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NO.761 MARCH 2020
BAKER BLEU | VENUE DESIGN | CHARCUTERIE
CONTENTS // March
Contents MARCH 2020
20 Regulars 6 //IN FOCUS Why chicken concepts are dominating the fast casual sector. 8 //NEWS The latest in openings, books, products and more. 10 //KANGAROO GRASS A food source with a rich history. 12 //SEAFOOD Why do we turn our backs on imported seafood? 14 //COLUMN The life of a young Sydney chef.
4 | Hospitality
16 //BEST PRACTICE It’s time to review your insurance policy. 20 //PROFILE The story behind Baker Bleu. 26 //DRINKS The rise of coffee in cocktails. 48 //BEHIND THE SCENES Banh Xeo Bar’s pig head nuggets. 49 //EQUIPMENT Pastry scrapers are the ultimate time-saver. 50 //5 MINUTES WITH … Tony Zafirakos from Ari’s Natural Wine Co.
Features 28 //COLLABORATIONS Part two of our series on venue collaborations. 32 //CHARCUTERIE Learning how to DIY far outweighs buying off the shelf. 40 //DESIGN The experts on the design trends you’ll be seeing this year. 44 //BEER PAIRING Why you shouldn’t overlook beer when it comes to matching beverages with food.
EDITOR’S NOTE // Hello
Keep up with the Hospitality team
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL Don’t let the hype scare you – continue to spend money at Chinese restaurants. They’re an essential part of our dining landscape. @annabellecloros
Forging ahead IT’S ONLY MARCH, but the bad news just
CATCH OF THE DAY Sampling super tasty and sustainable The Better Fish barramundi at Chin Chin Sydney. @madelinewoolway
Our two-part series on collaborations
keeps on coming for the hospitality industry.
concludes this issue, with Joe Jones and Sam
We’ve seen the Coronavirus force the
Stafford from Mono-XO going from zero
closure of established Chinese restaurants
to heroes. The pair found themselves in a
across Australia and beyond, bushfires
less-than-ideal situation, but decided to take
continuing to affect small business owners
lemons and make lemonade. Or perhaps a
and the collapse of George Calombaris’
Made Establishment and Dinner by Dinner Blumenthal Melbourne. It’s been a shocker. In the midst of the chaos, we’re continuing
We also look at beer and food pairings, kangaroo grass, charcuterie and the latest design trends.
to push on and share the stories of the people that make up the industry. Mike
I hope you enjoy this issue.
Russell took a risk when he opened Baker
Bleu and it’s certainly paid off — read about
the rise of his cult bakery on page 20.
The Intermedia Group’s Environmental Responsibility
CAULI-POWER February saw Chiswick Woollahra transform its kitchen garden into a dining room. Cauliflower, anyone? @hospitalitymagazine
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March 2020 | 5
IN FOCUS // Chicken
Poul position Burger joints have long led the quick-service sector, but an old favourite is beating them with renewed vigour.
FAST FOOD AND burger chains
meals a week. Of those canvased
have dominated the quick
olds) are the main trend
during research, 8.8 per cent
service restaurant (QSR) scene,
drivers, consuming 42 per
mentioned they had chosen a
but there have been whispers
cent of chicken servings in
QSR chicken outlet because it
of waning popularity following
the foodservice industry. The
offered healthy options.
the mid-2010s burger boom,
generation are opting for
with the data substantiating the
chicken wings or nuggets, but
menu items have also helped
chicken burgers are the most
operators generate traffic:
37 per cent of QSR chicken
Even if burgers are still the leader in fast food, chicken
“Chicken is getting even more
utilised some form of deal in
and the category’s growth is
have increased their share of
their visits, compared to 27 per
outpacing its rival. According
visits to QSR chicken outlets by
cent of deal-led consumers
to research by The NPD Group,
4.6 per cent — above any other
in the foodservice industry
the last three years have seen
age group in the last three
as a whole.
chicken-focused QSR traffic
years,” says Seton Leung, head
increase by 2.8 per cent, while
of Australia Foodservice, The
impressive when looked at
burger growth was 1.6 per cent.
NPD Group Australia.
against broader growth trends
The numbers are more
in the industry: foodservice as a
of chicken QSR visits is $9.38, an
part, to health concerns. There’s
whole has only grown by 0.5 per
increase of 1.5 per cent in the
a widespread belief red meat has
cent since 2017 and the entire
last three years compared to the
high cholesterol levels and health
QSR channel grew 0.8 per cent
average bill of burger QSR visits,
professionals recommend limiting
in the period from October 2017
which has risen by 2.7 per cent.
red meat consumption to a few
to September 2019. ■
6 | Hospitality
consumers mentioned they
attention from millennials who
The boom can be attributed, in
Value packs and seasonal
shops are now in second place
However, the average eater bill
Fried chicken pieces 9%
Grilled/roast chicken 8%
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NEWS // Entrée
The latest openings, books, events and more. EDITED BY Annabelle Cloros
Curatif’s new RTDs The canned cocktail company has added to its range with the launch of a Bloody Mary and a Margarita. The team have collaborated with Archie Rose to create the Bloody Mary, which features a combination of the distillery’s vodka along with the Doom Brew Bloody Mary Mix from Melbourne producers Jarnsaxa. Tequila Tromba is the star of Tommy’s Margarita which also utilises lime juice sourced from the Central Coast. The beverages are currently available in select locations including Jackalope Hotel and Pablo & Rusty’s. curatif.com
Aaron Turner releases second book
Clare Smyth opens Australian restaurant
The Hot Chicken Project
Clare Smyth will launch her first Australian
$48; Hardie Grant Books
restaurant at Crown Sydney. Slated to open in
Aaron Turner has penned a book on the
February 2021, the concept will be influenced by
history of hot chicken in the US and
the chef’s two Michelin star London venue Core
beyond. The Igni chef travelled to Nashville
while revolving around Australian produce. “The
to spend time with the community and
quality and diversity of the produce available
discover the history of the dish for The
in Australia is incredible,” says Smyth. “I look
Hot Chicken Project. The part-narrative
forward to … exploring its food and wine regions
part-recipe book features pictorials by
to create our menu which will showcase the
Julian Kingma and more than 40 recipes
best produce sourced from Australia’s most
covering sandwiches, mains, sides and
dedicated farmers and food producers.” It’s the
first restaurant to be confirmed by Crown, which will launch 13 other venues.
D.O.C expands to Sydney D.O.C has opened their first Sydney outpost in the inner-city suburb of Surry Hills. It’s the seventh venue for the concept, which operates a range of delicatessens, cafés and eateries in Melbourne. D.O.C’s signature crispbased pizzas have made the move and there’s a generous antipasto offering including salumi from Italy. Local natural wines take pride of place on the drinks menu along with house prosecco and Italian wines. docgroup.net
Sanpellegrino launches Essenza S.Pellegrino has released the Essenza line into the Australian market. The sparkling mineral water is available in 330ml cans and comes in three flavours including lemon and lemon zest, tangerine and wild strawberry and dark Morello cherry and pomegranate. The beverages are made with natural flavours and contain no sugars or sweeteners. sanpellegrino-essenza.com.au 8 | Hospitality
It is sensitive to over or continuous
PRODUCE // Kangaroo grass
Awns are 4-7cm long and stay attached to seeds when they fall.
Kangaroo grass is susceptible to frost and intolerant of waterlogging.
Inland seeds have longer tails, so they can travel
The seeds are
The seed heads are produced in large numbers, but there is only one fertile ‘spikelet’.
The native Australian grass is good for the environment and nutritionally valuable. ILLUSTRATIONS Elena Fombertaux
Origins and growing Themeda triandra is widely distributed
During the flowering period of December to February, spikelets are produced.
across Australia and found in all states and
Emu: Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident? Initial results suggest the grain could have promising applications as flour, milled
territories. It is also common throughout
to make breads and other baked goods
Africa, Asia and the Pacific.
Kangaroo grass is not susceptible to any
including cakes and biscuits. Kangaroo grass
known pests or diseases and as such does
has a subtle nutty, grass flavour. Its flour is
grass grows under a variety of conditions,
not require pesticides. It is highly drought,
dark in colour.
however it’s best to source seeds from an area
heat and fire tolerant. It’s capable of
where they will be planted. Kangaroo grass can
persisting in soil with low nitrogen levels and
grow in a wide range of soils, from clay to sandy,
does not require fertiliser for establishment.
