NO.747 SEPTEMBER 2018
Our name has changed, our promise hasnâ€™t.
NO.747 SEPTEMBER 2018
Collab or cliché?
SHANNON MARTINEZ ON THE DOS AND DON’TS OF CHEF COLLABORATIONS
The last straw WHY LOCAL VENUES ARE DITCHING PLASTIC STRAWS
On display HOW CHEFS GALLERY IS USHERING IN A NEW ERA OF CHINESE CUISINE
September Contents 6 In focus
7 Openings 8 Business profile
12 Column 14 Best practice 16 Flavour of the month 18 Drinks
ollaborations are rife in the industry, with chefs teaming up to create bespoke menus for consumers willing to cough up the cash. Aussie chefs are given the opportunity to jet overseas and cook for a night or two and vice versa. But what’s the real value of these collaborations? Are they meaningful or just another culinary opportunity to slap your name on something? Chef Shannon Martinez is well-versed in the art of the collab, participating in food festivals and dedicated events that showcase what her venue Smith & Daughters is all about — immersive vegan food. Martinez pens a column for Hospitality on page 12, which includes tips to consider before agreeing to couple up. This issue, our drinks feature examines the many misconceptions around vermouth and how it’s making its way out of the shadows and into the spotlight. Speaking of drinks, the no-straw movement has well and truly kicked off, with venues banding together to give plastic the flick. We speak to Solotel and Archie Rose Distilling Co. who were some of the first to commit to the cause. Read the story on page 22. Hospitality is proud to support the Sydney Doesn’t Suck campaign, which encourages venues to think twice before they hand out straws. Personally, I find drinking out of a glass so much more enjoyable than a plastic tube and knowing you’re helping the environment makes it so much better. Just remember, every straw counts. Until next time, Annabelle Cloros Editor
4 Hospitality September 2018
22 Trends 26 Fried chicken 29 Beer 32 Doughnuts
37 Tapas 40 Shelf space 42 5 minutes with …
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Australian millennials are redefining what healthy eating really means.
$5.8 billion 36 per cent of millennials consider
and grown the most important factor when choosing
24 per cent look for
no additives or preservatives when considering healthy meals
E R VAT
6 Hospitality September 2018
commercial consumption accounts for
illennials, those aged 18–34, are now the largest healthy eating group in Australia and their influence on our food culture is undeniable. According to a CREST report released by global research company the NPD Group, healthy eating commercial consumption accounted for $5.8 billion in 2017. The findings also revealed healthy eating as a trend has grown by six per cent in the past year. The meaning of “healthy eating” has evolved in recent years and no longer revolves around low calories or low fat content; consumers now prioritise “clean” choices and transparency around ingredients. Millennials consider Australian owned and grown as the most important factor when choosing healthy options (36 per cent), followed by locally grown (31 per cent) and no additives or preservatives (24 per cent). With healthy eating top of mind for so many consumers, restaurants and cafés are adding more Australian-grown produce and healthy options to their menus. “These health-led, quality-assured meals and snacks can no longer be an option in foodservice, but a ‘need to have’ offering within the industry,” says Gimantha Jayasinghe, NPD deputy managing director. “Foodservice operators seeking to gain more visits and grow their bottom line should carefully consider their offerings to attract the most health-conscious generation.” Introduce a range of healthy snacks or highlight the locally grown produce on your menu in order to capture the growing market. n
Healthy millennials driving change
Openings Some of the latest venues to swing open their doors in Australia’s foodservice scene. 1
Darlinghurst, Sydney Brothers James and Josh Thorpe have opened wild ale and natural wine bar, Odd Culture, in Darlinghurst. Located on the second level of The Taphouse, the bar will offer a rotating menu of 20 beers, 12 wines by the glass and a 100-bottle list of local and international wild ales and sour beers. The food menu features natural cheeses, cured meats and tinned seafood, where guests can build their own mixed plate. Head chef Rob Paget has created a bar menu offering a selection of snacks and burgers, with an ’nduja salumi and cheddar reverse sourdough toastie one of the highlights.
Clooney Kitchen & Bar
Port Melbourne Port Melbourne has welcomed Clooney Kitchen & Bar, a ’50s-inspired cocktail bar named after jazz musician Rosie Clooney. Shannon McFarland and Will Crennan have designed the drinks offering which revolves around cocktails, craft spirits, Italian liquor and scotch tasting trays. McFarland will also be serving his signature housemade infused liqueurs including an apple tea flavour. A small wine list features French, Italian and Australian varieties alongside local craft beers. Head chef Leigh Stanicic has created a menu that combines Asian and European flavours and includes snacks, share plates and a four-course degustation that can be paired with cocktails.
Sydney CBD Merivale have opened a Spanish tapas bar located on Palings Lane in Sydney’s CBD. Lauren Murdoch has collaborated with executive chef Jordan Toft to design the menu, which will constantly evolve. Small bites and snacks are available including sliced jamon on crispbread and whipped salted cod. A range of tapas-style dishes are also on offer cooked on la plancha — a flat metal grill from Spain that reaches high heats. Larger dishes include chorizo, cuttlefish with parsley, garlic and olive oil and whole sardines. Drinks are served as half-size pours, prompting guests to sample a range of cocktails, beers and wines. Sangria is also available on tap.
Melbourne CBD Christian McCabe and Dave Verheul have announced Lesa — a new concept located above their award-winning venue, Embla. Lesa focuses on a slower pace of dining and will offer guests a four- or six-course tasting menu, with late-week lunch sittings also available. Dishes include raw flounder with hazelnut, green almond and pear leaf alongside chicken porridge with almond milk and black chestnut. The wine list focuses on minimal-intervention Australian wines and old-world vintages.
4 September 2018 Hospitality 7
Shanghai Dumpling Bar
Chefs Gallery Kaisern Ching is the man behind one of Sydney’s fastest-growing Chinese restaurants, and has ambitious plans to diversify the brand and take it to a new level. By Annabelle Cloros.
nce upon a time, Chinese cuisine was restricted to a food court or your neighbourhood favourite. Fast-forward to 2018 and the country now has a range of modern Chinese restaurants on offer, covering everything from yum cha to dim sum, barbecued meats, live seafood and noodles. Chefs Gallery has rapidly expanded across Sydney since its establishment in 2010, with the group set to experience continued growth in 2018 and beyond. Founder of Chefs Gallery Kaisern Ching talks to Hospitality about the group’s biggest challenges, the perks of operating in shopping centres, the differences between running a business in Asia and Australia and reveals what the future holds for the brand.
GAP IN THE MARKET Ching was the man responsible for bringing the Din Tai Fung franchise to Aussie shores, where he ran the business for three years. Not long after, he decided to branch out and establish his own concept, but Ching learnt a number of important lessons about Australia’s dining landscape while on the job. “Working for an international franchise, you learn a lot about process 8 Hospitality September 2018
Kaisern Ching Chefs
“Some skill sets are harder to come by via recruitment, so we have specially designed programs for people to attend.” – Kaisern Ching
and standardisation,” he says. “You learn how to keep the quality consistent by having strict process controls and human resource controls. Standard operating procedures allow the business to run smoothly without all the issues of start-ups.” Operating an international franchise comes with a number of limitations, and Ching wanted to establish a brand that was tailored to the local market. “Din Tai Fung came from Taiwan, and it’s very hard to adapt the way things are done,” he says. “There were limits on the products we could offer and limits when it came to local labour and work ethic. So we decided to create a brand that is closer to the market in terms of what the customer wants and for future staff members, which is how we came up with Chefs Gallery — a brand adapted to the Australian market.”
IDENTIFYING AND OVERCOMING CHALLENGES Chefs Gallery has been operating since 2010 and is now a fixture in the Sydney dining scene, but Ching was faced with a number of hurdles during the launch phase of the business. “When we first started, the key challenge was education,” he says. “Eight years ago, we didn’t have a lot of modern Asian restaurants and the main restaurants were in Chinatown, which were predominantly Cantonese cuisine. We faced issues with educating people and bringing a Westernised version of Chinese food to everyone.” But the goal was clear: to deliver a modern interpretation of Chinese cuisine that was attractive to a range of customers. “We haven’t lost the authenticity of Chinese cuisine and are able to let consumers have the best of both worlds,” says Ching.
