December, 2018

September, 2018

August, 2018

  • Cracking the code on cheffy terms

    28 August, 2018 Cracking the code on cheffy terms

    Sometimes fine-dining menus can seem like more of a maze than a relaxing pre-dining experience. Here, we breakdown some of the cheffy terms you’re likely to come across and include recipes so you can test them out at home.
    Read more…

  • Cooking the classics

    27 August, 2018 Cooking the classics

    We consider those classic recipes we go back to time and time again.
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  • IGNI: The first year

    06 August, 2018 IGNI: The first year

    VIDEO: Acclaimed chef Aaron Turner's stirring account of love, loss and starting again.
    Read more…

May, 2018

February, 2018

  • How a chef cooks for those he loves

    13 February, 2018 How a chef cooks for those he loves

    Skipping the crowds in favour of a lovingly prepared meal at home is your best bet for a romantic Valentine’s Day. This is chef Jock Zonfrillo's idea of a nice night in.
    Read more…

January, 2018

December, 2017

October, 2017

September, 2017

  • Win a pro toastie pack

    18 September, 2017 Win a pro toastie pack

    Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with this kit, including a no-mess Breville press, a copy of Darren Purchese's Chefs Eat Toasties Too and a subscription to Cooked.
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August, 2017

July, 2017

June, 2017

  • Winter entertaining with Gill Meller

    08 June, 2017 Winter entertaining with Gill Meller

    Gill Meller is in the country, his first time to Australia, showcasing his beautiful book Gather with a series of dinners and classes. We caught up with him to find out what's on the menu for his Aussie guests.
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April, 2017

February, 2017

January, 2017

December, 2016

October, 2016

September, 2016

August, 2016

July, 2016

June, 2016

May, 2016

April, 2016

March, 2016

February, 2016

January, 2016

December, 2015

November, 2015

  • Christmas basics: the perfect custard

    27 November, 2015 Christmas basics: the perfect custard

    We're looking at those staple recipes that can make or break your Christmas spread. First up, the much-misunderstood sweet seductress, custard.
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  • Halfway Home

    16 November, 2015 Halfway Home

    I’ve been sugar-free for a total of two weeks, and things are going surprisingly well...
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  • Bubbles or nothing

    11 November, 2015 Bubbles or nothing

    Out to impress this party season? To take your entertaining game to the next level, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Halliday Wine Companion to share tips on matching sparkling wines to a range of show-stopping canapes.
    Read more…

  • The anatomy of the perfect burger

    11 November, 2015 The anatomy of the perfect burger

    Looking for your next weekend challenge? Why not have a crack at making your own cheeseburgers from scratch? Chef Daniel Wilson shares the secret recipe to recreating his famed Huxtaburger, from bun to patty and everything in between.
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  • No Sugar November

    04 November, 2015 No Sugar November

    This month while the boys are growing staches, I’ll be growing a conscience about all the confectionary I consume.
    Read more…

October, 2015

September, 2015

May, 2015

April, 2015

March, 2015

February, 2015

January, 2015

December, 2014

November, 2014

October, 2014

September, 2014

August, 2014

July, 2014

June, 2014

May, 2014

April, 2014

March, 2014

February, 2014

  • Margaret Fulton's expert guide to preserves

    27 February, 2014 Margaret Fulton's expert guide to preserves

    Jams, pickles, chutneys, sauces, compotes and conserves are the best way to preserve abundant produce so you can enjoy your fruit and veg all year round. Margaret Fulton shares her guide to the art of preserving.
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  • Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2014 | Our picks

    27 February, 2014 Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2014 | Our picks

    The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, running from February 28 to March 16, begins in just over a week. We’ve put together our picks of the fest.
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  • Philippa Sibley's expert guide to sweet pastry

    24 February, 2014 Philippa Sibley's expert guide to sweet pastry

    Master of the dough Philippa Sibley shares her step-by-step guide to making sweet shortcrust pastry, taking you through everything you need to know to perfect the art of peerless pâte.
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  • In season | Eggplant

    21 February, 2014 In season | Eggplant

    The unsung hero of the nightshade family, eggplant is found in cuisines the world over. From Sicily to South East Asia, the Middle East to the Mediterranean, many signature dishes feature the versatile aubergine. We sing the praises of the humble eggplant.
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  • Everything you need to know about cuts of pork

    17 February, 2014 Everything you need to know about cuts of pork

    Meat expert and chef Adrian Richardson explains the different cuts of pork, and what you should use them for.
    Read more…

  • Sticky business | A guide to meat on sticks

    14 February, 2014 Sticky business | A guide to meat on sticks

    Skewers, kebabs, shaslicks, yakitori … Whatever you call them, meat just tastes better when cooked on a stick. We share our tips to help you ace the skewers at your next barbecue.
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  • In season | Figs

    06 February, 2014 In season | Figs

    Figs evoke the flavours of exotic decadence. Sweet and visually striking, figs make for a decadent tart topper, a sumptuous sticky jam or a delightful savoury venture with cold meats. We share some of our favourite fig recipes.
    Read more…

  • Guide to styling handmade edible gifts

    05 February, 2014 Guide to styling handmade edible gifts

    There's nothing more thoughtful than a handmade edible gift. April Carter shares her tips and tricks for making beautiful and delicious treats for those you love.
    Read more…

January, 2014

December, 2013

November, 2013

Ex-vegan charcuterie champ Jamie Bissonnette: tripe with pigs feet second to none (except pizza)

Justine Costigan
29 January, 2015

From vegan chef to nose-to-tail advocate and master charcutier, there’s no part of an animal Jamie Bissonnette can't – and won't – turn into a feast.

