Organic food making its mark in the Australian restaurant scene

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 4th December 2009

Organic food has played a pivotal role in the evolution of the international fine dining scene and Australia has been no exception, with organic culinary creations now a common feature of the country’s most acclaimed restaurant menus, the Biological Farmers of Australia (BFA) has said in response to news of American chefs listing organics as a leading trend for the coming year.

Demand for certified organic produce from some of the country’s most highly awarded chefs has led this trend, with chefs including Kym Machin, Justin North, David Pugh, Dominique Rizzo, and Kylie Kwong all fans of organic.

Holly Vyner, Biological Farmers of Australia General Manager, said the growing interest in certified organic produce from renowned Australian and international chefs was great news for the industry.

“It appears that both chefs and consumers are identifying that organic produce is not only a healthier and more sustainable option but is a superior standard of product in terms of both quality and flavour,” she suggested.

Last week Brisbane foodies were treated to the much anticipated opening of the newly refurbished Urbane restaurant.

Head chef and co-owner Kym Machin launched a brand new menu teeming with epicurean delights – featuring the freshest Australian Certified Organic produce from labels such as Barambah Organics and 2009 Vogue Produce Award Winners – Bauer’s Organic Farm.

The former Courier-Mail Young Chef of the Year has a long standing interest in organics – valuing the benefits of the produce.

“Society is looking for healthy food but one of the main reasons I chose to go organic is because of its superior flavour,” Kym said. “Organic produce has been around forever but it has been forgotten about and pushed aside. By combining modern techniques with traditionally produced food we can showcase the best of both worlds.”

Justin North, 2009 Sydney Morning Herald Chef of the Year, added that certified organic produce certainly fulfills changing consumer preferences for sustainably produced and nutritious foods but insists it is the quality and flavour of organic that truly sets it apart.

“While restaurant patrons have become undoubtedly more health and ethically conscious, it is still freshness and quality that has driven us to source organic produce,” the avid supporter of organic maintained.

North is now serving up Australian Certified Organic produce from Bauer’s Organic Farm at his award-winning Sydney restaurants Bécasse and Etch and says he is a firm believer in working closely with the suppliers of the produce he serves in a bid to guarantee quality.

“As a chef, I have the responsibility to choose ingredients carefully. By meeting with the farmers and understanding and supporting the farming practices they use, I can personally guarantee the quality and standard of the food I serve.”

Rob Bauer, owner of the sixth generation Bauer’s Organic Farm, says he has been thrilled that so many of the country’s best chefs have warmed to organic produce, with Kym Machin and Kylie Kwong both making visits to the farm to witness first hand what it takes to produce the finest quality and tasting produce.

“Australia’s best chefs want the best produce – produce that tastes the best, smells the best and is the best – and they are finding organic produce fits this criterion and is of the highest quality,” he remarked. “There is a large number of discerning diners out there going to the places with the best quality and tasting food. And as has been the growing trend for a while now, these diners are taking an interest in how and where their food is produced.”