Chefs of the Margaret River
Share their favourite recipes and thoughts on the region
By Kerry Scambler
Margaret River is globally renowned for its mix of outstanding wine matched with delicious food, served at winery restaurants, cafés and a range of other dining establishments, dished up with matching stunning backdrops – on long, sunlit decks overlooking endless rows of vines, in stylish dining rooms that blend into the surrounding gardens, homesteads with history and vibrant beach side cafés.
I can hear a collective sigh now! It seems that once you start talking Margaret River dining, as author Lisa Hanley says in her note, lunches often seem to stretch on forever.
This being the case, visitors to the region can embark on a daily culinary journey, whether it's dining out, wine tasting or stocking up with local fresh produce at providores and gourmet delis.
All these experiences combine to create lifelong memories, and now with Chefs of the Margaret River Region, you can take a gorgeous slice of the region home.
The stated aim of the book is to ‘offer a tangible take-home menu that will inspire and help you transform your kitchen into a magical South West gastronomic experience’. With the help of 19 local chefs and the glorious photography of Sue-Lyn Aldrian-Moyle, Lisa Hanley and Margaret River Press should be well proud of achieving that objective.
The chefs have contributed their time, recipes and also share their personal Margaret River experiences. Most have been heads of their respective kitchens for some time and all are well in tune with the seasons, the produce and of course, the wines.
When reading about each chef, it seems that they have many experiences, intentions and passions in common. Most have travelled internationally and clocked up impressive CVs, working on private yachts, internationally acclaimed restaurants and more. Others have simply come to Margaret River for a holiday or short visit, or to surf, and never left!
For another common passion is a love for the other thing the region is renowned for: surfing. It also seems that this isa great place to raise a family (or plan to).
Amongst the chef list are: Nigel Harvey (Voyager Estate), Jake Drachenberg (Clairault Wines), Tony Howell (Cape Lodge), Rick Houston (Must), Dennis Mifsud (Veda Catering) and Anthony Janssen (Gnarabar and White Elephant Beach Café), making for a variety of winery restaurants, caterers, providores and café-style establishments.
The recipes obviously focus on the local produce and do so brilliantly. Of course this means that recreating them elsewhere in the country may not achieve exactly the same results (eg with recipes requiring marron, the local delicacy). But, if the same principles of fresh and local are followed, the result will surely provoke memories of those languid days spent in Margaret River.....
As per the aim of the book – to provide a menu – it’s divided into sections for entrées, mains and desserts, and naturally each dish also includes the ideal wine match.
Most recipes are quite advanced although if enough planning, time and thought are put into the process, I’m sure the outcome will be well worthwhile and, perhaps (as in my case) even a culinary achievement! Another of the VisitVineyards.com team is planning her Christmas lunch from its pages.
There are some easier recipes to try out first if you prefer – for example, I’ll be using fresh Tasmanian crayfish instead of Blue Swimmer Crab in the Rice Paper Rolls by Andrea Flott of The Larder. This, or prawns, might also work for a rendition of Tony Howell’s Butter-poached Pemberton marron.
Some other gorgeous looking dishes include:
- Slow-braised Burnside Beef Cheeks with Handmade Gnocchi – Rick Houston
- Scallops, Tea-smoked Duck, Bbq Pork and Masterstock – Jame Drachenberg
- Cookies and Cream Parfait with Orange Butterscotch Sauce – Michelle Babb (Knee Deep Wines)
- Yellow Wagyu Beef Curry and Hot ‘n’ sour Salad – Ronnie and Simon Winter (Chow Cuisine to Go)
Many recipes use stock of varying types so thankfully there’s a section at the back with details on how to make them and, importantly, how to store leftovers. This part also includes some simple recipes for other items mentioned, eg Creamed Leek and Grilled Polenta Cake.
The verdict? If you’ve travelled the region and spent many wonderful hours delighting in the fabulous food and wine, then this book will enable you to relive those delicious moments, whether you serve up the recipes, tempting friends or family to book a holiday, or just flick through (glass of WA wine in hand of course) and enjoy the chefs’ stories and glorious photos of the food and scenery.
If you haven’t yet travelled to Margaret River, after reading this then your plans will probably be made sooner rather than later! Just remember how long lunches can be and make sure you have enough time to savour each one.
Chefs of the Margaret River Wine Region by Sue-Lyn Aldrian-Moyle and Lisa Hanley is published by Margaret River Press (Witchclife, WA, 2011; hc, 156 pages and e-book). Available from Margaret River Press for A$49.00 (HB) and e-book $A13.99 – all details at www.margaretriverpress.com
VisitVineyards.com subscribers can save 20% on this beautiful hard cover – your special promo code is here »
- Margaret River (WA)
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