demir Ebru Baybara Demir

restaurants are staying open to keep

those families safe, which is an immense, enormous effort from the industry.”

Hertz founded Refettorio Gastromotiva

in 2016 in collaboration with Massimo

Bottura’s Food for Soul. The foundation

doubles as a school for young talent who

cook with what would otherwise become food waste. Meals are then distributed to

those in need. In response to COVID-19, the initiative developed ‘solidarity kitchens’.

“We got an email from a student saying,

‘I lost my job, but I want to cook in the

favela for the children that are not going to

school’,” says Hertz. “So we are fundraising now to support our students to turn their

houses … into solidarity kitchens. We give them food [and] we give them a salary, so they have support.”

In return, the students are using

the skills learned in class to provide

roughly 1200 meals per month to their communities.

Ghanaian chef Elijah Amoo Addo

recounted a similar situation in his home

country, where food scarcity meant a total June/July 2020 | 25

FEATURE // Basque Culinary World Prize

lockdown was not practical. The national

government chose an approach not unlike Australia’s, with restaurants restricted to

offering takeaway. While venues here have struggled to adapt to a delivery model, in Ghana, Addo says the technological

hurdles of online ordering and delivery

proved insurmountable for many. Within a week, much of the hospitality industry — 40 per cent of the country’s workforce — were without jobs.

“This COVID-19 [crisis] has proven the importance of what we’ve been saying about the food supply chain for the past five years.” — Elijah Amoo Addo

“Those who normally provide food, such

as young waiters and cooks, have lost their jobs and have no economic support,” says Addo, who founded non-profit Food for All Africa. “Some cooks and chefs from

restaurants that we used to take food from

… now need food from Food for All. So we are working on giving them warm meals.” The crisis has strengthened Addo’s

Elijah Amoo Addo

conviction in his work as a chef, proving

the importance of securing supply chains. “What I learned from this experience is

was a common theme and one many

our food supply chain,” he says. “In Ghana,

has exacerbated social inequality and

that it’s the result of inefficiencies within

chefs can help resolve. The pandemic

people are fighting COVID-19, but at the same time hunger is growing. For many people in my country, going hungry is

worse than getting the virus. This is why

put further strain on global and local

“Our individual businesses need to be resilient; our food

food supply chains already fractured

by industrial agricultural practices and

climate change. It has also revealed how

the struggle is so hard.”

system needs to be resilient.”

vulnerable the restaurant industry is.

Concern about food supply chains

— Anthony Myint

cushion, there is no safety net, there is no

“This crisis exposes that there is no

margin for error,” says Anthony Myint,

San Francisco-based founder of Mission

Chinese Food and environmental initiatives Zero Foodprint and Restore California.

Myint won the 2019 Basque Culinary

World Prize for his work with Zero

Foodprint, which partners with restaurants to reduce their environmental impact.

“One word I hear a lot of people say

now, that I didn’t really hear as often

before, is ‘resilience’,” says Myint. “Our

individual businesses need to be resilient; our food system needs to be resilient.”

Through his projects, Myint is focused on

challenging the industrial food system. “Our approach has been to focus on healthy soil and changing the system,” he says. “What healthy soil is creating is resilience in the

face of climate change. We need to switch

to that at scale so our food systems can be

resilient because there will be future regional Anthony Myint

26 | Hospitality

disasters as climate change worsens.”

Turkish chef Ebru Baybara Demir is at




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FEATURE // Basque Culinary World Prize

Eneko Atxa

Nominations for the Basque Culinary World Prize Nominations for the fifth edition of the Basque Culinary World Prize are open until 30 June 2020. Professionals and institutions within the industry are able to nominate chefs who have ‘transformed society through gastronomy’. Nominated chefs should have had an impact on areas including innovation and technology, education, the environment, health, social and economic development. The winner will receive €100,000 to devote to an initiative of their choice. In 2018, Australia’s Jock Zonfrillo won the prize for his work supporting the development of an indigenous food database.