Chefs Gallery menu items
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September 2018 Hospitality 9
DETERMINING LOCATIONS Chefs Gallery currently has six stores around Sydney, with two venues in the CBD. The other four are located in shopping centres in North Ryde, Bankstown, Hurstville and Parramatta, which means the restaurants are exposed to a significant amount of foot traffic. “We believe in bringing the product home for our customers,” says Ching. “A lot of our customers are young professionals and are predominantly aged between 25 and 40; there are some young families and couples as well. So when we look for our locations, we go for areas where we can target people from this profile.” Running venues in shopping centres has a number of perks alongside high levels of foot traffic; however guaranteed customers come at a cost. “The rent is slightly higher in terms of the monthly recurring rental payments, but there is a lot of value when it comes to working with a shopping centre,” says Ching. “If you’re a standalone venue, you need to pay for rubbish collection, security and air conditioning. But when you’re in a shopping centre, it’s all included in the rent so overall it works out — as long as you have the right product and the right level of revenue.”
ATTRACTING AND RETAINING STAFF Sydney is an incredibly flooded marketplace and the industry is in the midst of a staffing crisis that shows no signs of improvement. Ching currently employees 200 workers, and says it’s not difficult to attract staff, but keeping them can be a challenge. “Recruiting is easy, but it’s about getting the right person,” he says. “There are so many restaurants opening and many people go to greener pastures,” he says. To ensure staff are invested in the business, Chefs Gallery conduct performance reviews with staff members every six months. Employees are also able to receive bonuses which are determined by the performance of the venue along with their rank, i.e. a head chef or sous chef. “We have a lot of incentive programs to keep our staff excited,” says Ching. “If you’re a head chef, part of the package will link to the performance of the shop’s turnover. If you’re in 10 Hospitality September 2018
the lower rank, like sous chef and below, you get a share of the bonus.” Education and training is also at the forefront of the group’s operations, and Chefs Gallery pay for chefs to attend food safety courses, which is an essential qualification employees can utilise throughout their hospitality career. “We send them to courses constantly,” says Ching. “Our chefs all need to attend them so they’re aware of the requirements.” Chefs Gallery also have their own inhouse training programs run by senior staff members, which cover specialised skills
getting into the quick-service space and are looking at having smaller-format takeawaydriven types of concepts,” says Ching. Food Assembly will open in Wynyard Station and take the place of the group’s current yum cha operation. The restaurant will have one menu that encompasses a number of concepts including Porter Filter coffee, Shanghai Dumpling, Bao Bao hot pot, Canto Pop (bento boxes) and Ipoh Express (Malaysian). “If you go to one restaurant, you’re committed to one type of cuisine, but Food Assembly will have a bit of everything, so you can have chicken
“We decided to create a brand that is closer to the market in terms of what the customer wants and for future staff members, which is how we came up with Chefs Gallery — a brand adapted to the Australian market.” – Kaisern Ching including dumpling and noodle-making. “Some skill sets are harder to come by via recruitment, so we have specially designed programs for people to attend,” says Ching. “It’s good for cross-training and people with no experience who still want to join the team. They learn something and it’s good for them — you can’t take it away from them.”
EXPANSION PLANS Sydney can expect to see one or two new Chefs Gallery locations launch in the Sydney CBD, but the brand has recently announced a new concept, Food Assembly, which will house a number of brands in one location. “We are
rice and a coffee from the same place so people have choices in one location.” The first Food Assembly is scheduled to launch in September, with the group confirming another location will open in Steam Mill Lane in Sydney’s Darling Square later in the year. With its footprint reaching across Sydney, Chefs Gallery has cemented itself within the dining landscape, offering a consistent and reliable dining option to customers. “We pride ourselves on being innovative,” says Ching, “but at the same time, our concepts are affordable and accessible to pretty much everyone.” n
Honest goodness. goodness.
AVAILABLE NOW. CONTACT YOUR LOCAL FOOD SERVICE DISTRIBUTOR
What’s that, another collab? Chef Shannon Martinez gives it to us straight about collaborations and whether the reward is worth the risk.
t seems like you can’t scroll through Instagram for more than five seconds these days without coming across a post for a collab, and to be honest, I’m finding myself being less and less interested in them. Let’s be real — what used to be an event that saw actual collaboration between chefs and restaurants has slowly turned into an excuse to have a piss up with mates in another state (flights and accommodation covered). Now, this isn’t to say that all collabs are like this. By any means, I’ve been to some great events in the past. But unless the two businesses are actually teaming up to create new dishes and incorporate both chefs’ backgrounds and styles, what exactly is the point? Personally, I’m very picky about the collabs I agree to be involved in. I basically have one rule: only say yes if both parties can learn something from each other. Oh, and that it’s going to be fun, because these events
Seeing as though vegan food is kinda my thing, I’ve intentionally made a point to only do collabs with non-vegan chefs and restaurants. are a whole lot of work (okay, okay, two rules). Seeing as though vegan food is kinda my thing, I’ve intentionally made a point to only do collabs with non-vegan chefs and restaurants. Teaming up with the likes of Duncan Welgemoed of Africola, Morgan McGlone of Belles Hot Chicken, Jimmy Garside from The Unicorn and Mike Patrick from Fancy Hank’s BBQ gives you an idea of exactly what I mean when I talk about doing something truly different and original. It’s exciting, it’s weird and the results that come from creating an all-vegan menu with a chef that normally relies on their meat and dairy arsenal leads to some amazing creativity, and the turnout and media hype these events create has always been huge. So here are some things to consider if you’re thinking about jumping into the world of collabs: • If you want your event to stand out and be truly successful and worthwhile, do something different from your regular day to day. • Be picky. Don’t say yes to every person that offers. What can start off as excitement from customers that they have a chef from interstate in town for one night can quickly turn into, “Oh, old mate’s cooking here — again.” • Don’t do collabs as a way to make money because generally you won’t. It’s not really the point. • Only work with people you respect and enjoy being around. Collabs can be very stressful, and you don’t want to find yourself busting your ass for some jerk and going home a wreck. • A takeover is not a collab. n
12 Hospitality September 2018
Building support with peers Creating a local group within your community is a sure-fire way to foster engagement and build links with like-minded professionals. By Ken Burgin.
ow’s business? Do you usually say it’s great? Perhaps it’s actually not that good — a long winter, a key staff member just left or the landlord is being difficult. It would be nice to discuss problems openly with someone else who’s in the same boat. It feels like a level of trust was developing at the Restaurant Leaders Summit in Melbourne, with 275 industry professionals talking honestly and openly about hopes, fears and challenges. So how could you develop this throughout the year and in your local area? Here are some tips to making business a little less lonely.
JOIN YOUR LOCAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE When you attend chamber of commerce events, you’re sure to be the most interesting person in the room — restaurant and café stories are much more engaging than those told by accountants or real estate people! Pass around your business card — you’ll gain business and connect with other entrepreneurs. It’s nice to talk with others at your level, not just the staff!
TAKE THE LEAD If you wait for others to make a move, years will pass. A simple coffee catch-up or afternoon drink can kick things off if there’s no local organisation. Walk around and drop off invitations. When you do meet, keep 14 Hospitality September 2018
the tone positive and have some structure. You won’t change the government or the millennial generation anytime soon, so focus on exchanging business wins and management ideas.
ORGANISE EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES Invite a social media expert to talk about Facebook marketing or an accountant to discuss tax law changes. Tech talk is also popular. If you know someone who has upgraded their POS or customer contact system, why not ask them to share their experience?
KEEP UP-TO-DATE ON LOCAL ISSUES Watch the local papers and be ready to react. A few emails to colleagues with information about who to contact will soon have a dozen people writing to the mayor and making a difference.
ASK THE LOCAL MP TO MEET YOUR GROUP They all want to ‘meet the people’, and you’re giving them a great opportunity. Set it up as a conversation, not confrontation — this can be a good drawcard for reluctant operators and positions you as an influential figure.
PLAN A LOCAL FOOD EVENT These events take a great deal of organising,
Your generosity can start building a community that benefits everyone. and are best handled by a local council or tourist body. You can start the ball rolling and bring others on board. Local government bodies love food events because they involve so many businesses and are popular with residents. Events like these will ‘lift all boats’, and no-one is happier than a café-owner after a very busy festival. When you make cash registers ring faster, everyone becomes more positive!
