Winners announced in the 2008 Vogue Entertaining + Travel Produce Awards.
The winners in the 2008 Vogue Entertaining + Travel Produce awards were announced today at Sydney’s Aria restaurant. Award judges included leading chefs Matt Moran, Alla Wolf-Tasker, Philip Johnson, Cheong Liew and Chris Jackman, as well as food writers and broadcasters Sophie Zalokar and Simon Marnie.
The Produce Awards are dedicated to discovering and celebrating the finest food growers and suppliers in the country. “Whether you’re a three-hat chef, or someone who enjoys cooking at home, these are the producers and products you need to know about,” says Trudi Jenkins, Editor-in-Chief.
“The Produce Awards are not just a celebration of Australia’s fantastic produce; they acknowledge the people who are committed to quality and consistency in what they grow and make, and those who promote small producers through restaurants, providores and markets,” she says. “So, added to categories such as ‘From the Earth’, ‘From the Paddock’ ‘From the Sea’ and ‘From the Dairy’, this year also saw a new category introduced, ‘Best Farmers’ Market’.”
Winners and highly commended are:
FROM THE EARTH
Winner Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms, NSW
Highly Commended Miellerie Honey, Tas; Eden Valley Biodynamic Flour, WA
FROM THE DAIRY
Winner Holy Goat La Luna, Vic
Highly Commended Bannister Downs Farm Double Cream, WA
FROM THE PADDOCK
Winner Glenloth Game Squab, Vic
Highly Commended Macleay Valley Rabbits, NSW; Green Eggs, Vic
FROM THE SEA
Winner Woodbridge Smokehouse Cold-Smoked Ocean Trout with Pepper Berry Liquor, Tas
Highly Commended Noosa Spanner Crabs, Qld
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR – Glenloth Game, Vic
BEST NEW PRODUCT – Miellerie Honey, Tas
CONSISTENTLY EXCELLENT PRODUCT – Meredith Dairy Marinated Goat’s Cheese, Vic
OUTSTANDING USE OF REGIONAL PRODUCE BY A CHEF – David Rayner, River House Restaurant, Qld
THE REGIONAL AWARD
Winner North East Victoria
Highly commended Fleurieu Peninsula, SA
Winner Martin’s Seafoods, NSW
Highly Commended Wursthaus Kitchen, Tas
FOOD HERITAGE AWARD – Eden Valley Biodynamic Flour, WA
OUTSTANDING FARMERS’ MARKET
Winner Albany Farmers’ Market, WA
Highly Commended Cardinia Ranges Farmers’ Market, Vic
THE MAGGIE BEER AWARD FOR AN OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO AUSTRALIAN FOOD
Congratulations to all involved. There are some great stories to be told about the people on this list, and background information on each of the winners follows. For telephone contact details for the winners and highly commended, phone 0435 040 120.
From the Earth
Li-sun exotic mushrooms
Noel Arrold, microbiologist and owner of Li-Sun Mushrooms, cultivated Australia’s first Swiss browns in a disused railway tunnel, near Bowral, NSW. He now markets a range that includes shiitake, enoki, king brown, shimeji, chestnut and wood ear. The company is aiming for organic certification for all its produce. Chris Jackman summed up the mood of the panel: “The colours, the beautiful flavours, the great condition they’re in. You know that just by combining them you could make the most complex but simple dish in an instant.”
From the Dairy
Holy Goat La Luna
This was a hotly contested category, but, like last year, La Luna came up trumps. Sophie Zalokar voiced what most of the judges were thinking: “The texture’s absolutely gorgeous. I love its velvety-soft skin and creamy consistency.” Producer Sutton Grange is an A-grade certified organic goat dairy in the foothills of Mount Alexander, Vic, where the goats graze on native herbs, grasses and shrubs. The herd is kept small to ensure the preservation of native grass pastures. Owned and operated by Carla Meurs and Ann-Marie Monda, the dairy produces handmade cheeses daily on the property. The range includes fresh and aged styles, with ashed and natural rinds, which are developed to reflect changes in the season and terroir.