“I understand gastronomy as a medicine capable of strengthening our health, our spirit and our culture, but also our economy.” — Eneko Atxa

the nexus of both social and environmental

moment, but I think if we imagine what

structure has been challenged,” says

from now, it might not be as negative,”

issues. “Our global food supply chain Demir. “[The pandemic] has shown

the importance of being sufficient as a country, of supporting all farmers and

traditional farming, local systems and local production. It has shown us all that we

need to create a sustainable ecosystem for sustainable food.”

The role of chefs, according to Demir, is

says Myint. “Chefs are always leaders,

whether it’s of their own businesses, a community or a system. One silver

lining to this moment is that there’s a little bit of time to figure out what is really important and why you are in this industry.”

Addo believes the work of chefs

not just to present perfectly plated dishes

resonates far beyond the kitchen. “We

to work for the reliability, quality and

families through our food,” he says. “We

to customers during service — it’s also

sustainability of food. “Every chef should feel responsible for the safety of the food they serve their community,” she says.

The structural issues might seem difficult to overcome, but despite their warnings,

each chef on the Basque Culinary Center’s roster delivered a message of hope.

“It’s a really unfortunate financial

28 | Hospitality

the industry will look like one year

help people to express love to their

are so concerned with feeding those

who can pay for our food. We are so

concentrated on making money. I believe it is about time serving society becomes one of our guiding principles.”

It’s a clear message and one that’s clearly

reverberating throughout Australia’s

hospitality industry — let’s hope it’s one that lasts beyond the pandemic. ■

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FEATURE // Producers

Hanging on When restaurants closed, producers across the country were left high and dry. But some found new markets to make sure they were around when restaurants found their feet. WORDS Annabelle Cloros LIFE CHANGED FOR hospitality

sector, to the tune of 75 per cent. When

industry was effectively shuttered by the

restaurant sales immediately plummeted.

professionals across the country when the government. With venues initially restricted

news broke dine-in trade would cease,

“We were gearing up for the off-season

to takeaway and delivery, the demand for

in March, but after the Prime Minister

leaving artisan producers in the lurch.

channels went from 100 per cent to 10 per

high-end products vanished, essentially

Two such brands are East 33 and Game

Farm in New South Wales. The oyster and poultry suppliers had to think quick when

foodservice tabled dine-in trade, rethinking their business models in a matter of days.

made the announcement, wholesale

cent that day, and was effectively nil a few days after,” says James Garton, executive chairman of East 33. “We didn’t see any

signs of recovery until the Easter period where retail picked up a little bit.”

It was a similar story for Game Farm.

Some products are intrinsically linked to

The poultry and meat producer/supplier

definitely one of them. The average person

in the Chinatown area a few weeks before

the restaurant experience, and oysters are doesn’t chow down on oysters at home;

instead, they order them at restaurants. Before COVID-19 hit, East 33’s sales

were heavily anchored to the foodservice 30 | Hospitality

experienced a drop in sales from restaurants the rest of the industry began to spiral. Game Farm primarily services high-end restaurants such as Icebergs and Tetsuya’s, but these

venues aren’t cut from the takeaway cloth.

sector, comprising 80 per cent wholesale and 20 per cent retail. “We saw an

immediate effect on Asian restaurants, but we weren’t sure what impact that would

have on our business,” says Daniel Jalalaty,

business, we went over things and it was clear that we needed other channels to

reach the customer,” says Jalalaty. “We are boutique, and there are retailers in some areas, but it’s still a niche product.”

The team had discussed an online store

national sales and marketing manager at

before, but its creation was now a matter

to impact the rest of foodservice. It was a

done and we developed it over a weekend,”

Game Farm. “Two weeks later, it started

gradual decline based on the government putting out policies.”

While the situation was less than ideal,

of survival. “We knew we needed to get it says Jalalaty. Fortunately it was pretty

straightforward as the business had all the

necessary imagery and content ready to go. The novelty of having access to

tapping into a new market was the order

restaurant-quality goods certainly has

rollout oyster delivery to consumers next

households spending more than ever on

for both businesses. East 33 had plans to year, but COVID-19 forced them to hit

the accelerator. “We were fortunate to be at the scale we were at and we had been

gearing up to launch a delivery capability


when they started their online store. “As a

in 2021,” says Garton. East 33 launched

not been lost on consumers, with most

food. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, grocery sales increased by 22.4

per cent. So with no restaurants to dine at, consumers turned to the next best thing

(besides takeaway) — doing it themselves.

