Issue Two Winter
Beef
With guest chef editor
Duncan Welgemoed

Contents

Editors Letters

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Editor’s
Letters

Mary-Jane
Morse

Welcome to the second issue of Rare Medium’s seasonal emagazine and a very special welcome to the wonderful world of beef. I am writing this note on International Women’s Day and what a perfect opportunity to acknowledge the exceptional female talent across both the foodservice and beef industries.

Inadvertently, this issue features several extraordinary women – not because we sat down and said ‘let’s make a female focussed issue’ but because naturally, they are leaders, they are inspiring and they have fearlessly paved their way in two industries traditionally dominated by men.

This issue also highlights the importance of more intricately understanding the logistics and challenges on both sides of the supply chain. Travelling with Duncan to experience grass-fed Australian Wagyu production on a 170,000-acre cattle station and to facilitate this essential knowledge exchange between chef and producer was a pivotal moment for me.

As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, we look at Australian beef in all its glory – from the dusty droves of western Queensland Wagyu to the street food of Singapore; the burgeoning underbelly of Adelaide’s food scene and its original party palace Africola; and a whole lip-smacking, taste-tingling, rump-shaking lot more.

Enjoy the party.

 

Mary-Jane Morse
Foodservice Marketing Manager
Meat & Livestock Australia
raremedium@mla.com.au
@_raremedium

Duncan
Welgemoed

I have always been an avid believer in knowing your produce and making a concerted effort to understand how it has been produced. To me there is no compromising on this – it’s an essential part of our ethos at Africola. Not everyone gets the chance to visit a remote outback cattle station but for me, getting out to Tumbar was an exceptional experience that was at once humbling and inspiring. Seeing the passion and dedication that producers like Fred and Sarah are putting into Australian beef production, to consistently deliver a better quality product, to be more efficient and more productive in the most natural way possible, was a real eye opener for me.

Australian beef is the best in the world and as chefs and consumers we are incredibly lucky – its versatility is unparalleled and the potential to innovate is endless. It is the centrepiece of any menu and something to be revered from paddock to plate.

As chefs we are always learning, so take the time to explore this issue; peppered throughout the pages are some incredible ideas and information to inspire and educate you.

 

Duncan Welgemoed
Chef Owner
Africola
@afropunkoz

Copyright: this publication is published by Meat & Livestock Australia Limited ABN 39 081 678 364 (MLA).

Guest Chef Profile

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Duncan Welgemoed is a rambunctious character with a reputation that not only precedes him; it practically rolls out its own carpet to herald his arrival. His larger than life attitude, penchant for expletives and insatiable appetite to party may be his MO – but there is more, much more, to the man himself.

Duncan finishing a beef dish on the pass

He is an individual, an artist and a curator of his own culinary narrative. He doesn’t follow the rules, he pushes boundaries until they break while meticulously paving his own way and sharing the journey through his food. This is Duncan Welgemoed’s world; we are just living in it.

His venue Africola is a contemporary African restaurant in Adelaide – and an exceptional one at that. But to Duncan, Africola is his living room, a reflection of himself and that is how he likes to treat it.

“Africola is a personification of my childhood and where my head is at – so basically it’s just a wild party restaurant, there aren’t really any rules apart from sticking to an African storyline and having a bunch of fun.”

Duncan started his career in Johannesburg. His father was a chef and restauranteur and Duncan drew a lot of his passion for food from him – but also from his ‘second mother’ who gave him a broader sense of belonging in the African food that she cooked and what she taught him about African cuisine.

He left South Africa at 17 to hone his craft, working at a number of London’s Michelin starred establishments and essentially discovering that it was not what he wanted as a career.

“Working at this particular level in London under Michelin stars, violent chefs and old school culinary tradition mainly showed me it was not what I wanted to do. I wanted to create a place to showcase what I thought about food and ingredients in an environment that personified what I was about. So, that’s what I did and that’s what Africola is – loud and gregarious, with strong flavours and a party atmosphere. We just want to show people a really, really good time.”

So Africola is the party and Duncan is the rock star. What about the food?

“We put red meat on a pedestal, sourcing the best of the best and building relationships with our producers.”

Sirloin & Salt

“At Africola we explore certain regions of the African continent for a menu that changes every single day. We started four years ago with Southern African, which was very protein based and used a lot of open fire cookery. Where we are now is more North African where we concentrate smoke within our proteins and feature a lot more grains and vegetables.”

