Kiwi Chef Delights Aussies With Desserts
Kiwi Chef Delights Aussies With Desserts
Australian chefs have long since blended, chopped, shaken and fused nature's sun-kissed produce to create a delicious melting pot of cuisine. Among renowned Aussie chefs delighting people is Kiwi-born Martin Duncan.
Hailing from South Island's tiny pottery town of Temuka, Duncan cooked his mother out of the kitchen at age 7, was second in charge of a boutique New Zealand hotel at age 19 and is now delighting people with sweet delights and more as the owner of Freestyle Tout in Australia.
"Our customers love to indulge in a decadent dessert. The fresh and floral ambience, with ever changing art work by local artists makes the café dynamic and interesting," says Duncan on Freestyle Tout's specialty and loyal following. The Kiwi chef opened the first Freestyle Tout (tout meaning everything and all) as a gallery, florist with coffee and dessert in 1996. Since its inception Freestyle Tout has grown into a dessert café with an iconic reputation.
"From cafes, coffee shops and take away joints to gourmet and specialty restaurants, savouring the local food and drink has always been popular with Kiwis holidaying in Australia. With the variety of cuisines offered in Australia, there is something to suit everyone's taste and it is no wonder that over 76 per cent of Kiwis who visited Australia in 2006, felt they would recommend Australia's gourmet delights to friends and family," says Vito Anzelmi, Regional Manager - New Zealand, Tourism Australia. He also feels that this variety matched with the freshest produce is also what attracts many chefs to Australia, making its cuisine unique.
In agreement to Anzelmi, Duncan believes that use of fresh and local produce is the secret to dishes that are full of flavour and hard to resist. His food reflects this philosophy, as he uses the finest of southeast Queensland's produce to craft desserts that are bound to make your mouth water. The café's favourites include Macadamia Delight, hot white-chocolate and raspberry dumplings with chocolate dipping sauce and summer berry pudding with rain-cherries (summer berries and rain-cherries are Australian bush fruit).
"With anything chocolate, the Campbells Rutherglen Tokay or Muscat (from Rutherglen in Victoria) is a winner," recommends Duncan on the right blend to match with desserts. "For anything else or with berries he suggests De Bortoli Noble One, Riverina (NSW); Barambah Rack Dried Semillon, South Burnett (Queensland); Juniper Cane Cut Riesling, Margaret River (Western Australia) or Brown Brothers Orange Muscat, Milawa (Victoria)."
Duncan's art and dessert concept is enhanced by an all day savoury menu at his second café, Freestyle Tout at Emporium that opened in Fortitude Valley in 2004. He is now looking forward to Freestyle Escape, which opens in early 2008. Consisting of two idyllic houses with luxurious facilities, it has panoramic views of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Completing the experience will be gastronomical wonders created from the region's rich produce by Australia's famous chefs.
A passionate chef, Duncan came to Australia to seek adventure, but decided to stay and set up his cafes once here. His first restaurant was The Haven Beach Café in Terrigal (NSW) before he moved to Queensland. Freestyle Tout followed a few years later. In 2005 he initiated a networking evening for Queensland's hospitality industry - Queensland Food and Beverage Industry (FBI). The platform is also used to showcase the region's chefs, produce and wines.
Duncan is a fan of Australian cuisine and shared with us some of his favorite food and wine experiences.
"Celebrate Australian food and wine Noosa style with the annual Celebration of Australian Food and Wine Noosa Style. Here you can meet celebrity chefs, local growers, sample amazing food and find out what is hot for Australian cuisine," suggests Duncan. Montrachet at Paddington (Brisbane) for French bistro food; Cirque (New Farm in Brisbane) for breakfast and Nunu's (Port Douglas) highlight Australia's fusion food style according to him. "Must dos on the Sunshine Coast for ambience and food are the Spirit House at Yandina in Noosa; the River House at Noosaville and Ebb at Maroochydore," he adds.