Home' Scoop : Scoop 52 Winter 2010 Contents 162 scoop WINTER 2010
After a whirlwind romance
with molecular gastronomy s
spherification, sous vide,
freeze-drying et al, the world of
food is rediscovering the wonders
of nature, shifting its focus from technique to the
provenance of produce.
While this movement has been picking up
momentum globally, the recent crowning of
Copenhagen s Noma as number one in this year s
San Pellegrino World s 50 Best Restaurants awards
makes a strong statement about how the world
wants to eat. Yes, you can have your bells and
whistles cooking -- indeed, Noma s patron-chef
Rene Redzepi (above left) has worked in the kitchens
of elBulli and The French Laundry in California
and utilises contemporary cooking techniques
in his cuisine -- but people want to see a sense of
place in the food they re being served.
At Noma, Redzepi and company champion a
style of food that speaks of its environment, a sort
of Nordic "terroir". It s a near fanatical adherence
to regionality and local Scandinavian ingredients,
so think "no" to olive oil and bulb garlic, "ja" to
foraged seaweed, cod milt and muskox.
Pushing a similar regional, produce-driven
barrow were visitors to this year s Melbourne Food
and Wine Festival -- Alex Atala (above right) from
Sao Paulo s D.O.M. has diners eating and thinking
about South American flavours in bold new ways,
while David Kinch s relationship with the nearby
biodynamic Love Apple Farm is critical to the
success of his Californian restaurant Manresa.
Interstate and internationally, many chefs have
realised the value of cutting out the middle man
when it comes to grocery shopping, and are now
going direct to Mother Nature to pick wild herbs
and mushrooms. Sadly, Perth s climate isn t too
conducive to finding exceptional stuff about the
place -- to quote an inner-city restaurateur: "Plenty
of wild things around here, just nothing you d
want on your plate" -- so it might be some time
before the trend takes off here.
Even so, while foraging is off the menu, fresh
produce is a mainstay for the better chefs around
town. Local dining luminaries Alain Fabrègues and
Jean Daniel Ichallalene have long pushed the
importance of fresh ingredients and in early days
cultivated relationships with growers and farmers
to meet their produce supplies. Many of the next
generation of chefs are now following suit -- Jason
Jujnovich at Divido has Swan Valley farmers
growing heirloom vegetables for him; Matt Stone
at Greenhouse gives producers key-note status
on his menu and is instilling this "produce-first"
culture in his young brigade (who, it has to be
said, probably boast the highest concentration of
piercings and tattoos per square inch of flesh than
any other kitchen in Perth).
I don t know about you, but I m excited.
Farmers will also benefit from this shift in
thinking, a renewed interest in produce throwing
a lifeline to a sector that s been largely ignored in
recent boom times. To quote something National
Association of Retail Grocers president John Cum-
mings said: "For the last five years, every primary
producer in this country has got the right to be-
lieve the Government at all levels has turned their
backs on them." I don t disagree. This move to
shopping at farmers markets and specialist grocers,
or buying direct at the farm gate spells good news
for those who live off the land.
And finally, the other big winners? Jo and
Joanne Bloggs. I couldn t tell you the exact price
of a vacuum oven, or how much a flash of liquid
nitrogen would set the average punter back, but I
dare say you d rack up many a reward point on
the old plastic. Compare this credit card heartache
with the cost of, say, growing your own French
breakfast radish or Chioggia beetroot (a Viennese
variety sporting concentric red and white circles)
and enjoying honest, home-grown produce, with
scant need for high-falutin treatment, and the
penny drops. This is how Mother Nature intended us
to eat. And shouldn t we always listen to our mums?
Where there's a Will...
Wills Domain in Yallingup has just got even
better, with the addition of a new restaurant,
art gallery and alpaca shop.
With rock and timber features, amazing
light installations and a clever flow between the
different spaces, Wills Domain offers visitors a
sophisticated setting while maintaining its relaxed
atmosphere. They have a menu of modern
cuisine including Wills Domain's famous seafood
platter and a 30-day dry-aged Angus Beef fillet
straight from a farm in Dandaragan.
Cnr Brash and Abbey Farm Roads, Yallingup
(08) 9755 2327 willsdomain.com.
TASTE with max veenhuyzen & danielle benda « email@example.com
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