UPDATE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS Post about the new paint job at another café (finally!) or give praise for a dish at a non-competing restaurant. This is a sure-fire icebreaker — they’re expecting you to be a mortal enemy, but you can say nice things. Give and you will receive. Not everyone understands this — the laws of reciprocity mean people feel a need to return the favour when you give to them. Your generosity can start building a community that benefits everyone. n
at DS us O e O Se E F N FI
Flavour of the month The flowering native shrub can be used to add a zingy lime flavour to sweet and savoury dishes, writes Andrew Fielke.
eraldton wax is a recent addition to the suite of native Australian flavours championed by culinary figures including Ben Shewry of Attica and Jock Zonfrillo from Orana. It is known far better as waxflower in the cut-flower industry and is coming into bloom in Western Australia, where it is endemic.
GROWING AND SEASONALITY Waxflower is one of the major ‘filler’ flower crops grown in the global cut-flower industry with large production centres in Australia, Israel, USA (California) and South Africa. It is an erect shrub measuring 0.5 to four metres high and bears white or pink flowers around June to November. There are many named varieties now that are protected by plant breeders’ rights.
FLAVOUR PROFILE For culinary use, the fine, needle-like leaves are easily stripped from the stem (like you do with rosemary) and when crushed and macerated, exude a magnificent lime, lemongrass flavour and aroma with a hint of ginger-like spice. The fresh cut stems will easily last a week or more when refrigerated and kept covered to prevent drying out.
CULINARY APPLICATIONS Geraldton wax is wonderful infused in good extravirgin olive oil to dress salads, processed into a salsa verde or pesto or to baste fish, shellfish and meats. The versatile ingredient can also be used in sweet applications such as sorbets, panna cotta and paired with white chocolate. At Attica, Geraldton wax paste is paired with a red kangaroo dish, while Orana offers Coorong Mullet with Geraldton wax and watercress. Innovative mixologists are also starting to muddle and make syrups with the leaves. Look out for Geraldton waxinspired gin and craft beers in the near future. Geraldton wax is brilliant in a fragrant tea — neat or blended with other leaves like Jasmine. Once flowers are fully open, they can be used in a pickle paired with Kingfish or crystallised in a dessert. That’s the joy of playing with native ingredients in our lucky country — there are so many more species to try and so much more to learn. Andrew Fielke is a chef who has 33 years’ experience specialising in native foods. Fielke operates a national native food supply business in Adelaide. creativenativefoods.com.au 16 Hospitality September 2018
Applications now open for Proud to Be a Chef 2019 Apprentice chefs are invited to submit applications to the program, which provides invaluable experiences for foodservice professionals.
ntries are now open for the 20th anniversary iteration of Proud to Be a Chef — Australia’s number one foodservice mentoring program, designed to help create tomorrow’s culinary leaders through the recognition, professional development and ongoing support of today’s apprentices. Proud to Be a Chef is truly a life-changing experience, one that helps apprentice chefs build the skills to support them throughout their foodservice careers. “The overarching aim is to provide support to ensure apprentice chefs stay engaged and inspired about their career choice,” says Fonterra Foodservice Channel Marketing Manager Kym Gill, who is overseeing the 20th anniversary program. From now until 31 October, apprentice chefs can apply online for a place in the program at www.proudtobeachef.com. Entries are assessed by a panel of judges who look at the ‘total package’ — the applicant’s entry recipe, their demonstrated passion for the industry and how participating in the program will help them in their journey. “Above all, we’re looking for apprentice chefs who demonstrate drive and determination and are willing to throw themselves in the deep end,” says Gill. From the entries, 32 finalists are selected and will be flown to Melbourne in February 2019 to take part in an all-expenses-paid four-day mentoring program. The exact content of the 20th anniversary Proud to Be a Chef program will be revealed once the finalists arrive in Melbourne, but it will include field tours, skills workshops, dining at prominent restaurants and educational classes with industry leaders. The four-day mentoring program culminates in an opportunity for
finalists to showcase their talents and skills in preparing a dish of their own creation, capped by an awards night, where one finalist will be presented with the jewel in the Proud to Be a Chef crown — an international culinary scholarship tailored to their personal interests and professional goals. Mentors for the 2019 program will be Scott Pickett, chef/owner of Pickett & Co; Christy Tania, internationally acclaimed pastry chef and owner of Glace Dessert Artisanal and Peter Wright, Fonterra Foodservice executive chef. The finalists will have the opportunity to work closely with mentors both through masterclasses and site visits to restaurants. Visit www.proudtobeachef.com for entry forms, contact info and video interviews with past winners, finalists and mentors. n September 2018 Hospitality 17
Rethinking vermouth Often mistaken as a spirit by consumers, vermouth is stepping out of the martini’s shadow and making a name for itself. By Annabelle Cloros.
here are a handful of stigmas attached to vermouth — specifically the image of an old bottle gathering dust on the shelf. It’s also commonly pigeonholed as a spirit thanks to its inclusion in a range of classic cocktails, when it is in fact a fortified wine. Vermouth has been around in some form since 400BC where it was originally used for medicinal purposes. But the vermouth we pour into cocktails has deep roots, with Italian distiller Antonio Benedetto Carpano founding the beverage in 1786. With such a rich history, why is there so much confusion around one of the world’s oldest beverages? We talk to Rebecca Lines, sommelier and co-owner of Banksii Vermouth Bar and Bistro, and Joe Jones, bartender and co-owner of The Mayfair and Romeo Lane, about mistaken identity, storage and what venues should look for when selecting vermouth.
MYTH BUSTER Vermouth has only recently gained popularity in Australia thanks to our adoption of aperitivo. And with our new-found love of cured meats, cheese and canned goods come equally good drinks that are designed to sip on, not scull. Joe Jones believes Australian consumers haven’t quite grasped what vermouth is just yet. “I think some people mistake it for amaro or confuse it with Campari because of its point of origin,” he says. Banksii in Sydney’s Barangaroo has a heavy vermouth presence across its food and drink menu, with Rebecca Lines putting customer confusion down to a handful of elements. “Most people don’t know it’s a wine-based product — they tend to think it’s a spirit,” she says. “We’ve also come from the American background of understanding. In Europe, it’s drunk as an aperitif, but when it hit America, they were in the throes of a cocktail revolution so it was used for cocktails. We have learned what we know from America and we’ve used it much like they did.” 18 Hospitality September 2018
FLAVOUR PROFILE Selecting the right vermouth all comes down to your venue’s style. There are two types of vermouth — white and red — with white typically described as pale and dry and the red, slightly bitter and flavoured with spice. However, there is much crossover in terms of flavour profile, and white and red can easily exude similar characteristics. “A lot of people ask me about flavour profiles and they are hard to talk about,” says Lines. “It’s based on the types of botanicals and how much sweetness they add. Even a dry style can have some level of sweetness to it. It would depend on whether someone is using a Semillon base or Viognier — those two wines are very different and change the base of the product. You might find a dry variety spicy and peppery and then you might find another with strawberry gum notes and a slight nuttiness or salty character.” Another important consideration when purchasing vemouth is to determine if it’s pleasant to drink by the glass. “A dry vermouth should be consumable on its own and acceptable for use in a martini,” says Jones. “Sweet vermouth has to be malleable to a negroni and a Manhattan. If you’re going to use it in a mixed drink, you need to be able to drink it on its own because cocktails are the sum of their parts. You can have the world’s best gin, but a cocktail made with shitty vermouth will still make the world’s worst negroni.”
STORAGE Due to its categorisation as a spirit, some venues make the mistake of storing vermouth on the shelf which is a big no-no. It’s important to store vermouth in the fridge once it’s opened, which will significantly extend its life and minimise spoilage. “It begins with understanding it’s a wine-based product, so much like wine, it will oxidise,” says Lines. “A lower ABV vermouth’s (aromatic, crisp and refreshing style) oxidation notes will show quicker than a spicy, complex style. You really have to be using the product,
“Most people don’t know it’s a winebased product — they tend to think it’s a spirit.” – Rebecca Lines
Joe Jones’ Petal, featuring Italian vermouth, Gentian amaro, soda and grapefruit oil
and I think in the past, that was the problem. Someone would have a dry style of vermouth waiting for one person to order a martini and it sat there for however many months on a bar shelf.” Jones agrees, and says vermouth can easily spoil due to incorrect storage. “It’s wine-based, so it’s not exclusively made via distillation, mainly maceration, so it does need to live in the fridge. Cocktail writer Jared Brown wrote a really great article about how storing vermouth in the fridge can extend its shelf life by up to 10 times.”
