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Chefs’ Circle – Meet Food for Thought founder Mal Meiers The Mayfair – The latest restaurant by serial wand-waver David Mackintosh Jimmy Shu – The chef transforming Darwin’s dining scene Fishy Predictions for 2018 – Hear from the seafood godfather himself, John Susman

Trout with calamansi lime gel, fennel-infused beetroot, mastic-pressed melon & goats curd

Recipe

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February 2018


A FRESH NEW LOOK FOR AGB

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February 2018


TOP ROW

• Ben O’Donoghue – Billykart & Billykart West End, Brisbane • Dan Moss – Terroir Auburn, Clare Valley, SA • Jerry Mai – Annam & Pho Nom, Melbourne • Claire Van Vuuren – Bloodwood, Sydney & Popla, Bellingen, NSW


For these fun-loving chefs, the kitchen is their playground and Australian Pork is their favourite toy. Whether they’re rustling up something classic, simple or a cutting edge creation, no other meat is as versatile, allowing them to explore and indulge their imaginations. Be a PorkStar. And get some Pork on your menu.

BOTTOM ROW

• Cameron Matthews – Spicers Retreats – National • Joe Pavlovich – Bondi Trattoria, Sydney • Dave Pynt – Burnt Ends, Singapore • Thi Le – Anchovy, Melbourne • Dan Fisher – Ku De Ta, Perth • Aaron Ward – Young Chef of the Year 2017, Appetite for Excellence


6

EDITORIAL

foodservicenews.com.au

PUBLISHER HELEN DAVIES

EDITOR ANITA CONNORS (02) 9213 8335 anitaconnors@yaffa.com.au CONSULTING EDITOR JILL DUPLEIX NATIONAL SALES MANAGER RHONNIE MERRY (02) 9213 8241 Mobile: 0417 617 077 rhonniemerry@yaffa.com.au CONTRIBUTORS Tony Eldred, Tim Grey, Lisa Hasen, Anthony Huckstep, Amanda Kane, Yasmin Newman, John Susman

ART DIRECTOR ANA MARIA HERAUD STUDIO MANAGER LAUREN ESDAILE DESIGNER STÉPHANIE BLANDIN DE CHALAIN

ADVERTISING PRODUCTION JOHN VISKOVICH (02) 9213 8215 johnviskovich@yaffa.com.au CUSTOMER SERVICE MANAGER MARTIN PHILLPOTT MARKETING MANAGER SABARINAH ELIJAH PRODUCTION DIRECTOR MATTHEW GUNN

SUBSCRIPTIONS www.greatmagazines.com.au Call: 1800 807 760 Email: subscriptions@yaffa.com.au

SUBSCRIPTION RATES Australia 1 year $99.00

Overseas 1 year NZ $110 1 year ASIA $125 1 year ROW $170

H

ere at foodservice we’re starting the year with a bang. Amongst the exciting events and competitions we have planned for 2018 are two, big calendar items. Our annual Dish of the Year competition returns. Now into its 6th year, we'll be combing the country for Australia's best burger, pizza, fish and chips, breakfast roll and salad. If you think yours cuts the mustard, turn to page 26 to find out how to enter. I am also thrilled to announce the launch of our new awards program, 30 Under 30. Our aim is to recognise and celebrate the young guns working within the foodservice sector who through their determination, commitment and excellence are helping to shape the future of the industry. The announcement of the inaugural class of 30 Under 30 will take place at an exclusive cocktail event at the tradeshow, Foodservice Australia at the ICC Sydney in May 2018, where the full list will be unveiled. Finalists will be flown (if out of state) to the event. So if you are, or someone you know is, a promising chef, restaurateur, innovator, entrepreneur, restaurant manager, waiter, sommelier, or bartender we want to hear from you. Page 40 has the details of how to enter.

Anita Connors Editor

FOODSERVICE NEWS is published by Yaffa Media Pty Ltd ABN 54 002 699 354 17-21 Bellevue Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010 Ph: (02) 9281 2333 Fax: (02) 9281 2750 All mail to: GPO Box 606, Sydney NSW 2001 ISSN 1328-9039 MEMBER CIRCULATIONS AUDIT BOARD


7

Table of Contents

FEATURES

REGULARS

14

MEET THE PORKSTARS OF 2018

16 INSIDER

WITH THE RISE OF HOSPITALITY GROUPS AND MEGA-RESTAURANTS, JILL DUPLEIX ASKS THE IMPORTANT QUESTION, “HOW BIG IS TOO BIG?”

YOUR BUSINESS IS FOOD

20

HUCK’S RANT

22

WE GRILL THE TEN, SUPERSTAR CHEFS ABOUT SUCCESS, ADVICE AND THE AUSTRALIAN FOODSERVICE INDUSTRY. LEARN PRACTICAL WAYS BY WHICH TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE, INSPIRE STAFF, AND KEEP COSTS DOWN.

24 HANUMAN

THE AWARD-WINNING JIMMY SHU IS SINGLE-HANDEDLY TRANSFORMING DARWIN’S DINING SCENE.

28

FROM MOVIDA TO MAYFAIR

DAVID MACKINTOSH HAS BROUGHT HIS UNIQUE TALENT FOR RESTAURANT MAGIC TO THE MELBOURNE CBD.

P. 20

P. 48

ANTHONY HUCKSTEP IS FED UP, FED UP WITH VENUES AND FED UP WAITSTAFF LECTURING ABOUT READING A MENU.

38 MANAGEMENT

HOSPITALITY GURU TONY ELDRED SHARES HIS TIPS FOR MAXIMISING THE AVERAGE SPENDING OF CUSTOMERS.

u men

P. 16

P. 28

42 PRODUCE

FIND OUT WHAT JOHN SUSMAN IS FORECASTING FOR AUSTRALIAN SEAFOOD, AND DISCOVER THE JOYS OF JUJUBES.

PLUS N E W

A N D

JI

N O T E D

OPENINGS JI

THE ‘MARE OF MENUS P. 20

WHERE I

MANA

GEMENT

TONY E LDRE D

FO O D SERVICE

AUS

REGAN PORTEOUS P. 12

DU

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EI

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INSIDER

R E S T A U R A N T S & B A R S

STARTERS P. 8

LL

FOOD SERVICE

WAGING A LIVING P. 38

LL

P DU

LE

IX

TO P

PROFILE CHEF

HOW BIG IS TOO BIG? NUMBERS P. 16 GAME

HANUMAN: JIMMY SHU P. 24

TURNING TABLES

TRADE

2017: TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT? P. 11

A GOOD EGG P. 34

TA L K


8

STARTERS

Just Opened

N E W

A N D

N O T E D

OPENINGS R E S T A U R A N T S & B A R S

Bert’s Bar & Brasserie THE SECOND PHASE OF MERIVALE’S THE NEWPORT 2 Kalinya Street Phone: (02) 9114 7350 OLIVE YOU ADVERTORIAL-FOOD SERVICE-AUS-19X13 Newport NSW 2106 merivale.com.au/venues/berts

NEW, NOTED, INTERESTING Across the country, here are Australia’s newest restaurants. CM.pdf

2

25/01/2018

09:35

Palermo NEWEST SIBLING IN THE SAN TELMO, PASTUSO & CHE FOLD 401 Little Bourke Street Phone: (03) 9002 1600 Melbourne VIC 3000 palermo.melbourne


WE’RE SEARCHING

far & wide FOR THE

r e t s i g e R

YOUR CAFÉ TO WIN

2 ,000

$

VISIT THE

Plus

Website

cwcafeoftheyear.com.au to register and upload a copy of your Countrywide Distributor invoice (min. $150 purchase between 1st Feb 2018 - 31st Mar 2018)

Follow the buzz on

THE TITLE OF COUNTRYWIDE CAFÉ OF THE YEAR! $5,000 for each of the 5 Regional Winners $250 voucher weekly prize for ‘Café of the Week’!

MOST VOTES

Win!

Once voting opens, display promo material in your Café so your customers can vote for you! @cwcafeoftheyear #cwcafeoftheyear

Register at www.cwcafeoftheyear.com.au Conditions apply. Entry only open to eligible Café’s. See website for details and conditions for eligibility. Registration starts 12/2/2018 at 12:01AM & ends 31/3/2018 at 11:59PM AEDST. Voting starts 3/4/2018 at 12.01AM & ends 31/5/2018 at 11:59PM AEST. Major and regional prizes (NSW/ACT, VIC/TAS, SA/NT, WA & QLD) awarded as a payment to the winning Entrants’ business bank account.