“I think consumers will be more than willing to pay for the whole enjoyment the restaurant experience brings.” – James Garton their online shop in 48 hours, but says pre-

Game Farm looked to chefs to help

existing infrastructure certainly helped the

them get the word out to consumers who

have our own web and back-end designers,

the kitchen. “Matt Moran did a nice post

business turn things around so quickly. “We so we had the capacity to respond,” he says. “It would be quite difficult for a

regional farmer to respond because you have to pull together so many different skill sets to make it happen.”

East 33 started selling home-delivered

oysters direct to the public in April, and

were stuck at home and keen to get into

on Instagram for us and so did Mitch Orr from CicciaBella and Orazio D’Elia from Matteo,” says Jalalaty. The goal was to

show customers how easy it was to cook proteins they may not have used before such as quail, spatchcock or duck.

demand went through the roof. “The

While most restaurants across the

of oysters in particular,” says Garton. “But

Game Farm ensured they kept in touch

restaurant side dominates the consumption people have been craving that product, and until we came along, there hadn’t been another way to get that product besides going to a retail outlet.”

While sales are still down, East 33 has

been able to keep the wheels turning, albeit in a different direction.

Game Farm also joined the 48-hour club

country can now seat under 50 people, with venues while they were closed. The team sent out products to chefs to keep

them fed and maintain the conversation. “We put together some packs for them

because I knew a lot were out of work,

so we sent them some boxes just to share our support and say we’re still here,” says Jalalaty.

A continued relationship even led to a June/July 2020 | 31

FEATURE // Producers

Like East 33, Game Farm’s sales

primarily took place in the foodservice

FEATURE // Producers

It takes three years

Game Farm teamed

for a Sydney rock

up with Ragazzi to

oyster to grow

sell pasta kits

East 33 had to double

Corn-fed chicken

their delivery fleet to

breast is Game

keep up with orders

Farm’s top seller

collaboration with Sydney pasta bar Ragazzi. Chef Scott Williams uses Game Farm products in the

restaurant, and created a ready-made braised duck

casarecce with tarragon dish which both brands sold during shutdown.

East 33 has also continued to work closely with

their customers through the pandemic. The supplier runs a restaurant, so has a great understanding

of the pressures operators have been facing. “We have a shortlist of 10 of our best partners that

we are looking forward to helping reengage with

their customers and bringing them back into their restaurants,” says Garton. “Our relationship with

our restaurants has been predicated on an extremely high-quality product, and we supported them prior and will support them moving forward.”

There’s no doubt COVID-19 has changed the way

East 33 and Game Farm will operate in the future. While it has been a tough few months, there are some silver linings.

“It’s going to be a slow burn, but it’s something we

have to stick at,” says Jalalaty. “We’re 45 years old

and quite old school in the way we operate. You still get chefs calling at midnight and try to understand

what they’re saying and write down the orders. But

now we have an online platform and people are using

it. We should be pushing chefs and foodservice [to the online store] when we get back to normality.”

With plans to roll out oyster delivery across

Australia, Garton says the company will continue

servicing the consumer sector, but will hit the ground running for foodservice customers. “There’s always a time and a place to enjoy oysters in restaurants,”

he says. “I think consumers will be more than willing to pay for the whole enjoyment the restaurant experience brings.” ■ 32 | Hospitality


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FEATURE // Shutdown activities

Hospo at home Here are some ideas to keep you busy if you’ve been forced to take a break from life as a hospitality professional.

Melanie Day, head pastry chef, Sofitel Gold Coast What have you been doing to stay motivated during shutdown? Being motivated hasn’t really been the issue — it’s more so planning and preparing to make sure I actually complete all the jobs at home I’ve pushed aside for so long. I write myself a daily task list (same as I would in the kitchen) to get things done, such as sorting out all my recipes that are scribbled onto pieces of paper and writing them into my index books. I’ve sorted through and loaded almost 10,000 dessert photos onto my computer. These are things I rarely get the time to sit down and work on.