LOW-ALCOHOL OPTION Consumers have become more interested in low-ABV beverages and vermouth just happens to be one. Offering beverages with a lower alcohol content opens your venue up to a wider range of customers and can encourage staff to be more creative. “We do a few low-alcohol drinks including a Bamboo, which is half vermouth, half sherry tuned up with bitters,” says Jones. “We also do a lot of half-vermouth, half-amaro combinations for tall drinks. Serving inverse versions of drinks became a trend a couple of years ago, so lowering the alcohol by flipping the ratio, so a Manhattan becomes two parts sweet vermouth to one part whiskey.” Lines has her own take on a G&T, but instead replaces it with vermouth. “You can have it neat by itself on ice; we call it a V&T which is very popular,” she says. “It’s a similar taste to a G&T with a low ABV. They really are delicious by themselves, and people still think it’s a cocktail when you give it to them because of the botanicals and complexity.”
PROFITABILITY Like many European aperitifs or liqueurs, vermouth is a relatively cheap addition to the bar, and one that can be profitable. “Bottles of Dolin Blanc, which I think is the most applicable and malleable, is $27 a bottle and it’s really nice on ice and in a martini,” says Jones. “People sell them for about $9 a nip, so there’s definitely profit to be made if you’re selling a lot of it.” Banksii have an expansive vermouth menu with a glass of vermouth starting at just $5 and the highest hitting the $21 price point, which is affordable for consumers especially given the longevity of the drink. “When you’re talking about something pre-dinner or even at the end, the benefit is that it’s something you can sip on and usually they are over ice,” says Lines. “They are designed to aid digestion and get your palate going for the meal.”
HOMEGROWN With acceptability on the rise, a local vermouth scene has begun to grow within Australia, however, Lines doesn’t think there’s an Australian style emerging just yet. “When you start to see the variations in all of the different styles worldwide, it’s really hard to pinpoint one and say, ‘It’s Australian’,” she says. “You have Regal Rogue which is made to be fresh, easy-drinking, crisp and refreshing and then you have Maidenii, which is a more complex style.” On the flip side, Jones isn’t a fan of Australian vermouth, and believes it just doesn’t compare to Italian or Spanish varieties. “One, they’ve had hundreds of years more practice,” he says. “When you have a negroni made with Antica Formula, it’s rich, bold, chewy and has body. That viscosity and Italian slightly sugar-heavy product creates a flavour profile that’s embedded in people’s memories. “I’ve travelled around the world and a lot of the people I serve aren’t from Australia. I’m fully aware that when you make something for them, it’s meant to taste like a uniform idea and I don’t think it’s easy to articulate via Australian products. It’s not the popular choice, but I’ve also got to appreciate that I need to give people the best that I can.” There are many uses for vermouth, whether it’s served neat or in a cocktail. With the rise of a European-style drinking culture, Australians are wising up to the new era of drinking which vermouth is most definitely a part of. n 20 Hospitality September 2018
“You can have the world’s best gin, but a cocktail made with shitty vermouth will still make the world’s worst negroni.” – Joe Jones Joe Jones Photo credit Carmen Zammit
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ver two years in the making, Hum is taking the hospitality scene by storm. The community-focused technology works to connect cafés and restaurants with leading, quality suppliers that are handpicked from across Australia. Hum offers a number of benefits, including access to deals of the day that are sent directly to your inbox. But Hum’s Greg Walsom points out that Hum is more than just a price-led platform. “We’re about helping out independent venues and bringing them together with great suppliers who are the absolute best in each category at a price that benefits everyone,” he says. “We’re not about a race to the bottom.” The platform also acts as an aggregation service, where venues can bring their existing suppliers into the platform. Suppliers do not need to be registered with the service for venues to order from them. There’s no need to juggle multiple ordering platforms from multiple suppliers. We’re revolutionising ordering, promotions and communication between selected suppliers and venues. Giving venues up to 10 hours per week back each and every week. It’s what venues have been dreaming of, and who doesn’t want extra hours back so they can focus on their customers? With a host of new features in the pipeline, new and interesting suppliers joining all the time, and bringing their unique stories to life, there’s so much to be gained from joining Hum. Oh, and it’s free. Register now at yourhum.com/join September 2018 Hospitality 21
Hospitality businesses are joining the crusade against plastic straws and removing them from their venues. By Brittney Levinson.
he campaign against single-use plastic straws continues to gain traction across Australia as an increasing number of venues boost their commitment to sustainability. Here, we find out why venues are getting behind the movement and the challenges they’ve faced along the way.
WHY THE PLASTIC STRAW? Billions of single-use plastic straws end up on Australian beaches, waterways and landfill every year due to their inability to be correctly processed through recycling facilities and the reality that people simply don’t put them in the bin. Thanks to increased media attention, consumers are increasingly aware of the devastating impacts single-use plastic items have on the environment, which is putting pressure on venues to remove them from their businesses. Archie Rose Distilling Co. in Sydney successfully phased out single-use plastic straws from their Rosebery venue this year and only supply paper straws when requested. Head of Hospitality Harriet Leigh recalls the turning point for her was seeing an employee run past her with a wheelie bin in tow. “He tripped up and the contents of the bin went flying out and it was entirely lemons, limes and straws,” she says. “I looked at this pile of plastic and fruit and thought that was such a powerful image of what the waste product of bars is.” Archie Rose went on to stop supplying plastic straws to its customers, and Leigh says the reaction has been positive. “We’ve had almost no push back, everyone seems happy with it,” she says. “In fact, most people don’t even notice there’s no straw. I would say 95 per cent of people just pick up the drink and start drinking. If you think about it, when you drink at home, you don’t put a straw in a drink — people are already used to not having a straw.” Venues in Sydney are being encouraged to ditch plastic straws as part of the recently launched #SydneyDoesntSuck campaign. On 1 August, all Opera House restaurants and bars stopped supplying plastic straws, including Solotel Group’s Opera Bar, which was going through more than one million straws each year. “It’s a decision we felt was right and one our customers were actually asking for,” says Solotel Group CEO Justine Baker. Solotel also committed to removing straws from its entire portfolio, and on 1 August, the group became completely plastic straw-free. “A lot of our Inner West venues had been straw-free for a year before,” says Baker. “They’d gone through the change with both staff and customers 22 Hospitality September 2018
and had really seen a lot of support, so we knew it wasn’t going to be impossible; we just had to make a commitment and do it.”
CHALLENGES FOR VENUES Removing plastic straws might sound easy, but it isn’t without its hurdles. There will undoubtedly be those who oppose going straw-free, so it’s essential to have some options on hand. Initially, Archie Rose contemplated using metal straws as an alternative but decided against it after a trial run with metal skewers, used for drink garnishes. “We had 50 metal skewers in the building and within three days we were down to 15 because so many had been stolen,” says Leigh.
“Once people get into that habit, you start looking at every other aspect of your takeaway, consumable needs.” – Harriet Leigh ”I personally don’t believe mining metal and manufacturing it into a straw is necessarily greener than not having a straw at all. Also, you end up with so many walking out the door that it just becomes very expensive to replace them.” When a customer at Archie Rose requests a straw, they’re now given a paper one, to which there has been no complaints. But it’s not just customers using straws; bartenders are often seen using them to taste-test drinks. At Archie Rose, bartenders have stopped using straws and instead use a metal bar spoon to sample drinks. “We take [some liquid] out of the drink and put it on the back of our hand and taste it that way,” says Leigh. It’s also important for staff to be aware that some customers have a genuine need to use straws. “We’re aware that some people with
disabilities have to use straws to drink so we have [paper] straws available,” says Baker. “We’re very conscious of making sure it is a holistic change and a positive one.”
GETTING THE MESSAGE ACROSS The key to getting customers on board with the change is to keep the message positive. “You want to bring people along the journey — you don’t want to alienate them through the process,” says Baker. “It’s a great opportunity to engage with your customers at point of service, so just talk to them about it.” Baker suggests using positive words and phrasing to help customers understand the reason behind the change. “The term ‘ban’ is a very negative approach,” she says. “We just want to explain the ‘why’ and if people aren’t happy with the change, we do have paper straws available.”
