As a Western Australia native, Brennan has built his career around showcasing the breadth and quality of ingredients the state has to offer through locally driven menus built around the seasons.
As the weather warms, he is excited to introduce a fresh crop of seasonal spring produce across his venues – and he has a few tips for those looking to do the same this year. Whether you’re dining out or planning a dinner party at home, here are Brennan’s tips for bringing some spring flair to the table – from the cut of beef to pick up to the veggies to include on your menu.
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Eat your greens
“For me, spring is about everything green,” he says. “It’s asparagus, it’s broad beans, it’s peas and zucchini flowers.”
Torbay asparagus from Albany is his current obsession. At Wildflower, it’s shaved into curls and served with duck egg, pistachio slivers and Geraldton wax. Meanwhile, at Post, the spears are blanched, tossed in olive oil and kissed over the grill, then finished with a dressing of boiled egg, capers, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil.
“When it’s a nice sunny day, it’s everything you want to eat,” he says.
For Brennan, spring is also a time to phase out his heavier dishes for something a bit fresher on the palate.
“We’ve gone through those cooler months with those slow cooks and braises, so it’s nice to have some lighter food,” he says.
At Long Chim, that means swapping curries for satisfying salads, like a herby number topped with slices of grain-fed rump cap. With a higher level of marbling than grass-fed beef, the cut has a richness that Brennan balances with a bed of greens and a hit of acidity.
“We barbeque it on the wood grill and then we toss it with sawtooth coriander, chilli powder, garlic powder, fish sauce and lime juice,” he says. “It’s sweet, salty, sour, spicy and great for this time of year.”
Swap your sauce
Seasonal cooking doesn’t always require a full menu overhaul. Brennan says sometimes simple changes can make all the difference – for instance swapping your rich steak sauce for a punchy, vibrant stand-in like he’s done at Post and Petition.
“Instead of heavy sauces, I like to use a salsa verde or a pesto,” he says.
Typically made from a base of herbs and leaves, these allow him to make the most of seasonal greens while brightening up hearty proteins to suit the warmer weather.
“It gives that freshness, a little bit of acid, and just really complements a nice piece of meat,” says Brennan.
Let the ingredients shine
When it comes to preparation and flavour pairing, the chef likes to keep it minimal and let his products speak for themselves. Produce and proteins alike generally receive just a light lick of flame or a quick roast and simple dressing in his hands.
“You literally don’t need anything more,” Brennan says.
The steak at Post, for instance, is seared and served with a citrus-heavy gremolata, while the rump cap at Petition is slow-cooked until tender and finished with house-made chimichurri.
“It doesn’t mask or hide anything,” he says. Both elements are “simple and just complement each other”.
Brennan prioritises local products across all his venues, with a particular focus on Western Australian produce, seafood and meat.
“All our proteins are local,” he says. “It makes sense to look in your own backyard.”
Steak is sourced from Harvey Beef, located just south of Perth. The Harvey Beef Reserve is from cattle fed on grain for 100 days, and has a subtle nuttiness. It’s Brennan’s product of choice to transition seamlessly from season to season and venue to venue.
“It’s consistency; it’s quality,” he says. “That’s the aim of our game in hospitality as well.”
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Harvey Beef.