Food tourists taste fare
CHEFS, restaurateurs and waiters were treated to some local culinary delights yesterday as part of a food excellence tour of the NSW North Coast.
The Electrolux Appetite for Excellence Food and Wine Program is a five-day trip for 14 young waiters and chefs from around Australia who are finalists in the Appetite for Excellence awards.
The group of eager and notable hospitality professionals kicked off the tour at Brookfarm – a renowned macadamia farm in St Helena – before heading to the Bangalow Cheese Co and then the Sunforest Organic Farm, a turkey farm near Byron Bay.
The selection of local producers impressed the waiters, chefs and restaurateurs with their holistic and organic practices, including former Byron Bay resident, Morgan Frazer.
“It is really inspiring to see producers doing something on the holistic side,” the 27-year-old said.
“I think the future of great restaurant food is this sort of amazing produce. I am hoping the public will appreciate the difference between paying for organic produce and standard products.”
Ms Frazer grew up in Byron Bay, working at various local restaurants before moving to Kingscliff to work at fine dining seafood restaurant Fins.
The restaurant manager, who is one of seven young waiter finalists in the Appetite for Excellence awards, has seen the public's interest in organic food increase with the popularity of TV shows like MasterChef.
“From a fine dining perspective there were a lot of people who felt ostracised in that environment if they weren't used to dining in it,” she said.
“But now they are feeling more confident in having an opinion and I think that is through watching those shows.
“At Fins we have a strong and stern policy for produce that is organic and hormone free, and we get a lot of our produce from the Byron and Bangalow farmers markets, as well as from our own organic farm.”
Ms Frazer will join the other finalists tomorrow when they all descend on Alstonville to visit an avocado farm before going on to Yulgilbar Station on the Clarence River near Grafton.
Electrolux Appetite for Excellence project director Phee Gardner believes that local organic producers are showing the next generation how to be sustainable.
“We are watching farmers and professional growers show the next generation of hospitality leaders to connect back with the passionate producers who are providing them with what they put on the plate,” she said.