“We put red meat on a pedestal sourcing the best of the best and building relationships with our producers so we really understand where it comes from and how it is produced. This is important for us because we respect that story in our preparation of the product and the customer can connect with that story in the quality dining experience they have. It’s actual paddock to plate.”

When it comes to beef specifically, Duncan is a chef who is not afraid to explore using the whole carcase.

“In African culture every scrap of meat is revered – you’re feeding large communities, meat is expensive and therefore every inch, every bone, every cartilage and sinew is highly praised and regarded, we try to do the same at Africola.”

“We used to and sometimes still do serve a whole cow’s head which is actually incredibly difficult to acquire. The head is smothered with embers, buried and then cooked very slowly overnight. The cheeks and palette are removed and seasoned and the dish is served with maize, chilli and tomato.”

“Then at Rootstock we did a whole bloody cow – it took us almost 48 hours to cook. We put a whole carcase in a massive cage with a rotating forklift over fire barrels. Then we used various levels of heat from the different fire pits, moving them around and rotating the carcase until every piece was cooked to perfection.”

Roast sirloin with greens & anchovy sauce, finished with grated dried skipjack tuna

“In South Australia, there is an undercurrent and underbelly of real creatives in art, music, food and winemaking.”

Head chef Imogen Czulowski

Back at Africola, when it comes to menu planning for winter, there is a little less theatre but no less thought and precision going in to the beef dishes and it’s all about the customer experience.

“Half our restaurant is outside so it is completely dictated by the seasons. We use more braising cuts in winter – like short rib and brisket. Whether in a broth format or slow cooked in the wood oven, that’s what people expect in winter, something warming more satisfying and slightly richer cuts that they can tuck in to.”

Outside of the restaurant, Duncan’s fingers are jammed in many proverbial pies with a swathe of projects and activities, festivals and events, pop up dinners and collaborations and he is currently writing a book. Somehow, he still manages to find time to give back to the industry in which he has found success and the state in which he has found his place.

“In South Australia, there is an undercurrent and underbelly of real creatives in art, music, food and winemaking that I have always tried to showcase and put on a platform against the Eastern states because I think the culture that we have here is a lot stronger and more deep-rooted. We’re not doing things to jump on any trends; we’re doing it to cultivate our own South Australian style.”

“I’m also involved in a program called Appetite for Excellence which is the mentoring of young hospitality professionals. We try to encourage young people into the industry and then the ones that really shine we try and mentor, to give them opportunities and exposure they wouldn’t usually have access to; to nurture their success and ensure our industry continues to prosper in the future.”

 
 
 
 
 

Paddock Story

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Wagyu
Our
Way

Duncan with Sarah, Fred & Harry Hughes at Tumbar Station

We took Duncan out of the kitchen, on two planes and a three-hour drive, to the centre of Queensland to meet the Hughes family and learn more about their journey into organic Wagyu production.

Big skies and wide open spaces at Tumbar Station in central QLD

Fred enjoying a well deserved beer at sunset

Size Matters

 

Fred and Sarah Hughes are fifth generation beef producers and part of Australian family owned and operated sister companies Hughes Pastoral and Georgina Pastoral – managing approximately 130,000 head of cattle across 6.5 million acres of land.

Currently, Fred and Sarah are located at Tumbar, a 170,000-acre station three hours west of Emerald in Central Queensland. The vast, beautiful landscape consists of highly productive soils on which their focus is primarily backgrounding Wagyu steers. Essentially, backgrounding is a growing program preparing cattle for entry into a feedlot.

Prior to taking up post at Tumbar in August 2017, the couple managed Lake Nash Station in the Northern Territory for five years. Another property in the family’s portfolio, Lake Nash weighs in at 4.2 million acres, more than double the area of the greater Sydney basin, and is the largest cattle station in Australia.

Across their stable of cattle properties, the Hughes family is in the process of transitioning to a purebred Wagyu heard as well as converting land to organic production.

 

 

 

 

Why Wagyu?

 

The Hughes family have had an interest in Wagyu since 1992 and now have one of the largest herds of purebred Wagyu in the world.

Wagyu is a Japanese breed of cattle renowned for its highly marbled meat and whilst any breed of cattle will produce marbled meat if grain-fed for a long enough period – genetically the Wagyu carcase has a higher potential to marble, including through the secondary cuts.