Commercial production levels are far from
The breadth of its distribution means kangaroo
and under full sun or part shade. Established plants require little water. New plants can be grown by sowing seeds directly from mid-summer to autumn or by dividing mature plants into clumps. It will
While the plant is not currently endangered,
being achieved. Despite its current lack of
it does grow in endangered temperate
availability, kangaroo grass’ use as a food
grassland areas in the Australian Capital
source by First Nations peoples dates back
Territory and threatened areas in Victoria.
thousands of years. Unlike crops that have
Under correct land management
been bred for thousands of years, kangaroo
not grow during winter. Seeds can remain
strategies, kangaroo grass could play a role in
grass has small seed heads that are difficult
dormant for up to 12 months, with extremely
maintaining a low water table, thus controlling
to harvest and are low-yielding. As a result, it
high temperatures (40–45 degrees Celsius)
dryland salinity, which makes it harder for
is in limited supply and expensive.
and fire breaking dormancy. Kangaroo grass
plants to extract water from the soil.
spreads by seed.
There are many individuals and small enterprises researching the crop’s potential,
including Pascoe’s company Black Duck Foods.
Characteristics and appearance
Well-known for its appeal to livestock and
Growing up to 1.5m tall and 0.5m across, the
several bird species, kangaroo grass is in the
Clans Aboriginal Corporation has received a
tufted perennial has green to grey leaves
early stages of development for foodservice
$1.82 million grant for the project under the
that are 10–50cm in length and 2–5mm wide.
use. Bruce Pascoe, Bunurong and Tasmanian
Department of Agriculture’s Smart Farming
In summer, the leaves dry to an orange brown
man, teacher and farmer, ignited interest in
Partnerships program. The project will look
or rusty red.
the crop’s use as a grain in his 2014 book Dark
into the viability of kangaroo grass. ■
10 | Hospitality
As of December 2019, the Dja Dja Wurrung
One blend, countless possibilities
Saputo Foodservice, a division within Saputo Dairy Australia, are the suppliers of a full range of Dairy Products - across Cheese, Butters, UHT and Cream.
SEAFOOD // Imports
Beyond local waters In a global village, quality, integrity and traceability of seafood supply wins. WORDS John Susman
I WAS SURPRISED by what I saw, ate
and heard while I was in Asia recently
for a series of presentations, tastings and demonstrations of Australian seafood to chefs, restaurateurs and food media. I was surprised not only by the
incredible scale of the restaurant and
food retail development in the past 12
months — especially in the burgeoning
metropolises of Shanghai, Macau, Bangkok and Singapore, but by the quality, integrity and value being offered at all levels in the seafood supply chain from catcher to consumer.
Once regarded as the discount supplier
of cheap but often inconsistent-quality
seafood (often from waters and processors with dubious quality assurance), Asia has come of age as a supplier and buyer of genuinely premium-quality seafood.
Not long ago, Asia was an easy mark for a bloke with a suitcase full of fish from the
safe, secure, first-world waters of Australia, but things have changed.
Much of this change appears to be a
result of the globalisation of seafood supply, driven as much by the cosmopolitan tastes of world diners as it has by the uplift in sustainable, safe seafood catching and
Keep your eyes and minds open to the ever increasing quality of seafood produced
my seafood on its sustainability, quality, consistency and price, not exclusively on provenance.”
in Asia, but don’t forget to
Over the past 30 years selling seafood in
encourage and enjoy our
buyers have placed on Australian seafood
local seafood. on my arrival. “I can’t believe the quality, consistency and number of species of
seafood I get offered on a daily basis — live
geoduck clams from Canada, sea urchin from Chile, langoustine from Scotland, Dover sole
Asia, the demands Japanese and European producers have had a significant impact on the quality we produce here. In less
than a quarter of that time, Japanese and
European buyers have lifted the standard of seafood production in Asia from a quality,
integrity, safety and traceability perspective.
from France along with live slipper lobster
In the world of seafood, we can’t take
— and that’s before I start looking for the
and history of seafood supply is varied
and premium sashimi tuna from Indonesia special gear from Japan,” he says.
“But what about the quality, safety
anything for granted; the provenance and exciting.
Keep your eyes and minds open to
growing in Asia itself.
and security you have always enjoyed by
the ever increasing quality of seafood
Singapore, where I was overwhelmed by
my job. Farr replies sternly: “Look mate,
encourage and enjoy our local seafood.
No better example of this than in
the choice, range and value of the seafood available to chefs there.
Chef Darren Farr of Singapore café
The Lokal set me straight immediately 12 | Hospitality
buying Australian?” I cry in defence of
I hate to break it to you, but I cook in a
global kitchen, my cuisine is Italian and
commercial metrics demand the restaurant is full of punters and profitable — I choose
produced in Asia, but don’t forget to
There is an opportunity for all of us to
proudly support our own and make the most of the world’s best protein, where ever it may hail. ■
The World’s Most Certified Barramundi
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Global Seafoods Distributors Australia PTY LTD 156 Burswood Rd, Burswood. Perth, Western Australia 6100 1300 008 389 / (08) 9472 8466 email@example.com
COLUMN // Chef confessions
I got a story to tell Ever wondered what life is like for a 23-year-old chef? The author has had his fair share of trials and tribulations at some of Sydney’s most lauded venues — but he wouldn’t have it any other way. WORDS Anonymous I WAS AT TAFE for eight or nine months
which had a really nice dining room. They
be at work. At TAFE, you do one thing at
full of moss and cigarette butts. The
before I stopped going — I preferred to
a time and do the booklets, online work
and exams, but being in the kitchen was a better way for me to learn.
I was around all these chefs who were
never qualified and doing really well. There was something about the way these people worked; it was more natural compared to
the chefs who were straight out of TAFE or
culinary school who were rigid and had no sense of working in the kitchen.
Everyone knows cooking is hard.
Everyone knows apprenticeships are hard and that’s why no one wants to do them. People who come out of a program can cook and follow recipes, but they don’t know how to work in a kitchen when
they’ve got more than one thing to do in a day and 15 other people around them. I ended up getting fired from my
apprenticeship when I stopped going to TAFE. A chef who worked for the same group asked me to come in for a trial
and offered me a job, but my name got
bounced back by HR. It was a silver lining in the end.
I went in for an interview at one venue 14 | Hospitality
I’m currently paid the award rate for a
led me through the back into a courtyard
chef de partie which is the bare minimum,
chef said they wanted me to come in for
$7,000 below the award rate for the same
an unpaid trial for a week to see how I
worked. The longer I’ve worked, the more I learn about what I like and don’t like
about kitchens and management and it
helps me know what I look for. I messaged
but I can’t complain. One group offered me job. It definitely scales with what I was
getting paid when I was first in the kitchen, but if the government wants to decide I
should get more money, I wouldn’t say no. It’s a big enough step for venues going
him the next day and said I’m not doing it.
from what they were paying to paying the
expectation is you are there asking for a
the general public’s attitude to hospitality
Trials are absolutely free labour; the
job. I’ve been paid for one trial and paid for one after being hired and they’re
anywhere from six to 10 hours long. There’s something to be said for the
opportunity of being in certain kitchens for
award. There needs to be a bigger shift in for staff to get paid more than what they
get now. People don’t want to spend more money, but restaurants can’t afford to
operate at the prices they’re charging now.
an extended period of time because you
There are so many great venues opening. It
but a lot of venues don’t offer that.
shifting their focus or they’re outdated.
get to see things no one else would see,
I’m not in a position to say whether I’ve
been paid enough over the course of my
career. I know there are other people doing
sucks there are venues closing, but they’re Some business ideas just don’t work; it
doesn’t mean the industry is failing, it just means the business is failing.
People still have to eat, whether they’re
different work getting paid a lot more and
choosing to eat at great or shit venues,
less. I’ve never been in a position where I
anywhere in the world tomorrow and
people doing the same and getting paid
haven’t been earning enough money to do
what I want to do. But I’m still living week to week — it’s just fact.
there’s always a market for it. I can go
get a job. As a chef, you’re not stuck for
choice or locked in — it’s too easy to find somewhere else. ■
BEST PRACTICE // Insurance
Insurance checklist Insurance is the essential protection we resent paying for, but there’s a lot you can do to ensure you’re covered for the right risks. WORDS Ken Burgin
WHEN FIRES AND floods hit,
previous months. How easy is this
covers the pickles, sauces and
we can’t help thinking about
It’s expensive, but is it worth
to access? If you have a cloud-
meals you sell for consumption
insurance. Being uninsured
the cost? Well-maintained
based accounting system, it’s
elsewhere. Make sure these goods
could be a catastrophe, but
equipment usually won’t need
accessible from anywhere, even if
have a decent profit margin to
we still grovel about paying the
it, and the excess deducted
you’ve lost computer equipment.
price. Now is the time to review,
from a claim can make it hardly
especially as premiums are sure to
worth the paperwork. Can you
Theft and burglary cover
rise after the recent catastrophes
improve maintenance to cover
More places manage home
How long since you reviewed the
Australia has experienced.
this, particularly pre-summer for
delivery with their own cars
amount of ‘cash on premises‘
Go through your policy section
refrigeration and freezers?
or bikes, which means vehicle
you’re covered for? With most
insurance is a must. If staff use
payments made on cards, could
by section and check if what’s covered is under- or overvalued.
