IN THE KITCHEN
Catch up with leading North East chef Doug Elder of Brown Brothers.
Brothers’ executive chef Douglas Elder
BROWN Brothers’ executive chef Douglas Elder is never short of inspiration when it comes to the thoughtful and delicately balanced dishes he creates for Patricia’s Table Restaurant, or in the more relaxed Epi.curious food and wine space, at Brown Brothers cellar door in Milawa.
He shares a little about his interests, ideas and love for locally grown produce that changes every season, with North East Living.
When did you first discover your passion for food and cooking?
I would say that my passion for cooking has been built up over the years. Whilst I was interested in becoming a chef as a teenager, it wasn’t really until I got into the trade that I really developed a passion for food. I love to travel and food has always been a very important ingredient. When did you decide to make it a career? When I was in my last year of high school I decided to get into cooking as a career. It took several months to find an apprenticeship but I finally got one at the Sheraton Hotel in Melbourne. What are some of your favourite ingredients to cook with? I would say vegetables are my favourite ingredient. I always find it interesting how many different ways that you can cook vegetables and the multitude of dishes that can be created from them. What foods or fads do you avoid? I wouldn’t really say that I avoid any really - all fads come back again eventually. Where do you find the inspiration for new dishes? I find inspiration in all sorts of places including travel, television, cookbooks, and from the chefs that I work with on a daily basis. We are always bouncing ideas around in the kitchen and everybody has different ideas and experiences.
What can we expect to see on your menu in the cooler months?
We are just starting to change the menu now as we move into Autumn. There will be chestnuts, parsnips, turnips, quinces, apples, pumpkin; all of that wonderful autumn produce that really tells you of the changing seasons.
What meal would you say was a favourite for a family/quiet night at home?
It might be boring, but I really love a good roast chicken with roasted vegetables - it always reminds me of home.
What do you like about living and working in North East Victoria?
I’ve lived in the North East for 13 years now and I have always loved that there are so many different and diverse producers, farmers and chefs in the region. There is always something new happening and it’s great to form relationships with these small suppliers.