Toast­ing Tassie’s culi­nary he­roes

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - Graeme Phillips

PROMPTED by re­cent ar­ti­cles in the Mer­cury on our very de­serv­ing com­mu­nity he­roes, I got to think­ing of who might make the roll call of Tas­ma­nia’s culi­nary he­roes, the gamechang­ers, those who, in my ex­pe­ri­ence, have paved the way and made an in­valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to where we are to­day.

Some are still do­ing their bit, oth­ers have long passed on, some I’ve prob­a­bly for­got­ten and many read­ers could no doubt com­pile a dif­fer­ent list.

But, from where we were to where we are is a great story and th­ese are the peo­ple I be­lieve war­rant recog­ni­tion as hav­ing helped write the early, sem­i­nal chap­ters.

Clau­dio Al­corso, Gra­ham Wilt­shire and An­drew Pirie our wine in­dus­try pioneers.

Ge­orge Park and Bill Casi­maty in the Coal River Val­ley, John Aust­wick and Ge­off Bull on the East Coast and Steve Ferencz and Eric Phillips down the Huon – all of them re­gional wine in­dus­try pioneers.

Fred Pea­cock and An­drew Hood, whose viti­cul­tural and wine­mak­ing tal­ents, re­spec­tively, played such vi­tal roles in el­e­vat­ing the qual­ity of our vine­yards and wines.

David John­stone, who was the first whole­saler and re­tailer to spe­cialise in Tas­ma­nian wines and make them more widely avail­able on restau­rant lists.

Mike White, long- time wine mer­chant who saw and lived the good, the bad and the naughty of Ho­bart’s restau­rant story.

Ber­tie Tuc­ceri and Romeo Cat­taruzza, both supreme restau­ra­teurs, pizza and North Ho­bart pi­o­neer Marti Zucco and the Lu­ciano, Corre­detti and Ghandinni fam­i­lies along with Ser­gio Si­mon­etto, who primed our taste buds for the dolce vita flavours we en­joy to­day.

Eric Hayes, who brought in Tas­ma­nia’s first cap­puc­cino ma­chine.

The Far­rells of Wrest Point for train­ing staff who, like David Seapin and Gary Dor­ring­ton, went on to open some of our bet­ter cafes, night­clubs and eater­ies at a time when Ho­bart was some­thing of a back­wa­ter.

Cathy and Wayne Richards at The Deli, Juan and Rose­mary Nin at The Bay Ham­per and Mike Jones who opened the Wursthaus, each in turn redefin­ing for the pub­lic what it meant to be a top- notch del­i­catessen.

John Bignell, a farm di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion pi­o­neer with his veni­son, goat and sheep cheeses and milled grains help­ing drive Tas­ma­nia’s gourmet food “rev­o­lu­tion” in the ’ 80s and ’ 90s.

John Healy, Frank Marc­hand and Ueli Berger whose Pyen­gana, Heidi and King Is­land cheeses re­spec­tively helped put Tas­ma­nia on the culi­nary map through the ’ 80s, paving the way for ar­ti­san cheese­mak­ers to fol­low.

Ge­orge Mure, who in­tro­duced and pop­u­larised blue eye cod to the Tas­ma­nian mar­ket.

Pe­tuna, Tas­sal and Huon Aqua­cul­ture, which added At­lantic salmon and ocean trout to our menus and din­ner ta­bles.

Sim­i­larly Terry and Nicky Noo­nan, Michael Brown, At­tilio Min­ucci, Dun­can Gar­vey and Peter Cooper and other grow­ers of to­tally new spe­cialty food prod­ucts – fore­run­ners of the fab­u­lous va­ri­ety we now en­joy.

Mary Walker, whose ex­cep­tional Hill Farm Herbs track­le­ments en­cap­su­lated Tas­ma­nia’s small- farm, home- cooked culi­nary his­tory while at the same time, in qual­ity, pack­ag­ing and mar­ket­ing, pointed

the way to the fu­ture for the many small producers who fol­lowed.

Frank De­Marte, more on Frank in a fort­night, Bill and Lynn Lark, whose taste for whisky founded an in­dus­try.

Karen Prid­ham, who in­tro­duced Ho­bart to spe­cialty breads, baked in the back kitchen at the Wursthaus, and Jack­man & McRoss which then took good bread to a wider, more pop­u­lar level.

Ge­off Cop­ping, whose restau­rant, Dear Friends, lifted Tas­ma­nian din­ing to new and un­sur­passed lev­els of el­e­gance and pro­fes­sion­al­ism.

David and Ch­eryl Quon’s Sakura, Vanidols and Orizuru, which showed us there was a lot more to Asian food than chop suey and sweet ’ n’ sour pork.

Scott Minervini, who brought the Aus­tralian Sym­po­sium of Gas­tron­omy and the Slow Food move­ment to Tas­ma­nia and whose restau­rant has main­tained the high­est fi ne- din­ing stan­dards for more than two decades.

Robyn Black and Kather­ine Wake­field who, at Lick­er­ish, were among the first to rad­i­cally de­tour from the then culi­nary main­stream, in the process awak­en­ing our palates to the ex­cit­ing range of restau­rant food styles we en­joy to­day.

Ju­dith Sweet, Wendy Pren­der­gast and Lu­cas Schumi with their early cook­ing classes and TV pro­grams; Jim Burns, who le­git­imised se­ri­ous restau­rant re­view­ing un­der the name of Dave Mac­quarie; Liz Ches­sor, food stylist and prod­uct con­sul­tant who tri­alled the South’s fi rst farm­ers’ mar­ket; and Sue Dyson and Roger McShane, who upped the ante in restau­rant and broader food qual­ity through their Food Lovers’ Guide to Tas­ma­nia, ra­dio broad­casts and

Gourmet Trav­eller ar­ti­cles. Then, of course, there are the many in­no­va­tive farm­ers, fi sher­men, producers and sup­pli­ers who helped make the achieve­ments of the above play­ers pos­si­ble.

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