Loss of stock cover
their own cars to do this, what
this amount and the premium be
Put your broker to work on this —
Premiums can be expensive,
are the insurance arrangements
reduced? What about cyber crime
they should be actively helping
and proving a loss will be
and do they have a current
and hacking? If robbery is a risk
you get the most affordable cover,
difficult. Temperature tracking
in your area, install ‘back to base‘
not just sending you an invoice.
on refrigeration is easy to install
Let’s look at what’s in a common
and sends an alert to your phone
staff in the event of a hold-up.
foodservice or café package.
if there’s a fault. Investing in
It’s compulsory, and everyone who
Security cameras are inexpensive,
this could be a cheaper way
works for you is protected. What
and covering entrances and
to protect against fridge and
about the people who you have
POS systems should be part of a
It’s probably a compulsory part
freezer breakdowns. If you’re
‘informal pay arrangements’ with?
of your lease and the landlord
making a claim, an app such
They will definitely be making
may nominate the insurer. Is
as Timestamp Camera is useful
claims if they’re injured.
the amount covered realistic?
for documenting spoilage with
Income protection insurance
Would it get you back into
photos and video.
Public and product liability
Support you and your family if you
This means covering your business
can’t work. It’s less expensive if
business with the same type of
alarms that can be activated by
equipment? Many places don’t
Loss of profits cover
for legal and compensation costs
you’re young and choose a longer
have adequate cover, as has been
This is much easier to prove when
if you’re found liable to someone
no-claim period. When my father
discovered over summer. Prepare
you have credible sales and
because you caused death or
died and left a young family for
for the inevitable kitchen fires:
expense records and are able
injury, loss or damage. Is $20
my mother to support, his foresight
do staff know how to use a fire
to show comparisons between
million necessary or would $10
in having a policy like this was an
extinguisher and blanket?
the current affected period and
million be enough? Product liability
incredible blessing. ■
16 | Hospitality
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ADVERTORIAL // Edgell
The perfect fit Edgell makes it easier for you to select the right chips for your business.
EDGELL IS AN iconic Australian brand
(owner, Edgell). “For many businesses,
supplier to both retail and foodservice
consumer demand is on the increase.”
that has built a reputation as a trusted
since 1926. As the foodservice market has
chips are the most profitable food item and
evolved, Edgell has grown with it and is
White says it’s a mistake to assume all
the needs of all foodservice professionals.
the chips in our range were developed
dedicated to providing solutions that meet A commitment to finding value-added
solutions is exemplified in Edgell’s
chips are basically the same. “Most of
specifically as a solution for a particular
kilo than others. Yield is what drives profitability, not carton cost.
“The coating on the A-grade chips in our
Perfect Performers range not only enhances taste and texture but also increases yield, so they deliver more servings, and more servings equals more profit.”
When you bear in mind that each serving
end user need,” he explains.
commands roughly eight times its food
now being presented to the market within
choosing the chips with the cheapest cost
budget product that’s a few dollars cheaper
select the right chips for your business.
and profit. “You need to think about
extensive range of frozen chips, which are distinctive categories to make it easier to
Edgell chips now fall within a particular
category such as Trusted Originals, Perfect Performers and Specialty.
“At Edgell, we’re dedicated to helping your
business grow,” says David White, executive chef for Simplot Australia Foodservice 18 | Hospitality
A common misconception is that
per carton will give you the best value
yield — how many chips does it take to cover an empty space on the plate, or
how many chips to fill up a chip cup or
cost, it really is false economy to choose a per carton as you lose that ‘saving’ due to
lower yield and miss out on the profit you
could be generating by choosing a superior product with better yield.
carton?” says White. “It’s important to
But yield is just one of several factors you
and some types of chips yield more per
your chips. For example, if you’re running
remember you’re paying per kilo of chips,
should take into account when choosing
ADVERTORIAL // Edgell
a high-throughput operation and want
a basic, quality chip that’s uncoated and
designed to be cooked and consumed fast, Edgell’s Trusted Originals range may be your best choice. But if you’re running
a burger chain or restaurant and want a
chip that’s a little more distinctive and will set your offering apart from the crowd, a
chip from the Perfect Performers range is a better bet.
“There is an actual science in choosing
the right chip,” says White. “Smaller cut is
higher yield and faster cooking but shorter
hold time, whereas larger cut is lower yield but longer hold time.
“Next to consider is coated vs uncoated.
The coating can act as a carrier of flavour and seasoning to enhance taste and
texture. Coating also extends hold time,
making the chip stay hotter and crispier for longer, which is beneficial if your business has slow periods when your customer throughput drops down.”
Hold time itself is a key consideration
Edgell Trusted Originals
Coated products in the Edgell Perfect
potatoes, Trusted Originals are available
when deciding which chip to choose.
Made with A-grade quality Tasmanian
Performers range such as Supa Crunch
in a variety of traditional cuts and formats
or Beer Batter chips have a hold time beyond traditional uncoated chips.
“Our Perfect Performers have been
designed as ‘cook and hold’ solutions. They come in a range of different cut
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March 2020 | 19
PROFILE // Baker Bleu
Baker Bleu Mike Russell took a left turn — the result? Some of the best bread Melbourne’s ever seen. WORDS Annabelle Cloros
MIKE RUSSELL WAS 23 when he realised advertising wasn’t for him. The ad-man-turned-baker decided he wanted to be the master of his own destiny, and his
destiny told him hospitality was the go. Now the owner of one of Melbourne’s cult bakeries (which happens to be a favourite of Ben Shewry’s), Russell is a big fan of throwing caution to the wind. He talks to Hospitality about learning from the best, turning traditional
production methods on their head and the story behind the name: hint, it’s related to hair.
Most people refer to attending university as ‘formative’,
with their chosen study field often leading to a career in 20 | Hospitality
whole setup of your bread production.” A few years later, Russell decided he
my red hair,” he says. “But the spelling
changed; it reads better [as Bleu] and is an homage to French baking techniques.” The tiny shop in Elsternwick was
wanted to take the plunge and open his
essentially a hole in the wall with a
the ‘risky business’ category. “I sold my
but I knew if I did it the right way and just
own place. The move definitely fell into
apartment in Sydney, moved to Melbourne and threw caution to the wind,” he says. So why was Melbourne his location of
counter at the door. “It wasn’t polished,
focused on the product, it would pay off eventually,” says Russell.
It didn’t take long for word to get around
choice? The answer is two-fold. First, rent
about the bakery selling bread Russell
self-funded business to get a good start.
Bleu’s ascension down to human nature.
costs. Sydney was far too expensive for a
Second, community. “In Sydney, everything is focused on the city and the surrounding suburbs, but in Melbourne there are a lot of high streets and neighbourhoods that are thriving,” says Russell.
In December 2016, Russell opened
the doors to his debut bakery, which he
describes as “French-Anglo”. He puts Baker “A place with no sign and bread coming out creates curiosity for some people ...
and there was a queue outside a random
location,” he says. “People are captivated by
the simplicity of bread. It kindles something in their senses and memory.”
named Baker Bleu, a nod to a childhood
At the start, it was just Russell and
call me Blue when I was a kid because of
themselves from production to counter
nickname. “My aunt and uncle used to
his wife Mia. The pair did everything
the same area. But for Mike Russell, it was
the opposite. While he pursued a degree in media and went on to work in advertising for a short period, he quickly realised it
wasn’t a match, so he started looking into
an industry that’s basically the opposite. “I started working in a range of bars, hotels and cafés to figure out what I wanted to do,” says Russell. “In the end, I got into
pastry and restaurant work and got swept up by bread.”
Russell dedicated himself to learning the
art of bread-making, and found himself
at Bourke Street Bakery in Sydney before
heading to Baker D. Chirico in Melbourne. “In the early aughts, he [Daniel Chirico]
was one of the premium artisan bakers in Australia, and then Igor Ivanovic came to
Sydney and opened in 2008,” says Russell. Ivanovic’s Bronte bakery Iggy’s Bread
is one of the meccas of artisan bread, and ended up changing everything Russell knew about baking when he started
working there in 2009 — including busting the stereotype that bakers are going full
tilt before 4am. “At Iggy’s, you start at 5am because you make the product one day
ahead,” he says. “If you enable yourself to
utilise all the equipment, you don’t have to March 2020 | 21
PROFILE // Baker Bleu
work at night, but you have to change the
PROFILE // Baker Bleu sales, deliveries and cleaning down. For the
Russells, 14-hour days were the norm. But it
didn’t take long for Baker Bleu to grow — and it was a matter of when not if; wholesale interest was rapidly rising and consumers couldn’t get enough. A baker was employee number one,
“I started looking at leases for a larger space
team is now 21 strong.
produce bread requires a large footprint floor-
(who still works at Baker Bleu today) and the Russell is well aware of the low staff retention
rates in the industry, and says the key to holding
on to good workers is all about the environment.
are one of the
location enabled the Baker Bleu squad to
term, I think it’s better for the person producing
the products and the customer who’s purchasing them,” he says.
systems. “Growing a team quickly is a challenge,” sells out
of dough on
says Russell. “Even when you’re hiring a trained
baker, you still need to train them on how we do things. I’m still there every day to carry on the
space in Caulfield North. The warehouse-esque maximise production and expand their range in the process. “We’re able to produce much
more bread and do multiple product production simultaneously,” says Russell. “But the actual shift time has reduced, so workers can start
around 5am and finish at one or two o’clock in
the afternoon. When we moved to a bigger space it was an easy transition.”
message of what the bread should be like.”
