By Leigh O’Connor.
With less than two weeks to go before AGFG announces the 2023 Chef Hats, we are building up to one of the most significant days on the Australian culinary calendar.
Restaurants around the country have returned to some semblance of normal, while guests are eager to experience a meal with family and friends at their favourite dining destination.
Ever gone home after a delicious dinner and wished you could recreate some of the dishes at home? Never fear, we have you covered with three recipes the home cook can master with a little practice – don’t forget to post and tag us in your kitchen adventures!
When pondering a Hinterland escape, head to 13-hatted Restaurant Botanica
at Spicers Vineyard Estate along Hermitage Road in Pokolbin. A contemporary dining room awaits, with timber tables, cane wicker chairs, scallop pendent lighting and glass French doors, beckoning the outdoors in with sprawling vineyard views, allowing the eye to wander as you dine.
Head Chef Chris Rhoney hails from Lancashire in the UK and now calls the Hunter Valley home, dishing up a Modern Australian menu created with a focus on fresh seafood, local cuts of protein and produce from the estate’s own garden.
Ceviche – such as kingfish, citrus, finger lime and pickled onion
- is one of his wife’s favourite dishes and the couple enjoyed it regularly at Peruvian restaurant Pastuso in Melbourne, where Chris’s friend Dave Boyle used to be a Sous Chef.
"We would sit at the bar and let Dave order for us, always insisting we had at least one serve of ceviche,” Chris tells AGFG. "If you can’t get hold of kingfish, or it’s not your cup of tea, other fish you could use are tuna, or swordfish. You could also use raw scallops or even prawns, which can be pan-seared and marinated in the lime dressing and grapefruit juice.
"While this option is no longer a ceviche, it is still just as tasty.”
Set in a lush rainforest near Maleny on the Sunshine Coast, award-winning The Tamarind Restaurant
offers stylish dining infused with contemporary Asian twists. Head Chef Daniel Jarrett and team excite palates with exotic flavours of the Far East with a Thai heart, while effortlessly combining sweet, sour and spicy flavours with the finesse of traditional and new techniques. An elegant open timber pavilion immerses guests in the natural beauty and tranquillity of the surroundings, while the menu offers choices of à la carte, degustation or banquet options.
In charge of the kitchen at this 14-hatted venue, Dan offers Australian freestyle cuisine, handcrafted from the freshest local produce, delivering exquisite flavours, impeccably served.
From a menu regularly changing with the seasons, try Dan’s salad of scallops, lime, soy and chilli dressing
– an ideal Summer dish with Thai flavours, pan-seared scallops and fresh herbs, it is sure to tempt even the most discerning diners in the family.
"This is the perfect fresh, zingy dish for sharing on a Summer evening, or when celebrating with friends. Hervey Bay or Sunshine Coast scallops are sweet and succulent, however they can be substituted with Tasmanian scallops, prawns or fish,” he says.
Located at the gateway to McLaren Vale with sweeping views over the rolling hills of the Onkaparinga Gorge, 13-hatted Victor's Place
restaurant is set in a lovingly restored, heritage-listed, 1870s limestone barn.
With a menu carefully curated by Executive Chef Chris Bone to follow the seasons, sourcing produce from small local producers who share an ethos for quality and true flavour, dishes are designed to accompany the textures and expression of Varney Wines.