To produce the characteristically high and consistent levels of marbling, traditionally Wagyu cattle are fed a grain-based diet for 300+ days. However, Fred and Sarah believe that Wagyu can also produce spectacular marbling when raised purely in a grass-fed environment.

“We think it is a more accessible style of Wagyu and there is no one currently producing organic grass-fed Wagyu at scale.”

Mustering at Tumbar – cattle are herded together initially using a helicopter then guided into the yards with horses

“Every day here at home we eat this beautiful organic grass-fed Wagyu with exceptional marbling and it’s just this amazing melt in your mouth beef with this incredible earthy grass-fed flavour,” Fred said.

Their vision is to be a leading producer of sought after, superior quality Wagyu and organic Wagyu with the capacity to satisfy premium niche markets both nationally and internationally.

“We think it is a more accessible style of Wagyu and there is no one currently producing organic grass-fed Wagyu at scale – but it’s not without its challenges. Specifically, the ability to consistently generate the same level of marbling as the grain-fed product,” Fred said.

Sarah, who recently completed a research paper on grass-fed Wagyu production, believes that advancements in agri-technology are a key part to ensuring a consistently excellent grass-fed product.

“There’s so many exciting innovations in technology that are helping us to drive productivity while delivering a consistently excellent grass-fed Wagyu product. We are currently developing a custom genomic test that predicts carcase traits and identifies the animals with the best genetic potential to marble specific to our environmental conditions,” she said.

“We are also running supplementary feeding trials which utilise walk over weighing technology to auto-draft steers from the same paddock onto different feed regimes. This allows us to compare the cost versus benefit of different supplementary feed regimes within a set pasture condition,” Fred added.

 

The Taste Test

 

Not only are Fred and Sarah producing outstanding Australian beef, but Fred is also a bit of a gun in the kitchen. On our first night at Tumbar, Fred fired up the pans and we had the privilege of trying some Tumbar grass-fed Wagyu for ourselves.

Now if Duncan’s opinion is anything to go by, and we think that it is, then Fred and Sarah are well and truly on to something special.

“For me, this is the best of both worlds – it has the flavour of a grass-fed product but the texture and mouth feel of highly marbled Wagyu. To be fair, it’s probably the best bloody steak I’ve ever eaten, hands down,” he said.

Tumbar Grassfed Wagyu Scotch Fillet

Waygu steers at Tumbar

Sarah Hughes
– Flying High

 

 

Diligently paving her way in the Australian beef industry with a killer smile on the outside and a steely determination on the inside – Sarah Hughes may be a reluctant star but she is most certainly a bright one.

Growing up on her family’s 50,000-acre cattle property north of Cloncurry in northwest Queensland, Sarah was literally born into beef. Her childhood was an adventure, from school lessons via radio to free time spent on the back of a horse mustering cattle. She spent time away to attend boarding school and university as well as extensively travelling abroad – but the allure of the wide-open plains never dimmed.

Sarah met fifth generation cattle producer Fred Hughes in 2009 at the industry’s national beef expo, Beef Australia in Rockhampton – which also happens to be the beef capital of Australia. The couple married and went on to manage Australia’s largest cattle station, Lake Nash. So yes, it is fair to say that Sarah Hughes has beef well and truly in her blood.

In 2014, Sarah completed her pilot’s licence and in 2016, she was awarded a prestigious Nuffield Scholarship while she and Fred also celebrated the arrival of their son Harry.

Nuffield is an agricultural program that allows Australian farmers to study and increase practical farming knowledge and management techniques. Sarah’s research focused on the opportunities for unconventional Wagyu in luxury beef niches – exploring overseas production, breed traits and genetics in New Zealand, Japan and the USA.

“My Nuffield study has helped me to gain a much deeper insight into beef production and marketing around the world; knowledge is power and I have gained greater confidence throughout the process,” she said.

Her study and the practical experience of being a part of managing one of the world’s largest purebred Wagyu herds is helping to inform business decisions that ultimately improve productivity and generate a more consistent product.

Despite her impressive achievements across aviation, business, study and family – Sarah maintains that she is not unique in this regard and that it is simply indicative of life on the land.

“Women on the land have always juggled different roles and responsibilities. I am lucky because I get to work from home doing what I know and love. Life is about having a crack while we’re young and making the most of the wonderful opportunities that come our way.”

 
 
 
 
 

Up Front

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Up
Front

Nikki Friedli

Chief of Hepi Time
— Africola

The Africola FOH team seamlessly work the bar and the floor in one of the busiest restaurants in the country – they also seem to be having a great time doing it. What makes your team tick?

