Lachlan Houghton

Birch Moss Vale


Restaurants Moss Vale
For an experience that leaves a lasting impression, discerning Moss Vale foodies dine at Birch on Argyle Street. From th...

An award-winning young chef with outstanding career experience, Lachlan is a culinary innovator.  

Having completed his apprenticeship in the Southern Highlands, Lachlan spent three years working at the hatted restaurant, Eschalot before leaving the Highlands and moving to Byron Bay where he gained further experience working at the award winning Three Blue Ducks as well as working under Executive Chef Simon Jones at Elements of Byron (Simon was previously Head Chef for Marco Pierre White). 

A move south to Melbourne saw the opportunity to gain further experience at award winning fine dining and hatted restaurants including Vue du Monde and Saint Crispin as Sous Chef before his return to the Highlands. 

With a strong desire to establish his style and put his signature on an establishment, Lachlan joined Birch as Head Chef. Lachlan and his team, have created the innovative, seasonally driven and flavoursome menu at Birch that has been established with an overwhelming positive response in just a few short months since opening. 

Have you always wanted to be a Chef?  

No not always. When I was younger there were many avenues I wanted to explore, mostly industries with a creative focus. At 14 I worked as a kitchen hand. Being involved in the busy, fast pasted and aggressive kitchen environment, I fell in love with the industry and decided I wanted to be a Chef. Now I can never see myself doing anything else.  

How would you define your style?  

Definitely ingredient and technique driven. I’m very passionate about unusual or unheard-of ingredients, as well as sustainably and organically grown produce. You just can’t beat the flavour. Preparing them in interesting and creative ways but still maintaining their integrity is what defines my style. 

What is your feature flavour these days?  

Australian ingredients. While most of my training has been focussed on modern European-based flavours and traditions, I’m finding more enjoyment in substituting traditional flavour combinations for native Australian ingredients. 

Obsessive compulsive about?  

Cleanliness and organisation … oh and wearing nice socks. 

Your greatest culinary inspirations/influence?  

I’m mostly inspired by seasonal ingredients and how these change and differ. Our focus at Birch is to never use the same ingredient twice on a menu and always use ingredients that are at their seasonal peak. In the Australian restaurant industry at the moment, I admire what Josh Niland at Saint Peter in Paddington is achieving. He is pushing outside the boundaries of what we think seafood dining in Australia should be. 

What do you love about this business?  

Every day is different. Guests are always changing. Ingredients and seasons are constantly changing. I get very excited about the season ahead and the ingredients we haven’t had available for a whole year and how we are going to prepare them in a way we haven’t done before. 

An ingredient you can’t live without? 

Good quality dark chocolate or sea salt. 

Most "eyebrow raising" menu item? 

Chawanmushi. An entree we have on the current Winter menu that is a steamed egg custard flavoured with porcini mushroom, served with roasted swede, mushroom ketchup, tapioca and nasturtium. 

Signature dish: 

Pan seared hand dived kangaroo island scallops, Ballina spanner crab croquette, aerated bisque, Pernod gel and caramelised fennel.

Chef's Recipes

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