HOSPITALITY FINDS OUT what industry professionals have been doing

How has going through recipe books helped? Any other resources that have been useful?

to stay motivated and upbeat during an otherwise trying time. Even as

Going through recipes has been so good for me. Not only

restrictions begin to lift, things will remain different for many hospitality

have I found some of my favourite recipes that I thought I

workers; maintaining connections with peers and skills is important, but so

lost, but it’s nice to sit back and see how far I’ve come in this

is cutting yourself some slack.

industry — something I don’t usually take time to reflect on. A lot of my recipe resources are from chefs and pastry chefs I’ve worked with over the years or recipes I’ve developed myself. I subscribe to Savour School for online classes and to learn new skills. Kirsten Tibballs and her professional team are the best.

What are your thoughts on staying ‘productive’ versus taking a break from the kitchen? Obviously, you want to continue working to get ahead, but looking at online courses, nothing really struck me as information that would ‘add value’ to my career. A lot of chefs have jumped online and social platforms have been flooded because everyone at home was cooking. As someone who has posted regularly on social media platforms for quite a few years now, it was just too much. I needed a bit of a break from the overload of cooking videos. I did a few basics from home, but it soon became apparent that everyone was doing the same — hot cross buns, cinnamon scrolls, choc chip cookies, banana cake, etcetera. I decided I would just use the time to take a break from the kitchen and work on myself and my health — baking sweet things at home all day is not good for my health.

How have you stayed connected to other chefs, suppliers and diners? I have been keeping in touch with my previous colleagues; we’ve had several phone calls to discuss each other’s circumstances. It has definitely been helpful to talk to other professionals in the industry to see how they are going. I have also reached out on social media and had several discussions with other pastry chefs internationally, just to see how they are going and what their situations are like. I have found pastry chefs in general have a sense of sincerity. They generally hope for the best and wish everyone well under the circumstances. 34 | Hospitality

To enter simply upload a 3 minute video of yourself cooking your amazing dish ENTER.NESTLE-GOLDENCHEFS.COM.AU *Important Information: Entry is for individuals who are AU or NZ residents working or studying (current or previous) in the culinary industry & aged between 16 and under 25 on 31.12.20. Entry is open 4 May – 29 June 2020. 12 regional winners will be announced on 20 July 2020. Grand Finals cook-off date and location to be confirmed.

FEATURE // Shutdown activities

Mitch Orr, head chef, CicciaBella What have you been doing to stay motivated during shutdown? It hasn’t been easy! Like everyone, there are good days and bad days. Doing the Instagram posts was a way to occupy myself and engage with my followers and our customers. I’ve been trying to keep up my yoga practice (I get distracted very easily at home) and have been going for walks to the Botanic Gardens when the weather has been nice.

How have you navigated productivity with timeout? I honestly think it’s an individual thing. Not everyone can be productive in these circumstances. I have days or even weeks where I do really well, and then days where I really can’t get out of bed. I think it’s important to do what’s best for you and not beat yourself up about it too much. I do really think that being active and making that effort helps so much, even if it’s something small.

What made you want to do the Instagram recipes? I wanted to do something to occupy myself and engage with people. We all know that everyone went and panic bought dry pasta and tinned tomatoes. I figured some simple pastas with items everyone has in their pantry would be a good place to start. I wanted to show that these dishes are classics for a reason and they’re also simple to do really well. The thought of the sh*t half-an-hour Bolognese everyone would be making was honestly depressing. Everyone had time and nothing better to do! Let’s make it properly. Time and care are often the secret ingredients.

How have you stayed connected to other chefs, suppliers and diners? I’m really lucky that people like Josh [Niland] reached out to see if there was a way to utilise my skills and passion during the lockdown. It helped keep a voice in the public eye and hopefully showed a new market a bit of what we do at CicciaBella. I’ve been in constant conversation with a lot of my peers like Pasi Petanen, Clayton Wells, Dan Puskas and Hongy [Dan Hong]. Phil Wood also organised a weekly Zoom trivia for a few of us (Kylie Javier Ashton, Mikey Clift, Luke Powell to name a few). It’s been hilarious and something we wouldn’t usually do. It gives us a few hours a week to connect, catch up, give each other advice and support, and most importantly, a lot of laughs.

