Set the scene

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Guest list

Join­ing James were his for­mer head chef, Joel Bick­ford (now at The Gantry in Syd­ney); Jo Dodd, from Quar­ter Acre Farm; Rus­sell McKean and wife Naomi, from The Good Garlic Guy; Cres­sida and Michael McNa­mara, from Pec­ora Dairy; and lo­cal bee­keeper John Scott and wife Maria.


“We have a lot of ce­ram­ics, big nat­u­ral vases and plates at home,” says James. “We have a big farm­house ta­ble and ev­ery­thing just nat­u­rally works to­gether. I love serv­ing food on tac­tile dishes.”


“My mates come and we sit on the back deck and pile the ta­ble with food,” says James. “We love to be ca­sual, but still use lots of sea­sonal pro­duce.”


“I set the scene with tunes,” says James. “In the kitchen I’m used to Me­tal­lica and heavy metal. At home, I love Aus­tralian artists like Xavier Rudd – no-shoes hip­pie kind of mu­sic.”


“ I love a tin­nie any time of day,” laughs James, “be­cause they stay cold. Right now, it’s Mick Fan­ning’s Bal­ter beers. I’m al­ways get­ting in trou­ble for tak­ing them home.”

Says Biota’s sommelier Ben Shep­hard: “We try not to choose wines that are too se­ri­ous and in­stead go for lesser-known grapes and more fun-style wines. As Biota tran­si­tions into a more ca­sual venue, we tend to source our wines by word of mouth, not nec­es­sar­ily lo­cal to the High­lands, but small pro­duc­ers. There’s one wine that I have, Trousseau (from Amato Vino) where they only pro­duce 30 cases a year and I have six of them.”

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