BENEFITS Aside from the benefits to the environment, eliminating plastic straws is an easy cost-cutter for venues. Before the ban, Archie Rose would pay approximately 1.4 cents for a cocktail straw and three cents for a large one. Multiplied by the 6000-odd straws the venue was using in a year — that’s a whole lot of unnecessary spending. “By putting nothing in 99 per cent of your drinks, you’re saving money,” says Leigh. Not only that, Leigh says drinks also look better without a black plastic straw sticking out the top. “Once you become conditioned to it, [you] start seeing it as rubbish sitting on top of a drink,” she says. “It looks abhorrent to me now.” Leigh says straws are a “gateway item” for encouraging people to think about sustainability. “Of the four big single-use plastic items
“You want to bring people along the journey — you don’t want to alienate them through the process.” – Justine Baker. — plastic bags, drink bottles, straws and coffee cups — straws are the only thing that don’t require the consumer to produce something themselves,” she says. “You don’t need a tote bag, you don’t need a KeepCup, you just have to say no to the straw. Once people get into that habit, you start looking at every other aspect of your takeaway, consumable needs.” Baker encourages all venues to get behind the movement and says removing straws is an easy step to making your venue more sustainable. “We really encourage other sections of the industry to get on board,” she says. “It’s not that hard — you’ve just got to do it. Doing something is better than doing nothing.” Removing plastic straws from your venue is a positive change that can be implemented today. Be prepared to explain the reasoning behind the change to customers who might not understand and remember to keep the message positive. n
September 2018 Hospitality 23
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Fried chicken has taken centre stage at a number of venues across Australia and consumers can’t get enough of the finger-lickin’ good dish. Hospitality talks to Julian Cincotta from Butter and Thirsty Bird’s Sam Horowitz about flavour profile, the cooking process and health and safety. By Annabelle Cloros.
here’s no doubt fried chicken has experienced a popularity boost in recent years, with dedicated local venues frying up the good stuff for hungry consumers. Fried chicken was once firmly the domain of fast food outlets, but savvy operators have created their own spin on the US staple, giving Australian consumers a product that doesn’t skimp on quality. Butter and Thirsty Bird both opened up shop in 2016, and each venue has garnered a loyal customer base that are more than happy to queue down the street for chicken. Chefs Julian Cincotta and Sam Horowitz talk about how they’ve taken fried chicken from good to great.
“It’s not as cheap as you think. Everyone sees the price of raw chicken, but they don’t factor in the buttermilk, flour mixes, oil and the time it takes to do it all.” – Sam Horowitz
Fried chicken has been around for centuries and is available in a number of forms, with the most popular including Korean fried chicken, Nashville chicken, karaage chicken and southern fried chicken. The flavour profile of southern fried chicken is relatively mild, but is easily one of the most popular and prominent varieties. “Butter’s chicken is classic southern fried chicken with an Asian influence,” says Cincotta. “What makes it different is the heat we apply which includes cayenne, coriander and more — let’s just say there are more spices than what Colonel Sanders has.” Thirsty Bird’s offering is Louisiana-based and has a similar crunch to that of fast food chain Popeyes. “It’s not spicy,” says Horowitz. “We want everyone to be able to enjoy it, so we don’t go with specific flavours, just general ones like onion and garlic.”
BREAKING DOWN AND BRINING Whether you buy whole chickens and break them down in-house or work with a trusted supplier to deliver portioned pieces, there’s no right or wrong — just what suits your venue best. Thirsty Bird order in chickens 26 Hospitality September 2018
for staff to portion into eight pieces and use all parts of the chicken besides the back bone. Team members also make incisions in the raw flesh, which helps the chicken fry faster during the cooking process. Butter use thighs, tenderloins and wings for frying. Chicken ribs are also occasionally available, but all pieces are selected for their eatability. “I want customers to enjoy our fried chicken with as little fuss as possible, so if it’s viable, I always serve up the pieces without a bone,” says Cincotta. The team work with a trusted supplier to deliver pre-portioned pieces every day and use any leftovers in the stock for their fried chicken ramen, which is available during winter. “Our aim is to be as sustainable as possible, and we’re working to get there step by step,” says the chef. Once the chicken has been portioned, it’s time for brining, which is done in-house at Butter and Thirsty Bird. “We brine in salt, water, garlic, lemon, thyme and pepper for 24 hours,” says Horowitz. “We then drain it for a few hours, coat it once and let it dry in a cool room for at least 10 hours, which helps the next coating stick to it. We buttermilk it during service, put on another flour coat and then fry it.”
There’s much to love about freshly fried chicken including crispy skin and juicy meat, which are some of the reasons why Thirsty Bird and Butter both cook to order. “It only takes about six minutes to cook, but you need to let it rest for about 10 minutes and cook through,” says Horowitz. Thirsty Bird works with a pressure fryer, but use it for depth and temperature control, with Horowitz admitting they don’t use the pressure at all. “We start off at a higher temperature of 170 degrees Celsius and once that’s sealed, it sits at 160 degrees Celsius.”
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FOODSERVICE Dairy for Today’s Professionals
“What makes it different is the heat we apply which includes cayenne, coriander and more — let’s just say there are more spices than what Colonel Sanders has.” – Julian Cincotta
Butter’s chicken and slaw
Horowitz fries with canola oil, which is known for its light flavour and high smoke point. To keep the fryer in order, the venue uses oil filter machines which they use twice daily — a must when going through more than 100 chickens a day. Butter are more than proud of their equipment, with Cincotta dubbing it the Rolls-Royce of fryers. “We use fast-recovery heat self-filtration fryers,” he says. “The heat is kept between only a few degrees, so there is no chance of low temperature falls. If the fryer oil drops to low temperatures, the oil will soak into the crust and you will be left with notso-crispy chicken.” The team use XLFRY oil from Cookers which is a premium cottonseed oil with high-oleic oils, and filter it approximately six to seven times per day. “This keeps the oil clean from flour particles and there is no chance of blown oil,” says Cincotta.
HEALTH AND SAFETY When working with raw chicken, it’s important for operators to invest in staff training. Temperature control, cross-contamination, correct storage and adequately cleaning workspace areas all need to be taken seriously. Horowitz names temperature control as one of the most important considerations when working with chicken. “We break down all our chickens in-house, so you can’t have it out for too long,” he says. “After it’s cooked, you also have to make sure it’s hot before the customer gets it, so keeping it below four degrees Celsius while it’s raw and then keeping it above 70 degrees Celsius once it’s cooked.” Good hygiene is a must in the kitchen where high standards must be adhered to. “Working with fresh chicken means it needs to be prepared in sanitised areas before and after the preparation,” says Cincotta. “We have certain areas and special equipment we only use for chicken, so there is no chance of cross-contamination with other foods.”
PROFITABILITY It’s easy to assume fried chicken is relatively low-cost for operators; however there is an immense amount of preparation and manpower that goes into making the completed menu item. “It’s not as cheap as you think,” says Horowitz. “Everyone sees the price of raw chicken, but they don’t factor in the buttermilk, flour mixes, oil and the time it takes to do it all.” For Cincotta, profitability doesn’t come down to one dish, but return customers. “Profitability to me is not about specific menu items, but about how well you run the overall business,” he says. “We use quality chicken and other ingredients and pay for it, but it shows in our food and our customers will return again and again because of this.” If you’re thinking about adding fried chicken to your menu, there are many factors to consider including health and safety training, purchasing quality ingredients and understanding the cost of equipment and associated maintenance. But fried chicken is only rising in popularity, so there’s no better time to add the dish to your menu — it just might give customers something to crow about. n 28 Hospitality September 2018
Thirsty Bird’s fried chicken with pickles Champagne and chicken at Butter
ud crab, coriander and honeycomb aren’t front of mind when thinking about beer. But talk to the brewers at Bacchus Brewing Co., Two Birds Brewing and Big Shed Brewing Concern and they’ll tell you these unusual ingredients are a recipe for success.