10

STARTERS

Corporate caterer Order-In acquired by Rocket Internet

PHOTOGRAPHY: EWEN BELL

Online corporate catering provider, Order-In, has announced that it has been acquired by global venture capital company, Rocket Internet, for an undisclosed figure. Founded in Sydney in 2000, Order-In has grown into a country-wide platform. MD Jonathan Rowley says, “This partnership will allow us to further expand our offerings and develop our leading presence in this space. We look forward to benefiting from Rocket Internet’s extensive expertise in building leading digital companies.”

Australian wine exports top whopping $2.56 billion Wine Australia’s Export Report reveals the facts and figures for the 12 months ending December 2017. The release of Wine Australia’s latest Export Report highlights 2017 as a great year for Australian wine with exports reaching $2.56 billion in value. This amount reflects an increase of 15 per cent, the highest annual growth rate since before the GFC. The Export Report also details that 2017 was a recordbreaking year for volume, with exports growing by 8 per cent to 811 million litres. Aussie wine exported in bulk also saw a jump in price, with total value increasing by 10 per cent to $440 million and average value per litre increasing by 6 per cent to $1.03, the highest average value since 2012. Exports of wines priced above $10 per litre also grew by 29 per cent to a record $738 million. Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark is pleased to with these outcomes.

He says, “Growing demand for premium Australian wine, particularly in Northeast Asia, increased the value of bottled wine exports by 17 per cent to $2.1 billion, while the average price per litre for bottled wine grew by 3 per cent to a record $5.63.” Australia’s top five markets by value in 2017 were: • China mainland (33 per cent of total export value) • United States (18 per cent) • United Kingdom (14 per cent) • Canada (7 per cent), and • Hong Kong (5 per cent) Australia’s top five markets by volume in 2017 were: • United Kingdom (28 per cent share of total export volume) • United States (21 per cent) • China mainland (19 per cent) • Canada (8 per cent), and • Germany (5 per cent).

Sydney chef Josh Niland to open Fish Butchery Saint Peter restaurateurs, Josh and Julie Niland, are proving that they have big fish to fry with the news that they are launching Fish Butchery on Paddington’s Oxford Street this April. Josh Niland says, “Fish Butchery will provide a home for our takeaway fish and chips and our custom made fish weights (used to cook crisp-skinned fish at Saint Peter).” Customers will also be able to purchase fish that has been cut to order as well as dry scaled, gutted, filleted, pinboned and dry aged.


TURNING TABLES

2017: TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT? LISA HASEN IS KICKING OFF THE YEAR BY LOOKING BACK AT THE RECENT DINING TRENDS TO IMPACT THE AUSTRALIAN FOODSERVICE SECTOR, AND CONSIDERS THOSE THAT ARE AHEAD.

NUMBERS GAME

TURNING TABLES

Lisa Hasen is vice president for Asia Pacific of online restaurant-reservation service, OpenTable. Contact her via contact@opentable.com.

H

appy New Year! How do you feel when you reflect back on 2017? What defined the year for you and what are you looking forward to continuing into ‘18? Last year wasn’t as revolutionary as 2007 – the year that both the iPhone and the Kindle debuted. Nor was it as monumental in our industry as 2016; when we saw dining precincts like Tramsheds and Barangaroo unveiled in Sydney; in Melbourne, the standards continued to elevate via awe-inspiring bars with incredibly scrumptious food at venues such as Marion and Embla. The venerable Stokehouse also reopened and American style menus were all the rage at Up in Smoke and Fancy Hanks. That said, 2017 was marked by a couple of firsts that will surely morph from novelty to necessity for the industry: Significant shifts in diner behaviour that were strong and steady enough to impact our ‘research radar’. This in turn has created a shift in restaurant operations. New, exciting tech capabilities manifested in mobile devices for restaurant operators – anything less may now never be enough. Just as a good red lipstick never

goes out of style, neither does a great meal at a fair price with a nice atmosphere and thoughtful service. Here are just a few of the important things that resonated with the industry last year: LESS DISCOUNTING, MORE VALUE The ability to surface offers (a special menu, a limitedavailability dish) on both OpenTable and restaurant’s own website means operators control how and when a unique experience can be enjoyed. Moving the lever to add more diners to a quieter shift without sacrificing hard dollars and brand identity. TRADITIONAL DINE TIME DEMAND SPREADS TO WEEKDAYS 70 per cent of diners we surveyed are choosing mid-week dining over weekends. The demand for some Tuesday night socialising, without the hassle, where more ‘specials’ are available, make midweek dining a no-brainer. DINERS ENGAGING WITH THE RESTAURANT EXPERIENCE THROUGH MORE DIVERSE CHANNELS Advances in technology to consumers – now being able to book in non-traditional channels such as Apple Maps and Facebook Messenger.

RESERVATION DATA ON YOUR PHONE Logging into a browser from a desktop or laptop computer is sooooo 2015! Last year, GuestCenter users realised the value of real-time reservation book and shift details being accessible directly from their phone, wherever and whenever they needed it. SYDNEY VS MELBOURNE This year saw the hugely successful Sydney opening of a Melbourne icon – ChinChin – does this provide encouragement for other venues to cross state lines? Could this be the spark for great venues cross-pollinating these two great capital cities? WILL FLY FOR FOOD Our ‘Will Fly for Food’ report showed that experiencing a destination through its food is now the number one consideration for holiday travellers. With the Commonwealth Games fast approaching and an influx of travellers into the country expected for this flagship event, this represents a fantastic opportunity for restaurateurs to capture more of these awesomely predictable and price-insensitive international diners.

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12

WHERE I EAT WHERE I

F O O D S E RV I C E

AUS

REGAN PORTEOUS, THE PARLOUR GROUP'S EXECUTIVE CHEF, REVEALS HIS TOP PICKS FOR SYDNEY TOWN.

BREAKFAST

UNIQUELY SYDNEY

If I get to have a bit of alone time, Harrys Café de Wheels at Woolloomooloo, where I’ll get a simple bacon and egg roll, on a soft bun, whilst sitting off the wharf, chilling and catching a bit of sun.

With friends, we would start at Riley St Garage for dinner, then later head up to Surly’s for fun. With family, it would have to be The Grounds of Alexandria for lunch or somewhere on the water out east.

LONG LUNCH

BIRTHDAY

Matteo in Double bay, especially when chef Orazio D’Elia can sit down and join us.

Brent Savage’s food would have to be one of my favourites in Sydney, whether it be Cirrus or Monopole. It is always a great experience whatever the occasion.

AFTER SERVICE

PUB MEAL

Korean BBQ in the city is always popular with the team, and there are a number of good venues in the city. We tend to book at Kobow, but if tables aren’t available, it’s not a far walk to find another good joint.

The Nelson Hotel in Bondi Junction has a fantastic pub grub menu with quality produce, substantial portions, and great value for money. The courtyard on a Sunday is also perfect for a catch-up session with friends.


HOSPITALITY

POACHING STAFF – PRACTICE, PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS WHILE POACHING HOSPITALITY STAFF MAY BE FAIR GAME FOR SOME BUSINESSES, IT’S IMPORTANT TO ENSURE YOU DON’T CROSS LEGAL AND ETHICAL LINES IF YOU DO ENGAGE IN IT.

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he acquiring or ‘poaching’ of candidates from competitor businesses is a grey area in the hospitality industry. Here we look at the different ways to acquire specific candidates – as well as identifying some problems and suggesting solutions. DIRECT POACHING FROM A COMPETITOR You might tell yourself you just hire aggressively, but there’s a fine line between this kind of practice and poaching. If you are taking active steps to attract a candidate who’s shown no previous interest in your organisation, you are poaching.

For more information about recruiting staff, please visit frontlinerecruitmentgroup. com/au/hospitality.

USING A RECRUITMENT AGENCY TO ACQUIRE SPECIFIC CANDIDATES Specialist recruitment agencies are a great resource to use when searching for top talent. When choosing an agency to source hospitality staff, be sure to choose an experienced, wellregarded organisation with clear ethical principles.

USING EMPLOYEE REFERRALS TO WIN SPECIFIC CANDIDATES An increasing number of companies use employee referral schemes to source and attract good talent. This differs from poaching because: • You are not making a direct approach. • Employees cannot give details of job, salary and conditions. • There is no guarantee of employment. PROBLEMS INVOLVED WITH POACHING However much you want to acquire someone else’s talent, you need to be aware of the difficulties involved. • Your reputation - If you become known in the hospitality industry for poaching, you reduce your credibility and damage your reputation. • Your candidate’s reputation • You might win that desired candidate but, in the process, earn them a reputation as a disloyal worker not to be trusted.