 

When it comes to service the emphasis has always been more on engaging with people and less on the fineries of service. The vibe of Africola is a fun one that isn’t glued to the rules of the old school, so service for us tends to be an incredibly fun (albeit highly pressurised) six hours where we get to be the best versions of ourselves and make someone else’s night special. Sometimes it can be chaotic and stressful, but I’m glad that from the outside it looks seamless and like we’re all enjoying ourselves!

The passion for produce is evident at Africola – how important are your supplier relationships and how do you foster them?

 

Supplier relationships are vital. You can have as many certifications and standards and awards to keep things is check as you like, but what makes all the difference between great and poor produce is supporting your producers. With support comes trust and with trust comes very no-bullshit information on how they’re actually treating their product be it meats or vegetables. We’ve visited loads of our producers around SA; we find the best way to engage staff is for them to actually see the products they’re using and meet the people behind it.

I think producers get forgotten about a lot. There’s a lot of talk about sommeliers and chefs and restaurants but little chatter about grape growers or beef farmers. We make sure that when they get the rare opportunity to visit the restaurant that they’re given the extra love and attention they deserve.

What advice would you give to young waiters or waitresses pursuing a FOH career?

 

Be prepared to be invisible, smash glass ceilings and work harder than the rest. The attitude in Australia still is mostly that being a waiter is something you do to get through uni until you go onto your “real job”. I’m now a partner in the restaurant and I get asked almost daily what I’m studying or what my next career move is. Don’t let that push you away or throw you off. What you’re doing is an art. Kick arse, take names, make more money than the kids who studied engineering or law, and hold your head high.

My other piece of advice would be to challenge yourself on your own time. If you want to be different and make a mark, you can’t expect your employer or this industry to spoon feed you. Go outside and grab whatever information takes your fancy. It’s your responsibility to hone your craft and make the restaurant your at better than it is. Remember that it’s always about the restaurant and never about the individual.

The Africola menu is a moving, changing beast – how do FOH and BOH work together on menu development and training?

 

It’s a pretty haphazard process at times. Everything at Africola is a pretty organic process and sometimes organics are messy. We make sure that staff are briefed before each service about any new changes and encourage everyone to taste everything all the time. We take on board what everyone in the team has to say about a dish and always consider it. FOH have to know exactly what the ethos and flavour profiles are of a dish or they’re going to have a hard time recommending anyone a wine. It’s a symbiotic process.

How has beef evolved as a menu item at Africola and do you think customer attitudes towards beef have changed?

 

Africola was considerably more meat oriented when it started. The emphasis was on whole roasted animals with an emphasis on provenance. The emphasis on provenance hasn’t changed, but the quantity of meat has. There’s a spartan romanticism to having a whole animal on a spit but the reality is there’s a lot of wastage, too. So now it’s about being even more selective about the beef that we use. It’s now treated as almost the luxury item of the menu. An accessible luxury, but it’s still the most expensive item on the menu.

The resources that go into cattle farming are huge and that’s reflected in the prices of our beef. Sustainability, both environmentally and economically for farmers, means that we as consumers have to acknowledge that there is going to be a little price bump. Moreover, animals deserve respect; especially when they’re being slaughtered to feed you. I think more and more people are becoming aware of these concepts and would prefer to try and be as responsible as possible.

Ok, it’s your last meal – what are you eating, what are you drinking and who are you with?

 

My grandfather makes the most amazing tartare, so that would definitely be on the table, it’s still one of my favourite ever meals. I’d probably be drinking some kind of salty, weirdo savignin and I’d be on the QI panel having the time of my life. For dessert, I’d like Stephen Fry to shot-gun a tinny of NT Bitter with me (which you can’t get anymore; absolute travesty!).

Cut Showcase

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Rump

 

HAM 2090

A boneless five-muscled primal derived from the hindquarter; the rump is located between the sirloin and the topside and accounts for around 3.8% of the beef carcase. Rump steak has long been a mainstay on Australian menus – renowned for its versatility and flavour – however savvy chefs know that when broken down into its individual muscles, the rump party is just getting started

 
 
 
 
 

Two Under Ten

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With Imogen Czulowski
and Dioni Flanagan

It’s time to turn up the heat and shake out some sass with the lady legends at Africola as they show us how to party on the plate with the rump cap for less than a tenner. Perfectly cooked, juicy beef served with a minimum of fuss but a face-full of flavour, what more could you want? Ok, a perfectly matched beverage wouldn’t go astray, so we’ve thrown a couple of those in too.