36 | Hospitality

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FEATURE // Shutdown activities

Giles Gabutina, pastry chef, and Alessio Nogarotto, apprentice chef, Bentley Restaurant & Bar Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award Gold Medal National Winners 2019 What have you been doing to stay motivated during the shutdown? Everyone was in the dark, everyone had questions and no one had any answers. We were like, ‘When can we go back in and where to go from here?’ It was on the two of us to stay creative and keep motivated to keep cooking and stay in the kitchen, even if not at work. In a way, it was nice to have the time to cook the things we wanted to eat and learn new techniques — sourdough, pastries, baking. It got us back to cooking from the heart, enjoying food for the sake of it as well as focusing on ourselves a bit more and what we wanted to eat. We took the downtime to invest loads of time in making our set up at home right, things like a designated pasta and bread rolling bench. With all our equipment in reach — it makes you feel like cooking. We basically scrapped the whole idea of a living room and converted our lounge space into a second kitchen! I guess the silver lining to all this is that it gave us time to pause and reflect. Having this window not only gave us time to make more effort cooking at home, but we’ve been talking about the big picture and plans of what we want to do in this industry (for example, starting up a YouTube/ IGTV channel). We’re so fortunate that our employer was on the front foot with the COVID-19 pivot and was able to launch Bentley At Home.

What are the benefits of competitions such as Golden Chef for young chefs? The new video format is really interesting and we’re keen to see how it translates into this new realm. To put yourself out there might be daunting for some chefs, but at the end of the day, when would you have the opportunity to do it from the comfort of your own home? In many ways it’s less daunting; you can take the time to put something together that showcases what skills you have and really put yourself out there. Now everyone has the time to put into this — a lot of our friends are entering this year because they have time which they didn’t have before. It’s really broadening who can and will enter. Are we entering? Let’s just say it’s a definite possibility!

What tips do you have to stay motivated? No matter what is happening around us, no one’s going to come knocking on your door and hand you a dream career. We have time on our hands right now, so it’s on us to improve ourselves.

38 | Hospitality

Chefs can get involved in the 2020 Golden Chef's Hat Award at Entries close Monday 29 June 2020 at 11:59pm AEDT Stay up to date on Facebook @goldenchefs and Instagram @golden_chefs

FEATURE // Shutdown activities

Simon Gautherin, barista trainer, Toby’s Estate Coffee How can baristas stay motivated if they’ve had their hours reduced or lost their jobs? It can be extremely challenging to stay motivated and in the right mindset to keep learning. I personally struggled to get back into my learning and experimenting routine after my national competition got cancelled. Luckily, there are a bunch of competitions and challenges happening online via various Instagram pages (@riverinafresh, @quarantinecoffeeclub_, @thebaristaleague, to name a few). If you’re currently spending a lot of time at home, maybe you can start getting into filter coffee or going deeper into it? It’s arguably the best way to make coffee at home and to experience the complexity and quality of great coffees.

What are some key skills professionals should focus on? I still believe tasting is the most important skill you can develop. You’re always going to be learning something new, and this is also the best way to progress in your coffee career and maybe move on to other positions (roasting, training, buying, etc). Tasting doesn’t have to be done through a formal cupping. Buying a handful of coffees from different origins and tasting them consciously will improve your tasting and analytical skills. I developed a tasting framework that’s easy to use for anyone looking to build that tasting methodology. Here’s a video explaining how to use it. If you’re looking for online classes, Barista Hustle has a bunch of them and they cover a wide range of topics in coffee. Some of them can be challenging, but I highly recommend looking into it. At Toby’s, we launched a game in April called Battle of the Buds. Basically people could order a bag of a mystery coffee, brew it and drink it and then try to guess what its key characteristics were: origin, process, variety, tasting notes. I find this kind of game to be great. It pushes you to analyse the coffee under every possible angle, but also to have a great knowledge and understanding of the different profiles found in different countries or using different processing methods.

