Com­mon ground

Country Style - - COUNTRY CHEF - RECIPES AN­DREW DOUGHTON WORDS CAR­RIE HUTCHINSON PHOTOGRAPHY MARK ROPER STYLING DEB­O­RAH KALOPER

GREAT AD­MI­RA­TION FOR HIS WINE­MAKER FRIEND, AND A DE­SIRE TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH HIS FAM­ILY, PROMPTED AN­DREW DOUGHTON TO MAKE A MOVE.

Grilled radic­chio, fig & moz­zarella salad (recipe page 72) The 2014 Polperro Mill Hill Pinot Gris adds pear and spice notes, and has the zingy acid­ity to bal­ance any bit­ter­ness from the radic­chio. FAC­ING PAGE Chef An­drew Doughton (left) with friend and wine­maker Sam Coverdale, who owns Polperro Bistro.

from a restau­rant you opened your­self to over­see some­one else’s new ven­ture. That, how­ever, is ex­actly what An­drew Doughton did last year when he left his Red Hill restau­rant and Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula in­sti­tu­tion, The Long Ta­ble, in the hands of his trusted kitchen team and un­der the watch­ful eye of his wife and “spir­i­tual leader”, restau­rant manager Sa­man­tha Fitzger­ald. “Run­ning a restau­rant seven nights a week dur­ing the sea­son is not great for a fam­ily of six,” An­drew says. “We just had to make some big de­ci­sions.” Now he spends his days less than five min­utes drive away at Polperro Bistro, wine­maker Sam Coverdale’s vine­yard restau­rant that of­fers fam­ily-friendly hours. “He and Emma used to come into The Long Ta­ble and we struck up a friend­ship,” An­drew says. “Then we catered their wed­ding. I have a lot of re­spect for Sam, his work ethic and the wines he makes. I’m a true be­liever in what he does.” It’s an ex­cel­lent set-up for the Mel­bur­nian, who moved to the penin­sula af­ter Sa­man­tha in­ter­viewed him for a po­si­tion at the Port­sea Ho­tel. That was 17 years ago and the cou­ple now live in nearby Mount El­iza with their four chil­dren — Lach­lan, 12, Har­ri­son, nine, and six-year-old twins Ash­ton and Isla. Although he never for­mally trained as a chef, An­drew has been around food his en­tire life; his grand­fa­ther was a green­gro­cer and his par­ents had a whole­sale food busi­ness. “I spent hol­i­days in a truck de­liv­er­ing food with my dad.” In his twen­ties, An­drew worked in kitchens over­seas, in­clud­ing Terence Con­ran’s Lon­don restau­rants. It’s a com­pletely dif­fer­ent scene to the one he finds him­self in now, where he has fos­tered strong re­la­tion­ships with lo­cal grow­ers, and es­tab­lished a kitchen gar­den at Polperro that lets him and his staff spend time plant­ing and pick­ing. “It needs to go be­yond be­ing re­gional,” he says of one of the food in­dus­try’s big­gest trends. “Re­gional food is about the peo­ple and the sur­round­ings as well. I’ve got a re­ally strong fo­cus on not only us­ing the lo­cal pro­duce, but cre­at­ing some­thing so that when peo­ple visit the penin­sula they get a strong feel­ing of it.”

Polperro Bistro is at 150 Red Hill Road, Red Hill, Vic­to­ria. (03) 5989 2471; polper­rowines.com.au FROM FAR LEFT Polperro Bistro has a deck over­look­ing the vines; An­drew en­joys lunch with his wife Sa­man­tha, their chil­dren Lach­lan, Har­ri­son, Ash­ton and Isla, and wine­maker Sam Coverdale; Polperro’s dining room.

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