• Legal problems - In poaching a competitor’s candidate, you may fall foul of any ‘restraint of trade’ agreement they signed as part of their contract to protect intellectual copyright. ALTERNATIVES TO POACHING The good news? Alternatives exist to the cloak-and-dagger approach, and they’re accessible to every organisation. • Nurture the talent under your nose using flexible and attractive working conditions, and career development opportunities. • Recruit smartly. Target core attributes and key performance indicators when interviewing hospitality candidates. • Use the experience and expertise of a specialist recruitment agency like Frontline Hospitality to help fill those hospitality jobs. So, you don’t have to resort to poaching to find great staff. Think laterally to win top talent!

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14

PORKSTARS PROFILE

Success to me means feeling satisfied that I have done enough. Success is having something to offer and share with your peers, and to keep growing. Having a restaurant for eight years is also a bit successful, I reckon.

The biggest problem facing the industry is finding, keeping and inspiring young people. There are also too many places opening, making it difficult for the industry to maintain a healthy balance from a business perspective and from a work-life balance perspective. Another, big issue is that there are operators who don’t respect, treat or pay their staff properly.

CLAIRE VAN VUUREN, Bloodwood (Sydney) and Popla (Bellingen)

BEN O’DONOGHUE Billykart and Billykart West End (Brisbane)

MEET THE PORKSTARS OF 2018 PORKSTAR IS SEEING IN THE NEW YEAR WITH A NEW TEAM OF SWINE-LOVING CHEFS. ANITA CONNORS CHATS TO THE TEN OF THEM TO GET THE LOW DOWN ON WHY THEY WANTED TO JOIN THE FOODSERVICE INDUSTRY, THEIR MOTIVATIONS, AND HOW THEY BEST ENJOY AUSTRALIAN PORK.

My favourite way to use Australian pork would be brining and roasting. A nice, thick piece of pork scotch fits this application a treat, and if you have the option to roast it over coals, then even better. Pork cheeks get the confit treatment, and served with a crusty bit of bread and parsley salad will have you getting your lunchtime grin on.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever received was “Who am I to change a thousand years of culture?” David Thompson hit me with this after I put pork belly through a mincer rather than doing it by hand for a tamarind relish at Nahm. I still think about this when I write my menus, and train my staff, today.

DAN MOSS Terroir Auburn (Clare Valley)

JERRY MAI Annam and Pho Nom (Melbourne)


PORKSTARS

15

Success to me means working with like-minded people to a common goal, and working in a kitchen that is sustainable for the people that are working in it. I have worked in some places that have been ‘award successful’ but burnt everyone out. For me, long-term success is long-term retention and growth of the team, and the reaching, surpassing and resetting of goals.

The biggest problem facing the industry is the true cost of serving a meal. There is the economics of it, namely consumer pressure, the cost of labour and the cost of produce. And there is the ethical side of it, where nutritious food cost so much more than fast food and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds cannot afford a proper meal if they wanted to.

CAMERON MATTHEWS Spicers Retreats (national)

THI LE Anchovy (Melbourne)

I became a chef because I like to eat, and cooking and being around good food all the time was a sneaky way to get what I wanted.

My favourite way to use Australian pork would be by braising, roasting, smoking, poaching, and barbecuing it. I love it all.

DAVE PYNT Burnt Ends (Singapore)

JOE PAVLOVICH Bondi Trattoria (Sydney)

Becoming a chef was something that happened naturally. In my head it was just what was going to happen, I never really thought about doing anything else. I loved cooking from a young age, I’m sure my family deserve an apology for some of the things I made them eat.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever received was the importance of respect in the kitchen; having the respect for your fellow colleagues is important to ensure everyone is striving for the same overall goal. And the respect that needs to be given to the ingredients received whether it be a humble potato or a fillet of pork.

DAN FISHER Ku De Ta (Perth)

AARON WARD Young Chef of the Year 2017, Appetite for Excellence


INSIDER

PHOTOGRAPHY: MY MEDIA SYDNEY

16

Rockpool Dining Group’s Rosetta Sydney.


INSIDER

17

HOW BIG IS TOO BIG? THE AGE OF THE MEGA-RESTAURANT IS HERE, AS RESTAURANTS AND HOTELS OF UP TO 500 TO 1,000 COVERS OPEN THEIR DOORS. IS BIGGER ALWAYS BETTER, OR IS THIS JUST A NUMBER-CRUNCHER’S RESPONSE TO MORE COMPETITIVE MARKET CONDITIONS? JILL DUPLEIX EXPLORES THE LATEST TREND TO SHAPE OUR INDUSTRY.

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INSIDER JI

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n Thailand, the Royal Dragon Restaurant feeds 5,000 diners a night across a series of open-air pavilions, serviced by waitstaff on roller skates to help them travel the vast distances from the kitchen with your volcano chicken and pad thai noodles. But even it was pipped at the post for the title of world’s largest restaurant when the Bawabet Dimashq (Damascus Gate) opened in Syria in 2005,

Clever operators such as Melbourne’s Chris Lucas and Sydney’s Justin Hemmes are experimenting with scale in lively, well-designed packages of party-time spaces, booze and high-energy street food.

Jill Dupleix is a food writer, editor, cookbook author, restaurant critic and co-Director of Australia’s Top Restaurants.

where 1,800 staff serve a grand total of 6,104 diners over the 54,000 square metre space. We’ll never have anything of that scale in Australia, but signs point to ever-larger restaurants as restaurateurs face higher overheads and shrinking profit margins. Already, clever operators such as Melbourne’s Chris Lucas and Sydney’s Justin Hemmes are experimenting with scale in

lively, well-designed packages of party-time spaces, booze and high-energy street food. Let’s start at the small end. The Lucas Group’s Chin Chin Sydney may be just 160 covers, but its built for speed as much as it is spice. SMH restaurant critic Terry Durack called it “a machine designed for eating and drinking that is almost aggressively geared to turnover, successfully disguised as a raucous, good-natured party.” Now let’s jump to the big end. After testing the multi-kitchen concept at Coogee Pavilion (no slouch itself at 320 seats), the Merivale Group bought the old Newport Arms pub for a reported $50 million, turning it into an open-air festival of food for up to 1,000 people across 11,500 square metres in 2016. Likewise, Neil Perry and the Rockpool Group is playing the numbers game. Steak-andshiraz palace Rockpool Bar & Grill in Sydney seats 223, and in Melbourne 200, while the Italian-accented Rosettas in Melbourne and Sydney feed 200 each. Next up for the

Rockpool Group is a more downscale 500-seater megaversion of Fratelli Fresh, situated beneath the new concert hall at Tumbalong Park in Sydney’s Darling Harbour. Big restaurants have a brilliant energy and buzz about them – but only when they are full. If you don’t get the numbers right, that’s an awful lot of empty tables. (Sadly Damascus Gate currently sits empty due to the current political situation in Syria). Another downside is the inevitable impact on smaller restaurants, whose very real production and labour costs can’t be amortised by scaling up, and whose margins can’t be reduced to compete with the mega-restaurant down the road. These smaller restaurants can, however, offer more personal, intimate and civilised dining experiences, which – when the pendulum swings – diners will appreciate and invest in anew. Note The Araki in London, which in October 2017 won three Michelin stars for its exquisitely refined sushi. Number of seats? Nine.


18

CHEFS’ CORNER

CHEFS’ CORNER IN OUR NEW COLUMN, CHEFS’ CORNER, WE’LL HEAR FROM A DIFFERENT AUSSIE CHEF ON A TOPIC THAT’S NEAR AND DEAR TO THEM. STARTING US OFF IS MAL MEIERS, FOUNDER OF CHARITY DINNERS ORGANISATION, FOOD FOR THOUGHT, WHO REVEALS WHAT IT HAS MEANT TO HIM TO FIGHT THE STIGMA OF DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY.

Mal Meiers, chef and founder of Food for Thought.

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his year marks ten years since I first became a chef. My journey into hospitality began after high school when I was trying to find my place in the world. I had been studying at hotel school when I was approached for a job in a kitchen as an apprentice. The next couple of years saw me really discover my passion, which ultimately helped put me on the path that I’m on now. Food for Thought was born out my own experience with depression. Prior to the first dinner in 2014 I was at my darkest point. In many ways, the hardest part about having depression and anxiety is reaching out, whether it be to friends or family, or phoning a hotline. So I was lucky enough to have a lot of support around me.

