Dan Murphy is part of a new generation of young Barossans putting Barossa Valley on the map for its burgeoning food and wine scene.
When Luxury Barossa Valley hotel, The Louise’s Executive Chef, Daniel Murphy tells you about the provenance of an ingredient in one of his dishes, he points in a direction and proceeds to tell you about the people behind that product. What you soon begin to realize is that he does this for almost every ingredient found on the plate and seems to refer to most of the growers and producers as either friends, family or neighbours.
“No, it’s just that we have so much beautiful produce right here, there’s probably a handful of products that aren’t produced here, which we’ll use in the kitchen.”
Mussels, fish and salt comes from the Southern Ocean which is just 40kms away. The Lamb is as delicious as it is famous, it too raised down the road by the Angas’ family - which the town of Angaston is named after and have been farming Hutton Vale Farm since their ancestors founded it in 1843.
Trout isn’t found in South Australia, but the local school’s aqua culture program raises some. “So we smoke it, dry it and use it like Bonito Flakes.” He also takes the school’s vegetables, as well as what he finds at the local Barossa Markets in Nuriootpa. “I like the hard work of authentic ingredients. They’re not perfect, we have to pick out yellow leaves, dried bits. blemishes… but that’s real. That’s nature.”
Born and bred in the Barossa Valley, Daniel is classic of the new generation of young Barossans who travel the world, gaining international experiences and honing their skills by working in fine establishments. Yet the more knowledge they gain, the keener they seem to want to return and forge their own identities with the produce of the land and the seasons that raised them.
Daniel joined Appellation after 2 years alongside Mark McNamara at St Hugo restaurant (another Wine Paths partner and another fine Barossa Valley restaurant). With Mark having been Appellation’s original executive chef, there’s a real sense of pride and custodianship that seems to come with Dan and the rest of his kitchen team, including his pregnant wife, Appellation’s talented Head Chef and Oastry Specialist, Emily Laubsch… who of course, was also raised in the Barossa Valley.
So as these two young, proud Barossans prepare to rear another generation in the area, thoughts turn to the future.
“In 10 years time, I believe that the Barossa Valley will be just as famous for it’s food scene as its wine is now.”
It’s a big call, this region boasts incredible wines that are renowned the world over with amazing pedigree, but another mouthful of the intensely flavoured Hutton Vale lamb and you realise that there really is much more to this place… anything’s possible in the right hands, and it's clear this kitchen (restaurant) is.
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