1.

Rump Cap with
harissa, charred
peppers & zhuk

 

Imogen Czulowski
Head Chef – Africola
@rag_and_bone

2017 Gentle Folk Village Pinot Noir, Scary Gully, South Australia

This pinot has a deceptive amount of guts and will stand up to a good cut of beef. Gareth and Rainbo Belton are making some of the best wines coming out of the Adelaide Hills. This is a weirdo wine that will still appease any difficult guests you might have. Have it a little chilled and it should make the beef sing.

“The rump cap is a beautiful and tender cut of beef with a generous covering of fat. I like to slice it into steaks to ensure it cooks evenly and then carve across the grain before service. It has a robust beefy flavour and the fat is quite sweet so it pairs well with some heat. I glazed the beef with harissa while on the grill then served simply with charred peppers and zhuk – a traditional Yemen paste made with green chillies, garlic, coriander and parsley.”

Ingredients

Rump cap
Harissa paste
Banana peppers
Lemon
Parsley
Coriander
Garlic
Green chillies
Salt
Olive oil

Total cost — $8.90

2.

Rump Cap with
radicchio, daikon
and spring onion

 

Dioni Flanagan
Sous Chef – Africola
@dioniflanagan

Starward Solera Cask
Single Malt Whiskey

On the rocks, neat, or with
a little dash of water

Starward are making some stellar whiskeys in Melbourne and deserve to be on your spirit shelf if they aren’t already. It’s got a gentle nudge of sweetness from the solera cask which mixes nicely with the smokiness of this dish. Not being heavily peated, the gutsiness of the flavours on the plate step in and flesh it out. It’s a brilliant eating whiskey.

“The rump cap is such a versatile cut; fast to prepare with a good price point from kitchen to customer. It’s really tender at various degrees of doneness – however I prefer it on the rare side of medium rare. For this dish, I used a mushroom, miso and soy marinade for a salty sweetness that compliments the full beef flavour. On the grill, the marinade caramelises and that char goes well with the accompanying flavours of bitter radicchio, pickled daikon and charred spring onion.”

Ingredients

 

Rump cap
Radicchio
Spring onions
Chardonnay vinegar
Daikon
Birdseye chilli
Star anise
Cardamom pods
Thyme
Soy sauce
Mushroom
Miso

Total — $ 9.75

On The Menu

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Beef, we all know that it is the most versatile protein and arguably the greatest meat on earth. But did you know that there are more than 70 potential cuts that can be derived from the carcase? It’s your one-stop protein party shop. Chefs are getting better at exploring life outside the loin; and whilst you really can’t go wrong with a buttertender fillet or the glory that is a rib-eye on the bone; there’s a beef cut to suit every budget, every kitchen and every occasion. Well, unless it’s a vegan’s birthday party. Here are six examples from chefs around the country – from an elite sensory experience to the comfort of classic steak frites and everything in between – beef has got you covered.

Smoked Brisket Doughnuts

 

Smoke — Barangaroo House
Cory Campbell

A traditional dish in Denmark, æbleskivers are pancake balls stuffed with apple, dusted with icing sugar and served with berry jam. When Cory worked at Noma, the æbleskivers featured a little Noma twist – playing on the savoury side instead of sweet. At Smoke, the concept has evolved again. Brisket is braised in light chicken stock with aromatic vegetables until meltingly tender then strained and the liquid reduced to a glaze. Shallots are sweated off in butter then the brisket is caramelised slightly then the glaze mixed through. The brisket is then cold smoked before a final seasoning with apple vinegar, lemon and salt – the result is rich, juicy and fresh with a hint of smoke. The beef is portioned for service then stuffed into doughnuts and freshly fried to order. Served with a green tomato jam and washed down with a Diplomatico old fashioned.

Spider Steak Frites

 

Hey Jupiter
Carlos Astudillo

This juicy little steak can be difficult to come by because there are only two per carcase. Located inside the hip on the aitchbone, it is a small semi-circular shaped muscle that is rippled with prominent marbling that resembles a cobweb – hence the name. Also known as the Pope’s Eye, it is a delicately tender cut with a full beef flavour. Hey Jupiter allows this flavoursome steak to do the talking, keeping it simple and serving it up classic French bistro style with crispy frites and a sauce béarnaise. Break out the Beaujolais and enjoy the rich satisfaction of the simple things done well.

