I may be frantically packing to catch my flight back home in three and a half hours time, but the journey doesn’t end there!
I’ve recently been exploring Esperance on the Southern Coast of Western Australia and been hanging out at Lucky Bay, the beach with the whitest sand in all of Australia. Whilst there we made a couple of short films all about foraging and fotography (or is that phoraging and photography?)
The first sees me teaming up with Doc Reynolds, a Senior Aboriginal Cultural Custodian of the area. Doc takes me on a journey where I learn all about foraging, cooking with native ingredients and using paper bark as aluminium foil, knowledge that has passed down through countless generations and thousands of years.
He also has the best located coffee van you’re likely to see anywhere in the Universe…
On my very last sojourn as Taste Master I think I’ve got to the very heart of what this campaign is all about.
I’ve eaten at fantastic restaurants and bars and had unbelievably good food from all over the State, but what it comes down to is how you GET the food, the UNIQUENESS of the setting and the PEOPLE you’re with. In this regard, Australia has it all.
Native ingredients in out of this world locations with great company.
I’m writing this on the plane back to Perth after an overnight trip to Albany on the Southern Coast of Western Australia. I was attending the launch for the region’s Taste Great Southern festival, a five week food fiesta celebrating the quality local produce and growers that they have in absurd amounts down here (Feb 22-March 30). Before the evening’s event I spent the morning foraging with Local chef and freelance caterer Dan Sharp (Organiser of Taste Great Southerns Oyster Festival) and Paul Iskov from Fervor Food.
Fervor Food is a special company, organising native pop-up dining events combining bush ingredients with locally sourced produce in spectacular locations. A dinner they held recently used native ingredients just metres from the table.
This is where I’ve come to realize that what Western Australia has is so unique. I love learning about bush foods, some of my favorite moments have been with Indigenous guides passing on their knowledge. I spent an AMAZING day with Doc Reynolds in Esperence recently, learning all about paper bark, coastal rosemary and traditional fishing techniques (film about that coming soon folks!)
It’s about having a deep respect for nature. If you look after the land, the land will look after you.
Anyway, I digress slightly, the day started off with lots of eggs. Four in fact…
…and then it was straight down to the water’s edge to collect some cockles. This is what an official cockle collecting implement looks like…
….this is how you use it (kind of)…
…and this is the bounty of cockles I collected in about 30 seconds, enough for a taste at lunchtime.
Then it was onto foraging for native ingredients and bush foods. Have a flick through this gallery, you’ll be amazed at the variety and abundance of edible wild plants, flowers, herbs and shrubs growing right under your nose. A lot of bush plants and fruits are very strong in flavour so only small amounts need to be used to add completelty different dimensions to cooking.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane?? No, it’s Super Capes! (kind of a weird tenuous Superman reference).
Mr Darren Capewell to be exact, and he goes straight into my Heroes of Western Australia list (alongside such luminaries as Brian Lee from my heady mud crabbing days and Rod Evans, whom I met in the Kimberley where he was walking the unforgiving 660km Gibb River Road).
Seeing as it was just Super Capes and I on his Indigenous overnight bush culture/history/kayak tour, does that make me his Lois Lane?? Oh Lord, please no!!!
Bogged in your car on a dirt track because you thought it was 4WD? Well don’t fret, Super Capes is here to tow you out. (I KNEW they’d be British!)