Thursday, December 13, 2007

Harvest to Hearth

Hi, since this is my first post I would like to tell you who I am and what I am about. Well actually, I won't tell you who I am, you can find that out for yourself with a little bit of digging, but I will tell you What I am.

I am a Father, a Partner, a preservationist, a traditionalist, a grower, a concerned citizen and Chef. A GUMBOOTED Chef from Victoria Australia.

I am one of the growing masses of disheartened people who are concerned about where our food comes from and what is being done to it. I have become disenchanted like so many others with the growth in the use of GM modified crops, Hormone and antibiotic feed live stock and the vice like grip that our major retail chains keep on fair competition as they use thier buying power to force prices through the roof while keeping a strangle hold on the farm's purse.

But there is an alternative and I wish to Champion it. The cause of the localvore - locally grown produce. The crofter, the small holder, the farmer, the orchardist who grows it and the artisans who work it.

On the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria where I live and work there is no end to abundance of the locally grown fare which is available to both locals and those who travel from further a field to find it. If you look in the back gardens of your suburbs or in the rural communities on the fringes of your cities you will find a smorgasbord of gourmet delights. We can reawaken the dormant values of a time past when people were actively involved, together, in both supply and preparation of the family meal. We can rekindle the pleasure and joy gained through the communal food experience "a meal shared is a meal twice enjoyed". By valuing real sourcing: building friendships with "the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker" and the active consumer looking for whole foods, you build relationships which encourage quality and well being in both product and community.

After being a Chef for nearly 20 years, It is only really now that I feel I have found where food really comes alive, in the home. In order to champion the cause of regional produce, I have left the world of a la carte and haute cuisine behind to start a new venture. Harvest to Hearth Cagailt.

Harvest to Hearth Cagailt is about awareness, food, warmth, fun, friends, learning, sharing, culture, tradition, old ways and new ways. 'Cagailt' (pronounced keg-eelch) means "hearth" in Gaelic - it's the heart of the home, the centre of family life. We wish to explore and safeguard our biodiversity. We favour sustainability with efficiency and celebrate the artisan and their methods. Rekindling, reinvigorating and reigniting a passion which takes us from harvest to hearth, paddock to plate.

So bring your ideas to the table and talk to the Gumbooted Chef and together we will keep our food heritage alive.