A Chef's insight into woodfire cuisine

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Seen in the kitchens of some of the world’s best restaurants and with a seismic shift toward a pared-back, sustainable style of cooking, there is no surprise the wood-fire grill has started to trend again. Many Gold Coast restaurants have adopted this style, and here we hone in on The Fireplace, where we talk to Executive Chef Matt Hart and Head Chef Tim Myers to look at the many reasons why this tradition is gaining more traction, the benefits of cooking over fire and how they include it in their menu at The Fireplace.

It doesn’t get more primal than a traditional wood-fired oven; a simple yet effective way to cook food. It not only makes produce taste moorishly good, it is also an incredibly eco-friendly way to run a restaurant, as it helps save on energy. Plus, the smokey flavour imparted by the wood adds an extra dimension to dishes that is impossible to recreate in a traditional oven.

“There is a special technique to it,” says Matt.

“You need to turn the oven on at 2pm every afternoon, hours before the restaurant opens then keep feeding the flame and monitoring temperature, placing the meats accordingly. There is an art to it, and, when executed right, the smokey flavour should sink into the meats (top tip: it’s best for pork, lamb and beef) as they are chargrilled from beneath as the log burns,” he says.

When meats and vegetables are roasted or otherwise prepared over the coals, cooking time is swift. The speed at which they are done allows them to retain certain nutrients and antioxidants that might otherwise be depleted with a longer cooking time.

“As opposed to cooking produce in a regular convection oven, the flavour imparted by the wood and smoke is second to none. Plus, there is theatre and romance in stripping it back to the ritual of preparing and cooking food when you woodfire,” says Tim.

If you are on the hunt for a Gold Coast restaurant that reflects this cooking style, The Fireplace at Sanctuary Cove Resort boasts an array of stellar dishes cooked over flames and its ethos is about going back to ritual in the sustainable campfire style. From beautiful grasslands eye fillet to a sovereign lamb rack, the kitchen team is passionate about this style of cooking and what they bring to the table with their culinary creations.

“If I had to highlight a particular dish on The Fireplace’s menu that I think this style of cooking really speaks volumes it would be the seared scallops. The freshness of the produce set off by the chargrilled flavour and paired with the texture of pumpkin, beetroot, beef jerky crumb and Pedro Ximenez glaze is a sensation for the palate,” says Tim. 

To see more wood-fired cuisine inspiration here: https://www.intercontinentalsanctuarycove.com/Fine-Dining-Restaurants-Bars/The-Fireplace-Restaurant

May 3, 2018