Top chefs team up with local producers
The cooking demonstrations at the 2021 Narooma Oyster Festival, which runs from April 30 to May 1, will see hatted chefs take to the stage with local seafood producers for a program that celebrates provenance, looking behind the menu at the important chef and producer relationship. Executive chefs Sean Connolly, Jordan Toft, Mark Glenn and Simon Evans will pair up with a local oyster farmer, fisherman, abalone diver and sea urchin roe diver.
“This year’s chef and producer combination takes the festival to another level,” says cooking program host Kelly Eastwood of Eastwood’s Deli and Cooking School in Bermagui.
Terms such as paddock-to-plate and farm-to-fork have become popular in recent years, but chef Eastwood says food provenance been an important aspect of cooking for decades.
“It’s really about knowing where our food is coming from, being connected to what is grown around us and cooking seasonally,” she says.
Festival Chair Cath Peachey hopes that matching renowned chefs with local producers will educate consumers about the incredible calibre of NSW South Coast produce.
“Most of us don’t realise just how much NSW South Coast produce is being plated in fine dining restaurants in Sydney and Canberra,” she says. “This year’s cooking demonstrations will be a visual way to show the connection between place, producer, chef and consumer.”
It’s a sentiment Merivale executive chef Jordan Toft definitely shares. He understands the need to capture the experience behind his menus, like eating seafood straight from the ocean, and to recreate that in his restaurants.
“I cook quite simply, using the best ingredients that I can find,” he says. “Seeing beautiful local South Coast ingredients like king fish, moon fish, strawberry clams and oysters really inspires me to cook that way and bring it back to Coogee Middle Floor.”
The ethos of behind the menu that Toft speaks of will be on display when he takes to the stage, cooking with lobsters caught by Bermagui fisherman Jason Moyce, known online by his 80,000-strong following as “The Trapman”.
The cooking demonstrations will run from 10.30am to 2.30pm on Saturday, May 1, on the Narooma Betta Home Living Cooking Stage. Tickets to the festival are $25 and need to be pre-purchased from naroomaoysterfestival.com