Baker Bleu is roughly 60/40 retail to wholesale,
misconceptions around the occupation. “People
interest from operators looking to offer the
The baker also says there are major
think they want to do baking after what they’ve read in a book and a lot of chefs want to get
into baking, but it’s the same thing everyday; it’s not a seasonal menu. The changes in baking are subtle like changing the water or stretching out fermentation. It’s meditative and repetitive.”
One of the mandatory requirements for Baker Bleu’s production processes is space, and
expansion was on the cards from the start. 22 | Hospitality
After 14 months at Elsternwick, Baker Bleu
in their lives. “It costs more to do, but in the long
even for a workplace with innovative production The bakery
we bake everything so quickly in the morning.” packed up and moved to a 400-square-metre
Finding skilled bakers is a challenge in Australia,
wise for our proving systems and oven because
Changing the way the bakery operates is a
drawcard for bakers looking for some normalcy The busiest
very early on,” says Russell. “The way we
and that’s by choice. There’s plenty of wholesale products, but it’s all about fit. “We don’t produce everything to be baked at midnight, sliced at
3am [they don’t slice their bread at all] and at
your door at 6am — our model isn’t built to that setup,” says Russell. You can find Baker Bleu at
venues from Ben Shewry’s Attica to Meatsmith, and that’s because they’re a match. Attica
only does dinner services and most Meatsmith
locations open around 9am, which falls within
the timeframe bread is coming out of the oven.
PASSION DRIVES INNOVATION It is passion and the sense of innovation that focused Stoddart to partner with American Range to develop the heavy duty modular cooking range exclusively designed for the Australian market. The American Range lineup, specifically designed from the ground up, is a heavy duty, commercial range of cooking equipment, built for the Australian Commercial Kitchen environment. The sleek, modular design allows for customisation for both front of house or back of house production applications.
PROFILE // Baker Bleu
“It’s all about the quality of the product and sometimes saying no is better than
saying yes to everything,” reflects Russell. Speaking of Shewry, he was essentially the person who put Baker Bleu on the
map and even referred to Russell as the
“future of baking in Australia”. So what does that mean? Beyond the ultimate
endorsement. “We did inject something
new into the bread scene,” says Russell. “Everyone is so aware of ancient grains
and the processes behind bread-making and the flours now. We’re working with
a Mornington farmer and using different grains and techniques. The point for us
is that it’s all about the bread, less about the aesthetic and we have been like that from the start.”
Broadly speaking, Russell says he’s
witnessed a wave of smaller bakeries
opening with the goal of serving their
communities; especially along the north and south coast of New South Wales. “There’s a move away from the more
industrial bakeries in Australia and people are buying from their local bakers, which is great.”
Sustainability is also front of mind
for the team, and Russell wants to do
more than just talk about it. “If we have wastage, leftover loaves or product that got crushed in the oven, we give them to Attica for their employees or we do
crouton and breadcrumb production for
restaurants or to sell in the store,” he says.
“We really pride ourselves on not throwing
anything out and we’re really anti-waste in the world we live in.”
The future also revolves around the
development of a new concept of the
buttery variety; sourdough croissants, to be specific. “In the next year or so,
we will look at opening a new space for that production. We want to separate
that from the bread and have another retail presence.”
Baker Bleu has given Melburnians a reason
to drive across town, creating a community of die-hard bread enthusiasts who are all too happy to line up for a loaf. ■
24 | Hospitality
“If you enable yourself to utilise all the equipment, you don’t have to work at night, but you have to change the whole setup of your bread production.” – Mike Russell
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DRINKS // Coffee-based cocktails
Two worlds collide
Coffee-based cocktails are expanding — espresso martinis may finally have some competition. WORDS Madeline Woolway PHOTOGRAPHY Alana Dimou for the Bottoms Up! and Peter Seabrook for the Africola
COCKTAILS HAD THEIR renaissance
in the early aughts, but until recently,
coffee-based libations remained chained
the US, but North America’s café scene has modernised, too.
“The expansion of available coffee
to late-twentieth century drinking culture,
liqueurs is right alongside the growth of
martinis reign supreme.
partner at US-based cocktail institution
especially in Australia where espresso
There’s nothing wrong with the IBA-
approved recipe. Reportedly created by
cocktail innovator Dick Bradsell in the ’80s, it’s decidedly retro with vodka and Kahlúa forming the alcoholic base, which is then
mixed with ristretto and sugar. But its mass appeal means it often needs to be made in bulk, and mistakes are frequently made. The most common espresso martini
misdemeanor — a poorly pulled shot —
would be considered a sin in most cafés. The coffee industry and baristas have
upped their game exponentially since the
turn of the century. Here’s what bartenders can do to lift theirs.
Aside from using Single O’s blends at his venue PS40, Sydney bartender Michael
quality coffee globally,” says Alex Day, a
Death & Co. “We’ve seen the third-wave
lampoon the diner coffee we associate with 26 | Hospitality
espresso martinis and variations thereof. They seem to be unbelievably popular.”
just opt to do things differently.
“The worst espresso martinis are the ones that have a huge coffee hit and that’s all you taste.” – Michael Chiem Day recently toured Perth, Sydney and
collaborations with Australian Venue Co.
Australians might have a tendency to
I’m very surprised to see the number of
fallen in with that.”
has been eye-opening. “There’s heaps of
translating into the bar world,” says Chiem.
Day. “Having been in Australia for a week,
Neither Chiem or Day have a personal
further; it’s no surprise cocktail culture has
Melbourne with co-partner David Kaplan.
innovation to do with coffee that’s slowly
not the top tier of what we drink,” says
coffee movement really expand palates
Chiem has worked with the roastery to
create coffee-based cocktails. The experience
popularity in the States, they’re certainly
They were in the country to host a series of bars Wolf Lane, The Winery and Trinket,
vendetta against the espresso martini; they One of the most popular drinks on the
PS40 menu is the Africola, a trippy take
on another retro classic, the Irish coffee.
The hook is all in the temperature flip: an ice-cold liquid is topped with warm foam.
PS40 use high-quality coffee liqueurs from distillers such as Mr. Black, and a new
wave of products are helping to create cocktails with balance and complexity.
Death & Co works closely with coffee
roasters in New York, Los Angeles and Denver, which is where their venues are situated. Each city has a distinct
personality and the latter is known for its café scene. In fact, Death & Co Denver
operates from morning to night, switching from café to bar as the sun goes down.
“At our New York location, coffee-based
ultimately offering a chance to compare
cocktails started out as an additive or an
“While coffee cocktails are gaining
recall some early explorations where we
the specialty drinks scene.
extra dimension of flavour,” says Day. “I
and making a Manhattan variation. Coffee was a dimension to be added.”
In Denver, the company was able to partner with a roaster,
Middle State, for the first time. “We recently started working with another one called Queen City,” says Day. “By having
that great beginning product, we are able to explore coffee in different formats than what we had done previously. It’s now more of an accent piece.”
On their Australian tour, Death & Co served an espresso
martini-inspired digestif dubbed the Coretto made with cold
brew, Amaro Nardini and vodka. “We use a cold brew extraction
and an espresso liqueur which adds a different dynamic of coffee flavour,” says Day.
The ubiquity of espresso martinis will lead some to head
straight for an espresso shot when creating new coffee-based cocktails. However, for Chiem and Day, the clear winners are filter brewing methods.
Depending on the desired effect, Chiem tends to opt for cold
Death & Co's Coretto
brew. “It works well because it’s malleable,” he says. “It’s not too aggressive but there’s a lot of coffee flavour. To use fresh espresso, you need to have a coffee machine in your venue,
which we don’t. We can use two different Mr. Black products to bolster up the coffee element a bit because we’re using cold brew.” Pair coffee
Vodka is used
Tequila has a
with dark rum
for its natural
that can bring
because of its out some of the neutral taste
notes in coffee
spirits or a vermouth with coffee beans
PS40 x Single O’s Bottoms Up!
In Day’s opinion, it’s cold brew that’s really changed the game
for coffee-based cocktails. The Coretto is another good example. Together, the amaro and the vodka introduce sweetness and
alcohol — two things that act as preservatives and fortify the
cold brew. “The whole thing, when combined and pre-batched,
is actually pretty strong,” explains Day. “The cold brew won’t die away as quickly because of the fortification.”