THIRST FOR CREATIVITY While Bacchus Brewing Co., Two Birds Brewing and Big Shed Brewing Concern offer a core range of easy-drinking, session beers, they also produce a range of creative brews to satisfy those looking for something different. “There are a lot of people who like to experience something new,” says Ross Kenrick, owner of Bacchus Brewing Co. One of the most creative beers in Bacchus’ range is the chili mud crab beer that’s brewed using whole crabs. “We cook the mud crabs in the beer wort as we’re making it,” says Kenrick. “The best bit of brew day is eating the crabs after we’ve cooked them.” Once the crabs are cooked and the team has removed the flesh, the shell and cartilage are roasted in the oven and crushed into a powder. “A lot of the flavour comes from the shells, so we add the powder back into the fermenting beer,” says Kenrick. “We add some mango and Asian spices to create a fruity, slightly hot, mud crab beer.” At Big Shed Brewing Concern, a crowd favourite is the Golden Stout Time, which is infused with toffee and honeycomb essence to recreate the flavour of a Golden Gaytime ice cream.
Two Birds Brewing
Aussie brewers are flexing their creative muscles and incorporating unexpected ingredients into beer. By Brittney Levinson.
Co-founder and director Jason Harris says the beer was created for GABS Beer, Cider & Food Fest and was the company’s first attempt at a festival beer. “The Golden Stout Time is a standard stout, so the brewing process is no different to normal,” he says. “At the end of the fermentation, the magic happens when the honeycomb and toffee are added.” Coriander leaf, corn and fresh lime peel are the key ingredients in Two Birds Brewing’s Taco beer. Owners Jayne Lewis and Danielle Allen were in the United States when inspiration struck. “We fell in love with tacos during our time in San Diego and it just hit us that a taco-inspired beer would be delicious,” says Lewis. “As soon as we got back, I started working on how best to achieve the taco taste.” The result was a citrusy beverage that Lewis says pairs perfectly with Mexican and Vietnamese cuisine along with citrus desserts. “Corn is added to the mash and lime and coriander are added to the fermenter to maintain their freshness,” she says. “The wheat beer base helps make it quite well-rounded on the palate, while bursts of citrus from the lime and coriander make it incredibly zesty and refreshing.”
GETTING IT RIGHT According to Kenrick, less is more when it comes to adding flavours to beer. “We’ve thought we needed to add more of a flavour to get it right, but actually found reducing flavours allows it to shine,” he says. “That’s always been our challenge — to get a balance of flavours in the beers we make.”
“It’s a reason for those that don’t already know our core beers to come back and discover the full range.” – Jason Harris
September 2018 Hospitality 29
Two Birds Brewing's Taco beer
Kenrick is most proud of his rocky road-flavoured beer, dubbed Sex Drugs and Rocky Road. “It’s made with peanuts, cherries, chocolate and rosewater to give it a Turkish delight flavour,” he says. The biggest challenge with experimental beer is ensuring the flavours are balanced and one doesn’t outshine another. “If we’re saying it has the flavours of cherries, chocolate, peanuts and marshmallows, the person needs to be able to taste every flavour we’re saying is in there,” he says. Big Shed Brewing Concern share the same approach. “From day one, we have always said, ‘If it doesn’t taste like the [element] we used as inspiration, we won’t do it’,” says Harris. “Put simply, make it taste like it says on the label.” When working with new ingredients, Lewis says it’s important to consider how they blend with traditional brewing ingredients and methods. “Not every ingredient will stand up to being put through a brew, so it might need to be added later in the process or in high quantities to get the cut through,” she says. According to Lewis, the flavour of each batch can vary when using fresh ingredients. “With Taco, sometimes it’s more lime-driven and sometimes it’s more coriander-flavoured, and that comes down to the ingredients themselves on brew day,” she says. “I like that it has variety from batch to batch — it shows we’re working with fresh ingredients.” Kenrick also aims to use real ingredients in his range of beers at Bacchus. “We either use the actual product itself or a pure extract,” he says. “It’s the same as if you were using vanilla essence in cooking — it’s nowhere near as nice as using vanilla extract or the actual beans, and we’re no different in our beers.”
REAPING THE REWARDS Experimenting with creative ingredients and adding a unique beer to your range can attract new customers who may not be familiar with your brand. “It’s a reason for those that don’t already know our core beers to come back and discover the full range,” says Harris. “Golden Stout Time has been a sales success from the moment we released it. It’s [something] only we can produce, so it has hype about it year-round.” Keen to continue the success, Big Shed Brewing Concern released a Frosty Fruit-inspired beer this year, dubbed Boozy Fruit and the New England IPA was an instant hit. “We had die-hard fans lined up at the brewery on bottling day over an hour before we opened to make sure they got some straight from the bottling line,” says Harris. “We managed to sell out the brewery bar allocation in four hours.” Creating new and exciting releases is an important part of Two Birds 30 Hospitality September 2018
“The more people are willing to spread their wings a little, the more the craft beer industry can grow.” – Jayne Lewis Danielle Allen and Jayne Lewis of Two Birds Brewing
Brewing’s business. “By working with unique beer concepts, we can keep the craft beer-devoted consumers engaged with us but we can also open the door for someone who doesn’t usually drink craft beer to discover it through a whole new flavour experience,” says Lewis. “Plenty of people have discovered good beer through trying their first sour, or a beer that reminds them of one of their favourite foods, like Taco.” Lewis believes experimenting and getting creative with ingredients can also benefit the industry as a whole. “The more people are willing to spread their wings a little, the more the craft beer industry can grow,” she says. For hospitality venues, adding unique and interesting beers to your menu is a great way to capture the attention of craft beer enthusiasts. It can also add a point of difference to your offering and help introduce something new to those who don’t usually drink beer. n
Ross Kenrick Boozy Fruit and Golden Stout Time
“That’s always been our challenge — to get a balance of flavours in the beers we make.” – Ross Kenrick
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September 2018 Hospitality 31
in the dough
Grumpy Donuts. Photo credit Alana Dimou
What started off as yet another food trend has grown into an undeniably huge market in Australia. Are doughnuts the food trend that will stick around for good? By Brittney Levinson.
east-raised or cake, filled or glazed, sweet or savoury? There are endless options when it comes to doughnuts, and consumers can’t get enough of them. Here, Hospitality talks to four venues capitalising on the rewards of the doughnut craze and find out how they stay ahead of the competition.
DOUGHNUTS ON DEMAND At Sydney’s Grumpy Donuts, yeast-raised doughnuts are what draw the crowds to the Camperdown store. The inspiration came from the United States, where director Elise Honeybrook and her partner would hunt down light, fluffy doughnuts whenever they could. “It was kind of a passion of our stomachs which snowballed into a business,” she says. “We saw a gap in the market — at the time no one else was doing them [here], so we taught ourselves how to make them.” Yeast-raised doughnuts are made in small batches and use yeast as a leavening agent, as opposed to cake doughnuts that utilise chemical leavening agents such as baking powder or baking soda. “We mix all the dough together and it proves three times before it’s rolled out by hand,” says 32 Hospitality September 2018
Honeybrook. “Every single doughnut is cut by hand, which takes more time and energy, but I think it’s worth it.” Donut Papi in Redfern also specialises in yeastraised doughnuts, but are best known for their unique flavours. “My background is Filipino, so we try to put more South-East Asian flavours in our doughnuts, such as pandan and ube,” says director Kenneth Rodrigueza. “We try to be colourful and fun — we’re very experimental with our flavours.” Customers at Shortstop Coffee and Donuts get the best of both worlds, with the Melbourne and Sydney stores serving cake and yeast-raised doughnuts. Co-owner Sinye Ooi says there are key differences between the two varieties. “The yeast-raised doughnut is a sweet bread dough,” she says. “It’s more brioche-like and has quite a lot of butter in it. The end product is fluffy and soft, with a little bit of chew when you eat it.” In comparison, Ooi says the cake doughnut is made with a cake-style batter resulting in a more dense texture. The pastry chef says cake doughnuts can be more versatile as different flavours can be incorporated into the batter, whereas yeast-raised doughnuts are usually flavoured with toppings and fillings.
“It’s a product that needs a lot of care and attention and a lot of research as well.” – Elise Honeybrook
Donut Papi’s cereal doughnuts
“We have monthly specials ... where we can play with our imagination — it excites us and our customers as well.” – Kenneth Rodrigueza Shortstop’s third type of doughnut, the cruller, has also become a menu favourite. “It’s crispy on the outside and soft in the centre,” says Ooi. “It’s similar to a churro, but much lighter.”
