“Paddock to plate” was a term I often encountered during a recent trip Down Under, a reference to Australia’s wholehearted approach to advancing sustainable practices in dining, by highlighting ingredients that give a whole new meaning to fresh.
Organic produce, locally-grown ingredients, ethically sourced and farmed, nose to tail, farm to table and zero waste—these are no longer terms bandied about but rather unswerving principles expected from the chefs and restaurateurs we met, who have fully integrated sustainable practices into their dining establishments to great success.
From hearty breakfast feasts, sustainably sourced seafood, to a one-of-a-kind farm restaurant experience, and Italian-French cuisine married with local ingredients—the New South Wales food scene shows how stunning dishes can be when created from seasonal, ethical, and sustainable produce.
From fin to tail
“Fish butchery can be creative and forward thinking,” explains Chef Josh Niland of acclaimed Sydney restaurant Saint Peters, as he welcomed our group of journalists to his retail outlet Fish Butchery.
He proceeded to demonstrate what fish butchery entails, while deftly tackling his philosophy of sustainably sourced seafood, prepared expertly and served simply.
Saint Peters’ sustainable outlook extends to its use of the entire fish, with an aquatic love for offals so less parts go to waste.
“The more you can articulate that, the more it will encourage people to diversify what fish they will eat, beyond the typical salmon,” he explains further as he pointed to cool rooms for dry aging specific species to heighten their flavors.
The attention to detail at Saint Peters is clearly seen with the inventiveness and careful consideration for its fish products, emphasizing how Australia is still the master when it comes to modern seafood.
When breakfast tells a story
The Agrestic Grocer (https://www.facebook.com/theagresticgrocer/) is a cozy haven in the middle of Orange, New South Wales. It houses a grocery filled with only local products and a farm-to-table restaurant, which is an inviting nook any time of the day.
The Agrestic Grocer’s menu is a wonderful example of how one establishment can support its local farming community, with flavorful dishes that tell a story of its ingredients and its producers.
French-Italian with a local twist
A visit to Orange requires a stopover at fine dining destination Lolli Redini (https://www.lolliredini.com.au) where contemporary Italian and French-influenced cuisine is prepared with local produce and specially sourced items which are seasonal, organic, sustainable, and ethically farmed.
The restaurant has gained a following among locals and visitors who appreciate Chef Simonn Hawke’s flair for creating exquisite dishes from fine quality local produce, like organic vegetables, hand foraged pine mushrooms and wild herbs, and other ethically raised and sustainably sourced ingredients. The result is a constantly evolving menu that pays homage to its prime ingredients in a variety of ways.
With access to exclusive quality products and cool climate wines that pair magnificently with the menu, Lolli Redini is an Orange destination one sets aside time for in order to bask in the dishes which make every meal feel truly special.
Fresh from the garden
Our first introduction to The Zin House (https://zinhouse.com.au) in Mudgee had chef Kim Currie take us on a tour around the extensive backyard garden of the restaurant, spread over the 1,000-acre organic and biodynamic Tinja farm. The garden is The Zin House’s greatest joy, a beautiful and productive patch of land that surrounds the restaurant.
For Chef Kim and her team, their menu evolves according to what is in season, with the local produce prepared in simple and straightforward ways that reflect the flavors of the region.
Through the daily harvest, The Zin House is able to create food that embodies its ethos of authenticity, generosity, and quality. Chef Kim creates a balanced menu that showcases where the food comes from—its gardens, farm, neighbors, and regional producers.
The Zin House is a place that beckons guests to return and savor the beauty of the Mudgee region through its produce, lovingly plated in Chef Kim Currie’s menu which highlights all of this in every dish that comes out of its kitchen.
Photos provided by Wine Australia (https://www.wineaustralia.com).
Special thanks to Wine Australia https://www.wineaustralia.com
Orange Region Vignerons Association http://www.winesoforange.com.au
and Mudgee Wine Grape Growers Association https://www.mudgeewine.com.au