The Byron Bay Farmers Market.
The Byron Bay Farmers Market. Patrick Gorbunovs

Local produce and local growers, inspire local chefs

LOCAL chefs Gavin Hughes and Shannon Smerdon say consumers want to see more local produce on the menu.

They were speaking at a regional food forum held at Wollongbar TAFE today that featured growers, distributors, retailers and others involved in the food industry.

Chefs Shannon Smerdon and Gavin Hughes spruik the benefits of using local produce.
Chefs Shannon Smerdon and Gavin Hughes spruik the benefits of using local produce. Andy Parks

"Our guests really love reading the suppliers notes at the back of the menu," Mr Hughes, who is head chef at Byron at Byron said.

"We take guests our guests to the farmer's market and on Thursday night we do a farmer's market menu."

Both men said going to the market was the highlight of their week.

"I'll let you in on a secret, cooking in a kitchen all day gets pretty boring. But the farmer's market has given me a new lease on my career," Mr Hughes said.

"Farmer's market people are very knowledgeable and very passionate about what they grow."

"It inspires you as a chef and you get a real gut feeling for what's in season," Mr Smerdon said.

He said when he was a young apprentice, the process of ordering food would involve leaving a message on an answering machine at the end of the night shift.

"Young chefs these days need to connect with growers and there is a mutual respect...Chefs have been made to be more aware of where their produce comes from and that's been driven by consumers...That's great and sustainable."



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