Most Sundays chef Analiese Gregory dons a thick wetsuit – replete with hood, gloves and boots – and dives into the sea off the Tasmanian coast. Her bounty? Wild abalone.
The result is a freezer full of the fat, sought-after shellfish. However, when we meet in her two-bedroom weatherboard cottage, a 40-minute drive from Hobart, it isn’t the abalone that Gregory is pondering but the fate of two baby roosters. “They are both going to turn into coq au vin,” says the New Zealand chef, 34. “I figured that’s part of country life; I’m fully prepared to kill a chicken.”
Born in Auckland, Gregory worked in London, Paris and Morocco, with stints at Michelin-starred restaurants, including five years at Quay in Sydney, before moving to Tasmania to take over Hobart’s fêted Franklin restaurant as head chef in 2017.
Today Tasmania is well and truly home: Gregory recently bought the 1910 cottage – at different times a farmhouse, piggery and veterinary hospital – and lives here with pet Angora rabbit Hazel, two goats (Nanny and Fanny) and 11 chickens (soon to be nine).
Gregory cooks on a sturdy wood-fired Scotch oven at Franklin. “I never really worked with fire before I moved down here; now that I work with it I struggle to cook any other way,” she says, gesturing to the two fire pits in her garden. “I throw on some bricks and put a rack over the top. Cooking over fire doesn’t need to be fancy.”
For today’s lunch Gregory is in her kitchen, where she’s preparing scallops served with buckwheat polenta and sobrasada, and hakurei turnips dipped in homemade XO aioli. With a Welsh father (the well-known chef Mark Gregory) and a Chinese-Dutch mother, her food is often influenced by East and West.
Everything is (excuse the overused phrase) local: a sprinkling of asparagus is the first of the season from a nearby farmer; the scallops are from Tasmania’s Freycinet Marine Farm; and the sobrasada is Gregory’s own (she makes saucisson for Franklin, hanging it up at home to dry, as well as all the bread and cheese).
What we learned:
Working in Hobart helped Gregory understand seasonality and pursue her interests in Tasmanian produce. Hand-dived Abalone, anyone?
“When I was younger and lived in Paris, I would cook pigeons and make a carrot purée when guests came round,” she notes, frying great hunks of sobrasada as sun pours through the window. “But then I realised that you spend all your time in the kitchen. Now everything I do is about being able to throw it together and share. You waste so much time in plating things up – and do you need to?”
Neighbours often drop off their spare quinces, crab apples or lemons. Gregory will pickle or preserve the donations and gift back a few jars. “That’s how to live well in the countryside,” she says. “When things are local, in season and really cheap, I make things from them to use later.”
Above all Gregory loves Tasmania for the foraging: collecting coastal herbs, wild radish flowers or watercress. Growing up she spent some time in Hertfordshire, England, where she would pick sloe berries with her father to make gin. As she puts it: it was “way before I ever heard the term ‘foraging’. Foraging became this fashionable thing to say. It’s just collecting stuff that’s around you, which has been going on for thousands of years.”
For more of Gregory’s honed hosting skills, visit Franklin for yourself: franklinhobart.com.au
East coast scallops with buckwheat polenta, first-of-the-season asparagus and sobrasada; hakurei turnips with XO aioli.
As a food entrepreneur responsible for dozens of restaurants, Riccardo Giraudi’s professed inability to cook comes as an unexpected confession. “It’s like being a composer who doesn’t know how to play the piano,” says Giraudi, sitting in his comfortable Monaco home. But Giraudi has not let this stop him from expanding his most successful brand, Beefbar, into a global group with outposts from Paris to Hong Kong. Nor his successful import businesses, which trades in rare cuts of meat.
“We want to put meat consumption in a new light, which is all about lower quantities at a higher quality,” says Giraudi. When the restaurateur started serving top cuts in a seemly setting in Monaco in 2005, he was concerned about the general belief that beef-centric menus needed to look like American steakhouses. “My father was trading commodity beef, pork and veal but he might as well have been selling petrol; all that mattered were the numbers,” he says of joining the family business, the Giraudi Group, in 2001. Giraudi, however, put provenance before price and turned the company into the first European importer of Japanese Kobe beef, among other premium delights previously unavailable in Europe.
When Giraudi welcomes monocle to his Monaco home, meat is on the menu. Though not a cook himself, he enjoys having friends over for an apéro (or two) and charcuterie, which he procures directly from his nearby restaurant. “Hosting people at home is among the rare times where I don’t feel like I’m working,” says Giraudi, as he slices paper-thin portions of meat for a sandwich he’s preparing.
