Having grown up on a farm in rural New South Wales, chef, author and founder of The Agrarian Kitchen, Rodney Dunne, knows food and understands the ways of the country.
After working in Sydney kitchens with the likes of Tetsuya Wakuda, and later as a contributor to some of Australia’s best food magazines, Dunne’s life came full circle in 2007 when he and his wife Severine left behind the bustle of city life, moving the family to Tasmania to establish what has since become one of Australia’s most celebrated, awarded and unique food tourism destinations – sustainable, farm-based cookery school The Agrarian Kitchen.
Set in a beautifully remodelled nineteenth-century school house in a misty valley about 45 minutes out of Hobart, the hands-on school teaches city folk about the seasonal rhythms, tastes and joys of country life. Over the past five years, Dunne has gathered countless recipes, tips and techniques; the best of which he’s now sharing with readers via his first cookbook, The Agrarian Kitchen.
With stunning food and location photography by renowned chef Luke Burgess (Garagistes), the book is a visual joy for both food lovers and Tassie fans alike. Organised seasonally, it’s peppered with plenty of hands-on advice and old-fashioned tricks on everything from mushroom foraging, starting bonfires and keeping animals, to making your own ricotta and spit-roasting a saddle of lamb.
Tasmania’s gorgeous scenery and wonderful produce are the stars though, and Dunne has assembled a stunning collection of recipes with just the right balance of country-style homeliness (think chicken soup, crumbles and sweet dumplings) and seasonal sophistication (lobster broth with truffles, chargrilled quail with nettle and lovage cream).
Aimed at inspiring readers – from anywhere - to recreate the same meaningful connection with food and the seasons that he teaches at the school, we think Dunne’s book makes a pretty convincing case for booking a trip down to Tassie sooner rather than later.
Rodney Dunne's The Agrarian Kitchen is available at bookstores around the country.