From the paddock
Glenloth Game squab
“Flawless! It has the most fantastic texture and flavour. Whenever squab is on the plate at e’cco, it’s Glenloth,” enthused Philip Johnson of Ian and Ronda Milburn’s operation in the Southern Mallee, North West Victoria. Glenloth Game started out nearly 20 years ago, when the Milburns and a group of growers decided to band together to overcome the problems faced by a single grower in producing consistently high-quality squab and game birds. There are now 25 growers supplying Glenloth Game. The company also controls the processing of the birds at its own plant in Wycheproof.
From the sea
Woodbridge smokehouse cold-smoked ocean trout with pepper berry liquor
Like most of the categories this year, this was another tough one to call. However, Woodbridge Smokehouse managed to go one better than last year with its cold-smoked trout with Tasmanian pepper berries. The smokehouse is situated on a certified organic apple orchard overlooking the pristine waters of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel in Tasmania, from which Woodbridge sources much of its fish. Products are organically smoked in traditional ovens using woodchips from the orchard. Chris Jackman was impressed: “Wonderful wood-smoke aroma. One can’t stop at one slice. Sublime.”
Outstanding use of regional produce by a chef
David Rayner, River House, Qld
Who better to win this accolade than the man who brought us the 50km dinner? David Rayner changes his menu daily to best showcase what’s in the local markets (and often in his garden) and is a tireless promoter of Noosa’s regional produce.
The Regional Award
North East Victoria
It’s hard to find an Australian region so blessed with the trifecta of great produce, restaurants and influential wineries such as Pizzini, Brown Brothers and Giaconda. Making use of local saffron, berries, cherries, nuts and game are fine restaurants and cafes led by Victorian icon Simone’s of Bright and Michael Ryan’s award-winning Range.
More than 30 years ago, Martin Palmer was building a reputation among chefs and restaurateurs in NSW. Today, he and business partner Andrew Boyd are leaders in the industry, selling direct to the public from Finefish, a shopfront and restaurant in Neutral Bay, and wholesale to restaurants such as Tetsuya’s, Quay and est.
Food Heritage Award
Eden valley biodynamic flour
The Lloyd family practises ecologically sustainable, traditional agriculture on its 1295h farm in Dumbleyung, southern WA. It specialises in traditional wheat varieties that are stone-milled to order. “I’m blown away by the fact that I’ve been blown away by a flour,” laughed Simon Marnie.
Best New Product
Miellerie is run by apiarist Yves Ginat in Tasmania, using organic and biodynamic methods. Essential to this is cold extraction, capturing the flavour and aroma of the nectar. Cheong Liew was ready to order on the spot; Simon Marnie agreed, “Each honey is really distinctive, with a long finish.”
Consistently excellent Product
Meredith dairy marinated goat’s cheese
“A prime example of how it’s not that much more expensive to buy a great product rather than a substandard one,” said Philip Johnson of this Victorian dairy’s marinated goat’s feta. Owners Sandy and Julie Cameron are currently Australia’s largest producers of sheep’s and goat’s milk, and export to Asia, Europe and the US.
Producer of the Year
There was universal praise for our winner, Glenloth Game’s squab, with all the judges remarking on the difficulty to produce game of this quality and consistency, particularly in the face of years of severe drought. Ian and Ronda Milburn will be inducted into the Vogue Entertaining + Travel Produce Awards’ Hall of Fame.
Outstanding farmers’ market
Albany farmers’ market , wa
Since its inception in 2002, Albany Farmers’ Market has run on the simple premise that if it’s farmed in the Great Southern region and it’s top quality, then you can sell it here. Best of all, 95 per cent of stall-holders are full-time farmers selling their produce, so the market brings the local community face to face with growers – just how it should be.
The Maggie Beer Award for an outstanding contribution to australian food
This year’s judging table was laden with superb goat’s cheeses – Meredith Dairy, Holy Goat and Barossa Valley Cheese among them. We’ve largely one woman to thank for this – Gabrielle Kervella. When she returned from France 25 years ago with a plan to make goat’s cheese, many Australians wouldn’t eat it. Since then, Kervella has been acclaimed at home and overseas for her biodynamic cheeses, produced in WA. Though she’s now retired, Kervella’s legacy lives on through the wonderful styles now made here. “Gabrielle is one of the true food pioneers,” says Maggie Beer. “What her amazing passion and tenacity have given to our goat’s cheese industry is immeasurable.”Share
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