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NO.761 MARCH 2020





6 months frozen shelf life Space saving smaller cartons Available nationally Freezer to table convenience


GOLDEN PANCAKES (5x6Pk) 9066 CRUMPETS (12x6Pk) 9067


NO.761 MARCH 2020



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.



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’

cocktail instead…

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

Annabelle Cloros

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

Follow us

The Intermedia Group takes its Corporate and Social Responsibilities seriously and is committed to reducing its impact on the environment. We continuously strive to improve our environmental performance and to initiate additional CSR based projects and activities. As part of our company policy we ensure that the products and services used in the manufacture of this magazine are sourced from environmentally responsible suppliers.

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

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DISCLAIMER This publication is published by Food and Beverage Media, a division of The Intermedia Group Pty Ltd (the “Publisher”). Materials in this publication have been created by a variety of different entities and, to the extent permitted by law, the Publisher accepts no liability for materials created by others. All materials should be considered protected by Australian and international intellectual property laws. Unless you are authorised by law or the copyright owner to do so, you may not copy any of the materials. The mention of a product or service, person or company in this publication does not indicate the Publisher’s endorsement. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Publisher, its agents, company officers or employees. Any use of the information contained in this publication is at the sole risk of the person using that information. The user should make independent enquiries as to the accuracy of the information before relying on that information. All express or implied terms, conditions, warranties, statements, assurances and representations in relation to the Publisher, its publications and its services are expressly excluded save for those conditions and warranties which must be implied under the laws of any State of Australia or the provisions of Division 2 of Part V of the Trade Practices Act 1974 and any statutory modification or re-enactment thereof. To the extent permitted by law, the Publisher will not be liable for any damages including special, exemplary, punitive or consequential damages (including but not limited to economic loss or loss of profit or revenue or loss of opportunity) or indirect loss or damage of any kind arising in contract, tort or otherwise, even if advised of the possibility of such loss of profits or damages. While we use our best endeavours to ensure accuracy of the materials we create, to the extent permitted by law, the Publisher excludes all liability for loss resulting from any inaccuracies or false or misleading statements that may appear in this publication. Copyright © 2020 – The Intermedia Group Pty Ltd

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

Millennials (18–34-year-

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:

popular choice.

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

Nuggets/tenders 17%

Wraps 14%

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

Burger/sandwiches 46%

consumers mentioned they

attention from millennials who

The boom can be attributed, in

chicken categories

Value packs and seasonal

shops are now in second place

However, the average eater bill

Top 5

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

sauces. hardiegrant.com

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

further along

difficult to

the ground.


Kangaroo grass

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

Environmental credentials

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

Foodservice production

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,

Culinary uses

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

serving suggestions

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. ■

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Global Seafoods Distributors Australia PTY LTD 156 Burswood Rd, Burswood. Perth, Western Australia 6100 1300 008 389 / (08) 9472 8466 info@globalseafoods.com.au


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,

Equipment breakdown

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.

cover this.

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

Vehicle insurance

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

driver licence?

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

Workers compensation

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

Fire cover

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?

standard fit-out.

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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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


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

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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.

Country rolls

trade day

are one of the

is Saturday

best sellers

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

goes through

by 2pm

two tonnes

on most

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,

Baker Bleu

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

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PS40’s Africola

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


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

For a

with dark rum

in espresso

vibrant profile

lighter touch,

for its natural


that can bring

try infusing


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


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

Pepperoni; cacciatore

Lardo; lonza

Culatello; prosciutto; Jamon



Pancetta; soppressata

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. ■


Monday 30 March Doltone House Darling Island, Pyrmont





McCain launches

Stay Crisp Steak fries The new product offers a premium taste and crisp texture.

HOT CHIPS ARE one of the most popular

oil than regular fries and can be used in a

menu items in Australia, and McCain have

range of applications from made-to-order

For more information and

launched a new product set to satisfy diners

dishes to the bain-marie.

to request a sample

and foodservice operators. McCain Stay Crisp Steak fries offer a premium potato taste and a crisp, crunchy texture. The fries feature a clear coating, which

Plus, the flat-cut style ensures maximum coverage, meaning lowered plate costs

Visit: https://mccainfoodservice.com.

for operators.


The fries feature a gluten-free formulation,

ensures the product stays crisper for a longer

meaning they are suitable for a range of

period of time compared to regular fries.

dietary requirements and are available in

The superior Stay Crisp batter absorbs less 38 | Hospitality

10mm and 10 Plus varieties. â–

staycrisp-steak-fries/ Product code: 1000007418

nger o L r o f y p s Cri Deliciously


ak Fries 2kg y Crisp Ste ta S in ck Size: 6x a a C | P c M 8 1 4 7 00 ode: 1000 Product C

e, texture t s a t o t a t . mium po e r p ; s late costs t p n o d r e f r l e l a w elivers on te coverage and lo bs less oil, d e l y t s t r a flat cu that abso cellent pl x g e n i t h A classic t a i o w c longer. tation nique r n u o f e a s y e e p r r s p i u r t d c a an liciously p Fries fe e d n* y a o t i t s a l o Stay Cris t u m m r e o th ten Free f enabling u l G teak Cut S d e r e t t t ba Clear coa

*Manufactured in the same production facility that processes products containing gluten. May contain gluten.

mccainfoodservice www.mccainfoodservice.com.au | March 2020 39

FEATURE // Design Sake Manly by Luchetti Krelle

40 | Hospitality

FEATURE // Design

Good bones

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

Hospitality Design Fair is the premier event for creative inspiration and trend-setting interiors for hotels, clubs, bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues. It’s where you’ll find a complete market overview, specialist suppliers and the right partners for your next project.

27-28 MAY 2020, ICC Sydney Exhibition Centre Get your free ticket at HospitalityDesignFair.com.au with code: HDFHM


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

dining institutions.

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



beer that

or use as

works well with

a palate



Asian flavours




work well

it retro




imperial stout

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

Carla Naismith

“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

Emma McCaskill

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,

and tender.

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.

Method 1.

2. 3.



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

the sauce.

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

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 March 2020  

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

Hospitality March 2020  

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