On the vintage red Berkel slicer rests a generous piece of Kobe beef that the Beefbar chefs have cured Parma-style in Italy. It is the key ingredient for Giraudi’s signature sandwich, a refined take on a jambon-beurre baguette. “It’s the height of what you can do with an amazing ingredient,” he says.
To watch Giraudi prepare nibbles is to get a taste of the attention to detail he puts into running his firm. “Adapting my concepts to various cultural contexts has been key for branching out around the world,” he says. Giraudi and his team have put a lot of care into making the experience of family-style dining on the beach at Beefbar Mykonos feel different from sitting down for a five-course menu at the Michelin-starred branch in Hong Kong. “The one constant is the quality of the meat,” says Giraudi. “I wouldn’t have gone into hospitality had I not found a way of freeing meat from its unsexy image.”
For a taste of Giraudi’s hospitality there are Beefbars from Méribel to Mexico City: beefbar.com
A gourmet jambon-beurre sandwich on a sourdough baguette with Kobe beef ham (cured Parma-style), salted butter and sliced cornichon.
What we learned:
Advocating for eating less (but better quality) meat has helped Giraudi update the image of a steakhouse to become something altogether more refined. A rare thing indeed.
On a warm autumn Sunday morning, Juli Daoust Baker and John Baker, along with their children – seven-year-old Elodie and five-year-old Howell – are in a quandary. There is important business to be done: an apple crumble, the crowning glory of today’s Sunday lunch, is missing its key ingredient. But the early days of the season have already begun to take their toll on the apples that dangled so promisingly from the fruit trees outside their farmhouse in Prince Edward County. The clock is ticking in this verdant farming and winemaking region (a athree-hour drive northeast from Toronto).
The grass around the trunks of the trees is carpeted bright red with apples. They are beginning to spoil, having fallen to the ground at the ebb of apple season. The crumble-worthy pickings, still high up in the branches, are slim.
Elodie, beady-eyed, sees a juicy specimen ripe for the picking in the upper reaches of one of the trees. After a failed (albeit exhilarating) attempt atop her father’s shoulders to pluck the elusive fruit, she has a brainwave. The family turns to collecting the grounded apples, hurling them to loosen Elodie’s target from the clutch of its branch.
The onslaught is a success and the apple lands to congratulatory yelps from the children, amid a chorus of crickets rising from the meadow beyond the orchard. The plump prize is added to the basket and the troupe of foragers head back to the farmhouse with their haul to complete today’s lunch preparations.
In 2009, Juli and John founded Mjölk, one of Toronto’s best design shops, which specialises in Japanese and Nordic collections. For them, family mealtimes are a template of sorts for how they like to entertain their guests: collaborative, low-fuss and unscripted. “I just like simple things,” says John at the oven, a heritage Esse cooker, checking on the garlic and olive oil soup that is simmering on the stovetop. “We’re so lucky with the produce around here so why overdo it?”
What we learned:
Warm autumn mornings are well spent in the Bay of Quinte region. Juli and John use their holiday home to entertain guests and get to know the designers with whom they collaborate.
He crumbles some goat’s cheese on top of a sweet onion tart (the main). Now it’s ready to pop into the oven beside some homemade baguettes, which are beginning to rise. “If you’re a chef then go crazy – but I’m not,” he says, smiling.
The farmhouse structure was built in the 1860s and is surrounded by cornfields, which are still farmed today. The couple renovated it last year and it serves as both a weekend home for their family and a venue to host guests, many of whom are designers whose inspired work is both exhibited and sold at Mjölk (the Japanese potter Masanobu Ando was a recent visitor).
The rooms are furnished with many of the designs that Mjölk introduced to a Canadian audience, a receding stack of drawers by Frama and Finn Juhl’s Poet sofa among them. “It’s been invigorating,” says Juli. “The idea of a farmhouse for us is about a place of rest, about being closer to nature.”
“We’re just exploring another side of life here,” says John as Juli brings the meal’s final flourish to the table: a piping hot plate of apple crumble fresh from the oven.
Entertaining at home? Juli and John’s Toronto shop has everything you’ll need: mjolk.ca
Garlic and olive oil soup.
Sweet onion tart with goat’s cheese, salad of mixed greens and homemade baguettes Apple crumble.
To drink (adults only)
Windswept golden russet sparkling cider.