Core Values & Principals

PERSONAL GUARANTEE

Coming from a two hat restaurant Sous Chef role has taught me a lot about the creative process. Every dish that evokes a memory or emotional response started off with an ‘A’ grade, quality ingredient before passion, technique and commitment were applied.

My time as a stagier at Noma-Sydney reiterated the importance of ‘connecting’ whilst deriving produce inspiration locally. As chef sourcing unique ‘quality’ produce is a top priority and at the core of Wild Forage Australia’s philosophy.

Sea Lettuce Ulva lactuca


ATTENTION TO DETAIL

Im driven to keep discovering and searching for new flavours and ingredients to create from.  I am very approachable and want to see the local food industry excel improving our local food product.

I do not see myself as a businessman as such, I’m a foraging chef providing direct support to my peers. I pick weekly to restaurant requirements and operate a strong ‘open door policy’.

wood-sorrel


ETHICALLY SOURCED


Holding a Degree in Environmental Management Ecology & Conservation and a Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science I bring a unique ability to identify unsuitable foraging environments. I have field experience conducting waste water quality analysis and have worked on eutrophication of lakes and river ways causing algal blooms.

I am conscious of roadside particulates and the impact of heavy metals settling on vegetation. I have been involved on sand dune restoration mangement planning with council and have assisted in dune planting programs to improve slope stability.

This knowledge forms an important approach to my foraging etiquette.


SUSTAINABILITY APPROACH


As an environmentally and socially conscious business-Wild Forage Australia recognises the potential impact that its activities can have on the environment and surrounding communities. In recognition of potential risks, finding new and improved ways of conducting our daily activities is essential going forward. In seeking to achieve best practice, I as the owner commit to achieve 3rd party independent verification of my businesses environmental an social sustainability commitments by 1st April 2017.

The Foraging Debate

As a forager I like to think of myself as part of the bigger ecological system not apart from it.

This is an important concept as edible plants and weeds have evolved and adapted around us due to both human and natural disturbance.

Man has always walked the landscape hunting, gathering and sourcing basic human needs. Early Aboriginal people of Australia foraged for 50,000 years before European settlement occurred. It is not a new concept although seen as the latest fade, the cool thing to be doing..to the uninitiated an eccentric pursuit carried out by hipster chefs following industry icons and Michelin starred chefs.

To those like me who’ve slogged out 60-80-100 hour weeks,  who sacrifice time away from family to stage at the best restaurants in the country this is what it is actually about…

Convenience has made us lazy chefs and cooks. Pick up the phone get almost anything you want tomorrow. What does this do for your soul, what stories can you tell the customer, what experiences can you create and what connection do you have to the produce? The answer is zero- or the flowers look good this morning chef.

Some chefs need more than seasonal produce, basic French cooking technique and a farm/paddock to plate philosophy to keep inspired. I was beginning to feel empty something was missing.I had a love for the outdoors and it was this energy and vibrance that I looked to harness.

I didn’t know what kind of chef I’d become or what style of food I wanted to do. I hadn’t the slightest idea about foraging but new of a few avant garde chefs pushing creative boundaries. One of them was Rene Redzepi at Noma. I was immediately inspired by his clarity of mind, his dedication and philosophy of time and place.

He opened up a whole new world of creative possibilities, I began photographing local plants, observing seasonal changes, taking notes, reading basic field guidebooks. This new knowledge gave me the tools to create food experiences with a sense of ‘local context’ not farmed, grown, nurtured and fertilised. Actual wild, untammed produce surviving on our open beaches, exposed headlands, river mouths and mountainous areas with a unique local flavour profile.