Award is the cherry on top

Seymour Telegraph - - NEWS - By Char­mayne Al­li­son For­mer Sey­mour res­i­dent Zoe Birch and her part­ner Lach­lan Gard­ner have won an award for their Hurst­bridge restau­rant, Greasy Zoes.

She’s just a year in, but Zoe Birch is al­ready rak­ing in awards at her restau­rant Greasy Zoes.

The for­mer Sey­mour res­i­dent re­cently won a cov­eted hat for her Hurst­bridge restau­rant at The Age Good Food Guide awards.

And she said it was the cherry on top of a chal­leng­ing, yet re­ward­ing, year since open­ing.

‘‘This award is so ex­cit­ing af­ter work­ing so hard,’’ she said.

‘‘We’re try­ing to do a good thing here and thank­fully peo­ple are ap­pre­ci­at­ing it.

‘‘We’ve had great lo­cal sup­port and since the award, we’ve seen peo­ple from far and wide flow in.’’

Grow­ing up on a prop­erty near Sey­mour, Ms Birch’s mum taught her a hands-on ap­proach to grow­ing and cook­ing food, which she’s car­ried through her years work­ing in a num­ber of Mel­bourne’s fine din­ing restau­rants and is now chan­nelling into her own.

Through (iron­i­cally named) Greasy Zoes, she and her part­ner Lach­lan aim to put a sus­tain­able spin on food and fine din­ing.

Based in a tiny for­mer or­ganic gro­cer, the 5 m by 5 m space only seats 15 at a time.

And with an open bar and kitchen, guests can eas­ily in­ter­act with the duo as they pre­pare gas­tro­nom­i­cal de­lights.

The ma­jor­ity of prod­ucts used are or­ganic and sourced from lo­cal sup­pli­ers.

And ev­ery­thing is — of­ten lit­er­ally — hand-picked to en­sure fresh­ness and sus­tain­abil­ity.

‘‘We source our veg­eta­bles from a lo­cal cou­ple and my part­ner Lach­lan and I will of­ten go down and pick the ve­g­ies along­side them,’’ Ms Birch said.

‘‘And we only pick small amounts at a time in an at­tempt to keep our foot­print down.’’

The menu changes daily, with the pair cross­ing items off as they run out.

‘‘We worked at big restau­rants and they were just not sus­tain­able,’’ she said.

‘‘But here, ev­ery­thing we serve we make our­selves, in­clud­ing but­ter, cheeses, pick­les and pre­serves.

‘‘And while it’s not a vege­tar­ian menu, we keep meat down to a min­i­mum. We don’t use sin­gle-use plas­tic or sty­ro­foam and all or­ganic waste is turned into com­post.

‘‘We also serve very small por­tions but lots of them — so there’s no wastage but peo­ple are still sat­is­fied.’’

It’s an ethos which has cer­tainly been a win­ner with din­ers and food crit­ics alike.

And seems it will con­tinue for years to come, with the hours the cou­ple work as sus­tain­able as the food they serve.

‘‘We want to keep go­ing as long as we can,’’ she said.

‘‘Be­ing based in a small coun­try town means we don’t have to be open all the time.

‘‘We work five months on, one month off so we can just en­joy be­ing hu­mans.’’

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