As with all cocktails, it comes down to balance. It could mean using coffee in the background rather than the foreground.
“Everything should taste balanced,” says Chiem. “The worst
espresso martinis are the ones that have a huge coffee hit and that’s all you taste.”
It’s advice he heeded when creating the Bottoms Up!, a seasonal
cocktail collaboration with Single O that features the roastery’s
Sugarplum cold brew, Maker’s Mark bourbon and clarified milk. “With the addition of cold brew and bourbon, the clarified milk
acts as a crisp backdrop to the coffee and booze, lengthening their flavours and rounding them out,” he says.
Day encourages bartenders to treat coffee like they would any
new spirit or liqueur — it’s imperative to understand what you’re working with. “Different coffees have different flavour profiles,” says Day. “Think about the fruity flavour of an Ethiopian versus the rich caramel, toasted nature of a Central American coffee. Those are vastly different flavours.”
It’s advice to mix by, whether you’re making an espresso martini
or a new-age coffee-based cocktail like those on the roster at PS40 and Death & Co. ■
March 2020 | 27
DRINKS // Coffee-based cocktails
were taking coffee beans and infusing them into vermouth
FEATURE // Collaborations: Part two
Kindred spirits Joe Jones and Sam Stafford bonded over a shared loved for metal and a mutual interest — breaking free. Mono-XO is the result. Words Annabelle Cloros Photography Kristoffer Paulsen
This story is part two of Hospitality’s series on collaborations.
JOE JONES AND Sam Stafford ran
in overlapping social circles for years, and when I say circle, I’m referring to
Melbourne’s hospitality scene. But the two were never ‘friends’, per se. It wasn’t until
they began working together at The Mayfair that they moved past the acquaintance
stage. Stafford was the chef and Jones the co-owner/drinks aficionado, but it was
an affinity for heavy metal that led to a
relationship beyond employer/employee. The pair talks to Hospitality about
taking an idea from concept to conception, moving on from The Mayfair, finding the
right investors and how they’ve gone from buds to business partners.
Looking in, The Mayfair was the epitome of slick and sophistication; a New York brasserie with a stellar menu and an
equally as good cocktail list. But things
were bubbling beneath the surface; and
one of those bubbles was an idea for a new venue. “We weren’t really feeling what we 28 | Hospitality
FEATURE // Collaborations: Part two
were doing, so we wanted to do a pop-up
and give ourselves a break,” says Stafford.
Jones shared the sentiment, and doesn’t
mince his words. “We were both in a dark
articulate it in a grander scheme to others, and that’s when we started to get support from people who said we should do it.”
and dissatisfied place with work,” he says.
While the wheels of Mono-XO began to
that position, you daydream about all the
from The Mayfair, which closed its doors
“As your mind tends to do when you’re in stuff you’d rather be doing.”
Turns out Mono-XO was what the pair
would rather be doing; a Japanese-ish
yakitori bar. Stafford and Jones initially wanted to take the pop-up route, but it never eventuated. “Originally we were
going to set up a barbecue at Romeo Lane [Jones’ bar] and have parties on the days they were closed,” says Stafford. “We
organised them so much but kept failing
on the dates we wanted to do it, and then Romeo started trading seven days.”
Scheduling issues aside, the concept
for Mono-XO snowballed into something
much bigger than a pop-up, and it would
have been a discredit to put a timer on it.
“It turned into a situation where we could do this if we wanted to,” says Jones. “The creativity and ideas outweighed what
we could do in a month’s worth of pop-
ups. We started to develop the idea and
turn, Jones and Stafford both resigned
in January 2019. The ending might have been sour, but Jones is far from bitter — he’s grateful. “I always look back at that
situation and you have to take something positive out of all the negative things,
otherwise they become tragedies,” he says. “If the only good thing that came out of
that was to work with Sam and establish that relationship, it’s a good thing.”
Stafford and Jones found two silent
partners to go into business with, and both are accomplished in their own right. One is a retail whiz and the other has a savvy law/accounting skillset. So how did they go about selecting their partners? They
already knew them. “They’re both previous friends of ours,” says Stafford. “One really likes hospitality, but he’s never worked in
it. He’s the guy I talk to about finance and that kind of boring stuff. The other is a
“If someone didn’t get our personalities and we tried to sell them this idea, they’d probably think it’s a teenager’s birthday party with a barbecue.” – Sam Stafford March 2020 | 29
FEATURE // Collaborations: Part two
“We have an excruciatingly similar outlook on things. I think there’s a bit of comfort when you feel passionately about something and someone can back you up.” – Joe Jones
retail mastermind and he does one day a
Taking the plunge signified the start of
week at the venue.”
a new chapter for Stafford, who became a
business, Jones and Stafford are the go-to
always had plans to run his own place, but
In terms of the day-to-day running of the
guys, but their business partners offer a
wealth of knowledge. “One is well versed in real estate law, so that was helpful in
getting the site we wanted,” says Jones. “Even the little nuances of getting in
touch with people and making offers and
business owner for the first time. The chef
after he became privy to the lifestyle of a sole business owner, the shine of doing it yourself wore off. “All the people I’ve worked for who run small businesses have no time to enjoy life and become trapped,” he says.
Launching a business with familiar faces
negotiating. What’s great about our setup
was a non-negotiable for Stafford, who
valuable skillset they’re contributing.”
(For the record, he’s super easy-going over
is that everyone has a fairly unique and
Mono-XO opened its doors in July 2019
admits he’s “pretty difficult to work with”. the phone).
“I can’t imagine someone I’m not friends
in a location Stafford had his eye on for a
with would be very patient with me about
and scoped it out from his balcony,” says
very particular about certain things that
while. “Sam used to live across the street Jones. “The place hadn’t opened for six months and it was just sitting there.”
The four partners were quick to snap
up the Fitzroy space, but there was pause
for Jones at the beginning. “A momentary lapse in my confidence, maybe,” he says. “But my feelings regarding the past
workplace are personal and not to do with my ability to work well or do what I’m
good at. I feel connected and trusting of
the people I’m currently in business with,
the things I freak out about,” he says. “I’m
may not make sense to a lot of people and Joe is the same way in how he operates. The whole concept of this venue is a bit
confrontational for some — it’s meant to
be very stripped back, bare, basic and fun. If someone didn’t get our personalities
and we tried to sell them this idea, they’d probably think it’s a teenager’s birthday
party with a barbecue. We needed people who trusted us and knew us personally.”
and that’s what remedied my withdrawal.
Pre-established personal relationships
more selective about who I open up to and
environments where tensions run high
The situation has taught me to be infinitely who I decide to be creative with.” 30 | Hospitality
certainly have their perks, especially in at times. Jones’ training as a chef comes
in handy when Stafford needs a hand in the kitchen and same goes when Jones needs to lug stock around. “With Joe
and I operating the place, it’s easy,” says Stafford. “We generally think the same about most things in the venue.”
Jones and Stafford operate on the
same playing field, and there’s a strong trust between the two that was formed during a testing time. And while Jones
has owned Romeo Lane for the past six years, he says Stafford is “wildly ahead
of his time when it comes to logic” — a
huge compliment for a first-timer. “When you’re in business you need to be blunt
sometimes,” says Jones. “I enjoy that he doesn’t suffer in silence or is annoyed for no reason. He takes that element
out of his day-to-day which is incredibly professional and done with a lot of
foresight. We have an excruciatingly
similar outlook on things. I think there’s a bit of comfort when you feel passionately about something and someone can back you up. It gives you strength.”
You hear horror stories about people who start businesses with family or friends
— and they usually don’t end well. But nothing brings people together more
than a catastrophic period. This one just
happened to result in a venue Melbourne didn’t know it was missing. ■
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FEATURE // Charcuterie
Salt, time and bloodlines To nail charcuterie, chefs will need the perfect pig and well-honed techniques. WORDS Madeline Woolway
32 | Hospitality
first Meatsmith butchery in 2017. There are
to the tradition of charcuterie. There’s an
team specialising in making small goods for
artisans to everyday people have contributed overwhelming variety of pork-based products alone — prosciutto, pancetta, guanciale,
capocollo, salami, ’nduja and mortadella are
just a handful of the most popular. Despite the diversity, most use just three things: salt, time and the right breed.
Hospitality speaks with The Agrarian Kitchen’s
Rodney Dunn and Meatsmith butcher Troy
Wheeler about the ins and outs of working with the whole hog.
Rodney Dunn wears a number of hats on any
now three outlets across Melbourne, with the restaurants. “If a restaurant is looking for a
customised product, whether it’s a particular salami or a different type of ham that’s
not commonly found in a marketplace, we accommodate that,” says Wheeler.
