The way to a man’s heart is still through his stom­ach, it seems, but with what food ex­actly? When it comes to plan­ning a Fa­ther’s Day treat,

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - On Sunday - If your dad still fan­cies a bit of red meat you’ll find Dar­ren Robert­son’s recipe for the lamb ribs on the cover at de­li­

Fa­ther­hood is the most re­ward­ing thing a man will ex­pe­ri­ence. It marks the mo­ment he can trade in his six-pack abs for a half-dozen of am­bers in the fridge and start strut­ting around in his dad-bod with con­fi­dence.

But just be­cause he might leave that fridge door open oc­ca­sion­ally or he starts telling, ahem, dad jokes, it doesn’t mean the old rogue isn’t worth hon­our­ing.

Favourite food is an ob­vi­ous place to start a cel­e­bra­tion and Fa­ther’s Day is no ex­cep­tion, but when it comes to what food to make, have Aus­tralian dads evolved beyond in­cin­er­ated steak and veg­eta­bles boiled to sub­mis­sion?

You bet, says de­li­cious. con­trib­u­tor and chef Hay­den Quinn. “My old man would have def­i­nitely been on the meat and three-veg set-up when he was a kid,” says Quinn. “But Dad has an epic vegie gar­den at home that we started to­gether when I was a kid and we pull a lot of great pro­duce from that to cook with.

“These days men are more ex­cited to try dif­fer­ent things and look for bold flavours as op­posed to those more sim­ple sta­ples of yes­ter­year,” he says.

On Fa­ther’s Day when Quinn was a boy he’d rat­tle the pans for his old man to de­liver his favourite treat. “Ba­con and eggs, but it def­i­nitely would not have been in bed,” he says.

And what would he cook for his fa­ther to­day? “Dad’s favourite is ac­tu­ally fish tacos, and if we’re out or at the pub he can’t go past good fish and chips – flat­head only, of course. Both Dad and I love Josh Ni­land’s fish and chips [from Syd­ney’s Saint Peter].”

Quinn doesn’t have kids yet, but he has high ex­pec­ta­tions for his Fa­ther’s Day feast when that day ar­rives.

“I’d want them to have wo­ken early, gone div­ing and come home with sea urchin to make me uni toast for break­fast,” he laughs.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, fish fiend and owner of Saint Peter Josh Ni­land would serve his dad some­thing sim­i­lar for Fa­ther’s Day. “I’d do break­fast in bed and give him sea urchin crum­pet as we serve it at Saint Peter, and a herbal tea,” he says.

“But when we were kids I don’t think my sis­ter’s or my culi­nary prow­ess ex­ceeded boiled egg and sol­diers, fresh orange juice and cof­fee,” he says.

Ni­land and his fa­ther share a love of eat­ing beau­ti­ful fish with­out much fuss, like crumbed whit­ing or grilled flat­head, with tartare sauce, of course.

“Scones have al­ways been some­thing both Dad and I re­ally love as well. Whether it’s scones by Gran with rasp­berry jam and cream or scones by Mum, hot out of the oven with cold but­ter.”

But Ni­land agrees that his fa­ther is part of a whole gen­er­a­tion of men who have al­tered their per­cep­tions of what con­sti­tutes a good meal.

“For years Dad was very much a meat-andthree-veg guy but there was a point where he started eat­ing a lot more green veg­eta­bles and di­ver­si­fy­ing his pro­teins,” p are def­i­nitely he says. more “Men a a aware now of their health and well-be­ing. The res­tau­rant in­dus­try has helped shine a light on al­ter­na­tive in­gre­di­ents and meth­ods of cook­ing, which has had a trickle-on ef­fect.

“Fish, veg­eta­bles and pro­teins like tofu, quinoa, seeds and nuts are seen now just as fre­quently on our ta­bles as cru­ci­fied steak and boiled broc­coli was 20 to 25 years ago.”

Of course, Ni­land is a fa­ther him­self and should be spoilt by his kids on Fa­ther’s Day, too.

“Any­thing from them would be won­der­ful, whether it was a cof­fee or avo on toast.” he says. “But hav­ing a crab omelette would be a pretty rock­star way of wak­ing up on Fa­ther’s Day.”

Mel­bourne chef and co-owner of Huxtaburge­r Daniel Wil­son, who re­calls cook­ing poached eggs on toast for his dad ev­ery Fa­ther’s Day, says his fa­ther even­tu­ally em­braced a more healthy diet.

“Well, he did have a soft spot for a sausage dish cooked in the mi­crowave thanks to the mi­crowave cook­ing class he did circa 1984,” laughs Wil­son.

“These days, though, he loves crisp­skin Ora King sal­mon with a nice salad and boiled pota­toes with but­ter, or maybe it’s but­ter with boiled pota­toes.”

Wil­son be­lieves men are cer­tainly more ad­ven­tur­ous than they were 20-odd years ago and have shaken off the red meat-eat­ing blokey im­age.

“I be­lieve this is partly due to the ab­so­lute melt­ing pot of cuisines avail­able at all lev­els, but mainly due

p to the fact they prob­a­bly do it to score brownie points with their more ad­ven­tur­ous and per­haps lighter eat­ing ladies or part­ners,” he laughs.

Wil­son has two young daugh­ters who have loved oys­ters from a very young age, but while their palate is broad, they’re not in­ter­ested in get­ting on the pans.

“I’d be happy for them to cook any­thing – just some­thing – for me,” he laughs. “Un­for­tu­nately I get the feel­ing the only thing they’ll be cook­ing is a plan to drive me up the wall,” he says.

“We’re go­ing out to our favourite Ja­panese res­tau­rant, Komeyui, for some de­li­cious sushi and sashimi. I can’t wait.”

Raw fish, steamed rice – per­haps we don’t need to feed the mod­ern man just red meat af­ter all.

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