Giving up veganism for a passion for charcuterie isn’t an obvious career move, but it’s one that’s paid off in spades for east coast-based US chef Jamie Bissonnette. The owner of Toro NYC (dubbed the hottest ticket in town), Coppa and Toro Boston and a James Beard Best Chef award winner, Bissonnette has become a local champion of nose-to-tail eating and his 2014 book, The New Charcuterie Cookbook, exceptional cured meat to make and serve at home, has inspired a new generation of home charcutiers. A former straight-edge punk (the only punks dedicated to clean living), Bissonnette has never followed the crowd.

I spoke to him ahead of his upcoming Melbourne Food and Wine Festival visit.

Jamie Bissonnette

Q: Why nose to tail?

I started cooking offal because it wasn’t being used at the restaurants I worked at, and the chefs would let me be creative with it. I always believed in the frugality of being a chef. We buy food, fix it up, then sell it for a profit.  [At the same time] we also get to be passionate, creative, and teach. I loved learning about whole animal usage and now I love teaching about it.  I think it’s important to not be wasteful, and to keep up the tradition of the food I love.

Q: How does a vegan become a nose-to-tail eater? What happened?

I was vegetarian, and an on-and-off vegan for about seven years. I started culinary school vegan and ended up as a vegetarian.  A few years later a chef spoke to me about tasting and learning, and I went on to be an omnivore. In my personal life I like to eat healthy a lot, and go on vegan stints, but I could never go back to veganism as eggs are my favourite food, and the thought of life without cheese would be like a car with no wheels.

"I could never go back to veganism as eggs are my favourite food."

Q: How did you discover charcuterie and curing?

I learned from various chefs in my younger years: A coppa from one chef, and a paté from another.  I learned [how to make] my first paté in 1996, but [I only] really got into this in 2000.

Q: Which cuisines do you think have some of the best examples of the form? 

I love the Spanish, Italian, and French charcuteries, but am a big fan of the preservations and flavours in Vietnam, Thailand, and China. Vietnamese Bologna is one of the most perfect cured meats, and Thai sour sausages are so good.  

Q: In western cultures, we used to eat the whole beast before we became rich enough to opt just for the prime cuts. What are we missing out on? What flavours and textures should we learn to enjoy again?

This is hard. Some people grow up with limited palates and do not enjoy offal.  Nothing wrong with that!  I dislike some foods, too, such as peanut butter and salmon.  If someone is open to trying different things, I think that nudja and cooked tripe with pigs feet are something, when made wicked tasty, are texturally and flavour-wise second to none (except maybe cold pizza).

Q: If you’re hesitant about charcuterie, what’s a good way to ease yourself into it?

Read, ask questions, research, learn.  The more I learn, the less I realise I know.  Education is my driving force.

Q: Some people find parts of the animal to be an acquired taste. How do you start children on a nose-to-tail diet?

Honestly.  I have no idea.  I was a picky kid.  I didn’t like mayo or cheese for a bit.  Hated yoghurt, and didn’t like tinned tuna, but always loved liverwurst.

Q: How have American palates embraced the new enthusiasm for charcuterie?

The USA is a big place, so I can only comment on New England and NYC.  In my areas I see people being educated and enjoying a lot of the new charcuteries in restaurants.  I know that so many more artisan producers are succeeding, so that tells me that more people are eating them!

Q: What are some of the signature “nose-to-tail” dishes at your restaurants? Which part of the animal will your guests be eating next?

We always have bone marrow, beef heart, tripe and sausage.  I love making sausage. Coming up we’ll be eating sausages with South East Asian flavours and some Merguez made with goat.

Q: What should enthusiastic amateur nose-to-tail cooks watch out for?

Know where your animals are from.  Don’t cure supermarket meat, cook it. If you purchase a meat grinder, get one where the blades are sharp and can be easily sharpened or replaced. Always work with your meat as cold as possible or it can be problematic for texture, flavour and health!

Q: What will you be sharing with Melbourne Food and Wine guests in your masterclasses? Why should they come along?

I am going to share the only thing I really have, my love for food and teaching. People should come to watch me play with my sausage…

Jamie Bissonnette will be presenting a masterclass at the 2015 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival on 7-8 March. He will also cook with Jesse Gerner at Bomba on 4 March. Buy tickets here.


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