Southwest produce is a winner for top chefs' dining event
BEEF from Roma, farmed cod from Chinchilla, and bush food from across the southwest graced the menu and filled the bellies of 250 happy diners at last night's Outback Tucker Under the Stars.
The fine dining event made up part of a full and exciting program for Easter in the Country, and sold out months ahead of the event.
Now in its third year, Outback Tucker Under the Stars has always been about showcasing local produce - something which its celebrity chefs, Matt Golinski and Glen Barratt, are passionate about using in their kitchens.
"Every year it has been out here in the saleyards for about 250 people, so it is a big dinner, and we try to use as much local produce as we can,” said Mr Golinski.
"The star of the dinner really is the Maranoa grass-fed beef, which we have used every year for the main courses, and this year it was two cuts of beef.
"Condabilla Fish farm in Chinchilla is another local, we used their Murray Cod as one of the entrees, and there were local lamb cutlets as well.
"There were other things like pumpkins and watermelons, which the region is known for, as well as a lot of bush food.
"We have tried to us as many interesting bush foods in the dinner as we could, because there are a lot of really good flavours and a lot of them are grown out here.
"There are some interesting ones, things like Lemon Myrtle, Strawberry Gum to use in one of the desserts, Dorrigo Pepper, and paperbark smoked butter.
"We have our own cold-smoker and we picked paperbark off the trees out here, then put in in there to smoke the butter. It's sort of like a campfire-like, smoky butter, and it's an unusual sensation.
"As much local produce as we can get goes in to the dinner, and they provide beautiful flavours that are not sure obscure these days; bush food is regular ingredient now, just like basil or bay leaves.”
Golinski is becoming somewhat of a stalwart Easter in the Country, and has seen his al-fresco diner become the festival's unofficial grand opening.
"It is nice to be able to come out and do this dinner, and there is so much that goes in to putting it on.
"All of the volunteers and people who organise this take on a huge amount of work , but it is such a nice thing to do for the community and visitors as well.
"Because it is part of Easter in the Country, a lot of people come in to town, and this is their first experience of the festival, and sometimes their first experience of Roma, so it is great to give them fine dining.”