NOT SO SWEET Doughnuts are no longer confined to the sweet category — venues are incorporating doughnuts into savoury menus as well. Melbourne restaurant Dexter is known for its meat doughnuts, which are filled with the burnt ends of smoked beef brisket. “When we smoke whole briskets, we cut out the perfect portion, so there’s a lot of waste,” says chef and co-director Tom Peasnell. “We wanted to find something to use that brisket [off-cut] — it’s really the most flavourful part of the beef, but it just doesn’t look nice on a plate.” Peasnell adds cream cheese and house-made hot sauce to the burnt ends before letting the mixture set overnight. “We make the dough every morning,” he says. “It’s like a milk dough — water, yeast, flour, milk and a tiny bit of butter.” The dough is left to prove before being portioned into balls, which are then proved a second time. “We wait for that to double in size and then we fill them by hand,” says the chef. “[We] let it prove again and fry to order.” The fried doughnuts are then covered in sugar and served with hot sauce. “The sugar makes it look like a sugared doughnut, but we also need it because we’ve taken it out of the actual dough,” says Peasnell. “Without the sugar it’s a bit too savoury.”
SECRETS TO SUCCESS Whether sweet or savoury, the fundamentals remain the same. 34 Hospitality September 2018
Flavour options at Donut Papi
Honeybrook says making the perfect doughnut comes down to getting the base right. “It’s like building a house, you need a solid foundation for it to be a worthwhile house to buy,” she says. Honeybrook says yeast-raised dough can be temperamental and will act differently depending on the humidity, temperature and even how long the oven has been on for. “It’s something that you can never do in a half-arsed fashion, you’ve really got to pay attention to every single part of the process,” she says. “It’s a product that needs a lot of care and attention and a lot of research as well.” Ooi says cake doughnuts require the same dedication. “You’ve got to watch the cake batter temperature when you’re frying,” she says. “We really need to take care in order to get the perfect cake doughnut, so they are not too oily or too dry.”
STANDING OUT FROM THE CROWD With so many competitors in the space, Ooi says having a variety of styles is a great way to set yourself apart from other doughnut shops. “I think our range and the variety we have definitely sets us apart,” she says. “We make all our jams and hazelnut spread — everything is
Grumpy Donuts Photo credit Alana Dimou
Fritters at Grumpy Donuts Photo credit Alana Dimou
made in-store. That definitely sets us apart in terms of quality.” A revolving menu is the key to bringing customers back at Donut Papi. “We have a permanent menu with flavours including original glazed, cinnamon and the basic ones people look for every day,” says Rodrigueza. “We have monthly specials as well where we can play with our imagination — it excites us and our customers as well.” Customers return regularly to try the new flavours Rodrigueza and his team create. “I try to research and talk to customers to see if they have special requests,” he says. Donut Papi recently collaborated with Indonesian instant noodle company Indomie to make a Mie Goreng doughnut, which was a hit both with customers and on social media. Social media has also been a key growth driver for Grumpy Donuts, with Honeybrook saying it has been the single most important part of their growth from the start. “I think our brand has become a very strong and recognisable one mainly through our online presence which is ultimately what brings people in store,” she says.
PERSISTENCE IS KEY Honeybrook isn’t influenced by what others are doing and instead goes with her gut, believing if she enjoys eating a flavour, others will too. An example of that is the US-style fritters Grumpy Donuts sell, which are made with the same yeast-raised dough as the traditional-shaped variety. “It’s all cut up into pieces and then pulled back together with the flavours and toppings, so it’s throughout the dough as opposed to sitting on top,” she says. While fritters are popular in the US, Honeybrook says it has taken some time for Australians to catch on. “Once we were able to get people to try them, they ended up being one of our best sellers.” Peasnell admits it took some time before the meat doughnuts really took off at Dexter. “When we first opened, it was a bit of a hard sell,” he says. “They take a whole staff member to make them, so it takes a lot of hours. They’re all done to order, so there’s a lot of moving around the kitchen and waiting for them to prove.” 36 Hospitality September 2018
He says the cost of ingredients, including premium beef and whole capsicums for the hot sauce, means they are an expensive dish to make. “We were really umming and ahing whether to keep it on [the menu], solely because people weren’t buying them and it was taking so much time [to make],” says Peasnell. But he persevered and now the doughnuts are a signature dish. “Now, thank God, everyone gets them,” he says. “We can justify having one person doing that whole job all day.”
MAKING IT PROFITABLE Ranging on average between $4 and $8, doughnuts can be a profitable menu item if demand is strong. To keep customer interest high and make additional revenue, many doughnut shops wholesale to other venues or offer catering options. For Donut Papi, half of the business is retail and half is wholesale and markets. “We wholesale to cafés and restaurants as well,” says Rodrigueza. “We have a burger restaurant that takes our glazed doughnuts and uses them as a bun for a glazed doughnut burger.” It’s clear there’s no end in sight for doughnuts and their popularity with consumers continues to grow. If you’re considering getting into the doughnut game, or perhaps thinking of adding some to your menu, decide on the style, or styles, of doughnut you want to serve, and do it well. Creative ingredients, unusual flavour combinations and a strong social media presence will help you stand out from the crowd and keep your customers coming back. n
“We really need to take care in order to get the perfect cake doughnut, so they are not too oily or too dry.” – Sinye Ooi
Chorizo, zucchini, white bean and piquillo pepper at Balcón
Tapas time W
hen Justin Hemmes is running with a concept, you know it’s about to crack the big time. Merivale recently opened Bar Topa in Sydney’s CBD, with the tiny 40-person venue churning out food and drink to a crowd hungry for sardines and thirsty for martinis. Tapa is far from a new or ground-breaking concept and is a fixture in the dining landscape. But consumers are warming to a more casual style of dining, which is what tapa is all about. And if we can’t have it in Spain — why not replicate it here? Bar Lourinhã’s Matt McConnell and Tapavino’s Renee Anderson weigh in on what makes a good tapas dish, recommended drink pairings and the social experience of the Spanish stalwart.
There’s no shortage of venues serving soggy snacks and oversweetened sangria, but have you met the new wave of tapas bars? By Annabelle Cloros. Balcón’s cow’s milk wrapped in jamon serrano
SHARING IS CARING It’s a rarity for consumers to dine at a venue and fail to share at least some part of their meal. Customers want to make the most of a restaurant and sample as many options as they can, which makes share plates all the more appealing — especially when a hefty menu is involved. Tapavino in Sydney has a large food offering that covers everything from jamon to peppers and oysters. “Everyone has gone away from a la carte,” says executive chef Renee Anderson. “People will get food for the table to share and it’s more of an experience. There are about 60 dishes on the menu, so customers can try a range of dishes.” Melbourne’s Bar Lourinhã has divided their menu into three savoury sections — tapas, raciones (larger dishes) and queso (cheese). “We do some dishes by the piece, which is good for people who are just September 2018 Hospitality 37
Born by Tapavino
“We always look for a good balance between meat, fish and veg, and we’re quite conscious of people’s dietary requirements.” – Matt McConnell
having a drink or those waiting for friends before they get on to the larger raciones,” says chef and owner Matt McConnell. “Raciones are designed to share and are broken down into fish, vegetables and meat. Most of them can be done as a half-racione, which is quite common in Spain, and they’re a great option for smaller groups who want to try more of the menu.”
TICKING ALL THE BOXES As a general rule of thumb, tapas dishes should be balanced, and those that are salty, crispy and fatty are often an ideal way to kick off a meal with a drink in hand. “We always look for a good balance between meat, fish and veg, and we’re quite conscious of people’s dietary requirements,” says McConnell. “We always have a croquette on our menu and we do three different types — traditionally Spanish, Portuguese style and a hybrid version which is a southern Italian deep-fried cheese. One of our farmers is growing some amazing stinging nettle, so we’re doing a nettle croquette flavoured with Manchego — it’s far from anything traditionally Spanish, but it’s utilising what we can get our hands on and morphing it into the style of what we do.” Tapavino have a core menu, but seasonally adjust ingredients according to availability. “Every six weeks, we try to change up a few of the dishes,” says Anderson. “All the garnishes change for the jamon serrano and we also do specials every week so people can try something different.”
