troy story

article courtesy Voyeur, Virgin Australia

Troy Rhoades-Brown began his chef apprenticeship at the tender age of 15. At just 23, he and his wife opened Muse Restaurant in the Hunter Valley. His aim was to provide a value-for money dining experience while supporting local producers.

Determination and passion drove Troy to continually evolve his cooking, but he has always stayed true to his goal, “To be creative and unique with our food, but always maintain an approachable tone that resonates with our clientele.” Here’s his delicious and simple recipe for pan-fried red mullet.

Pan-fried red mullet with fennel, blood orange and caper butter
Serves 4


1kg red mullet fillets (ask your fishmonger to scale and fillet)
4 bulbs baby fennel
1 bunch curly parsley
4 blood oranges
Vegetable oil, to drizzle
Sea salt and freshly cracked
black pepper, to season
80g salted butter
25g baby capers
50g toasted almonds, crushed
1 bunch watercress


  • Lightly score the skin of the mullet with a sharp knife, taking care not to cut through the flesh. Set aside at room temperature
  • Place the fennel bulbs upright on your chopping board and slice finely, leaving the core intact if possible
  • Finely chop the parsley. Place in a small bowl and add the zest of two blood oranges. Stir to combine
  • Remove the skin from all the blood oranges and cut into pieces
  • Heat a large non-stick frypan over medium
  • Season the fish with the sea salt and pepper. Add a small amount of vegetable oil to the pan. Add the fish, skin side down, and cook for approximately 4 minutes. Once the skin is lovely and crisp, flip the fish and cook for a further 1 minute. Remove from pan and rest on paper towel
  • Add the sliced fennel to the same hot pan and sauté until it softens slightly
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter, capers, parsley and zest mixture with the blood orange segments. Stir gently to combine
  • Place the fish on serving plates and spoon over your blood orange and caper butter mix
  • Garnish with toasted almonds and watercress, and serve with a potato salad and bowl of mixed leaves


  • If you can’t find red mullet, you could use ocean trout, Spanish mackerel, John Dory or whiting
  • Good ruby navel oranges can substitute for the blood oranges
  • Depending on your guests’ tastes, I like to sneak a little bit of chopped anchovy in with the butter as well
  • This makes a fantastic lunch or dinner

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