It’s the key to Iskov’s pop-up dining concept, Fervor, which is influenced by spectacular Australian settings, time spent on-country learning about Indigenous ingredients, and stints at kitchens such as Copenhagen’s Noma and Sao Paulo’s Dom. For Peterkin of Las Vino (the first word is an acronym for “luck, art and science”) winemaking is a giant experiment, stemming from an undergraduate science degree and a youth spent at father Mike Peterkin’s winery (Pierro). It should come as exciting news, then, that the two dynamos from the south-west of the state will join forces in Perth next week for the first time, bringing a special five-course dinner to West Leederville’s new Besk Bar.
“Paul and I first worked together about three years ago on a dinner hosted in an olive grove,” says Peterkin. “Since then, Paul has inspired me to be a little more creative with using the ingredients we have close to home. I guess in the last few years both of us have honed our skills and developed in our fields. He’s just been out in the goldfields foraging and I hope he brings back some of those honey ants he always talks about.”
Each of the five dishes will be paired with a Las Vino wine, including one of Peterkin’s latest experiments: a wine fermented using a starter culture cultivated from native wildflowers (marri and grevillea foraged from Willyabrup bushland). The result, says Peterkin, is a unique-tasting drop with a strong sense of place.
“This wine started as an experiment,” Peterkin says. “I was reading a very old Australian cookbook which Paul recommended that mentioned soaking banksia flowers for fermenting. We tried this and nothing happened, so the following year we soaked the flowers in grape juice as opposed to water and a fermentation took place. We added this inoculum to a barrel of Albino PNO [a rosé blend] and fermented it. The results are very different. To our knowledge, this is a first in winemaking in Australia, and matching this with native Australian food is also a first.”
While no details will be released about the menu prior to the event, diners should expect to taste things they’ve likely never heard of, let alone tried. From more familiar native ingredients – Geraldton wax, desert lime, lemon myrtle – to bush banana, green tree-ants and bunya nuts, Iskov’s food is a journey through Australia’s many cultures and communities.
“There is no one in Australia who has spent the same amount of time as Paul travelling around the state learning, cooking and tasting,” says Peterkin. “It’s so important that the ingredients we have on our doorstep are tasted by the public. I have eaten with Paul several times now, and every time it’s completely different and always utterly courageous and enjoyable food.”
Peterkin will also showcase a new no-addition, biodynamic orange wine called Golden Girl, as well as a new barrel-fermented dry sparkling cider (his first foray into cider) made with 13 different cider-apple varieties from the Great Southern.
“It could just be an experiment, or it might be something you see more of,” says Peterkin. “We’re not sure yet, but it is delicious.”
The dinner is an opportunity to try all three of these limited-edition creations (there are just 250 bottles of the wildflower fermented wine, for example) before they’re released for sale.
“This is the first time Paul and I have done an event together in Perth and Besk Bar is the perfect venue, sharing our focus on local produce and producers,” says Peterkin. “I want people to leave thinking, ‘Wow’.”
The Fervor x Las Vino Dinner is on Thursday, October 31 at Besk Bar. Tickets are extremely limited and on sale now for $175.