“For me, it’s about utilising everything, so
nothing goes to waste. My customers really
enjoy pork racks and rolled loins, but legs aren’t as popular, so I need to use different methods
and techniques to turn them into something so it’s not wasted.”
given day at The Agrarian Kitchen. He co-owns
As with any area of cooking that has a long,
Demanet, with the concept now encompassing
is complex and Dunn is quick to acknowledge
the Tasmanian venture with wife Séverine
a five-acre farm with a cooking school and an eatery alongside its many gardens. On
the roster of classes at The Agrarian Kitchen
Cooking School & Farm is a lesson in whole pig charcuterie led by Dunn.
The style leans Italian, but according to Dunn,
the fundamentals are consistent across cuisines.
“If someone wants to go away and do something that’s more German, French or Polish, it’s all much of a muchness,” he says.
Dunn’s childhood in Griffith on the New South
multicultural history, the subject of charcuterie he doesn’t know it all. He does, however, have decades of experience curing and fermenting pork. For beginners, he recommends starting with salami. When curing a whole muscle,
there’s nowhere to hide. “With salami, you can
play with ratios and add extra fat in,” says Dunn. “Whereas with a prosciutto, if you don’t have enough fat, it’s just going to be dry and very
just have a shorter window that you need to be
There are differences, yes, but those
differences are mostly in flavour not technique.
they’ll take red capsicum, blend it up and add it into the fermented sausage.”
The point is differences in outcome are less
a result of the curing or fermentation methods
and more a result of what other ingredients are
added or the pork that’s used. The upshot? Chefs who can master the basics will have a host of options for their charcuterie menu.
Troy Wheeler isn’t a chef, but he’s definitely
mastered the basics and a whole lot more in
his 18-plus years as a butcher. Together with
chef Andrew McConnell, Wheeler opened the
another 15 minutes,” says Wheeler. “All the fat is soft: it coats your mouth and enhances all the flavours.”
your eggs in one basket.”
Wheeler agrees prosciutto is at the more
a good place to start. “Prosciutto is a little more
paprika,” says Dunn. “Go across to Hungary and
left out on the bench for
a prosciutto and something’s wrong, you’ve put
pepper to make salami. Travel through Italy
must. “Further south, there’s garlic, red wine and
the same as it will be if it’s
looking out for stuff. If you wait two years for
difficult end of the spectrum, however he thinks
and you’ll find villages where fennel seeds are a
and the texture isn’t quite
an eight- to 10-week cure time,” says Dunn. “You
Many of the Italians in Griffith are from Calabria, Dunn points out, and they’ll only use salt and
“When it’s cold, the flavour
Salamis also have a shorter curing time, which
salami, pancetta, capocollo, lardo and prosciutto. Dunn. “Everything else is a progression of that.”
14–15 degrees Celsius.
buy it from the deli.”
means sinking fewer resources. “Salami is about
“Griffith is where I first got taught to do it,” says
Serve smalls goods at
salty; you might as well go to Woolworths and
Wales Riverina, a well-known Italian enclave, is behind the lean toward products including
FEATURE // Charcuterie
ACROSS THE EUROPEAN continent,
other types of whole muscle charcuterie can be difficult because there are a couple of points
within the ageing process where things can go
wrong,” says Wheeler. “But things like guanciale and pancetta are really good places to start
because they are whole muscle curing: it’s just
salting and giving it time to mature to the point where it’s ready to eat.”
Dunn agrees there are easier whole muscles
to start with. His pick is pork neck: “I would encourage them to start with capocollo.”
Salami, Wheeler suggests, requires extensive
training. “I think that you need to be taught by
somebody who knows safe practices for making fermented products,” he says. “You need to
know a lot about the different types of bacteria and mold spores that are harmful to you and
March 2020 | 33
FEATURE // Charcuterie
Where the cuts come from A handful of Italian and Spanish charcuterie
Culatello; prosciutto; Jamon
the ones that create flavour and texture
“It’s really important to get one that is
of research and seek out advice from
end,” he says. “Some are really quick and
in your product. It’s important to do lots professional people, so you can do it safely for the consumer.”
going to give you a good flavour in the
the problem with the really quick ones is
they make everything taste really acidic.” The result will be a sour-like taste —
It’s also important to consider the
think mass-produced salami. Instead, Dunn
in-house at a restaurant and producing
is made using a traditional European culture.
differences between making charcuterie small goods for sale through a butcher
recommends T-SPX Bactoferm starter, which For whole muscles, Dunn opts for
— Wheeler is working within a stricter
equilibrium curing, which entails working
starter culture to make salami by law,
weighing the muscle first.
regulatory framework. He has to use a
whereas Dunn could choose not to. Both
out the amount of salt you should use by
advocate for its use regardless.
Just because Dunn recommends starting
time,” says Wheeler. “You’re running the
park. One of the chef–restaurateur’s early
“The traditional method is just salt and
risk of contamination or of things not quite working because of different variables.” You’re also running the risk of a less-
than-stellar end product. “I always add a
starter culture, because you’re just playing with fire if you don’t,” says Dunn.
Starter culture is a must, but which
“I always add a starter culture, because you’re just playing with fire if you don’t.” — Rodney Dunn the mold that’s appearing is not familiar, you should always ask questions.”
There’s some science to it as well. Making
with salami, doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the
sure pH levels drop to the right levels within
attempts went pear-shaped. “We hung
crucial for food safety and palatability.
them in front of an open window,” recalls
the right time period — about 48 hours — is
Dunn. “It was the absolute wrong thing
Prosciutto or salami, the quality of the meat
stops any of the inside moisture getting
with others who we know and will meet the
to do. The skin outside dried out and that out. It’s called case hardening.”
Newbie or expert, there are a few ways
always matters. “I raise my own pigs or work specifications we want,” says Dunn.
Wheeler is currently focused on working
one? “There are lots of different starter
to tell whether things are going to plan.
with a variety of heritage breeds called
profiles,” says Wheeler.
indicator,” says Wheeler. “Touch as well:
It’s partly driven by ethos, partly by the
but stresses they’re not all created equal.
texturally, it’s wet or sticky. And sight, if
cultures that will give you different flavour Dunn uses a pre-made starter culture,
34 | Hospitality
“I think smell is always a very good
when something doesn’t feel quite right
Tamworth, Hampshire and Durock. Why? characteristics of the breeds, which work well in charcuterie applications.
Producers, PorkStars and Provenance. The best chefs in world always want to (no, need to) know the source of their produce. So, it’s always a privilege to take a group of up-and-coming chefs to meet innovative producers. The farmers share their knowledge of farming rare breeds, latest butchery techniques and use of the whole pig for smallgoods, which fills our budding PorkStars’ minds with inspiration, ideas and even more love for the “magical beast”- the pig. And we cannot wait to see how this new understanding manifests itself in their restaurants.
Shot on location at Taluca Park pork farm in NSW as part of Appetite for Excellence produce tour.
FEATURE // Charcuterie “The first two, in particular, are the rarest
“It’s important to do lots of research and seek out advice from professional people.” — Troy Wheeler
breeds that exist in Australia and we like to bring awareness to those things,” says
Wheeler. “Through conscious consumption, we’re able to help bring those breed stocks
important we retain them.”
While the Tamworth comes with plenty
also really good for salamis,” says Wheeler. It’s a point underscored by Dunn’s
experience. At The Agrarian farm, 45
Dunn recommends reading Charcuteria
minutes’ drive from Hobart, Dunn rears Wessex Saddlebacks and Berkshires. “I
was after an old breed of pig and that’s what was available to me,” says Dunn. “They were bred at a time when fat was valuable.”
Lifestyle is also important. Opinion is
for tips on Spanish-style small goods
divided as to how significant environment
Meat: The ultimate companion by Anthony
says the two are 90 per cent of the
Puharich and Libby Travers features charcuterie tips for pork and beyond
36 | Hospitality
Meatsmith are guided by their
affected times. “From time to time we
date back centuries and I think it’s pretty
fat and meat content in the shoulders are
is a great starter according to Dunn
be fed an appropriate diet.”
lucky to have some of these bloodlines that
endangered list anymore. Australia is quite
are really good for prosciutto and the back
Salumi by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn
have a happy life that’s truly free range and
relationship with small producers and
set and have larger muscles. “Their legs
by Italian-American chef Paul Bertolli
in harmony,” says Wheeler. “They have to
up to a level where they aren’t on the
of back fat, Hampshires are bigger, heavier
Dunn still closely follows Cooking by Hand
ignored. “All of those things have to work
and feed are compared to breed — Dunn equation, while Wheeler thinks breed is equally important — but wherever you
fall, it’s clear none of these factors can be
farmers, especially in drought- and firefind inconsistencies, but I think that’s part and parcel of true free-range product,”
he says. “Sometimes it will be different,
but the quality will always be the same.
We communicate that through to the end consumer, whether it’s a restaurant or retail customers.”
