Coomer to de­but fun­gal finds

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Food - With Ary­lene West­lake-jen­nings

IF there is any­thing pos­i­tive that win­ter brings with it each year to WA, it is surely the start of the Man­jimup truf­fle sea­son.

And with that, chefs come crawl­ing out of the wood­work to cel­e­brate the pun­gent black fun­gus in all its glory, per­me­at­ing dishes with its be­guil­ing flavour.

Hav­ing planted in­oc­u­lated hazel­nut trees on his South­ern Forests farm about nine years ago, for­mer Fuyu owner and award-win­ning chef David Coomer is now ready to step out with his first proper batch of the black di­a­monds.

“The sea­son is shap­ing up pretty well,” Coomer said.

“Last year was good; we still found a few truf­fles but we’re prob­a­bly go­ing to be jump­ing from 20kg from last sea­son to about 60kg this sea­son.

“As far as sales go, if I can get 10 restau­rants on board buy­ing our truf­fles, that would be great and the rest we would po­ten­tially send over­seas.”

Coomer Truf­fles’ snif­fer dog Olive, with ap­pren­tice Twiggy in tow, turned up a 420g beauty just last week, sug­gest­ing Coomer’s pre­dic­tions won’t be far off.

And the chef is certainly en­joy­ing life as a truf­fle farmer.

“It is so good,” Coomer said of re­tir­ing from the restau­rant busi­ness.

“I hate com­ing back to Perth now and leav­ing the farm is re­ally hard; I’d be re­ally happy just be­ing some weird old recluse down there and not see­ing peo­ple and just deal­ing with dogs.

“The staffing has also changed; I’ve got two dogs to work with and they can be a pain in the arse some­times but I don’t have to pay them much and they love me no mat­ter what.”

De­spite his love for the coun­try life, Coomer will re­turn to the Big Smoke to give Perth din­ers a taste of his truf­ferie’s trea­sures, team­ing up with the gu­rus at the Shore­house for an ex­clu­sive tast­ing din­ner on Fri­day, July 21.

Shore­house ex­ec­u­tive chef Ol­lie Gould de­signed the af­ford­able four­course menu, which fea­tures scal­lop crudo, ri­cotta gnoc­chi, braised beef short ribs and truf­fle ice cream.

“Truf­fles have a stigma about them, that you can’t af­ford them, so putting them at that $99 mark hope­fully at­tracts those who haven’t had them be­fore or haven’t had the op­por­tu­nity to eat them as reg­u­larly as they’d like,” Gould said.

“Judg­ing from the truf­fles that come from Man­jimup, the prod­uct will be fan­tas­tic and some­thing that we can hope­fully con­tinue to use.

Tick­ets to the four-course truf­fle tast­ing din­ner are avail­able from The Shore­house web­site.

Pic­tures: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d470041

David Coomer with his truf­fles at the Shore­house in Swan­bourne.

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