From Their Kitchen to Yours – The New Products Leading the Pack

Feb 1, 2023

With the Australian food industry being such a fast-moving and dynamic space, exciting new trends are developing all the time. New products are constantly entering the market to meet emerging gaps and evolving needs of consumers.

This year consultancy Straight to the Source, who connect industry to artisan food and drink producers, secured three of Australia’s most innovative experts Michael Nunn, Mark Beattie and Kade Cohen for the Fine Food Australia 2022 presentation – From their kitchen to yours – new products created by chefs. 

Straight to the Source’s Tawnya Bahr says there is currently a surge of chefs creating their own product ranges. “This is either to forge a new career path, or, to complement their existing business by value-adding. Either way, these clever innovators are using their culinary skills to channel themselves in a different direction and that’s exciting.  

“However successfully launching into a crowded market isn’t as easy as it may look, so we were keen to have chefs speak who have successfully branched out into their own businesses to hear their inspiration and insights in this growing space.”    

Here are highlights from the presentation. 

A special animal and a world class product  

According to Michael Nunn from Salt Kitchen Charcuterie, a very special herd of pigs in Victoria is the secret behind the creation of his product, Mr Cannubi Noix de Jambon. 

A former chef for 20 years, Michael first learnt to make dry cured ham in the Lot-et-Garonne when he worked with the Chapolard family at their farm charcuterie in 2012 and wanted to replicate a similarly high-quality product in Australia. 

“Our pigs from Western Plains Pork in Mt Mercer, Victoria, are a large reason why this product is special and amazing,” he says. “Our relationship with the farm has meant we are lucky enough to have access to female pigs that are grown specifically to achieve delicious results with our dry cured charcuterie. 

“This product is quite unique in Australia, and isn’t made by many other producers, so in the beginning it took quite a bit of education and explanation for the market to understand it. However, it’s now one of our biggest selling dry cures and we have escalated production to double what we produced last year.”   

Before launching Salt Kitchen Charcuterie, Michael’s apprenticeship began at the Continental café in Prahran and Mario’s on Brunswick Street. He was one of the original members of the Grossi Florentino team when the Grossi family took over in 1999. Returning to Ballarat at the end of 2012, he launched Salt Kitchen Charcuterie in 2014. 

“Noix de Jambon will continue to be a product that encompasses Salt Kitchen Charcuterie’s commitment to traditional European methods, quality and the producers of our region,” he says. 

How a messy problem led to a cocktail innovation

As a chef for 24 years working in 5-star hotels and Michelin star restaurants in France, England and Dubai, including top Sydney institution Pendolino’s, Mark Beattie is used to the challenges of professional kitchens.   

However, one particularly irritating issue eventually led to the creation of Bartenders’ Egg Whites, used to make cocktails in bars, by Mark’s brand Eggzi at the start of 2020. 

“As a chef, I constantly saw the bar staff throw out egg yolks when making egg white cocktails,” he says. “It was just messy for them working with shell eggs in the bar, as the eggshell would often end up in the cocktails, so I thought there had to be a better solution by providing egg whites. There were other competitor products in the market but nothing that was really focused on bars or that was user friendly for the bartenders such as delivering a product in pouches with resealable caps.” 

A health inspection at a restaurant Mark was working at, also gave him the idea to use pasteurised eggs. “Environmental officers like pasteurised eggs because they protect the end user. By pasteurising you kill bacteria such as Salmonella and Listeria, which are harmful bacteria.  

“Because of my background as a chef, I really understand the consumers’ needs and what benefit we can add to them. We like to encourage the creativity in our customers – chefs and bartenders – by making their lives easier through delivering products that add value to their professional environment.” 

Mark says the product is performing extremely well, most likely as they have focussed on a niche area of the market. “Our products are aimed at clients that care about using high quality products or have a safety focus. We are also about to go national with the product through our exclusive distribution partner Eustralis. As we have international interest that will be a major focus area for us in 2023.” 

A time saver for chefs that also delivers on flavour 

Describing himself as a hyperactive, fairly eccentric guy, Kade Cohen likes to pack a lot into his day. A chef by trade who has worked with fermenting and pickling powerhouse Cornersmith, and the renowned Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, it has long been one of Kade’s goals to help chefs make the most of their time by delivering restaurant quality products minus the labour. 

Enter Kade’s creation – Made by Kade – a range of plant-based falafels and burgers for foodservice. The products, which are uncooked and snap-frozen, are designed to give customers a fresh tasting experience when cooked to order.  

“The products are gluten-free, vegan, nut-free and preservative-free and super quick to cook,” says Kade. “I’m humbled to say our products are really resonating with chefs. Stepping into kitchens with like-minded chefs and offering valuable solutions which both surprise and excite chefs is so fun.  

“I couldn’t be happier as currently we are ranged with national distributors like Bidfood and PFD along with incredible local distributors like Two Providores amongst others.” 

Looking to the future Kade’s ambition is to have a nationally recognised brand which is seen by chefs as one that offers a tight range of products that put quality, integrity and consistency above all.  

“There can be challenges putting out such a product, so as we grow it’s important that we retain the artisanal ethos and production methodology we have nurtured to date.”  

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