My aim for Food for Thought has always been to help raise awareness about mental illness and to help people. 100 per cent of proceeds goes to the charities beyondblue and, as of 2017, R U OK? to help them fight the stigma around mental health. When we launched four years ago, we started with a single dinner in Melbourne and raised approximately $4,000. Fast forward to 2017 and our three sold out events in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane raised just under $26,000. It’s been truly humbling to see the support for Food for Thought develop and grow. Everything for these events is donated, from the venue, to the chefs’ time, the food and the wine, and the prizes we raffle off. One of the biggest things that I’ve learnt since founding Food for Thought is that

it really does help to talk. It is for this very reason that I got R U OK? involved. Their message is strong: ‘a conversation could change a life’. And you can start the conversation with someone just by asking if they’re all right. I think that in any industry there is a need for improved training to better deal with how issues surrounding mental health are managed. In the foodservice sector, it would be great to see the leaders and the managers of today come together to work out a specific path so that the industry could be better prepared and better equipped, and to train the managers of tomorrow. Mal Meiers founded Food for Thought in 2014. Contact him via foodforthoughtdinner@gmail.com.


20

HUCK’S RANT

u men


HUCK’S RANT

THE ‘MARE OF MENUS FED UP WITH VISITING VENUE AFTER VENUE WITH WAITSTAFF NEEDLESSLY RECITING THE MENU, ANTHONY HUCKSTEP UNPACKS THIS CEREMONY OF CONVENTION AND OFFERS SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT.

“H

ave you dined with us before?” It’s a fairly common question to hear these days. In some sense it’s justifiable, but it causes my eyes to roll so hard into the back of my head I nearly fall backwards off my chair. Essentially we’re about to be lectured on what a menu is and how to read one.

Even if the traditional entree-main-dessert structure has been challenged by a shared plate swagger, the running order and price should be enough for most of the hoi polloi to work this out without needing a PhD.

Anthony Huckstep is the national restaurant critic for delicious. and a food writer for The Australian, GQ Australia and QANTAS.

The sentiment is invariably followed by “Let me just talk you through the menu” – as if they’ve created something miraculously different, or that the rabble at the table couldn’t possibly have eaten in a restaurant before. “The dishes under the heading ‘small’ are like entrees, and those under ‘large’ are like mains.” Anarchists! Even if the traditional entreemain-dessert structure has been challenged by a shared plate swagger, the running order and price should be enough for most

of the hoi polloi to work this out without needing a PhD. But of course, the loophole in the whole caper is when the chef doesn’t stick to the plan. In many shared plate establishments you could have five dishes all costing $20, one could sate a grizzly bear, another barely an hors d’oeuvre to an aardvark. Then we require waitstaff to hold our hands in choosing the right amount of dishes – as if we all possess the same appetite. Anyway, there are also menus you need a GPS to find. Written on a wall nowhere near your table, by the time you return to your seat you can’t remember if the pork comes with ice cream or if your crumble has caramelised fennel. Wait, did they even offer pork? Then we have the specials. I don’t mind if they’re delivered verbally, but beyond three dishes we not only forget what’s served with what, but what in fact the original what was. “What came with the John Dory?” inevitably receives the reply – “Wait, I thought it was snapper?” Print the specials, and hand it over with the menu. None of

this portable chalkboard carry on either. I’ve watched many waitstaff awkwardly carry this cumbersome melange of mains du jour from table to table and prop it up against a chair blocking the walkway for others. It’s not original. It’s a pain in the butt. And what’s with giant menus? Some waitstaff have openly apologised for the inconvenience as they hand me the equivalent of a novelty-oversized winners cheque, only with menus this size there are no winners. Bigger is not better, especially if you’re talking amount of dishes on a menu too. I don’t care how good the chef is, the more dishes the less chance there is of nailing each one. Keep the menu tight and hit every dish for six. Plus, I don’t have three days to read the menu. I want to peruse it, choose something then get on with the joy of catching up with my dining companion. Menus should be a simple affair. The easier to peruse and the less time spent doing such the better. Menus are, after all, a marketing tool for the chef’s food and restaurant. Keep it simple – let the food do the talking.

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YOUR BUSINESS IS FOOD

PRACTICAL WAYS TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE AS YOU PLAN YOUR NEW MENUS THIS YEAR, AMANDA KANE URGES ALL BUSINESSES AND COMMERCIAL KITCHENS TO KEEP COSTS DOWN BY KEEPING IN MIND THE ENVIRONMENT.


YOUR BUSINESS IS FOOD

F

ood waste is a not top priority for most food businesses because they think it is unavoidable and the cost of food waste has been factored into the cost and paid by consumers. So, you may ask, why bother? How about earning a 14fold financial return when you invest in food loss and waste reduction? The UK’s Waste & Resource Action Program (WRAP) and World Resource Institute (WRI) analysed 1,200 business sites across 17 countries and 700 companies. The subsequent The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste Report found that,

Your Business is Food involves a simple three step process for food businesses to reduce food waste. First measure your waste, then identify actions based on where the most food is wasted and finally implement just two or three of those actions to get things started.

The Love Food Hate Waste team can provide expertise and support. To find out more, visit lovefoodhatewaste.nsw.gov.au.

on average, for every $1 you spend on food loss and waste actions, a medium-sized company earned a realised financial return of $14. The highest return is in restaurants and hotels, with food service companies and food retailers tending towards ratios of between 5:1 and 10:1. So, what is the first step you can take to earn your 14-times investment return? The answer is simple, involve your staff in the food waste reduction and you’ll get the best results. Staff can be involved from measuring the food waste, to sharing solutions, implementing them and then broadcasting your achievements to others.

According to the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) Love Food Hate Waste Your Business is Food program, staff engagement is important because: 1. The more staff buy-in to your new plan, the less resistance and higher motivation they have to help you make it work 2. It raises work satisfaction, so you get happier employees and higher productivity; and 3. Happy staff improve the customer dining experience and it creates a synergy within the team. Launched last year, Your Business is Food involves a simple three step process for food businesses to reduce food waste. First measure your waste, then identify actions based on where the most food is wasted and finally implement just two or three of those actions to get things started. Actions to reduce food waste might include offering smaller portion sizes if plate waste is your problem or offering specials to use up stock if the waste is happening in the storage stage. Through the program, businesses achieved an achieved an average 21 per cent reduction in food waste. Some, like the Rose & Crown Hotel in Parramatta recorded a 52 per cent cut. The EPA’s food waste expert Sarah Chen said staff engagement was the key to success at the Rose and Crown. “From the outset, the pub engaged staff about what they were doing and immediately got traction because the staff really hated to see good food going to waste. “Kitchen and bar staff came up with ideas and really embraced the process,”

23

she continued, “with the result being a significant reduction in food waste and improved employee performance and satisfaction.” TOP FOUR TIPS FOR STAFF ENGAGEMENT FOR FOOD WASTE ACTION: 1. Awareness: Get staff involved from the beginning. Talk to them about your plans in advance and explain why you are doing it to get them motivated and prepared for change. Making the business more profitable and helping the environment are good reasons for you and your staff. 2. Delegation: Assign tasks to specific staff so they can take ownership of these food waste reduction actions. Chefs often don’t see what is left on the customer plate and knowing what’s happening there can give them ideas when they plan the menu. Front of house staff can collect customers feedback when food doesn’t get eaten. 3. Brainstorming: Your staff know your business and customers well. Share the food waste review data with them and work out 1-2 simple food waste reduction actions together. You may be surprised by their ideas and what they are willing to do. 4. Celebrate success: Update staff on the progress of the food waste reduction actions. Celebrate your achievement or even reward their effort and share it with your customers. Nothing is more motivating to know their contribution is recognised and making a difference to our environment.


24

PROFILE

BIG FISH TO FRY JIMMY SHU HAS JUST WON HIS FIRST CHEF’S HAT IN THE NEWLY NATIONAL 2018 GOOD FOOD GUIDE - PRECISELY TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AFTER PUTTING DARWIN DINING ON THE MAP WITH HIS ICONIC RESTAURANT HANUMAN. JILL DUPLEIX TALKS TO THE BARRAMUNDI-MAD CHEF WHO CREDITS HIS SUCCESS AND LONGEVITY TO THE FACT THAT HE’S NEVER TOO BIG TO DO THE DISHES.

J

immy Shu grew up in Sri Lanka with a chef for a dad, and reckons he spent most of his childhood in the kitchen, helping out. He arrived in Australia the day before Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin, in 1974, and settled in Melbourne to open his first restaurant. Two pioneering restaurants later – the modern Thai Isthmus of Kra in South Melbourne and Monsoon in Melbourne’s CBD – and he needed a source for his beloved wild barramundi. Fate led him to Darwin in 1989.

