Creating a connection between Grain of the Silos and Tasmanian producers is a priority for the restaurant’s head chef and food director.
Months of research led to food director Massimo Mele taking head chef Peter Twitchett, general manager Shannon Exelby and developer Errol Stewart on a produce tour of the state.
“I thought it would be a good opportunity to introduce them to friends of mine and people I’ve met through my own produce tours,” renowned chef Mele said.
Time spent with different producers not only created grassroots connections, it also heavily inspired the restaurant’s menu with about 80 per cent of items sourced locally.
Having direct relationships with suppliers rather than going through sales reps was unlike anything Twitchett had experienced in his 20 years in the industry.
During the producer tour the group visited Shima Wasabi.
“Straight away it was one of the early inspirations for a dish on the menu,” Twitchett said.
“It is such a unique product, not only to Tassie but to Australia.”
The grain team spent hours with each producer to find out what they do.
Both Mele and Twitchett said visiting Wayne Adams at Erinvale Potatoes was a real highlight.
“Wayne Adams has 18 varieties of potatoes, all year round,” Mele said.
Mele sees the restaurant as an opportunity to help Tasmanian producers grow their businesses.
“Not everything is always about money … we are a lot more socially aware than just putting money in our products,” Mele said.
Harnessing province, community and quality is Mele’s philosophy for the restaurant.
“This is going to be a community space,” he said.
“It needs to be welcoming and that is what we are doing with the Grain family.”
The Grain family is all the producers that supply to the restaurant.
More than 30 Tasmanian producers already feature on the menu with plans to increase that number in the future. Mele’s must-try dishes are the salt-baked carrots, the grilled octopus, Huon salmon wrapped in a wasabi leaf, gnocchi with fresh truffles, Scottsdale pork chops and the Robbins Island waygu.
To make a booking for the restaurant, call 6700 0600.
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