If you ask most chefs, waiters and restaurateurs what matters most in their restaurant, they’ll probably tell you that it’s sourcing top quality, seasonal ingredients.
With this in mind, each year we take our talented young professionals – the cream of the crop who have reached the final round of the Appetite for Excellence program – on a three day, all expenses paid produce tour to meet and learn from incredible farmers, producers and growers.
In July our Young Chef, Waiter and Restaurateur National Finalists flew with Virgin to Adelaide to tour South Australia’s rich produce regions including the Barossa Valley and Port Adelaide.
They were joined on the tour with Mitch Edwards from Porkstars, Mary-Jane Morse from Rare Medium and A4X Alumni Mal Meiers who represented RUOK.
The food safari started at Richard Gunners Fine Meat Processing in Mt Barker before heading to Ngeringa Farm, stopping off at Summertown Aristologist before winding up at Lost in a Forest.
The following day, they rose early to head to Danni Mansfields free range pig farm in Mt Pleasant before spending the day at Saskia Beer Produce Masterclass at Pheasant Farm where they learn to break down a pig and make sausages whilst our waiters and restaurateurs did wine masterclasses with Phil Lehman from Max and Me, David Franz from Franz Wines and John Hughes from Riesling Freak. Our group also created their own gin with the Barossa Valley Gin School. The day wrapped up with an Inspired Series talk with Luke Mangan and Simon Byrant who chatted about the pressures of the industry and how to create a work/life balance.
Day 3 was spent at Port Adelaide, visiting the Hiramasa Kingfish Processing Plant at Cleanseas, visiting Two Gulf Crabs where the group learnt to break down crabs and cook Goolwa Pippis. The afternoon was spent at the Port Admiral Hotel in Port Adelaide before the group jet setted with Virgin back to their cities.