TO P

PROFILE CHEF

“I am a bit of a daredevil,” he says. “I love challenges. I don’t like to be comfortable.” The first two years were the hardest, with so little turnover he had to walk to work and back.

Hanuman 93 Mitchell Street Darwin City NT 0800 hanuman.com.au

“I found the one person, Billy Boustead, who was perfecting the art of breeding silver barramundi in the wild, in a series of tidal pools,” he says. The superior quality of this indigenous saltwater fish, combined with the brilliant diversity of Asian greens and the crazy, frontier-land mix of cultures and cuisines in the Top End appealed to the adventurous chef instantly. Selling up his restaurants in Melbourne virtually overnight, he moved north. “I am a bit of a daredevil,” he says. “I love challenges. I don’t like to be comfortable.” The first two years were the hardest, with so little turnover he had to walk to work and back. “It was a real struggle,” he recalls.

Twenty-five years later and Shu is sitting pretty, with his uniquely Darwinian fusion of Thai, Nonya and Tamil dishes and magnificent wine list in high demand at Hanuman Darwin and, more recently, Hanuman Alice Springs. Crowd favourites are the famous Hanuman oysters in a warm, sweet-and-sour bath of lemongrass, Thai basil, ginger, chilli and coriander, and a turmeric-stained meen mooli coconut curry of (wait for it) wild barramundi. When news of the chef ’s hat – the only one awarded in the Territory - was announced on October 16, he says he felt numb. “As the day went on, and I had so many messages of congratulations from colleagues here and overseas, I realised what a great honour it was,” he says. Because it was the first year the Good Food Guide had expanded from its Melbourne/Sydney/Brisbane heartland, he had to explain its significance to his staff. “A chef ’s hat is the equivalent of a Michelin star” he told them. “You earn it purely on merit and performance.” Shu credits his kitchen and front of house teams for the award, and hopes that the Australian government will reconsider changes to the 457 Skilled Occupations visa, to enable him to continue to run his restaurant at the highest level. “My head chef Syed Nainar Ali Muhammed has been with me for fourteen years,” he says. “If we cannot get people like that to come here and do their best work, we will all suffer.”


PROFILE

25

Jimmy Shu, Hanuman.


foodservice magazine is excited to announce the launch of its new awards program, 30 Under 30.

CALL FOR ENTRIES


WE’RE LOOKING FOR THE TOP 30 UNDER 30 INDUSTRY PLAYERS Open to chefs, innovators, entrepreneurs, restaurant managers, assistant managers, waiters, sommeliers, and bartenders, 30 Under 30 is dedicated to recognising and celebrating the best and brightest young foodservice professionals working in Australia today.

IS THIS YOU? The announcement of the inaugural 30 Under 30 class will take place during the tradeshow, Foodservice Australia at the ICC Sydney in May 2018. The finalists will be flown (if out of state) to the event and provided with tickets to attend the exclusive cocktail event.

To enter visit: foodservicenews.com.au/30-under-30

Entries close: April 5th 2018


28

DINING

FROM MOVIDA TO MAYFAIR

PHOTOGRAPHY: TIM GREY

RESTAURATEUR DAVID MACKINTOSH HAS FASHIONED A STRING OF HITS IN HIS ADOPTED HOME CITY, MELBOURNE. TIM GREY FINDS OUT HOW HE DID IT.


DINING

D

The Mayfair., Melbourne.

29

avid Mackintosh doesn’t read TripAdvisor reviews. He’s of the Old School. “I’m old-fashioned enough to respect a person’s right to comment,” he explains thoughtfully. “But there are some people’s commentary that I take more seriously than others.” Likewise, The Mayfair, his latest restaurant is also of the Old School – a New York-style supper club underneath the Sofitel in Melbourne, whose vibe draws from the gilded 1930s. And, as far as the opinions worth taking seriously are concerned, The Mayfair’s yet another triumph. As a restaurateur, Mackintosh is more familiar with triumphs than most. His first port of call after arriving from Auckland back in 1994 was Rockpool, where he worked under Neil Perry for the best part of four years. It was a formative experience for the expat, and one that defined the boundaries of what hospitality could be. “Professionalism, produce: Neil was ahead of the curve in terms of celebrating produce and provenance,” Mackintosh recalls. “You can imagine – in '94, putting your suppliers on your menu was pretty forward, given people are still going on about it today.” Though Rockpool in its heyday was a stimulating environment, something about Sydney just never really gelled with the ginger-haired Kiwi. When an opportunity arose to open Langton's on Flinders Lane in Melbourne, Mackintosh jumped. “Flinders Lane then was not the Flinders Lane it is today. We were there, and Ezard was there, and very few others,” he says. “But it was a great opportunity to be introduced to Melbourne as a city – and I fell in love with Melbourne pretty readily. I don’t know, it just got under my skin” Though Mackintosh had his share of success, it wasn’t until 2002 when, together with partners Peter Bartholomew and Frank Camorra, he struck culinary gold down a graffiti-lined laneway. “I distinctly remember going to have a look at that site in 2002 with Frank,” he recalls. “We thought, A. wow, what a cool spot; B. it was going to take a lot of work, but C. that’s federation square right there. Surely there’s enough people around here to run a little business, have some fun, and see what happens?” What happened was MoVida. The tapas bar on Hosier Lane was, for a time, the city’s flagship restaurant. It wasn’t, however, fine dining in the classical mould – by pairing neighbourhood-cool with seriously skilled cuisine, MoVida demonstrated that fine dining didn’t have to be about the silver or the linen. “It was almost a bit like a pub, in terms of that warm welcome. You almost get an arm around your shoulder,” Mackintosh explains. “But if you had a question about Austrian Gruner Veltliner and how well it might go with a Spanish scallop dish, we could answer that question.” Though Mackintosh is no longer a partner, he’s still rightly proud of how big an influence the little Spanish restaurant had on the Australian


30

DINING

Above: David Mackintosh in The Mayfair dining room. Below: Pernod cured ocean trout with apple.

dining scene. “I still reflect back on it and think that Movida can genuinely take some credit for a very accessible version of really high-quality dining,” he says. “You could point to maybe ten restaurants that have been inspired by what MoVida did, which is only to the good of Melbourne.” The restaurants created in Mackintosh’s second act might not have the household name of MoVida, nevertheless they’re every bit as good. At Lee Ho Fook, Mackintosh provided a platform for Victor Liong’s revelatory take on Chinese-Australian. He helped find slow-food Sicilian Rosa Mitchell find a permanent home for Rosa’s Canteen (and previously Rosa’s Kitchen). He was an early champion of ex-Attica sous chef Peter Gunn, turning his pop-up project IDES into a full-time bistro. Together with front of house gun, Tom Gaden, he’s selling wood fired pizza by the slice at SPQR. And he partnered with Mark Best for the gone-but-notforgotten Pei Modern – where The Mayfair now stands. The portfolio of restaurants certainly reflects Mackintosh’s interests, as much as it does his belief in individual chefs. But it’s also a deliberate strategy, covering off different sectors of the dining market. “The first thing is a business decision, in terms of diversified risk. It’s just about not having all your eggs in one basket,” Mackintosh explains. “I really like the idea of having a fine dining, a bistro, an Italian, a pizza, a Chinese, just from a breadth of business perspective. If for whatever reason, wood-fired pizzas are the flavour of the day, and fine dining’s a little bit soft, I like that diversity.” Another strength of Mackintosh’s business model is that he partners with owner-operators, seeking out skilled (and passionate) practitioners who’ll serve as the figurehead for the restaurant. “The important thing for me is that I always have an operating partner in each of the restaurants, there’s always somebody I’m working alongside in each of the businesses – Peter Gunn, Victor Liong, Rosa Mitchell,” says Mackintosh. “I’d like to think my skill is being able to identifying the talent for an individual person, to sit down and have a conversation with.”


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DINING

Crumpet with spanner crab and Yarra Valley caviar.

