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What is ‘Modern Australian’ cuisine anyway?

Michael Hartnell

“I think Modern Australian cuisine can be a really great thing or an absolute atrocity. Anyone can use the term to describe anything from a deconstructed meat pie to a Heston Blumenthal sausage with pepper berry. With so many great cultural influences in Australia and fantastic produce, I see Modern Australian food to exemplify innovation, great produce, simplicity and seasonality.”
– Michael Hartnell, executive chef,
Mandoon Estate

“Australians are not tied to traditional foods and boundaries like so many other countries, so our chefs can take on their own styles. It’s critical chefs source products locally, and keep it super fresh and not overly complicated. They need to understand their suppliers on a personal level, which benefits the farmers, chefs and consumers.”
– Tony Howell, Aravina Estate

Tony Howell

Carolynne and Hadleigh Troy.

“I remember a decade ago being queried as to whether Modern Australian meant that there were native animals featuring on the menu, like crocodile and kangaroo! I hope the definition has become more defined over recent years. For Hadleigh and I, Modern Australian cuisine is the selective use of flavours and techniques from a broad range of cultures and cuisines that directly reflect the multicultural society we are lucky enough to live in. Underpinning the cuisine is classic technique with a focus on regional produce and, in its most contemporary form, the incorporation of indigenous ingredients.”
– Carolynne Troy, co-owner, Restaurant Amuse

“Modern Australian isn’t a term we would actually choose to describe our cuisine. It’s more about experiencing the chef’s creativity and individuality, and enjoying a unique-tasting menu. The great thing about a degustation or tasting menu is you can never have the same menu in more then one restaurant.”
– Kelli Mainwaring, co-owner, Co-Op Dining

“It’s true that a lot of restaurants now use the term, but they put themselves in this genre so they have the freedom to create a menu that includes classics as well as experimenting with popular food trends from around the globe. The fact that the term is now widely used reflects the changing taste of diners who want a menu that is flexible and innovative.”
– Ben Keal, head chef, The Stables Bar

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