I have been at Cradle Mountain Lodge for a few weeks shy of 12 months and sadly it is time to move on. I have loved my time at the Lodge and I have been able to do some fantastic work and use some stellar ingredients. Mrs Chef and I made the decision to move back home to Tasmania early 2009 and set about making this happen. The position at the Lodge came up almost immediately and four weeks latter there I was on Cradle Mountain in the second week of May with my trusty scooter with the first real winter I had lived through in quite a few years on the way, the second Saturday we had the first snow fall for that year. Coming from Brisbane it was a bit of a shock but all part of the adventure. The plan was for me to come down and Mrs Chef to follow when a transfer to Tasmania became available. Our children were going to stay in our Brisbane home while they both finished uni. The move for Mrs Chef did not happen until September 2009 and when it did it soon became apparent that Mrs chef would have to be in Hobart due to family necessity and I would be on Cradle Mountain and come down on my days off. At the time we knew what this would entail and our plan was to do this for a few years then I would move back to Hobart or the Huon Valley where I grew up get a bit of land grow and produce some of our own food and work in Hobart. However by March 2010 we realized that this was not giving us the quality of life that we moved back to Tasmania to achieve. As much as I love the work we do at the Lodge it is time to make a move. I have had the privilege of working with some fantastic and talented chefs in my time here and we have done some fantastic events and dinners and lets not forget the road trips to meet our suppliers and producers. By far the most popular was the truffle road trip, see previous post. So a big thank you goes to Thomas, I still have the photos of you and Larry the lamb, Jimmy solid as a rock and ever dependable I hope things are going well in WA, Miss Nadia and miss Megan you are two of the best chefs I have worked with and made going to work a lot of fun I will miss being one of the girls. I wish you all the best Nadia for you on Heron Island then Canada and Megan have a great time in the UK. Brother Ferdie one of the original road trippers and also one of the best chefs I have worked with keep getting amongst it big fella, thanks for the cob I used it the first Sunday night I was in Hobart fantastic and now I am hooked. Mike almost always the first one to start I thank you for your efforts and you did very well on all sections, Stephen the most energetic young chef I have worked with keep it up and I have no doubt that you can go as far as you want, Kevin I am glad I took the chance on you as a first year apprentice you have come a long way in your time at the Lodge keep up the good work.Suzie, Gemma and all of the floor team well done it has been a pleasure working with you. Trevor the best breakfast chef you took the worry of breakfast away from me giving me one less thing to worry about, Steve B you have been great being thrown in as steward, breakfast cook and in the tavern. The stewards Simon, Jason, Shannon and Sheryl you had the worst job at times but you did it well. Leigh the GM thanks for letting me be a part of the Lodge team, Meagan in HR thanks for all your help during my stay. Also thank you to Steve, Troy, Jezza, Ossie, Beth and everyone else who works at the lodge. It has been a great year and one that will remain with me for a long time. To all chefs out there if you ever get the chance to work at Cradle Mountain Lodge take it as you will get the chance to do some fantastic work and use some fantastic product. I would recommend the Lodge as a great place to work for anyone.
Now while at the Lodge I had the pleasure of meeting some fantastic producers and use their products in my menus. So a big thank you for sharing your knowledge with me and my chefs goes out to, in no particular order, Guy and Eliza from Mount Gnomon Farm for your stunning free range Wessex Saddle Back pork, Brian and Jan Bonde for your beautiful Wild Clover Lamb one of the most popular items on our menu, Jim and Marilyn from Springfield Deer Farm your venison is superb and also one of the most popular menu items, Steve and Ellice from Tasfresh thanks for putting up with all the questions, all of the team at Petuna, PFD, Spreyton butchery, Tim Terry for your magical truffles and the best road trip we had and any one else that I may have forgotten. You have all made it a year to remember.
So I am back in Hobart after an absence of some 20 odd years and very much looking forward to the challenge of what I am taking on next - more on that in my next post - I love being in Hobart and the fact that it is so easy to get around and takes no time to get anywhere. The other day I took the scooter out for a spin as it was a very nice day and ended up having fish and chips for lunch on the banks of the Huon river in my old home town of Huonville. A trip that took only half the time it took me to get off the mountain. Saturday after a 10 minute shopping trip we had 3 kg of mussels from Mures, wine and salad for dinner and all the ingredients for another baked egg breakfast extravaganza. Love Hill Street Grocer. I am looking forward to getting out there and meeting suppliers and producers at this end of the state and going on road trips with my new team. Ok that is all for now more soon and look out for the blue scooter on the streets of Hobart.