Trent Barrett has been named as the new executive chef at Peppers Convent Hunter Valley, overseeing the property’s two restaurants: Circa 1876 and Eighty Eight, as well as the food offering at the luxury boutique hotel.

Taking the reins from George Francisco, Barrett is this week introducing a new menu and dining format at Circa 1876, which will move away from its a la carte offering and offer two, three and five course tasting menus. Menu items include two parts duck (seared duck breast, slow cooked duck rgg, fresh black truffle, truffle potato foam, asparagus and jamn); kangaroo scotch egg (quail egg, pickled garden radish, fennel pollen aioli, mandarin gel, fresh garden greens, madeira); and wagyu 5+ MB rib eye on the bone for two.

A new seasonal menu is also on offer at the more casual restaurant, Eighty Eight, which Barrett worked on in collaboration with chef de cuisine Adam Boylson. The hotel’s mini bars have also been adjusted, with a new focus on healthier products.

Barrett will also expand the Estate’s 1.5 acre organic kitchen garden later this month, adding quails and a custom-made miniature Convent beehive. The kitchen team also cures its own bacon, bakes bread and juices daily tonics from the garden’s produce.

Joining the team at Peppers in 2014, Barrett worked under Francisco after leaving his role as executive chef at QT Port Douglas.


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