DRINK PAIRINGS Tapa is a no-brainer for consumers who have committed to sinking a few drinks, but which 38 Hospitality September 2018
pairings work best? In this case, there’s an abundance of options. “We have three venues and each one is different,” says Anderson. “Tapavino does a lot of sangria by the glass and it was designed as a sherry bar. Balcón is more for business lunches, so people usually have bottles of wine and Born’s clientele usually drink cocktails or beer.” Bar Lourinhã focus on European wines along with cocktails and Sherry, which is in line with the southern Spanish style of the venue. “We have fantastic Sherries from Spain and Manzanilla along with wonderful local producers, too,” says McConnell. “Our cocktails are a blend of classics with our twists of using different liqueurs from Spain and Portugal.” The bar also offers a range of liqueurs including Licor Beirão from Portugal. “It’s made from different spices from the Portuguese colonies with a bit of a vanilla kick,” says McConnell. “It’s similar to Licor 43, which is another we use here.” At Bar Lourinhã, the whole wine list is available by the half bottle, which is something the team picked up during their travels. “If there’s something we’re not pouring by the glass, we’ll decant half the bottle and sell the rest by the glass or the staff will get to try it,” says McConnell. The venue has also recently introduced a new range of rose, orange, natural and sulphur-free wines just in time for the warmer season.
DIFFERENCES IN OFFERING Of course, we’ll never be able to replicate the buzz of a tapas crawl in Spain, but how does Australia’s take stack up against the original? Both McConnell and Anderson regularly travel to Spain to keep track of developments and gain inspiration for their menus.
Se us aet FIN FOODE S Marron at Bar Lourinhã
“We go to Spain every year and I think one of the main differences is customer perception of hygiene,” says Anderson. “They have all these things out on countertops and jamon is hanging from the roof. Customers will pick tapas off a buffet, but here, people are more conscious of where it’s come from and how long it’s been sitting there for.” There are also a handful of dishes Australians just can’t replicate, such as goose barnacles and razor clams, which are typically frozen and can be difficult to source. Tapas dishes also tend to be heavy on the meat, and with more consumers leaning towards a vegetarian diet, it’s important for venues cater to the meat-free movement — just don’t call it authentic. “It’s something you’d never see in Spain,” says McConnell. “Everything is usually a big piece of meat — and it’s the best meat — but it comes with potatoes or peppers and that’s it. Because our producers have such beautiful vegetables, I’ve always made a section on the menu to include them.” McConnell also makes an effort to use offal, which is common in Spain. “We proudly use a lot of offal on the menu, and it sells really well,” he says. “We’re a place where people can get something different and it works. We never wanted to be a cliché Spanish tapas place, which is why we named it Bar Lourinhã, which is in Portugal. There are elements of tradition throughout the menu, but the style of eating, the way we serve our customers and the warmth of hospitality is reflective of what they do in Spain.”
PROFITS If you’re out to make a quick buck, tapa can go either way. Customers are willing to pay for authenticity, but that also comes with the cost of imported produce such as canned goods, but there are ways to make tapa work for you, such as sourcing local alternatives. “I feel we’re able to keep dishes at a lower cost by using Australian produce,” says Anderson. “But we also have things like Iberico cebo and customers have the option to order food that is a bit pricier.” McConnell tailors his menu according to seasonality, and works backwards from the farm. “We have always asked, ‘If you can bring me something for X dollars, how can I utilise it on the menu and convert that to profit?’” says the chef. “When you do cost it through, we determine if it’s acceptable for the customer to pay. If we can’t get it to the customer at an affordable price without making our margin, there’s no point doing it.” The tapas dining experience is unique in that customers can have a drink and a couple of plates or use it as a starter before moving on to larger plates. But one thing is for sure, it’s all about atmosphere. “Atmosphere has a lot to do with it and people always comment on that — there’s always a good buzz,” says McConnell. “We always joke about it being touchyfeely because you’re pressed up against someone at the bar, which is normal in Spain.” n September 2018 Hospitality 39
Fresh start New arrivals
Taylor Made has introduced two new red wines to its range with the launch of Wild Ferment Pinot Noir 2017 and BDX 2015. The Pinot Noir is delicate in body, but generous in flavour, with bursts of fresh cherry, red apple skin and rhubarb. The wine is fermented using wild indigenous yeast and matured in high-quality French oak. The BDX is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Aged in French oak barrels for 18 months, the wine features bold dark fruit characters of blackcurrant and dark cherry combined with dark chocolate and hints of charry oak. taylormadewines.com.au
Victoria’s iconic Billson’s Brewery has begun a new era with the launch of its first new product in over 100 years: Pure Alpine spring water. The first product chosen by the new Billson’s team pays homage to the heart of the entire operation, which is a sevenmetre-deep well. The 100-per-cent recyclable aluminium cans are inspired by the design of an original Billson’s soda water bottle circa 1880. The water is available in Natural Still or Lightly Sparkling. billsons.com.au
Authentic made easy
Perth-based spice and curry producer Turban Chopsticks has launched its first foodservice range, enabling restaurants and cafés to create authentic Asian and Indian meals with ease. The locally made range includes 2.3kg curry pastes in Thai green, Thai red, butter chicken and satay peanut flavours, as well as 2kg packs of savoury bites which include onion bhaji, chickpea koftas, lentil fritters and Bombay burgers. Catering to the growing numbers of dietary requirements, the products are vegan- and vegetarian-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, diabetic-friendly and contain no MSG or preservatives. turbanchopsticks.com.au
Jim Beam Apple
Bottled at 30 percent ABV, the new Jim Beam Apple contains apple liqueur blended with Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The result is a juicy, fresh green apple taste with a balance of tart and sweet, subtle oak undertones, and a lingering apple finish with a touch of oak. Jim Beam Apple has a fresh crisp green apple aroma with a golden honey colour. It can be served with club soda as a Jim Beam Apple Highball or on the rocks. beamsuntory.com 40 Hospitality September 2018
Mixing it up
Adding to its range of premium mixers, StrangeLove has launched three new flavours. Dry Ginger Ale is made with applewood-smoked water and burnt sugar to give a deep caramel body and smooth mouthfeel. Fancy Lemonade is made using pulpy Australian lemon juice, while Salted White Grapefruit features premium Murray River pink salt flakes to helps amplify the tart, sour grapefruit notes. The new drinks aim to fill a gap in the market by creating a sophisticated mixer for dark spirits, vodka and tequila. strangelove.com.au
5 minutes with ...
Photo credit Dominic Loneragan
wine director, Bistecca From Mr Wong to Saint Peter and European wineries in between — Alice Massaria has put roots down at one of Sydney’s most hyped venues. 42 Hospitality September 2018
have always been involved in wine because it’s part of my Italian culture. When I began working in hospitality, my interest in wine kept growing, so I decided to study through the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) once I reached management level. After completing levels two and three, I contacted Franck Moreau MS for a job at Merivale and began working at Mr Wong and Uccello. In 2015, I sat the exam for the Court of Master Sommeliers, passing the introductory and certified level. I later went on to work at Saint Peter and various wineries in Italy and Spain. After returning to Sydney, I started my own consulting business, Wine Concept, and Bistecca’s wine list was my first project. I have been friends with head chef Pip for a few years so I was introduced to Liquid & Larder when the concept was being developed. Pip told me about Bistecca and the team wanted to see how I could be part of it. I met co-owner Warren Burns and we got along straight away, so I agreed to write the wine list. As a whole, Bistecca is a challenging venue, from the booking system to offering just one cut of meat, so I have tried to apply the same principles to the wine list. Bistecca has a Venetian-style cocktail bar adjoining a Tuscan-style restaurant, and I decided to write a 100 per cent Italian list. I am aware there are many Australian upcoming winemakers making great wine from Italian grape varieties, so these are also represented. There are some challenges only featuring Italian wine and Italian grape varieties from Australia. CBD customers have a straightforward palate (Big oaky Chardonnay, Central Otago Pinot Noir, Barossa Valley Shiraz). They may not feel confident ordering when they fail to see these wines on the list, so it’s up to me to suggest similar styles. For those unfamiliar with Italian wines, it might be quite intimidating, so I have organised the list by weight. I invite customers to the wine room and show them exactly what’s available. I find the visual approach is more effective and interactive, especially when many of the labels are difficult to read. Australian wines tend to be fruitforward, richer and oakier than oldworld varieties. Italian wines tend to be drier, earthier and mineral with dry and firm tannins at times. The Australian palate perceives tannins as a big wine (Nebbiolo or Sangiovese, for example), while Italians look at Nebbiolo as a medium wine with high tannins but light body. While it is challenging, it’s also incredibly fun. Bistecca customers are quite adventurous and happy to be led into unknown territories. The most rewarding part is seeing customers happy with a wine they have never tried. n
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