“The important thing for me is that I always have an operating partner in each of the restaurants, there’s always somebody I’m working alongside in each of the businesses ... I’d like to think my skill is being able to identifying the talent for an individual person, to sit down and have a conversation with.” To that end, Mackintosh often works as a conduit and a guide for an individual talent, helping direct the running of the restaurant through expertise of his organisation. “At any one time I’ll devote a lot of time to the place that needs me there, particularly in the early stages. Once they’re settled, it becomes much more of a role where I’m there for conversations, the odd service, weekly meetings, monthly performance meetings, and just helping them manage the business,” he explains. “But each place needs its own leader, and their personality needs to be driving it.” When the partners behind Pei Modern decided that the project had reached its natural end, Mackintosh felt that the Sofitel site needed a different approach. To help achieve it partnered with Joe Jones, a celebrated bartender from Romeo Lane. “We thought tucked away off Collins Street at a pretty premium end of the city, we could do something with a little bit of glamour. But it needed that classic cocktail offer, which is where Joe is so great,” he says. “The conversation I had with Joe, he and I just talked about different places, memories, things we’d seen and read, places we’ve travelled, along the lines of a more timeless restaurant offering. Something that has a warm welcome and an air of familiarity about it and a little bit of nostalgia. Melbourne doesn’t really have a nostalgic old dining room anymore. There’s a lot of concrete and pale furniture, which is all fine, but you don’t want every restaurant in the city to be like that.”

Unlike other city restaurants, the focus at The Mayfair is defiantly not on lunch. “Lunch in the CBD is pretty fast and frantic and price sensitive,” says Mackintosh. “So we thought maybe there’s an opportunity for a different offer. So rather than doing lunch, let’s do the equivalent of lunch and dinner for dinner and supper, in terms of hours that we’re open.” Behind the Venetian blinds, diners at The Mayfair will find a French-inspired menu by chef Ron O'Bryan, and live jazz in the corner. “We wanted to explore French bistro-style dining because we had in mind a kind of 1930s, New York supper club when we were thinking about the look and feel for The Mayfair. To a large degree those New York dining rooms of the 30s, they had a touch of glamour about them but they were a very much French style of menu,” Mackintosh says. “We felt like there wasn’t actually a kind of classic French dining room at the top of the city. There’s lots of other great food available, but something unashamedly doing something quite classic in the way that we’re doing.” The fact that The Mayfair isn’t exactly on-trend is mostly by design. While other restaurateurs are constructing fit-outs to appeal to Instagram, Mackintosh is motivated by something more lasting. “I don’t know if I’m particularly good at picking trends. What I am good at is making sure that we execute a very good example of whatever we decide to do,” he explains. “SPQR, for example: I don’t know if doing a wood-fired pizza restaurant is particularly on-trend. But we do a really, really good one. I just personally would not do anything that wasn’t as good as I could make it. Forget about it.” And if you’ve got any complaints about Mackintosh’s approach, don’t gripe about it on TripAdvisor. He suggests doing it the old fashioned way: talking to him. “It gives me a chance to fix it.”


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34

TRADE PROFILE TALK

A GOOD EGG

WITH THE POPULARITY OF BREAKFAST AND BRUNCH EVER-GROWING AMONGST AUSTRALIAN DINERS, ANITA CONNORS CHATS TO INDUSTRY EXPERTS TO FIND OUT WHAT’S CRACKING IN COMMERCIAL KITCHENS ACROSS SYDNEY, MELBOURNE AND BRISBANE.

TRADE TA L K

Rye toast with pear at A Girl Called Jayne.

“M

ake it fresh, make it seasonal and keep it interesting.” That’s Peter Conistis’ advice for any chef looking to update their breakfast offerings. The industry veteran recently launched a morning menu at Sydney’s Alpha Restaurant as “our customers wanted a little more choice. Plus Alpha is an ideal CBD location for breakfast meetings and we wanted to attract those customers.” A shift towards early morning dinng is a trend that

Lisa Hasen, vice president APAC of OpenTable, sees growing across Australia. “Customers rise early to imbibe in the gorgeous weather and scenery, needing quality fuel to make the most of our mornings,” she says. “We have some of the best ingredients for breakfast meals – avocado, artisanal breads, and amazing fruit – plus a fearless use of ethnic seasonings to bring out the best in fundamental morning fare.” Hasen also sees “restaurants and cafes taking advantage

of using their venue in earlier hours, since the rent is being paid regardless of whether the space is being used or not. There is also utility in serving breakfast – using components that may have a role in the dinner menu in different ways at breakfast. On weekends, the ‘breakfast’ meal can be an allday affair, expanding the menu to include high-margin items.” KEEPING IT INTERESTING Conistis’ breakfast menu at Alpha Restaurant features modern Greek dishes including


36

TRADE TALK

Clockwise: Butternut pumpkin hummus with Japanese pumpkin, soy pepitas nd atjitsuke tamago egg at A Girl Called Jayne; various dishes on the breakfast menu at Darling & Co; and feta and watermelon salad with tomato, mint and olives at Alpha Restaurant.

lobster and haloumi tart, avocado on toast with broadbean hummus, and a feta and watermelon salad with tomato, mint and olives. At Melbourne’s A Girl Called Jayne, head chef Sean Page is keeping it interesting by providing “healthy Australian cuisine with a modern flare, focused on local produce.” His breakfast menu features berries, figs, bananas, and peaches, as well as local proteins such as wood-smoked bacon, handmade English blood sausage, and lamb merguez sausages. “My favourite dish, however, would have to be the salmon and beets,” he says. “Our recipe is both tasty and consistent. We cure our salmon with just enough spiced citrus salt for a longer period of time for a more delicate cure. And we roast and puree our beetroots for a more intense flavour and colour. Pair this with an avocado gel, confit baby beets, beetroot chips and black sesame, and this makes for a very delectable dish.” Similarly, Giuliano Melluso of Darling & Co is keeping diners happy with “a good mix of the classics and a few different dishes for the more adventurous.”

This includes the crispy fried Mooloolaba prawns with chilli scrambled eggs, flatbread and Nate’s hot sauce “I really wanted to do a dish with chilli scrambled eggs and prawns,” he says. “I researched a Chinese-style batter which is very light and crispy. I remembered an old recipe for a yoghurt flatbread and thought that it would go well together. And my sous chef had just recently made a huge batch of hot sauce. The components go great together and it’s an awesome dish for Brisbane’s summer.” TRENDING TASTES With Australians opting more and more to go out for breakfast and brunch, diners are increasingly looking for new and exciting flavours and textures to try. Hasen has noticed a prevalence of Middle Eastern and Indian influences on menus of late. She says, “Shakshuka and flatbreads, garam masala-scented rice and egg dishes have usurped the standard wheatmeal toast and poached eggs. It would not surprise me if other international flavours were

elevated in a way that enticed diners to go out for breakfast. The ‘why’ may be in part to how the building blocks of breakfast (eggs, bread, spreads) are perfect foils for flavour, spice and texture.” Consitis agrees. “People want lighter, healthier dishes that are still packed with flavour. Plenty of grains, not too many carbs, eggs done a little differently.” For Page, it’s all about avocados. He says, “If the price of avocados is any indication I would definitely say Australia’s love for the smashed avo will not die any time soon. Combine this with a massive push for healthy and organic foods at the moment, I can only see this on the rise again for 2018.” Melluso sees Instagram as a big driver of breakfast trends. He says, “I think social media makes chefs focus more on the photo perfect dish rather than thinking about flavour, which is a bit sad.” Regardless the motivation for introducing a new dish, Page is keen for chefs and operators to source locally. He says, “There’s nothing better than eating local and helping the local farmers while you’re at it.”


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38

PROFILE MANAGEMENT

WAGING A LIVING TONY ELDRED IS KEEN FOR BUSINESSES ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO BEGIN THE YEAR ON THE RIGHT FOOT, NAMELY WITH A FOCUS ON MIMINISING COSTS AND MAXIMISING THE AVERAGE SPEND PER CUSTOMER.

MANA

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Tony Eldred operates Eldred Hospitality Pty Ltd, ‘The Hospitality Specialists’. Contact him on (03) 9813 3311 or at eldtrain.com.au.

M

any of the hospitality businesses we deal with are battling to keep their wage costs down to appropriate levels at the moment. Before I continue, it is worth mentioning that when I refer to wage costs, I am referring to wages paid plus on costs: annual leave, sick leave, long service leave, superannuation, workcover insurance and payroll tax. Depending on your mix of permanent and casual staff these combined on costs normally fall in the range of 15 to 25 per

cent above base wages paid. It is important to include these costs when you are accounting for wage costs because they are a part of the cost of employing staff. When your monthly profit and loss indicates you have high wage costs, the normal reaction of most business owners and managers is to try to cut back the rostered hours of their staff in order to reduce the expense. Often this exacerbates the problem – rather than dealing with it – which may sound counter-intuitive.