Whole Hanger Steak

 

Bert’s Bar and Brasserie
Jordan Toft

Also known as onglet or thick skirt, this cut hangs from the last rib, attached to the diaphragm, hence the name hanger. The hanger has a long membrane that runs through the centre, which is usually removed, resulting in two long narrow strips of meat. At Bert’s, the hanger is roasted whole over iron bark coals and bay leave stalks with the membrane left intact until beautifully medium rare, then rested on a bed of bay leaves. For service, meat is sliced from either side and arranged around the membrane in a similar fashion to a T Bone and finished simply with a light veal jus, olive oil and lemon. Designed for sharing, the dish is served in a cast iron pan with a small bunch of smoking bay leaves – the perfect combination of theatre, thought, technique – and deliciously tender, full flavoured beef.

Wagyu Rump Cap

 

McGill Estate
Scott Huggins

 

For Duncan, the beef and wine paring at McGill Estate is a sensory experience of the highest level. “Wine for chefs is always kind of out of the peripheral but it’s actually a really interesting seasoning to beef and I don’t think there is a chef in Australia that is doing this as well as Scott. When you have a wine like the 2010 Penfold’s Grange matched with a piece of Mayura Station Wagyu beef, in my mind it makes one dish. It has all the characteristics of the acid, the richness, it cuts though the fat and together it makes a complete dish. These are two South Australian products at the very, very highest level and it’s so serendipitous that they work together so perfectly.

Wagyu Tongue Sandwich

 

Monster Kitchen and Bar
Sean McConnell

Being situated within a hotel, Sean says the motivation for this dish comes from the concept of the classic club sandwich. He has always liked to play on the idea without actually ever putting one on – instead pushing his diners a little out of their comfort zone with something familiar but at the same time a bit challenging. The tongue is poached for three hours in a classic stock with heavy spices and aromatics, then peeled and cooled overnight in the poaching liquid. Sliced and grilled to order, the tongue is sandwiched between two lightly grilled discs of house-made milk bun loaf with a sauce gribiche and house-made mustard. Voted by Gourmet Traveller as one of Australia’s top 20 sandwiches, this tasty little sandwich has tongues wagging, and for good reason.

Soy Marinated Intercostals

 

Restaurant Shik
Peter Jo

Shik is the first permanent home for Peter Jo (Kimchi Pete) where the self-taught chef is having some fun with traditional flavours and techniques and serving up his take on contemporary Korean cuisine. Pete says Korean food is super simple – contrasting fresh quality produce with traditional Korean flavours and ferments; where dishes are designed to share and it’s just about getting in and having a good time. He favours non-loin cuts for their flavour and texture and their ability to hold up to fermented flavours. For this dish, intercostals are steeped in a traditional soy marinade then sous vide for 12 hours to break down the sinews, and then finished on the grill. Texturally crisp outside and delicately tender inside, the beef is served with leaves and a range of house-made condiments including kimchi, pickles and ssamjang. Wrap, smash, repeat – and wash down with some artisan soju.

Global Spotlight

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Southeast
Asia

With a young population, rapid urbanisation and rising incomes, Southeast Asia is one of the fastest-growing consumer markets in the world.

 

Demand for Australian beef varies across Southeast Asia with Singapore the largest destination for Australian chilled beef exports and the Philippines the largest destination for frozen manufacturing beef.

In 2017, Southeast Asia accounted for around 6.4% of Australia’s total beef exports consisting mainly of manufacturing beef.

Southeast Asia –
Australian Beef Exports 2017

 

— 6.4% of Australia’s global beef export volume
— 79% grass-fed
— 68% frozen
— 58% manufacturing beef

Food Service

 

The foodservice sector in Southeast Asia is vibrant and dynamic. Young, urban consumers with increasing incomes have a strong appetite for international restaurants offering Western-style menus such as BBQ, Japanese-style hotpot and Korean barbecue.

Malaysia is forecast to be the fastest-growing market for foodservice in the region, largely supported by its rapid rise in the number of high-income households and urban population.

Despite the small market size, Singapore remains the most lucrative market for foodservice in the region underpinned by a large proportion of high-income consumers including local Singaporeans and international expats and a strong tourism sector.

Singapore
Snapshot

Singapore has one of the world’s wealthiest consumer bases – its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is almost forty times higher than that of Cambodia.

