Southern Sunrise Tea Cocktail

“I think it is important to show that Sommeliers don’t just need to know about wine in its traditional sense, but all kinds of beverages alcoholic or otherwise. The Umeshu provides the cocktail with sweetness and acidity to cleanse. The vermouth adds a tea like texture and a savoury note to the cocktail as well as providing it with structure so it does not taste too sweet. The tea was chosen for its citrus elements, again, to lift and lighten.” – Sonia Bandera, sommelier, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Melbourne and Electrolux Appetite for Excellence Young Waiter 2013

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Skills needed: minimal
Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • 30ml Kiuchi Umeshu, chilled
  • 20ml Contratto Vermouth Bianco, chilled
  • 30ml Southern Sunrise Tea, chilled
  • 2.5ml Sugar Syrup, chilled

Method

  • Build all ingredients in a rocks glass
  • Stir
  • Add ice
  • Garnish with a lemon twist

Notes:
The Umeshu can be purchased easily online or at Chapel St Cellars, you don’t need to use this exact one as any will do
The tea is from T2 and can be purchased in store or online (infuse 5 teaspoons of tea per 250ml of boiling water)
Sugar syrup is very easy to make- it’s just a 50/50 mix of caster sugar and boiling water stirred until dissolved.

Enjoy!

Sichuan style pickled vegetables, spiced peanuts and crackers

Victor Liong, one of our young chefs is now co-owner of Lee Ho Fook in Melbourne. His dream of becoming a chef began as a teenager writing recipes on his way to school. He began his apprenticeship at Marque Restaurant, Sydney. Victor says of his involvement in the program, “The recognition was a wonderful pat on the back and a real validation of the skill sets I had.” He kindly provided the recipe below for our website;

Serves 40

  • 3 heads Cauliflower
  • 500g Long red chillies
  • 1kg Fennel- keep fronds
  • 4 bunches dutch carrots, keep fronds/leaves
  • 1 head Celery- keep yellow leaves
  • 2kg Kohlrabi
  • 1 daikon
  • 200g cimi de rape leaves

Chilli oil

  • 200g chilli bean paste
  • 500g vegetable oil
  • 50g chilli flakes
  • 200g lauganman with chicken

Method for the picked vegetables
Bring oil to 200’C and pour over chilli bean paste and dried chillis, allow to cool and strain off solids, mix with lauganma.

Salt and sugar cure vegetables, cut into bite sized pieces (2 parts salt, 1 part sugar). Add red vinegar, sugar, konbu extract, peel and shave kohlrabi and compress in konbu extract and drape over as garnish, with fennel fronds, carrot fronds and rape leaves.

3kg peeled, raw peanuts

Peanuts, blanched and fried, seasoned with spice salt, wonton wrappers also deep fried and seasoned with spice mix

200g Wonton skins

deepfry wonton skins until crisp use as cracker, season with spiced salt

Spice salt

  • 100g Sichuan pepper
  • 50g fennel seeds
  • 50 cumin seeds
  • 90g pink salt
  • 40g sugar
  • 10g chilli flakes
  • 2g MSG

Grind spices and sugar into a fine powder, pulse through salt, add MSG if desired

The Challenges for Restaurateurs

How does running a restaurant in a regional area compare to a metropolitan one? Two regional restaurateurs discuss the challenges and opportunities they face.

Chloe Proud is the co-owner of Ethos Eat Drink in Hobart (ethoseatdrink.com). She was a national finalist in the 2013 Electrolux Australian Young Restaurateur.

Does your location result in supply challenges? If so, how do you address these?
Our entire business is centred around supporting small-scale local suppliers within seasons, so one of our biggest challenges comes when climatic conditions compromise supply. This year we’ve twice seen sudden frosts thwart vegetable stock. In these circumstances, we’re very thankful that we work hard to pickle, ferment and preserve vegetables in season so we have products available to work with [year-round].

Despite our state being renowned for it, sourcing high quality, sustainable stock of seafood and meat can be a huge challenge. As much of these products are in high demand for high prices interstate and overseas, simply finding an affordable, top quality product can be very difficult. It seems the ultimate irony to me that you can buy frozen Tasmanian scallops from China cheaper than you can fresh within the state.

Sometimes bountiful supplies can pose as much of a conceptual challenge as limitations. It requires forethought and patience to develop appropriate strategies. For example, we had a huge oversupply of King George Whiting, so we’ve pickled three-quarters of it so we can use it later on.

Do you face any staffing challenges because you’re outside of a major metropolitan area?
Ethos is lucky in this department. For the most part, and now we have operated for over two years and know our limitations, we’ve been able to offer career-driven individuals sustainable and full-time positions or permanent roles.

In order to keep skilled industry members within this state, we as employers have to offer them a progressive, stimulating and developmental working environment. This is one of my biggest focuses as their manager. However, despite this, there is a collective sentiment of other business owners that it’s difficult to find and keep dedicated industry members from the lure of the bigger cities and institutions in Australia. 

For example, if a restaurateur has a very promising young staff member who could be a fantastic sommelier, there are no cost effective options in Tasmania [to develop her talent]. The only option is to send her to Melbourne or Sydney, however, this is impossible due to the cost involved. The only thing we as managers can offer her is the support of existing professionals in order to sit, learn and engage.

That said, as a younger generation is emerging and taking the helm, more exciting and inspiring opportunities are arising. I hope the diversity that is now emerging as a consequence will contribute to a change in sentiment in Tasmania pertaining to career opportunities and the potential for this large proponent of Tasmanian tourism to thrive. 

Do you feel you have access to a more unique array of produce?
We are pretty blessed in that we have a lot of producers who collaborate with Ethos to provide customised products. Therefore, we access high quality local food that is specific to us and, increasingly, produced by our staff. Ethos now produces our own charcuterie, cheeses and vegetables from custom reared and butchered meats, specialised milk suppliers and from our own courtyard gardens and acreage out of the city.

We work directly with other producers to hone our processes and have specific seeds harvested for us and breeds of animals farmed. The story of these products and what makes them special forms the basis of our service. Without being preachy about the environmental, economical and social benefits of operating this way, it gives us an exciting and theatrical point of difference to execute through service. I feel this benefits us hugely and allows our audience to have a greater connection to the staff, products and restaurant. 

Does your business benefit from being in a tourist hotspot?
Hobart is slightly polarised in that respect. While Tasmania is a booming tourist destination, we still have the luxury of a local dining demographic that seek and support the ends we strive towards. We find perceptions and expectations of dining, food and locality are shifting the more visitors come and celebrate what restaurants like Ethos have to offer.

I think there is excitement and pride in Tasmanians, particularly Hobartians. There’s a palpable sentiment that our produce and culinary landscape will be an increasingly defining feature of the state. The demographic we have accessed is supportive, inspired by and always excited to be involved in the next steps of a burgeoning food community in their region.