Viewpoints from Aussie Cuisine
Are we going native? Our native produce could give the AussieCuisine an identity specific to our country and not borrowed from immigrants or our neighbours.
As Daniel Motlop points out, “we sell croc, wild boar, emu, rabbits, goat, magpie geese, but also things like Kakadu plum, rosella, paperbark, finger limes and green ants.” This exciting produce is now readily available, but are our chefs ready to use and cook with them?
Something Wild is proving successful, hopefully popular enough for others to follow. As with more of this exciting native produce made available to many more chefs, it will in turn further influence the evolution of AussieCuisine with more exotic native tastes of our land.
Daniel Motlop from Something Wild chats with Carolina Holzmeister of AussieCuisine.
“We sell to everyone but we love the fact that we have a great story and a very fast growing business and we don’t want to lose sight of where we come from. I love relationships and meeting people that are genuinely passionate about our produce and these are products that tell a story and are all uniquely Australian.”
CH: From a former AFL football star, you are now part of the food industry. How did you get involved with the Something Wild business?
DM: I met Richard Gunner while coaching Meningie Football Club up along the Coorong area and we were both very passionate about putting magpie geese on the menu. So through a joint project, Richard helped me to get a small harvesting business up and running and put in a request to the Northern Territory Government for a license to capture and sell magpie geese – the first of its kind. From that start, Richard offered my family a majority share in the Something Wild business.
CH: You are most likely the first indigenous-owned native food purveyor in Australia and are responsible for employing many indigenous people in the Northern Territory. Could you please tell us more about your relationship with the local indigenous community and traditional aboriginal foods?
DM: The Something Wild business prides itself on employing Indigenous people through harvesting programs or within the business itself. We work with harvesters to help them showcase their ingredients to some of the best chefs in the world.
These foods have long been eaten and used as medicines and the way I look at it they are more so preventions for the different seasons. For example, the Kakadu plum is the richest source of vitamin C in the world and it flourishes just in the dry season when places up north get cold, so it’s a sign to stock up to prevent getting colds and flu during the seasonal change.
CH: Something Wild supplied native ingredients to world-renowned ‘pop-up’ restaurants Noma and The Fat Duck while they were in Australia. Who are your main customers now and what is your relationship with them?
DM: We supply Brae, Heston’s, Crown Casinos, and some big corporate companies for some of their Indigenous catering events, which we are proud of as an Indigenous business.
CH: Can you tell us more about the range of native foods distributed by your company? Which are your personal favourites among these?
DM: We sell croc, wild boar, emu, rabbits, goat, magpie geese (which would be my favourite) but also things like Kakadu plum, rosella, paperbark, finger limes and green ants, which is pretty interesting as from this we have made ‘Green Ant Gin’ with an Adelaide Hills distillery and also a wattle seed Lager with Mismatch Brewing.
CH: You provide magpie geese on a large scale to some of the best restaurants in Australia. What is the story behind the magpie geese?
DM: It’s a native bird that has been hunted for a long time by Aboriginal people. They are very smart birds that live until they are about 30, so trying to capture them was a task in itself, but with a lot of trial by error, we have mastered it. Growing up it was my favourite thing to do and spending time with the family on many geese hunting trips and cook ups around a fire are some of my great memories growing up.
CH: What expansion plans do you have with the food service trade? Also does Something Wild sell directly to consumers who have an interest in native Australian produce?
DM: We sell to everyone but we love the fact that we have a great story and a very fast growing business and we don’t want to lose sight of where we come from. I love relationships and meeting people that are genuinely passionate about our produce and these are products that tell a story and are all uniquely Australian.
Taylor. M. (14 February 2017). Central Market store scores Indigenous partnership deal. In Daily. Retrieved from https://indaily.com.au/eat-drink-explore/the-forager/2016/05/18/central-market-store-scores-indigenous-partnership-deal/