2021 RESULTS

Best Chef – Kane Pollard

Best Chef – Kane Pollard

Best FOH – Al Robertson

Best FOH – Al Robertson

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BEST DINING – LA POPULAR TAQUERIA

Best Chef – Kane Pollard (SA)

Kane Pollard is Head Chef at Sôl Bar & Restaurant and Owner at Topiary Cafe in Adelaide. Despite being two very different venues – The Topiary is a former tearoom nestled in a nursery in the north-eastern foothills of Adelaide and Sol Restaurant is a high end new restaurant on the ninth floor of the SkyCity Adelaide – the inaugural Rare Medium Best Chef winner can execute his nose-to-tail and root-to-bloom philosophies at both places with a lofty aim of zero kitchen waste for the two restaurants. 

“Sustainability is always at the forefront of my mind and working within a firm set of guidelines around that seems to bring on inspiration,” Kane says. “Inspiration leads to a dish or a concept, which I know will be kind to the earth, support local growers and will fuel the need to learn something new or different.”

Best FOH – Al Robertson (TAS)

Al Robertson is Front of House manager at Sonny in Hobart who has an effortless approach to service that makes you feel relaxed and welcomed as soon as you enter Hobart’s cool, and incredibly compact food and wine bar. Al’s wine list and noteworthy record selection are as well-groomed as his Hugh Grant-esque hair, featuring local Tasmanian makers, alongside national and international picks that lean toward sustainable and minimal-intervention. Come for the wine, stay for the disco. Al is the real deal.

Best Dining – La Popular Taqueria (SA)

La Popular Taqueria is a simple place to provide the community with quality, traditional Mexican food. Sustainability is at the forefront of the business, from produce to interiors, no stone is left unturned. Owner, Danielle Guevara, a self taught chef from Mexico City, ensures that she uses the best produce available to her, sourcing local, sustainable and ethical whenever possible. Community is important to La Popular Taqueria, and the town pride continues into the interiors, with each table top repurposed from the old bar from the refurbished Port Admiral Hotel, just across the road.⁠

While it may not be fine dining, when you visit La Popular you are welcomed as Daniella’s guest as if you were at her home.

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Best Red Meat – Cherry Tree Organics – Rib Eye (VIC)

Best Red Meat winner is Cherry Tree Organics from Victoria for their Rib Eye.

Judging note: “Juicy and super clean, aromatic and grassy. Tender and lovely flavours, this is as delicious as meat can get. Perfect.”

Cherry Tree Organics are expecting in January 2022 to be completely carbon neutral. This achievement will be reached through an Emissions Management Plan created by working with Carbon Farmers Australia since 2017.  

The farm has been certified organic since 2002, which is an achievement of 20 years of farming without using any chemical fertilisers, herbicides or pesticides. The farm's water is entirely self-sufficient with a dam that is gravity fed to all the property troughs. Strategic native vegetation establishment to encourage biodiversity and includes a dedicated 10 acre fenced off area along the creek that encourages wildlife.

2 – Nomad Grass Fed Beef – Rib Eye (VIC)

Judging note: “Clean, grassy, rich, fat, and tender. Delicious fats that render perfectly. Extremely delicious.”

3 – Marybrook Premium Produce – Lamb Rack (WA)

Judging note: “Delicious super clean flavour. Sweet, soft, and tender, this just melts in your mouth. An amazing meat: strong and gamey. How lamb used to taste.”

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Best Wild Harvest – Gazander Oysters – Premium Pacific Oysters (SA)

South Australia’s Gazander Oysters took out the Best Wild Harvest category with their Premium Pacific Oysters.

Judging note: “A perfect example of west coast pacific oysters: clean, sweet, salty, creamy and fresh. Tastes like the sea. Native sea plants in the packaging are extremely cool and the environmental strategy is extremely admirable.”

Gazander Oysters achieve sustainability by managing oyster biomass within waterways and reporting on the environmental impact of harvesting on seagrass and coexisting animal life. Their site is fully solar powered and has a bio-friendly toilet system. They have introduced hybrid vehicles and have an extensive native plant regeneration program.

Through a pelleting process they recycle plastic baskets no longer in use, after around 15 years of continual use, and make other plastic products. Their packaging is a biodegradable foam replacement cardboard packaging with minimal plastic.

2 – Austral Fisheries – Glacier 51 Toothfish (WA)

Judging note: “Beautiful flesh and large flakes with an amazing steak-like feel in the mouth. Incredible flavour and texture that is clean, fresh, and delicious. This is also officially the world’s first fish to achieve a carbon neutral certification.”

3 – Eyrewoolf Abalone – IQF Blacklip Abalone Meat (SA)

Judging note: “Beautiful presentation, great umami, saline flavour, and soft, delicate texture. Sustainable packaging. Wild harvested with minimal environmental impact. A benchmark product.”

4 – Coffin Bay Marron – Marron (SA)

Judging note: “Super sweet, firm, and bright with great texture. Simply delicious. Bred naturally in freshwater channels, the marron feeds on herbicide- and pesticide-free hay and grain grown on the land that surrounds the channels with sections of the farm set aside to let the native redgums regenerate.”

5 – Coorong Wild Seafood – Flounder (SA)

Judging note: “Soft, mild flesh that is delicious, delicate, and creamy. Low food miles, no food waste, and sustainable farming practices. A producer that should be celebrated!“

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Best Bred – Honest Eggs Co – Chicken Eggs (VIC)

Regenerative open range egg farm Honest Eggs Co is the winner of the 2021 Best Bred category with their Chicken Eggs.

