Farm-to-fork chef Oliver Heath has ventured where no hipster would dare, planting a rustic, creative and sustainably minded menu in a Leagues Club (his restaurant The Garden is in Wests Ashfield Leagues Club).
What does the ‘farm-to-fork’ ethos mean to you?
By purchasing directly from Aussie farmers not only are we supporting the people who grow quality produce (cutting out the middle man’s margin), but we are ensuring the longevity of Australian farms for future generations. Farm-to-fork to me is the future of food.
At The Garden we’ve taken it one step further and have returned to traditional cooking techniques. The pizzas, for example, are made from fresh, house-milled flour and finished off in a traditional wood-fire oven giving a wonderful dimension to the flavour.
What are your favourite local products?
My favourite local products are native ingredients at the moment. I am in love with scrub cherries and Davidson plums.
What cooking implement can you not live without?
My Japanese tomato knife is a godsend; it’s become like an extension of my arm.
Having travelled far and wide and worked in blue ribbon international restaurants, how do you rate the Australian food experience?
Eating in Australia is phenomenal. Thanks to the quality of Aussie produce, we have some of the best restaurants I’ve ever dined in.
What would you tell your mum to order at The Garden?
I would recommend ‘The Farmers Plate’. It is a dish I am very proud of. With a cut of primary and secondary meat brought together with seasonal vegetables, it’s a nod to sustainability, nose to tail, seasonality, colour and flavour all on one plate. It changes from plate to plate and showcases that food is not about uniformity, it’s about creativity.
For families, I’d recommend the range of traditional and innovative pizzas. The ‘Aussie prawns’ is proving a favourite and the ‘Potato, rosemary, shallot and goats milk cheese’, featuring the rare and delicious purple potato, is tempting the more adventurous palates.
Check out The Garden’s menu at: westsashfield.com.au/the-garden/
70g of Napolitana tomato sauce
(add oil, salt, sugar, pepper, basil, garlic to sauce)
100g of mozzarella cheese
100g of thinly sliced ham
40g of mushrooms
70g of kalamatta olives
Finish with a sprinkle of oregano
1. Mix all dough ingredients together and knead. Let dough rest for 2 days, covered, in the fridge. Remove from fridge 30 mins prior to using.
2. Preheat oven to 240°C (220°C fan forced).
3. Oil oven or pizza trays, place in heated oven.
4. Roll pizza dough on floured surface into a 30cm (12-inch) round. Place on trays.
5. Spread pizza base with sauce, top with cheese, ham, mushrooms and olives.
6. Bake pizza for about 15 minutes or until base is browned and crisp.