Matt Moran to lead TEDxSydney event, salmon hailed as waygu of the sea: What the papers said

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Matt Moran to lead TEDxSydney event, salmon hailed as waygu of the sea: What the papers said
Matt Moran will lead a team of chefs at TEDxSydney, an event that will celebrate fresh, local produce. Image:

Here we provide you with a round-up of the weekend papers and the top stories that relate to the hospitality industry.

Table for 2200, please - oh, and lots of local produce
The salad bowls are rarely empty at Matt Moran's home in Clovelly. The cucumbers growing in his vegetable patch are spilling onto the pavement and the basil is growing like "wildfire". The head chef at ARIA Restaurant never lets a cherry tomato, zucchini or sprig of herb go to waste in a bid to treat food in a sustainable way. "It's so satisfying to grow your own produce, nurture it, cook it and eat it," he said. "This growing awareness about the quality of what we eat, where it comes from and helping the environment is not just a trend. It's becoming the full reality." And he wants everyone to take part. Moran will lead a team of chefs to prepare fresh produce and sustainably raised livestock to feed 2200 people at the TEDxSydney event at the Opera House in May. The catch: people attending the "Ideas Worth Spreading" conference are encouraged to bring yields from their own plot of soil or planter box. Two Angus steers pledged by a TEDx organiser are grazing on the Barrington Tops to reach their ideal weight. Lambs are being fattened at Moran's family farm in Rocklea. "The steer will be butchered and aged. We'll be making something incredible out of every part," Mr Moran said. "The lambs will be on the spit." The TEDxSydney food curator, Jill Dupleix, said the crowd-farming exercise was developed on a smaller scale by the group Grow It Local supported by Waverley Council. "The chefs are going to have to be creative," she said. "It's an incredible food production exercise." For anyone concerned about having nothing to bring, she suggests learning how to forage or make jam. All biodegradable waste will be processed on location, and the compost offered to guests. Justine Williams, a mother of two, has pumpkin, parsley and spinach in her backyard in Drummoyne. She will be a small supplier for the event. "With our home composting system it means we're throwing away 50 per cent less rubbish," she said. Robyn McConchie, a professor of horticulture at the University of Sydney, said concerns about environmental degradation and harmful chemicals were driving producers and families to understand what was on their plate. "It's great for kids to know vegetables don't come from plastic bags, that milk comes from cows," she said. The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 February 

Salmon the wagyu of the sea
Maybe I'm a little naive, but it never occurred to me that people might actually live on a fish farm. I've seen fish farms before, of course. The floating ``cages'' in relatively sheltered channels such as D'Entrecasteaux, Tasmania, or outside Port Lincoln in South Australia. They're basically big suspended nets where fish are reared from hatchling to harvest before meeting their maker, or at least a machine that stuns them dead. Feedlots for finned creatures. But people sleeping on site? Fly-in, fly-out fish farmers? That was new. On Queen Charlotte Sound, in the Marlborough region of New Zealand's South Island -- a stretch of water between dramatically forested peaks that really is as beautiful as you've been led to believe -- is the world's largest chinook/king/Pacific/black-eye salmon farm. Call them what you will, in Latin it's Onchorynchus tshawytscha, and it's a fish you and I are eating more frequently in this country. As a rule, you'll see it marketed as king salmon. New Zealand farms a lot of this fish, which is closer genetically and in eating characteristics to ocean trout than Atlantic salmon. Many Australian chefs are using this fish, promoted as “the wagyu of the sea''. And for those of us with cholesterol issues, that's not a bad thing. A piece of this stuff sure beats capsules of fish oil. Less surprising than the FIFO fish farmers is that fish caught or cultivated in New Zealand's waters is serious business. About 250,000 tonnes of just one species, hoki, is caught annually: that's more than Australia's entire annual catch of all species. The Kiwis consume considerably more fish than we do. The health and productivity of the fisheries is a direct reflection of the fertility of the land mass that feeds it. It's good water for aquaculture, too. Salmon was introduced to New Zealand in the 1850s, initially as a source of food for miners, and the nation quickly acquired a taste for it. This particular farm, with its 36 pens or cages, is owned by New Zealand King Salmon, which markets its products under the brands Regal and Ora King. The farm, one of five the company operates, is a few kilometres downstream from Picton and has employees on duty 24/7: at any given time, up to five men are working the seven-on, seven-off shift. Upstairs on the barge that forms the nucleus of the Te Pangu Bay Sea Farm are five bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen-lounge-rec room. There's a balcony, too, with an extraordinary view. The water is cold and marvellously pure. Typically, there are about 1.6 million salmon here at various stages of maturity. Up to 45,000 are harvested each week and sent ashore for processing. Fish farming is a controversial process, environmentally. NZ King Salmon says it monitors the ocean floor -- about 35m below the surface -- for impact and degradation. The feeding regimen is another issue. These fish live on pellets composed mostly of fish meal. The balance is ``land-based protein'', some of it derived from chicken feathers, a by-product of the poultry industry. That surprised me too, almost as much as the live-on-site farmers. Like I said, maybe I'm just a tad naive. The Australian, 16 February 