Judging note: “A very good egg, indeed. Great flavour. Deep orange, golden yolk that is clean, fresh and moreish. Would be perfect for cakes with its firm texture. Outstanding environmental approach too.”

Honest Eggs Co limit its farming to only 30 hens per hectare, far below the 10,000 per hectare government free range regulation and 1,500 per hectare CSIRO recommendation. Hens are housed in mobile sheds on open paddocks, which are regularly moved to fresh pasture. Honest Eggs Co makes a conscious choice to not use any fertilisers or pesticides. 

They source all their cardboard cartons within Australia. The stickers and ink are all plant based making their packaging recyclable and 100% compostable. Driven to constantly improve their sustainability they have begun exploring BCorp certification, this would make them Australia’s first certified BCorp egg company.

2 – Macro Group Australia – Paroo Premium Kangaroo Striploin (SA)

Judging note: “This is perhaps the most tender `roo you’ll eat: great texture, flavour and gamey aroma. Kangaroo is one of the most sustainable meats in Australia and these `roos are ethically sourced from pastoral areas and are selected due to their quality as well as the abundance of native vegetation and water. The only Kangaroo brand restaurants should be using.”

3 – Brookland’s Free Range Farms – Pastured Whey Fed Berkshire Pork (VIC)

Judging note: “Sweet, juicy and flavoursome milk pork with a generous fat layer that is very tender. The pork is a heritage breed that forages and grazes on a healthy regenerative farm with an impressive Organic Carbon Value. Well done!”

4 – Lowan Park Produce – Chicken Thigh (SA)

Judging note: “Great chicken flavour; plump, juicy, and tender. The chickens are pasture-raised and moved daily on a farm transitioning to regenerative agricultural principles. An incredible everyday product.”

5 – Discovered – Wild Sambar Venison Topside (NSW)

Judging note: “Moist, mild, lean, nutty, and complex venison that is certified carbon neutral sourced. French butchering this cut makes the most out of the texture and tenderness of this meat.”

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Best Made - Schulz Organic Dairy – Organic Full Cream Milk(VIC)

Best Made winner is Schulz Organic Dairy from Victoria with their Organic Full Cream Milk.

Judging note: “This sets the benchmark for this category – terroir in a glass, creamy and balanced, rich and extremely delicious. The sustainability elements and organic principles are admirable and historic as clear effort has gone into the farm’s self-sufficient systems for a long time.”

Pure, simple and delicious milk that is processed on the farm at the factory a mere 100 meters from the dairy, ensuring freshness and a reduced carbon footprint. Friesian and Jersey Cow all natural full cream milk with no additives. No chemicals, hormones, herbicides or pesticides are used on the farm.

Schulz Organic Farms is on 832 acres of very fertile land that since 1972 have used biodynamic and organic principles to enhance the vitality of the soil, grass and animals. They strive for a self-sufficient system through crop rotation and farm composts.

2 – Drysdale Cheese – Goat Cheese (VIC)

Judging note: “Extremely delicious with lovely balance, squeak texture and mild, even flavour. Thoughtful approach to packaging, making, and waste minimisation.”

3 – The Fermentary – Kraut Crack (VIC)

Judging note: “Aptly named. Awesome flavour, beautiful colour and delicious tart tang. Low environmental impact, too.”

4 – Halls Family Dairy – Hall Suzette (WA)

Judging note: “Delicious, beautiful, and elegant. This is an excellent product. Authentic taste of length, texture, and terroir. Really funky, delicious with commendable environment improvements and water management systems implemented.”

5 – Barossa Valley Cheese Company – Aged La Dame (SA)

Judging note: “Delightful! Interesting complexity with the balance of sweet and salt in check. Innovative packaging will prevent customers from using cling film. Very delicious.”

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Best Grown – 1 - Moondarra Blueberries – 125g Fresh Punnet (VIC)

The Eat Easy Best Grown winner is Moonblue’s Moondarra Blueberries Punnet.

Judging note: “Quite simply the best blueberries in the world. Outstanding packaging and environmental awareness as well.”

The integrity and quality of Moonblue products is central to the way they do business. All their packaging is home-compostable, the windows are made of eucalyptus and the whole thing will break down in a garden bed over time.

Moonblue is a family business and was an early adopter of organic practice in Australia. Moonblue has been a champion in the industry advocating for packaging companies to make their more sustainable products more accessible to smaller producers. 

2 – Olsson’s Salt – Sea Salt Flakes (SA)

Judging note: “Love this. A great product in a brilliant reusable container. The salt is naturally harvested by solar evaporation and is chemical- and preservative-free. This salt should be in everyone’s pantry.”

3 – K & R Produce – Heirloom Carrots (SA)

Judging note: “Delicious, fresh, and crunchy carrots. Would be nice to know more about the positive impact of the farming practises but overall an excellent vegetable from a passionate producer.”

4 – Olsson’s Salt – Red Gum Smoked Salt (SA)

Judging note: “Lovely smoked salt as the smoky eucalyptus flavour transports you back to childhood campfires out in the bush. There are no chemical processes involved and their solar salt is sustainably farmed in areas with low rainfall and high evaporation rates. A kitchen staple.”

5 – K & R Produce – Kale (SA)

Judging note: “Delicious, peppery, and very crisp kale. Producer recycles, reuses, and uses a high-level water catchment system with all scraps donated to farm animals. They also encourage customers to reuse and bring back products for their next order. A South Australian icon.”