Bar Saracen’s wildly good hummus, Sunda’s flavour-packed house curry paste, and Capitano’s three-ingredient granita. These are just three recipes from gun Melbourne chefs that have been immortalised in Cartilage, a new collection of sweet, sharply designed digital journals.
After launching in Sydney in June, the founders – former Australian Gourmet Traveller senior editor Dave Matthews, Good Food Crap Drawing mastermind Anna Vu, and animator James Lark – have brought the concept to Melbourne.
Each downloadable journal focuses on a single eatery, with three core recipes as well as directions for a bonus snack, pantry staple or drink. Dishes range from the relatively straightforward (such as laffa, the Iraqi flatbread used in Very Good Falafel sabich sandwich)'s to the more involved (Capitano’s knockout focaccia is a multiple-day event).
But what separates Cartilage from other recipe publications are the personal touches – including illustrations (often by the chef in question), scribbled comments and asides to help guide cooks in the right direction.
And although the recipes are for popular restaurant and cafe dishes, they’re presented in a way that’s suited to domestic kitchens. “We’ve very much formatted them with home cooking in mind,” says Matthews, who has road-tested most of the recipes in his own kitchen. “Each [one] tells you all the equipment you’ll need to use and the points where you need to pay more attention. That’s the idea with it being annotated by the chef.”
In addition to being good for enthusiastic (and housebound) home cooks, Cartilage also gives back to the industry: $10 from the $15 cover price of every journal goes straight to the featured venue. After just three months in Sydney, more than $6000 has gone to venues across town.
Why such a generous cut? The founders recognise that developing recipes takes times and effort, and want to help make sure their favourite venues come out the other side of lockdown.
While the Sydney series launched with 18 journals simultaneously, the Melbourne release will be more staggered. After the initial drop, which includes issues on Embla and Marion, a new one will be revealed every few weeks. In the pipeline are journals from Lee Ho Fook, Napier Quarter, and Andrew McConnell’s Cumulus Inc.
Each downloadable recipe journal costs $15.