When it comes to food, it doesn’t much more 'real' than Darren Robertson’s recipes. The laidback chef’s farm-to-table, root-to-stalk approach means his restaurant Three Blue Ducks is the sort of place a cook might pop out to the back garden to make sure the vegetables in your dish are as fresh as can be.
It all started at the Three Blue Ducks in Sydney, where Darren and his fellow co-owners decided to grow some of their own produce to jazz up the menu. “We had a little kitchen garden. We had a few chooks and some beehives. And then we created a bit of a food hub in Bronte [Sydney], with planter boxes and composting. And then we were invited to run a restaurant on a farm in Byron about four years ago,” he recalls. “So again, we just kind of jumped at that and moved up!”
Darren got a taste for local and natural produce when shopping at farmers markets, an experience he recommends to anyone keen to revitalize their diet. Not only is the produce fresh, it also comes served with expert knowledge. “The knowledge and the passion that often the guys or the girls that have grown that produce are there serving you, they're talking to you, they're sharing their little tips,” he says, “That's amazing. That's absolute gold.”
The British-born, Byron-based chef has seen it all, from high-end kitchens to cooking breakfast for his family, and brings this wealth of knowledge to his recipes for Centr. “My dietary choices are around nutrition but also having something really tasty for every meal. Food should be exciting, something worth dropping everything for.” he says. “The most gratifying thing for me in sharing any sort of knowledge, recipes that are gonna improve people's cooking skills and health and well-being, is just seeing the instant change and gratification that they have. And there's no greater reward than someone actually cooking your recipes.”
Having kids of his own also means Darren is aware that time can be of the essence for aspiring home chefs. In other words, you won’t find many rare ingredients or weird utensils in his Centr recipes. “Having little ones definitely changes everything. Certainly sleep patterns,” he laughs. “But definitely the way I think about food. And the practicalities of cooking and coming up with a dish and the nutritional value and the whole shebang. So it needs to be practical and realistic.”
Farm-to-table proponent Darren Robertson is one of the most recognisable chefs in a country obsessed with food. An expat Brit trained in Michelin-starred restaurants, he’ll help you make cafe-worthy meals at home. Darren is co-owner of stalwart Byron Bay restaurant Three Blue Ducks, Rocker in Bondi, and crossed Australia to discover new tastes in the Three Blue Ducks TV series.
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