How useful has social media been? It’s been amazing for me to stay in touch with friends all around the world. It’s allowed us to keep bouncing ideas around and discuss various topics. I guess the only downside is that it’s easy to spend a lot of time on it and lose productivity if you constantly check your phone and notifications.

What tips do you have for baristas who don’t have lots of equipment at home? My friend and mentor Devin Loong has done dozens of videos on the topic. It’s always challenging to get the full potential out of your coffee without having access to equipment, but when you think about it, making brewed coffee is simply mixing coffee beans and water so you can still make a good cup even by pouring hot water over ground coffee in a glass, like a cupping. ■

40 | Hospitality

ARE YOU READY TO RE-OPEN YOUR FOOD BUSINESS? Get NAFDA Foodservice’s Recovery Toolkit, a handy reference for food businesses with tips and advice for successful post COVID-19 operations, covering: Business 101






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VIDEO // Behind the scenes

Cheesy garlic focaccia An in-depth look at Hospitality’s masterclass series. VIDEOGRAPHY Jax Oliver Studio The cheesy garlic focaccia from Salt Meats Cheese is perfect for at-home dining. The simplicity means there’s nowhere to hide mistakes, so quality ingredients and excellent technique are a must. Follow along as director Stefano De Blasi talks through the process behind the popular takeaway option.





Add the toppings.


Fresh crushed garlic



Put the focaccia in the

300g 00 flour

Extra virgin olive oil

180ml water

Mixed herbs

9g salt

Pinch of salt

7g yeast or yeast sachet

60g cheese

1/2 tablespoon sugar

Mix the ingredients for the dough together gently.


Allow the dough to rest for about 24 hours, up to 48 hours if possible — the longer it has to rest, the fluffier it will be.


Stretch the dough into a round, pizza-like shape, about an inch thick.

42 | Hospitality

oven. For a crispy texture, dust the bottom of the dough with semolina before putting it in the oven. Watch the full video at


Grater From cheese to vegetables and everything in between — the grater has got you covered.

Rubber or wooden handles help with grip.

Smaller holes are ideal for zesting citrus and spices.

Wash by hand to ensure longevity, but most are

Larger models work


best for making shredded cheese or grating vegetables.

Look for a high-quality stainless-steel model.

Ideal for creating uniform-sized ingredients fast.

44 | Hospitality

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5 MINUTES WITH ... // Marco Zambon and Silvia Rozas

Marco Zambon and Silvia Rozas The Basque Culinary Center students led Venice’s transition to delivery — a first for the Italian city — during the COVID-19 pandemic.

IN ITALY, WE eat pizza at least once a week out

development of products that create a shared

restaurants, Venetians were looking forward

in this moment of COVID-19.

of habit. After a month of confinement and closed to having good pizza in their hands again and

value, which has become completely necessary Even though this was a very difficult period

the reception when we opened the restaurant

for everyone, we have had several positive

didn’t expect such a good welcome! We received

delivery. Adapting our business to this sales

[Birraria la Corte] was incredible. We really

so many orders every day, as well as calls and expressions of thanks from our customers. Without a doubt, the experience at

the Basque Culinary Center was key to

understanding the situation we were facing.

experiences. First of all, we have experienced format has been a commitment that has given us satisfaction, since we were the first ones,

and now there are many restaurants that have followed the same path.

It has also been very satisfying to have had the

It has given us the ability to adapt quickly

opportunity to establish connections with local

final degree of work we are carrying out, we

movement and to work towards a common goal

and transform the business. Thanks to the

have spent a lot of time thinking about how to

improve the Venetian food chain by promoting food sovereignty and the conservation of the

biodiversity of the Lagoon. One of the results is a collaboration with producers and the

producers and other people in the gastronomy of sustainable development. We will continue to fight to ensure the team continues to work

on future projects and that these opportunities

are used constructively for the gastronomic and social development of Venice. ■

Marco Zambon and Silvia Rozas talk about their COVID-19 projects: launching the city’s first delivery service using boats, contributing to Food for Heroes and working with producers to create long-life products with extra produce. Turn on captions for English translation 46 | Hospitality


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