In many of the businesses we have had dealings with the main cause of high wage costs is staff turnover, rather than rostered hours. If you are constantly recruiting, inducting and training new staff you are incurring non-productive wages – that is, wages that are not directly related to the production of food or the provision of service. If you don’t recognise this and then cut your rosters, you are going to shoot yourself in the foot by reducing your ability to produce and serve in an appropriate manner.


39

Food Service Where quality matters

An inappropriate reduction in kitchen staff will often slow down food production or negatively affect food quality, or worse still, cause staff to quit, who will then need to be replaced at considerable cost. This can easily plunge you into a negative spiral of short staffing that can take months and months to rectify. In your front of house, an inappropriate reduction in staff will inevitably reduce service standards and possibly lose repeat customers. Worse still, it will most certainly reduce your customer average spend which will lead to a reduction in sales that increases your wage percentage, which is the exact opposite of what you intended. Dealing with a wage cost problem requires a thoughtful and measured response by managers. It is far better to increase sales to make a wage cost problem go away than to go into cost cutting mode. If you succumb to the temptation to go on a cost cutting program you will rapidly run afoul of the Law of Diminishing Returns where the cost of making the saving exceeds the savings made. There are only three ways you can increase the sales of your business. You can: increase prices, increase customer numbers or you can increase customer average spend. Increasing prices must be approached with extreme caution. It is very easy to price yourself out of your market by charging more than your customers’ perception of value. This will damage your business very quickly. Increasing customer numbers usually takes time

and money and comes with a proportional increase in labour cost. The more customers you have the more time is needed to produce product and serve them. Increasing customer average spend is the most desirable way to deal with a wage cost problem. You already have a base of customers; are you making the most of the opportunity? How much money goes out your exit doors intact in wallets and purses that would have been left there if somebody had made the right noises? Many of our clients spend considerable resources trying to attract new customers while ignoring the potential that resides in their existing customers. Increasing average spend can be achieved by either merchandising or selling. Merchandising is the art of using visual means like revamping your menus to include photos, placing tent cards on tables etc. Selling is the process of using human interaction to assess what customers want and recommending products that will enhance their experience. If you have cut front of house rosters to the bone, your staff will not have the time necessary to maximise customer spend. It’s that extra drink or add-on sale that will give you the income to balance out your wage costs. Following on, in the past I have resolved wage cost problems by adding front of house staff, not removing them. If you identify your best sellers and split your team into runners and sales staff, then keep your good sales people out on the floor, you can often take much more from the average customer than if it is hard for them to get a drink or more food.

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42

PRODUCE

FISHY PREDICTIONS FOR 2018 AUSTRALIA'S PREEMINENT PURVEYOR OF SEAFOOD, JOHN SUSMAN, SEES IN THE NEW YEAR WITH A FORECAST OF THE TRENDS HE BELIEVES WILL SOON BE IMPACTING THE FOODSERVICE SECTOR.

T

he food industry is as vulnerable to the annual wins (and losses) of trends as any other. With the continued explosion of food media, particularly via unedited social media channels, predicting food trends can be a dangerous sport, plagued by a lack of science and often evidence. So with the confidence of any jockey heading out at the start of the new race season, here are my thoughts on the direction 2018 is going to take us in the world of seafood and dare I say, the trends I see for this year. APPRECIATION OF WILD SEAFOOD With an increased understanding for the provenance and history of seafood by chefs, I can see the emergence of a greater level of appreciation for wild caught seafood in the restaurant kitchens of Australia. The reality is that wild caught seafood is truly special, which can be seen in the high regard and prices of wild caught seafood elsewhere in the world. Here in Australia we have almost taken for granted that the supply of wild seafood is sustainable, safe and produced by fisherman who are protected by our labour laws. As a fundamental mandate, I foresee this appreciation manifest itself across a range of areas, from the increased utilisation of a broader range of species, to a loosening up of menu structures to accommodate the inherent inconsistencies of wild seafood.

John Susman is the director of the seafood industry agency Fishtales. For more views, insights and understanding of the seafood industry visit thefishtale.com.au.

A MORE SOPHISTICATED AQUACULTURE PRODUCTION WHICH FOCUSSES ON QUALITY OVER QUANTITY As the domestic aquaculture industry comes to grips with the fact that our cost of production is greater than that anywhere else in the world – in part due to the environmental compliance, legislation and human resource costs (which we should be proudly celebrating!!), the next generation of aquaculturists in Australia are taking a ‘pinot noir’ approach to what they are growing.

Improved genetics, superior husbandry and responsibly designed feeds, are delivering world’s best quality standards from every level in our aquaculture products. Some examples of this approach can be seen in the world’s first sashimi-grade barramundi from the Humpty Doo Farm in the Northern Territory; the rock oyster Appellation program by Australia’s Oyster Coast, which is delivering superior grade of rock oysters from multiple estuaries along the NSW coast; and the seasonal yellowtail kingfish being farmed by the Indian Ocean Fresh company off Geraldton in WA.   SUSTAINABILITY BECOMES LESS A HACKNEYED CLICHÉ AND MORE A REAL OPERATING MANDATE I am predicting, actually hoping, that 2018 will see the seafood sustainability discussion move on from the often emotionally charged, one-dimensional environmental debate it has been. The days of chefs demanding only ‘centre-cut’ portions of third-party certified fish, with little or no regard for what becomes of the rest of that fish, or who produced it and the commercial sustainability of the business or town it came from, need to be behind us. With the increased appreciation for wild catch and the growing sophistication of aquaculture producers who are now focusing on quality rather than quantity, the message seems to be getting through that sustainability is a localised discussion. In fact, here in Australia we are, by law, sustainable producers of seafood. The next generation of the sustainability discussion is being prosecuted by chefs actually looking at the 'nose-to-scale’ utilisation of what they buy. The likes of Josh Niland from Saint Peter is at the extreme end of this movement with his use of 100 per cent of the animal, often in unique and abstract preparations (tuna eyeball crackers anyone?) is to be celebrated. Real seafood sustainability also speaks to the use of lesser known species, in season and in region.


PHOTOGRAPHER: MARK O'MEARA

PRODUCE

I am predicting, actually hoping, that 2018 will see the seafood sustainability discussion move on from the often emotionally charged, one-dimensional environmental debate it has been. IN-HOUSE BUTCHERY OF SEAFOOD The knock-on effect of the increased appreciation for wild and artisan aquaculture products is that we will see a renaissance of the in-house butchery of seafood, with chefs taking advantage of both the price, quality and by-products that whole seafood can offer. The side-effect of this renaissance will be the rise in the production of seafood soups, sauces and other products (welcome back the seafood terrine?) as the savvy chef extracts every ounce of value from their whole seafood. The trade-off from the increased labour costs will be rewarded in the expanded knowledge and skill of the kitchen, more dynamic and interesting menus and a more engaged customer.

Sashimi-grade barramundi.

NON-FISH SEAFOODS I see an explosion in the use of sea vegetables. As more interesting and diverse seaweeds come to market, chefs are exploring the amazing opportunities in flavour and texture. The use also of coastal marsh

grasses, sea sprites and samphire will continue to grow beyond the health food and fine dining markets. THE RISE AND RISE OF THE LESSER KNOWN Although ‘underutilised species’ have been a buzz term for some time, we are now seeing a real growth in the use (and celebration) of lesser known species. In combination with the rise of both wild and artisan aquaculture seafood, the quality and value of lesser known species (eg. blue mackerel, tropical snapper, bight redfish, Albacore tuna, red spot whiting and leatherjacket) has improved as fishermen are being rewarded for their catch. The increased use of lesser known species will demand a boost in the knowledge of both kitchen and floor staff, creative menu language and suggestive tableside selling, to give customers the confidence to try something a little different. Australia truly is a world leader in the production of seafood. While acknowledging that we are a 75 per cent net importer of seafood and recognising the importance imports play in the supply chain, we are finally seeing a reason to celebrate what is caught and grown in Australia as being special, sustainable and delicious. Make 2018 the year you serve more seafood, you know it makes sense!


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PRODUCE

JUJUBES WHETHER EATEN CRISP AND FRESH, OR DRIED AND CHEWY, JAMES DUFFELL REVEALS THERE’S MUCH TO ENJOY ABOUT AUSTRALIAN JUJUBES.