A cultural melting pot, its hugely diverse consumer base demands a range of cuisines and culinary choices. With a high volume of expats and Singaporean locals, there is a huge range of foodservice options from high-end dining through to cost-effective street food.

Quick Service Restaurants and Full Service Restaurants take the bulk of the value share in the foodservice channel, accounting for around 45% and 25% respectively.

Cheek by Jowl

 

Sri Lankan born Aussie chef in Singapore – Rishi Naleendra is the first Sri Lankan chef to be awarded a Michelin star for his restaurant Cheek by Jowl. Rishi uses Australian beef for dishes like this Australian Angus Sirloin, charred broccoli & yuzukoshō butter.

Meatsmith Telok Ayer

 

Chef Andrew Baldus believes every piece of meat and every piece of wood is unique and it is his responsibility to find the perfect balance between the two to create the perfect dish – like his succulent 12 hour smoked beef brisket and pastrami burnt ends.

12 hour smoked Australian beef brisket

Pastrami burnt ends, Russian dressing and sauerkraut

Meatsmith Bourbon Aged Strip

How to: Meatsmith Bourbon Aged Strip

 

Chef Baldus tells us that the Bourbon Aged Strip was put together for a collaborative between Meatsmith and Wild Turkey. He uses Rangers Valley WX, a Wagyu/Angus cross to insure enough flavour and marbling to hold up to the ageing process. To start he takes a quality cut of Australian beef, preferably striploin or cube roll, a bottle of bourbon and enough cheesecloth to wrap around the beef. First he soaks the cheesecloth in the bourbon, then wraps it around the beef and places it on a rack. The remaining bourbon is then added to a spray bottle and the beef is sprayed every couple of days and rotated to let it dry evenly. He has tried ageing whole strips between 25 and 45 days and believes that the 45 days has a better flavour while the bourbon adds a sweet note to the beef.

Dave Pynt doesn’t really need an introduction – but if you don’t know, now you know – Dave Pynt is a wood wizard. He believes there is a certain magic when it comes to cooking with wood and, if the accolades bestowed on his Singapore based venue Burnt Ends are anything to go by, then we think he might be right.

Originally from Perth, it was in the family backyard that his appetite for wood-fired cooking first ignited. His father’s love of a wood-fired barbeque forever spoilt Dave’s palate for food cooked any other way. With a taste for fire but a desire for experience, Dave has worked his way through some of the world’s best restaurants including Tetsuya’s, Noma and St John Bread & Wine to name but a few. However, it was in the Spanish Basque Country at Asador Etxebarri, number six on 2017 World’s 50 Best, where his flame for fire really started to burn.

Under the guidance of acclaimed self-taught chef Victor Arguinzoniz, Dave learnt the ancient technical skills and precision required to cook everything over fire. Using a range of carefully selected woods the team finesse with fire; fluctuating the flames to compliment the locally sourced and naturally cultivated produce.

Fuelling his own fire for experience, Dave designed and built his own outdoor wood-fired oven for an extended pop-up in the courtyard at London’s Climpson & Sons Roaster’s – and it was here that Burnt Enz was born. Churning out up to 350 covers a day; everything was grilled over the wood-fire with Dave masterfully adjusting the flames to suit the ingredients.

His reputation as a flame whispering wood wizard drew the attention of hotel and restaurant group Unlisted Collections and his concept was brought to Singapore for a permanent residency at his own restaurant – Burnt Ends. Opening in 2013, Burnt Ends won the Chef’s Choice Award and claimed number 10 spot at the 2017 Asia’s 50 Best Awards. At the heart of the restaurant is the four-tonne dual cavity oven, designed by Dave himself. Firing up to 700 degrees Celsius, the oven is fired by apple and almond wood and facilitates smoking, hot and slow roasting, baking, grilling and cooking directly on coals.

75 day dry aged rib of beef at Burnt Ends

Tell us about Singapore as a location for a restaurant – what are the challenges and the advantages of running a venue over there?

 

I think in hospitality, regardless of where you are in the world, the biggest challenge is always going to be your staff – finding good staff and retaining them is a global issue in our industry and in Singapore it’s no different. From a business perspective, Singapore is a great place to be – it is very much a food city and accepting of all types and styles of food, whatever you can dream. Then there are the customers – 6 million people all living within a 25km radius plus over 90 million visitors a year. It’s a central hub for business trips and local business laws over here allow you to entertain clients out to lunch and dinner, so for us that is always going to be a win.