For the many chefs and restaurateurs
who can’t rear their own pigs, Dunn
recommends working with a good butcher who can supply older pigs. “Look for over 12 months old, two years old is even better,” he says.
Reduced to their simplest, most small
goods are nothing more than salt, time and pork, but the likes of Dunn and
Wheeler are proving there’s a whole lot more to working with hog. For brave chefs, butchers and restaurateurs,
making charcuterie in-house will enhance understanding and respect for produce and process. ■
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FEATURE // Design Sake Manly by Luchetti Krelle
40 | Hospitality
FEATURE // Design
Design is part of the lifeblood of all venues — here’s why you should never overlook aesthetic. WORDS Annabelle Cloros
YOU ONLY HAVE one chance to make
a good first impression and competition
What are the core challenges when designing a hospitality venue?
Most overlooked considerations in venue design?
in the hospitality sector is heaving. The
design of a venue is typically the first thing
RL: Time, usually. Typically, we would be
that catches a customer’s eye and plays a
engaged for a hospitality fit-out with about
Cushla McFadden: Bathrooms have had
six to 10 months to fully design, gain
are now becoming an integral part of the
critical role in their decision to walk into or walk away from a venue.
Operators are now placing as much
emphasis on the fit-out of a venue as they are on service and food and beverage. So
what do the professionals think about the current state of hospitality design?
Hospitality talks to Rachel Luchetti from
Luchetti Krelle and Jade Nottage and
Cushla McFadden from TomMarkHenry
approvals and then tender and go through the construction period. It’s a huge
pressure to open for a particular month or season. Time is money, and the rent-free period is often limited. We’d like more
time, but in some ways it’s great because it forces the creativity to happen quickly and
then you get great job satisfaction seeing it come to fruition.
about the total customer experience, the
a history of being overlooked, however
experience. You can tell when a bathroom
design has been an afterthought as opposed
to carefully considered as part of the design. RL: Definitely the cost of services.
Mechanical services such as kitchen exhaust and the cost of putting toilets into a venue
if they’re not already there. We recommend finding a site that has already been used as
a restaurant or has those facilities as part of
a base build handed over, more like a warm shell than a cold shell.
most overlooked design elements and why spaces made for longevity not trends are
Best materials for hospitality venues?
the way to go.
Jade Nottage: Ceramic tiles, engineered
What are the main considerations before you start working with a hospitality client?
fabrics, vinyls and rubbers like marmoleum
Rachel Luchetti: A lot of it revolves
used; there is scope to use less-durable
timber, reconstituted stones, high rub count used in unconventional ways. It really does come down to where these materials are
around site selection and whether or not the client has the site. Most of the time, we’re brought in to work on an existing site. Then it’s about researching the
location and the concept for the offering. Most operators know what they don’t
want and will come to us with a list of
other venues they like. We try and listen as much as we can and come up with
something they haven’t thought of. It’s
33.3 per cent design, 33.3 per cent service and 33.3 per cent food.
materials is areas of minimal traffic or up
“We are definitely noticing a desire for more detailed and high-end design. Clients are placing a huge focus on the total customer experience from the moment they enter the venue.” – Cushla McFadden (r)
high and then use the more durable and
potentially less ‘exciting’ materials where
they will absorb the bulk of wear and tear.
RL: We always try to keep floor finishes hard
for cleaning and maintenance, and we try and deal with acoustics through wall and ceiling
treatments rather than floor. Something like Echopanel is so much more effective than carpet at extenuating the sound. You get
much more bang for your buck with a product that’s specifically designed for acoustics.
March 2020 | 41
FEATURE // Design
“It’s 33.3 per cent design, 33.3 per cent service, 33.3 per cent food.” – Rachel Luchetti How important is sustainability for clients and architects?
C.C. Babcoq by TomMarkHenry
Bathers' Pavilion by Luchetti Krelle
CM: We could all be doing more to
make more conscious decisions around sustainability by implementing clever
solutions into new designs. We always look at what can be reused from the existing venue before stripping it out including
existing equipment, finishes and lighting where possible.
RL: I think it’s one of the toughest
industries to be implementing sustainable principles because of the churn nature of hospitality projects. You hope to get 10
years, but you have others that don’t last more than a few years.
When we go into a venue that was
previously a hospitality concept, we try
to salvage as much as we can. But if it’s a
cold shell, it is difficult. We try and design for longevity and not for fads and source as many local products as we can.
design elements in a way that is flattering
affair with the ’60s, ’70s mod era, which
How would you describe the role of lighting in a venue?
maintain flexibility and still have really
make another comeback.
CM: It is one of the most important
to people. There are a lot of challenges to good lighting.
is fun. Sustainability and materiality will
Trend you’d like to see disappear?
elements in creating atmosphere. Lighting acts as the backbone to any successful
What’s currently trending in venue fit-outs?
JN: An ‘Instagram’ moment being
design, so it’s imperative to spend the time to get it right. It’s also vital to consider
CM: We are definitely noticing a desire
how lighting will adapt from day to night.
for more detailed and high-end design.
naturally with good design, rather
Clients are placing a huge focus on the
If there are multiple spaces within a
venue, it’s important to ensure the light
output is complementary, as these spaces
will potentially be seen at the same time. RL: There’s so much to lighting that
creates intimacy and certainly it’s about showing off the food and lighting the 42 | Hospitality
total customer experience from the
moment they enter the venue to the
moment they leave. It is no longer only about the dining experience, but guest
interaction as a whole from host stands to bathrooms and service.
RL: At the moment, there’s a bit of a love
part of the brief! This should happen than a forced element.
RL: I hope cane has done its dash. It’s
certainly been overused as of late so I’m hoping the next obsession is with more
natural materials. I think craft is in and
will be for a long time. We’re also trying
to move away from things like man-made stones and trying to be more responsible with sourcing local timbers. ■
Avenue Nightclub designed by Rockwell Group
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FEATURE // Beer pairing
Teamwork It might be one of the world’s most popular beverages, but beer has long lagged behind wine when it comes to food pairing — here’s why that needs to change and how. WORDS Madeline Woolway FRUITY, FLORAL, PHENOLIC, acetic,
of lees, beer has traditionally been taken
‘democratisation’ of dining has resulted
words have in common? They’re used to
around forward-thinking food.
acidic, and astringent: What do these
appraise both wine and beer, but many of
less seriously than wine in the halls of our “I think beer is seen as more of a
in casual eating experiences that revolve Not only is a dish like smoked Hiramasa
us are more likely to associate them with
working class drink,” says Carla Naismith,
kingfish with turmeric and finger lime
a handful of sommeliers, the majority
in Adelaide. Founded and led by women,
available alongside pink lemonade, red ale,
the former. While most can list at least would struggle to name one cicerone,
despite the fact they undergo training that’s equally as strenuous.
In hopes of rectifying the imbalance,
Hospitality speaks to Sparkke Brewing’s
assistant head brewer at Sparkke Brewing the social enterprise is known for pushing
boundaries with their beers — all of which come in cans that raise awareness for a range of social issues.
“Generally, fine dining people tend
dressing on the menu at a brewpub, it’s
grisette and dark lager on tap. They won’t all pair well, of course, but the options
are indicative of a new wave of food and beverage pairings.
“There’s a perception beer is quite heavy,
Carla Naismith and Emma McCaskill and
to reach for wine over beer, but we like
but in actual fact there are light, fruity beers
process of pairing beer and food.
love about what we do,” says Naismith.
kingfish sashimi,” says Emma McCaskill,
BrewDog’s Calvin McDonald about the
While the history of hops is as rich as that 44 | Hospitality
challenging [people] — that’s what we The chance to capitalise on pairing
opportunities has come to the fore as the
that can be paired with something like
head chef at Sparkke at The Whitmore.
FEATURE // Beer pairing Pair Sparkke
grisette is an
with a fruity
or use as
works well with
salt n’ chilli
With both food and brews evolving, venues can benefit from taking the time to think
about pairing during menu development.
For those that are new to the game, there
are no hard and fast rules that will lead to success. On the flipside, ‘no rules’ means plenty of room for fun.
Naismith says there are multiple ways
to approach the task. Some dishes will call for a complementary drink, others will
require something to cut through richness and cleanse the palate.
Calvin McDonald, operations manager
at BrewDog, finds it useful to think about
“You can pair just about anything, honestly. There are lots of ways to approach it.” – Carla Naismith versatility of lager as a pairing beer.”
Rounding out the holy trinity of pairing
pairing in terms of intensity. “I think that’s
is contrast. Alongside complementing and
pairing,” he says. The first and only.
Think of this triad as less rigid formula and
probably the first rule of beer and food
A lack of restrictions leaves plenty of
potential for bogus recommendations.
cutting through, it completes the matrix. more useful framework.
