They’re calling it “the Noma effect”. Since Danish chef René Redzepi wowed Sydney with foraged native ingredients at his Barangaroo pop-up early last year, Australian restaurants have embraced the ethos. Warrigal greens, riberries and sea lettuce are increasingly being incorporated into menus across the country.
But for some chefs, like Bret Cameron from Harvest in the Byron Bay hinterland, the concept is not completely foreign. “There’s a massive push for native foods at the moment,” he says. “I have always been interested in foraging on a small scale. I grew up in New Zealand and it was kind of fun finding things that you can eat that grow in the wild. In Sydney, I used to go down to the beach and get sea lettuce, and I would get warrigal greens and wild fennel from parks. My theory is all these natural flavours have been growing in Australia for thousands of years and instead we’re trying to grow other stuff that doesn’t grow here naturally.”