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“I grew up in a fam­ily of 12 kids. My fa­ther is Croa­t­ian and my mother Aus­tralian. Ev­ery­thing re­volved around the ta­ble,” says Joe Gr­bac, chef and co-pro­pri­etor of Saint Crispin in Melbourne. “Food is so im­por­tant in Euro­pean cul­ture. At meal­times we’d all gather around the ta­ble, we’d eat, we’d laugh, we’d cry – so many mon­u­men­tal mo­ments hap­pened around that ta­ble.” At Saint Crispin, it is all about the din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence – from the ex­quis­ite food and wine to the staff and the at­mos­phere. The kitchen is known for a con­tem­po­rary menu that’s changed daily ac­cord­ing to na­ture’s bounty. “I change the menu ac­cord­ing to Mother Na­ture. Some­times sum­mer goes for a long time so we make the most of the toma­toes; other times, like last spring, we had no lo­cal white as­para­gus in sea­son what­so­ever!” Joe feels it’s im­por­tant to know the ori­gins of his pro­duce. “I have a green thumb and am a proud gar­dener. I think you can tell when love has gone into grow­ing some­thing.” As for the Flin­ders Is­land lamb that is the star in­gre­di­ent in Joe’s recipe (pic­tured above), Joe says the lambs are free to graze on un­spoilt pas­tures and salt bush, re­sult­ing in a per­fect bal­ance of flavour and ten­der­ness. “Flin­ders Is­land lamb al­ways in­spires me to cre­ate some­thing mem­o­rable to cel­e­brate the top-qual­ity pro­duce.”

Flinders Is­land lamb with cau­li­flower puree and an­chovy sauce.

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