While sours can seem difficult to
Eager to myth-bust, McDonald has one
work with at first, they’re able to fill
using lager as a palate cleanser. They get
and contrast. “The sour market has not
particular peeve: “One you see a lot is
wasted a bit because they don’t have the same credibility as more modern styles, but definitely don’t underestimate the 46 | Hospitality
says McDonald. “There’s also room for
juxtaposition. I think pairing sweet things and sour beer is really interesting.”
Ultimately, and perhaps frustratingly, it’s
a matter of subjectivity: managers need to
decide whether to let flexibility overwhelm or encourage. Without the weight of
tradition, staff can be given free rein to
develop their own recommendations, while suggestions can be made on menus to offer guidance as well.
Sparkke at The Whitmore’s team
rely solely on the first strategy. “There’s information overload when it comes to writing too much on the menu,” says
Naismith. McCaskill agrees: “We’re trying to break away from traditional pairings
[so] it’s more of an experimental process.” BrewDog, on the other hand, does
the gap when it comes to both intensity
provide pairing suggestions on their menus
been explored that much because they
if customers are interested. “You have to
have such intense flavours; you really need something that stands up to it,”
and also trains staff to offer other options evaluate where the customer is in their journey,” explains McDonald.
and trying to instill some enthusiasm,”
says Naismith. “The beers I get the most excited about are the ones the team get
particularly familiar with beer will likely respond better to a complementary
and sour tamarind broth with a red ale.
behind as well.”
BrewDog might have become an
Sparkke’s matches come about organically
and four tap rooms across the globe, but
because of the close-knit relationship
between brewing team and kitchen team. Although the food isn’t designed around
international juggernaut with 94 bars expansion hasn’t resulted in a cookiecutter approach.
“Beer is so versatile, we don’t have
the brews or vice versa, things often end
steadfast rules in place,” says McDonald.
things that are in season,” says McCaskill.
pairings on the UK menu and apply them
up pairing naturally. “We’re [both] using Essentially, guests who aren’t
kangaroo tail wonton dumplings in a sweet
“We use similar ingredients in the cooking
and the brewing, just in different formats.” The chat between brewery and kitchen
“That’s why we don’t just take the
automatically. The range here is bigger, we
have 28 beers on tap and we have a bigger food menu, so it was worth taking stock
pairing, while an enthusiast might be
is open, says Naismith. The assistant
something they haven’t tried before.
together to go through new menus and
the beer-side of the business will sit down
season and what could pair well. It’s a
then go through the pairings one by one
ready to have their palate shocked with “Take something like our sausage
plate, for example,” says McDonald. “We
recommend it’s paired with our India pale ale, but if it’s a more advanced customer, we can ramp it up to our Imperial IPA.”
The suggested menu pairings function as
a gateway for less-confident diners.
Staff need confidence, too, especially if they’re advocating for one pairing
over another. Luckily, the lack of pomp and ceremony around beer makes it
less intimidating than wine. Of course,
training is still a must; it just doesn’t need to be rigid and formulaic. “It’s such a
brewer and head chef will sit down
brew projections, discussing what’s in
process that explains McCaskill’s favourite pairing on the current menu: ginger beer with Nomad Farms’ chicken poached in a masterstock with ginger.
“Carla and I are really open to learning
from each other,” says McCaskill. “We
and building [the menu] from scratch.”
McDonald says the person looking after
with the head chef, develop a menu and and try them. “I’ll suggest a few beers I
think might work [with a dish] and then
we taste them and gather our opinions —
the one we think works best is the one that makes it on the menu,” he says.
each come to the table with different
Pairing beer and food isn’t new; it’s
Both agree it’s important to keep an
consciousness. However venues go about
things, things that might not be ordinary.” open mind and try everything, even if it
might not seem like a fit — a match such as Naismith’s current favourite, Paroo
just yet to enter the mainstream foodie
pairing, there’s an opportunity to change the process and have a little fun along the way. ■
subjective thing and we want people to
be recommending things they genuinely
like themselves,” says McDonald. “A lot of the time, that won’t be something on the menu. So when we open a new venue,
we always go through the full menu and
the suggested pairings, and then let them come up with their own pairings as well.
I think the best thing to do is just let staff loose and see what they come up with.”
Having the kitchen and brewery in such
close proximity fosters open dialogue — a bonus for all. “When I’m brewing, people are walking in and out saying, ‘What’s
happening today? What are you brewing?’” says Naismith. “As things start to ferment, I take them out to the team and let them [taste] different stages of the process.”
The interaction gets staff excited about
what’s coming and gets them accustomed
to different flavour profiles. “From my end, it’s a lot of talking about what’s going on
March 2020 | 47
FEATURE // Beer pairing
“I think the best thing to do is just let staff loose and see what they come up with.” – Calvin McDonald
VIDEO // Behind the scenes
Pig head nuggets An in-depth look at Hospitality’s masterclass series.
BANH XEO BAR chef and
Pour over hot pork stock
co-owner Ben Sinfield uses a
till it covers half of the
free-range pig head to make
head. Pop a lid on it and
one of the Rosebery eatery’s
cook in the oven at 150
signature dishes. The meat is
degrees Celsius for three
packed down and set with
hours until cheek is giving
stock before cut into squares,
dunked in batter and deep-
Take tray out of the
fried until crispy. The nuggets
oven and leave to cool
are wrapped in a shiso leaf
for around an hour.
from Boon Luck Farm and
Put approximately one
dipped in fish sauce for the
litre of pork stock on
ultimate flavour bomb.
Ingredients •1 free-range pig head, split
by half. 6.
Pick meat and fat off the head. Roughly chop and place in a
•Pork stock; enough to half
tray. Slowly add the
cover head in tray
work it into the meat
•1 head of garlic
until set together. Press
•Dash of fish sauce
down until even and
•Salt and pepper
refrigerate overnight. 7.
Pop out the set meat
•60ml nuoc cham
onto a chopping board
• 1 chilli
and cut into chunks.
•Flour, egg and panko
Dip in separate bowls of flour, egg and
breadcrumbs for crumbing.
cover with cold water
ramekin with sliced chilli. 9.
Fry the nuggets until
Once boiled, rinse head
golden and season
in the sink.
with salt. 10. Arrange shiso on
a plate along with
Place the head in a tight-
pickles and fish sauce.
fitting tray or casserole dish,
To eat, place the
season with salt and pepper
nugget and pickles in a
and a dash of fish sauce.
shiso leaf and dip into
Cut the onion and garlic
into large chunks and
Watch the full video at
scatter around the head.
48 | Hospitality
Wash the shiso and put the fish sauce in a
Heat up pork stock until
Put the head in a pot and and bring to the boil.
reduced stock and
• 1 onion
•Pickled red onions
the stove and reduce
down the middle
•1 bunch of shiso
EQUIPMENT // Pastry scraper
Commonly used to lift and cut dough without
A must-have for any restaurant, not just pizzerias and bakeries.
Available in a range of sizes,
stretching or tearing.
shapes and materials with different handle options.
Great for keeping surfaces free from
Typically have straight
debris such as flour and
stainless-steel flexible blades.
small bits of dough.
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March 2020 | 49
5 MINUTES WITH ... // Tony Zafirakos
Tony Zafirakos In the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Ari’s Natural Wine Co. is going back to basics.
I WAS A graphic designer for the better
or subtractions. That means no additives,
style wine. We source pine resin from
always a family-side project. Eventually I
or fining. Those manipulations are simply
Greece, and add it to the fermentation. It
part of a decade and winemaking was
realised how much I loved it and decided
to make the switch. My father Ari is not a
trained winemaker, but his understanding
no sulphur whatsoever and no filtering there to speed up the process. We just
wait until the wine shows us it’s ready. I aim to make wine with soul … lots
the mountains just outside of Athens,
imparts a minty almost menthol kind of
aroma and flavour. We wrap the resin in cheese cloth and suspend it in the wine
of it is incredible. I really learnt the idea
of flavour and texture for a fulfilling
and gentle guidance was always the way
by working with completely natural
of operation so far and we can barely
hand and without electricity. Grapes are
aside from tasting great, has come along
of “raising” wine from him. Time, patience and that remains so to this day.
The term ‘natural’, where it relates to
wine, has become somewhat distorted
as its popularity rises. To me, it is wine produced from organic fruit where
possible and processed with no additions 50 | Hospitality
experience. We try to achieve this
principles. We process everything by
handpicked, destemmed by hand and
pressed on a hand-operated basket press. One of the most interesting wines we
produce is Retsini — a Greek Retsina-
for the duration of primary fermentation. We’ve doubled our capacity every year
keep up with demand! Natural wine,
at a time when consumers are growing more conscious of authenticity in the
products they buy, which is probably our main point of difference.
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Hospitality is the magazine for chefs, restaurant operators and foodservice professionals across Australia. It combines the latest industry...
Published on Mar 16, 2020
Hospitality is the magazine for chefs, restaurant operators and foodservice professionals across Australia. It combines the latest industry...