It’s one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants, and as such couples in the industry rarely get to spend it together – they are too busy working. We spoke to Paul Goodenough, who is head chef at Rick Stein at Bannisters on the NSW South Coast, and his partner Kelly McPherson, chef at sister hotel Bannisters Pavilion, to find out what it’s like being a couple in the industry.
There was a time, not so long ago, when dinner out at a restaurant meant an entrée, main and dessert. But that has increasingly changed in recent times, with more and more Australian restaurants embracing the share dining trend.
It’s a concept that suits the country’s easy-going nature, according to Daniel Menzies, who is executive chef at The Wilmot at Primus Hotel Sydney.
“I just think it’s a nice way of eating,” he says. “You can get together as a family or with friends and share the same flavours. It’s easy, and it’s a cheaper way to eat. It’s not going to hurt the pocket too much if you all chip in. It’s not so pretentious like your three-course meal, it’s more casual. That’s the reason people love this country – we’re so laid back.”
Menzies grew up at Cooranbong in regional NSW and believes sharing meals is a big part of country life. He previously worked at Bistro Moncur and Four in Hand, and embraced the share dining concept when he started at The Wilmot last August.
Share dishes on the menu include a 1.5kg tomahawk steak and a suckling pig. “From a whole pig you can get six portions, including the shoulder, the rib cage or leg,” Menzies says. “We usually give the customer the choice.” There’s also a large serving of calamari. “The whole calamari with two sides would serve four or five people,” he says. “You always need a nice green like greens or broccolini as a side, and potato gallette or hand cut chips.”
But Menzies admits there is one disadvantage – losing your real estate in terms of value per head. “You could go from $100 a head down to $50 a head, but the pro is you get more people through the door,” he says. “But even though they may spend less on food they may spend more on alcohol.” [Read more…]
Three industry experts reveal their insights into what will be hot and what problems restaurateurs may face this year.
To start off 2018, we spoke to three Aussie chefs to find out what the big trends and challenges will be. It’s certainly going to be an interesting year, with global issues driving local philosophies.
When it comes to picking good restaurants, it’s fair to say Matt Preston is more qualified than most. As well as being a judge on top-rating TV show MasterChef Australia, he has helped decide the winners of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, the Restaurant & Catering National Awards for Excellence and The Age’s acclaimed Good Food Guide.
So, what exactly does he look for in a noshery? Whether it’s a local eatery offering Chinese dumplings or a fine dining venue with views over Sydney Harbour, Preston says it’s all about the experience. [Read more…]