Throughout your career – with your underground dinners in London, at the Burnt Enz pop up and at Burnt Ends, you love a collaboration or a guest chef. Why is this important to you?

 

Well I guess there’s two parts to that – when it’s me going away to collaborate, it is a huge challenge and an opportunity to experience a change of environment, to work with different ingredients and to always keep learning – it really pushes you and challenges you outside of what you’re used to. Then on the other end, when guest chefs come here, it’s a chance to get new ideas, to be inspired, to learn new techniques and work with like-minded individuals. I think doing things like this is beneficial for everyone involved – including the guests.

Dave uses the wood oven and the wood grill to prepare beef in the restaurant

Let’s talk about beef specifically – what’s on the grill at Burnt Ends?

 

In Asia, highly marbled Japanese beef is the benchmark, which means that there’s not a huge demand over here for grass fed. Generally, we use Australian Wagyu and Wagyu cross which we import directly from Blackmores and Rangers Valley. On a cut level, we use a huge range of primals and secondary cuts – rib eye, flat iron, skirt, chuck, hanger, short ribs, intercostals to name a few. On the menu we run a secondary cut, a cube roll and a dry aged option so they’ve each got their place and a role to play – it’s which cut we use from week to week that varies. We use both the wood oven and the wood grill to prepare our beef – steaks go straight on the grill and we might put a whole striploin in the coal oven for three or four hours or short ribs for five or six hours.

You sell and serve your beef by the gram – tell us how that works.

 

If a guest orders hanger for example, the waiter will ask how much they would like, let’s say it is 150 grams. The order will come to us in the kitchen, we will then cut as closely as we can to the size – to within 25g either side. The cut is then taken back out to the table to show the customer and make sure they are happy with the size and then we take it away and cook it.

The heart of the venue – the four tonne dual cavity oven designed by Dave

In Australia, there’s an increasing interest amongst foodservice in the provenance of not only beef but produce in general. Is there similar interest in Singapore?

 

I think there are two sides to that – firstly, it is of interest here if you’re eating out a lot, you’re going to have a general interest. What’s more important I think as a chef is getting to know your growers and suppliers – having a direct relationship and knowing where your products are coming from is important. You know how the animals are raised and treated and you get to know the products specifically – you know what’s good and why. Through you, your customers then get to know what’s good and what’s not – and they won’t be coming back if it’s not good.

Best advice you’ve received in your career and who did it come from?

 

It was from my head chef when I was at Balthazar in Perth – he said ‘go buy yourself a book and start reading’. He had a Chez Nico book on his shelf by French chef Nico Ladenis and so I went out and I bought that and started reading.

Hanger with bone marrow — on the menu at Burnt Ends

Last meal.. Where are you, what are you eating and who are you with?

 

Asador Etxebarri with my whole family – and we would have the whole menu, twice. No wait, I take that back, I would eat at Burnt Ends with my family because I’ve never had the menu here as a guest. So I’d do that, to see if it’s actually any good.

Fast Facts

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Fast Facts

In 2017, beef carcase weights increased almost 10kg year on- year to 298kg

Aussie beef production in 2018 is expected to lift to 2.17 million tonnes cwt – an increase from both 2016 and 2017 levels

Meat & Livestock Australia has initiated a project with CSIRO to identify pathways for the red meat industry to become carbon neutral by 2030

Japan finished 2017 as Australia's biggest export market for beef

Aussies remain one of the world’s largest per capita consumers of beef with beef having the highest share of retail sales of any fresh meat in 2017

Next Issue

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Our next issue, Spring Lamb will be available July 2018 – who’s next up to the plate as chef co-editor? You’ll just have to wait and see.

Issue 2 would not have been possible without the following people – a big beefy thanks to you all. Gen, Macca, Tom & Von at the projects* and the Tumbar dream team Fred, Sarah & Harry Hughes, Rick, Rio & Teddy. All the shiny, happy Africola legends Mo, Nikki, Dioni & Ali; Scott at McGill Estate and the Hey Jupiter crew. Photographers Andre Castellucci, Simon Pynt, Jason Lucas, Jana Langhorst, Bradley Cummings and Louise Carew; and David Carew and Dave Pynt in Singapore. Anyone I’ve forgotten? Oh yes, Duncan – thank you for making Issue 2 so much fun and for all the incredible food along the way.