WHAT OTHER NAMES IS THE JUJUBE FRUIT KNOWN BY? Chinese dates or red dates. WHERE DID JUJUBES ORIGINATE? Jujubes are found all over the world but they are an ancient fruit from Asia and the Middle East. WHERE DO THEY GROW THE BEST IN AUSTRALIA? Jujube trees are quite drought tolerant and are commercially grown in Western Australia, Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales. They are best suited to well-drained, sandy soil and hot, dry weather, to ensure ripeness. HOW LONG BEFORE A TREE BEARS FRUIT? Two years after planting the tree bears fruit. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THEIR FLAVOUR PROFILE? You can eat a jujube fresh, it’s got texture like

an apple and a golden-syrup sweetness. Once dried they taste similar to a dried fig. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WAYS IN WHICH TO INCORPORATE JUJUBES IN COOKING? Fresh jujubes can be sliced thin and used in salads or smeared with fresh burrata. Pickled, sliced jujubes are also delicious.

In Asian cooking, dried jujubes are used in stocks, soups and broths to add depth and sweetness. They may also be used in tea and stuffings. In Asian cooking, dried jujubes are used in stocks, soups and broths to add depth and sweetness. They may also be used in tea and stuffings. Western cooking quite oftenly use them in desserts because of their caramel sweetness. Personally, I really like them in stuffings or pitted and used instead of saltanas on roast vegetables and curries. Jujubes also look and taste amazing on a cheese board or blended into a paste.

James Duffell is from Prickle Hill Produce. Contact him via 0428 551 837 or visit the website, pricklehillproduce.com.au.


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RECIPE

entrée

DEEPAK MISHRA’S ROYAL SPICE AND VODKA-CURED OCEAN TROUT WITH CALAMANSI LIME GEL, FENNEL-INFUSED HEIRLOOM BEETROOT, MASTIC PRESSED MELON AND WHIPPED GOATS CURD SERVES 4

VODKA-CURED OCEAN TROUT

WHIPPED PERSIAN FETA

600 g ocean trout, skin on and bones removed

100 ml Persian feta

200 g salt and sugar curing mix (ratio: 500 g salt to 1.3 kg sugar)

30 ml extra virgin olive oil

7 cardamoms 5 g Szechuan pepper 2 cinnamon sticks 10 g coriander seeds

½ lemon zest ¼ tsp freshly ground fine fennel powder ½ tsp drops of honey, or to taste Salt and pepper

2 star anise 10 juniper berries, bruised 10 g fennel seeds

M E T H O D In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and whip in a food processer on a low speed until smooth.

½ lemon zest ½ orange zest 30 ml lemon gin or vodka

COMPRESSED WATERMELON 200 g red watermelon

M E T H O D Combine all the dry spices in a pan and lightly toast them. Transfer the spices to a food processor and coarsely blitz. In a large bowl, add the spices, salt and sugar curing mix, the orange and lemon zest, and lemon gin or vodka. Mix well. Place half the mixture on the base of a large tray. Place the ocean trout on top and cover with the remaining mixture, pressing it down on the fish. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1½ to 2 days. Check after 36 hours. Dry brush off the cure mix from the fish. Slice the ocean trout into 7 mm slices and keep refrigerated until required.

200 g yellow watermelon 6 cardamon pods, bruised 10 g tarragon, finely chopped 10 g mint, finely chopped

M E T H O D Tightly vacuum pack the red and yellow watermelon with the bruised cardamom, tarragon and chopped mint. Leave overnight and use a melon baller to shape into balls.


PHOTOGRAPHY: THE LANGHAM MELBOURNE

RECIPE

SMOKED BEETROOT GEL

CALAMANSI GEL

100 ml beetroot juice

100 ml calamansi lime juice (grapefruit if not available)

1 tsp honey 15 g brown sugar, if required 20 g pomegranate molasses Salt

½ lime juice ½ tsp honey 1 g agar-agar power

Pinch of Sosa Smoke Powder 1 g agar-agar powder

M E T H O D Bring the beetroot juice to the boil before lowering the temperature and adding the molasses, honey, agar-agar and hint of smoke powder. Combine well and allow to cool and set in the fridge. Once set, transfer to a food processor and whip to make a glossy gel. Set aside.

Deepak Mishra is the executive chef of The Langham, Melbourne.

M E T H O D In a small saucepan, heat the calamansi juice and honey before whisking in the agar-agar powder. Transfer the mixture to half-round silicon moulds and allow to set in a fridge, turn out as required

T O A S S E M B L E Begin by using a small spatula to smear a little whipped feta across four plates. Next transfer the smoked beetroot gel to a piping bag and place small drops on each plate. Repeat with the kalamansi gel. Add 3 pieces of the ocean trout and surround with a few watermelon balls and roasted beetroots.

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RECIPE

main DECLAN CARROLL’S BEEF SHORT RIB WITH CHIMICHURRI, BEEF SAUCE, AND BEER-PICKLED ONION SERVES 4-6

BEEF SAUCE 2 kg beef trim, fat removed and diced 2 l red wine 5 white peppercorns 1 clove 1/2 cinnamon stick 1/3 bunch of thyme 1 bay leaf 3 celery sticks, peeled and diced 4 garlic cloves, peeled and diced 1 onion, peeled and diced 3 carrots, peeled and diced 10 l beef stock Olive oil

M E T H O D Pour some olive oil in a large pot then heat over high heat. Add the beef trim and allow to caramelize. Pass the beef through a sieve and remove any leftover fat. Return the pot to the stove with fresh olive oil and add the chopped vegetables, allow to colour. Next add the beef together with the spices and cook for 5 minutes. Add 500 ml of red wine and reduce to a syrup. Repeat this twice. Then add the rest of the wine and reduce by half. Next add 1/3 of the beef stock and reduce by half, skimming while it simmers. Add 1/3 more of thebeef stock, reduce and skim. Add the final 1/3 of the beef stock, reduce and skim. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve before transferring it to the coolroom. Next day, divide the beef sauce into portions.


RECIPE

BEER-PICKLED ONIONS

CHIMICHURRI

BEEF SHORT RIB

440 ml dark beer

1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped

2 kg grain-fed beef short ribs

250 ml apple cider vinegar

1 bunch of oregano, finely chopped

100 g Murray River pink salt

130 g sugar

1 bunch of thyme, finely chopped

50 g caster sugar

10 juniper berries

1 bunch of sage, finely chopped

200 ml vegetable oil

5 black peppercorns

200 g garlic, finely chopped

2 sprigs of thyme

5 g dried chilli, finely chopped

Pinch of salt

5 g salt

2 kg baby onions

5 g white pepper 250 ml red wine vinegar

M E T H O D In a medium-sized sauce pan add the beer, apple cider vinegar, sugar, juniper berries, black peppercorns, thyme and salt, and bring to the boil. Quarter the onions and steam for 2 minutes. Next pour the pickle mixture over the onion shells nd transfer them to the coolroom until needed.

OLIVE YOU AD-FOOD SERVICE-AUS-19X13 CM.pdf

400 ml olive oil

M E T H O D In a large bowl, add the finely chopped parsley, oregano, thyme, sage, garlic and chilli. Next add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and combine well. Set aside. 1

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M E T H O D Mix the salt and sugar together, coat the short ribs and leave to cure for 6 hours. Next rinse off the salt mix and pat dry. Vacuum pack the short ribs with the vegetable oil. Cook at 75°C for 14 hours, either in a water bath or combi oven. Transfer to an ice bath and allow the short ribs to cool.

Declan Carroll is the executive chef of Melbourne’s Angus & Bon.

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MOUTHFUL

The most popular food orders for New Year’s Eve 2017 • Pies (Adelaide) • Hot chips (Melbourne and Geelong) • Chicken nuggets (Perth) • Margherita pizza (Sydney) Source: Uber Eats

Five: The number of master sommeliers in Australia Sebastian Crowther (Rockpool Dining Group), Adrian Filiuta (Merivale), Benjamin Hasko (Luxury Beverage Group), Franck Moreau (Merivale) and Jonathan Ross (The Lucas Group). Source: Court of Master Sommeliers

MOUTHFUL Tweet Tracker I don’t condone breaking & entering but on the other hand doughnut shops should never close. Source Pete Wells, restaurant critic for The New York Times, @pete_wells


Small in size -

Big in stature

In the modern catering and food service sector, there is a capital element to be taken into account: space organisation. Space has been getting smaller and smaller in order to reduce operational costs. To address this requires a new way of thinking about a product: multi-function, efficient & space saving.

In one word: Kompatto

foodservice Feb 2018  

Foodservice is Australia’s most authoritative read for restaurateurs, chefs, caterers and foodservice professionals.

foodservice Feb 2018  

Foodservice is Australia’s most authoritative read for restaurateurs, chefs, caterers and foodservice professionals.

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