Here's cheers to our new love for beer -- the posh drop refining our tastes
They’re the new generation of beer aficionados putting the culture back into pub culture. The booming popularity of craft and imported ales means revellers are just as likely to be savouring a bottle of beer, appreciating its subtleties and matching it with food as they are to simply down half a schooner in a single gulp. Matilda Bay beer marketing manager Jamie Fox said craft beer sales were up 40 per cent a year. He put it down to the increasingly refined palates of Aussie drinkers. “Those various, robust and distinct styles of craft beers bring out the flavours in different foods and have paved the way for beer and food matching,'' he said. They've also opened up the world of beer to new markets, including women. Sally Tremlett, director of Sydney's Paddington pub precinct and organiser of this weekend's inaugural Paddo Pub Fest, said pubs were no longer the domain of beer-swilling blokes standing around a bar. “Pubs are opening their doors to everyone from mums and dads with their kids to grandparents,'' she said. “It's much more sophisticated. The customer base is a lot more educated about what they're looking for -- what they want to drink.'' Chef Colin Fassnidge, co-owner of the Paddington Arms Hotel, said a recent downturn in the fine dining scene had helped grow interest in pub food -- and the beers that go with it. “I think in the past a lot of people didn't drink beer because the beer they were offered was crap,'' he said. “Now they've got a choice. The lower end of the market has really had to step up and give people quality -- better food and a supply of beer and wine to match that food.'' Features of the Paddo Pub Fest include a beer and food matching lunch today at the Paddington Arms, a ``day at the races'' theme at the Light Brigade today and Sunday lunch menus across all nine pubs in the precinct, designed by Masterchef finalists Chris Badenoch and Aaron Harvie. Ms Tremlett said the festival celebrated Australia's evolving pub culture. “The pub is at the heart of Australian culture and this initiative is all about celebrating that -- bringing people together, connecting over food and drink, great conversation, music and sport,'' she said. The Daily Telegraph, 16 February 

Horse meat in school dinners
British schoolchildren have been given meals containing horse meat, DNA tests have confirmed for the first time. Councils throughout Britain urgently withdrew processed beef dishes from menus after cottage pies containing horse meat were sent to 47 schools. British hospital patients have also been given beef meals containing equine DNA, it emerged, as the scandal spread to pubs, restaurants and more supermarkets. Mary Creagh, the opposition's environment spokeswoman, said: ''People will be shocked and dismayed that horse meat has now been found in schools and hospitals.'' The crisis could escalate further after two catering companies that supply schools and hospitals discovered horse meat in lasagnes and ready meals. The Department of Health has written to all public health and social care providers to tell them to make sure they carry out checks on the ''authenticity of food''. On Friday, the Food Standards Agency raided Flexi Foods, a Danish-owned company based in Hull, north-east England. The company imported 60 tonnes of meat from Poland, which was later found to include up to 80 per cent horse meat. Another company in north London where the beef was stored before being taken to Hull was also raided. The European Union has agreed to immediately start tests for horse DNA in meat products. The test program will also look for the presence of phenylbutazone, an anti-inflammatory treatment for horses that is harmful to humans and by law supposed to be kept out of the food chain. In Lancashire, in the north-west of England, horse DNA was found in cottage pies sent to 47 schools. The council's laboratory has been carrying out DNA tests on samples collected by trading standards officers. Preliminary results show the presence of horse DNA in the school meals, which have been withdrawn. Pauline Knowles, whose daughter attends the Great Wood Primary School in Morecambe, Lancashire, said: ''I think it is appalling, really, that it has  ot been tested before it has even got to our schools. The fact that horse meat is being passed off as beef I think is disgusting.'' Brake Brothers, which supplies hospitals and schools with meals, was contacting its customers after horse meat was found in one of its lasagnes. The contamination in two samples was discovered by Whitbread, which is supplied by Brake Brothers. Compass Group, one of the biggest school food providers in Britain, found between 5 percent and 30 percent horse DNA in beefburgers it sold in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 February.

