Viewpoints from Aussie Cuisine
The sense of provenance has been inspiring chefs when sourcing their produce, as chefs and guests are becoming more interested in where their food comes from. Providores like Richard Gunner from Something Wild proved to be a popular choice among chefs, as his excellent produce has a wealth of stories behind it. As stated by chef Lines: ‘recently the artisan produce that has inspired and gained my respect is the heritage beef program from Richard Gunner. A unique rare breed cattle program of ‘heirloom’ beef breeds that are both pasture raised and dry aged. It has a great story bringing these once highly prized beef cattle back to the forefront from modern factory farming.’
Regional restaurants are becoming popular around the world, as their guests are looking for an extraordinary dining experience in a unique setting, ranging from a remote area to an expected city location. Those destination restaurants are known for having a unique identity: their culinary ethos refers to living off the land with local fresh, local and seasonal produce and to nurturing the chefs’ creative thinking. Chef Lines points out: ‘there are some outstanding regional restaurants out there like Biota, that seem to be leading the charge as chefs are really embracing the local, sustainable, native ethos. Also local to us, the team at Cornersmith are embracing their inner city regional style cuisine.’
Chef RJ Lines of One Penny Red in Sydney catches up in a Q&A with Dane Richards from Aussie Cuisine, to discuss some of his thoughts regarding Australian Cuisine. Here’s what he has to say!
“Produce must be seasonal, sustainable and as local as possible. It just makes sense. I believe it is a knock on effect that hopefully the general public and wider food community can embrace and spread.”
DR: What is Australian cuisine?
Chef RL: A unique blend of Asian, European and traditional native produce.
DR: What do you think were the primary influences behind its evolution?
Chef RL: I think the main influences half a century ago were the European influences, especially British, Greek and Italian, and that has shifted into a heavy South East Asian presence, and now the emergence of Australian native and indigenous produce.
DR: How important is it to fully understand the integrity, provenance and sustainability of the produce that you source?
Chef RL: For me personally, it is the most important. Produce must be seasonal, sustainable and as local as possible. It just makes sense. I believe it is a knock on effect that hopefully the general public and wider food community can embrace and spread.
DR: What artisian produce has recently inspired and gained your respect as a chef?
Chef RL: Recently it is the heritage beef program from Richard Gunner. A unique rare breed cattle program of “heirloom” beef breeds that are both pasture raised and dry aged. It has a great story bringing these once highly prized beef cattle back to the forefront from modern factory farming.
DR: Has important is it for the untapped potential of Indigenous influence on Australian Cuisine to be fully realised?
Chef RL: There is a recent interest in the Indigenous flavours which I see as “up and coming”. It’s exciting, and I think out of respect, we need to be exploring it deeper. It has been an untapped market and is not yet fully realised.
DR: What native Australian ingredients have you successfully incorporated into your dishes?
Chef RL: Finger limes are a favourite of mine, and we also have a native bee hive in our garden, which we are still waiting to yield the benefits from. Very recently, I received my very first Magpie goose from the Northern Territory. It’s a really unique wild bird that I’m excited to experiment with.
DR: Do you think regional cuisine of recent times has developed its own sense of sophistication and identity?
Chef RL: Slowly I think it has. There are some outstanding regional restaurants out there like Biota, that seem to be leading the charge as chefs are really embracing the local, sustainable, native ethos. Also local to us, the team at Cornersmith are embracing their inner-city regional style cuisine.
DR: What is your quintessential memory of an iconic regional dish?
Chef RL: In the mountains in the north of Italy, in what almost looked like a dive restaurant in a small town. I remember the wild boar ravioli made from chestnut flour, and also really simple stinging nettle pasta with a rich tomato sauce. I can picture it now almost 10 years on.
Sharples, S. (22 July 2016). One Penny Red is a new restaurant that has opened in Summer Hill in the decommissioned post office. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved from https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/inner-west/one-penny-red-is-a-new-restaurant-that-has-opened-in-summer-hill-in-the-decommissioned-post-office/news-story/18dbc8f70afcf9a9b7e8555a2685069 3