South Australia's record medals haul in 2012 Qantas Australian Tourism Award
South Australia took a record haul of medals in the 2012 Qantas Australian Tourism Award in Hobart last night, in a powerful advertisement for the State's premier tourism operators. The tally of two gold, three silver and five bronze medals at last night's gala dinner for 800 industry operators came against strong competition. Each entrant first had to win their respective state category. Narnu Farm on Hindmarsh Island and Emaroo Port Hughes were the major winners, picking up gold in their respective categories of Standard Accommodation and Deluxe Accommodation against serious competition from all states and territories. Silver medals went to Harbour Town (Specialised Tourism Services), Pindarie Cellar Door (Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries), Sinclair's Gully (Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism). Bronze medals went to Cellar Door Wine Festival Adelaide (Festivals Events), Barossa Visitor Centre (Visitor Information & Services), Jacob's Restaurant, Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre (Restaurants & Catering), BIG4 Adelaide Shores Caravan Park (Tourist & Caravan Parks), Rawnsley Park Eco Villas (Unique Accommodation). The Advertiser, 16 February

TV chef Stone rustles up Euro wedding
Curtis Stone will tie the knot with fiancée Lindsay Price in a four-day European wedding extravaganza. The private Melbourne celebrity chef has been at pains to keep details of the nuptials a secret recipe. But Confidential can exclusively reveal Stone has set the wedding for mid-year, asking close friends and family to save the date, with plans to fly them to Europe. It will mark one year since Stone popped the question, after having dated actor Price for three years. The couple had their first child together on November 6, 2011, their son, Hudson. “We're really enjoying being parents,'' Stone had previously said. “It was one of those unbelievable experiences,'' he said of the birth of his son. “Coming out the other side, you look at this little baby boy you have made, and it's the depth of your love together that is amazing.'' In production at his LA base on the fifth series of Top Chef Masters, which he hosts, Stone is due to head back to his Melbourne home town next week. Here for work commitments, Stone will be front and centre at his beloved Geelong Football Club next Saturday for a charity lunch to raise money for Cottage by the Sea, of which his mother, Lorraine Coles, is a committee member. And not one to laze away his time, the Oprah favourite will, just before his wedding, release a new cookbook, titled What's For Dinner? The Herald Sun, 16 February

More Mexican is the cure.
The site next to Jamie's Italian in Sydney's Pitt St will become Mejico this week, as the city's lust for all things Mexican-related continues unabated. Mejico is the project of medic Sam Prince (pictured), whose side interest as a restaurateur complements his medical and charity work. Prince, 29, runs charities including Plate4Plate, the Emagine Foundation and One Disease at a Time, funded through his Zambrero Fresh Mex Grill chain. Prince says Mejico has been built to be "the best Mexican restaurant in the world, not just locally''. He adds: "I have an obsession with every detail so it should be good.'' New digs. The fortunes of Kings Cross and East Sydney continue to rise with the opening of two new venues. In Stanley St, Aquaviva's is a Portuguese-Goan restaurant owned by brothers Karl and Viv Fernandes, with chef Chris Bell, who's worked at Cafe Sydney. Also opening is The Bourbon, the reincarnation of notorious Kings Cross nightspot Bourbon and Beefsteak, now a New Orleans-themed restaurant with a Southern food bent by former Becasse chef James Metcalfe. The Sunday Telegraph, 17 February 


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