Innovating with Local Produce

Innovating with Local Produce - Chef Works

Date Posted: 5 November 2019 

Founding partner of Straight To The Source, Chef and food consultant Tawnya Bahr's passion for local produce, and drive to bridge the gap between growers, producers, chefs and patrons was the inspiration behind the Straight To The Source food industry tours.

Valuing local produce

Valuing the produce you cook with is incredibly important. Whether I'm cooking commercially or feeding my family, I always use the best quality produce I can get my hands on. Understanding how it's grown, where it's grown and by whom makes a difference to me. Ingredients naturally taste better when harvested in season and with little transport and minimal storage.

Discovering local produce

When I travel, I always find the farmers markets and talk directly with the stallholders as they have their finger on the pulse of the local food scene. I also reach out to my chef and farmer friends, as they always have sound recommendations.    

Innovating with the seasons

I watch the seasons, weather conditions and ebb and flow of produce in the market place closely. It affects all aspects of my work. It's all about adapting, being creative and using culinary skills. Australia is leading the way in many aspects and is at the forefront of growing quality produce and agricultural innovation, both introduced and native. Who would have thought that wasabi would be growing in Australia, black Perigord truffles, golden saffron and the wide varieties of edible seaweed? The list is long!

Finding inspiration

I find inspiration by travelling to food-producing regions, farmers markets, meeting people, working with and listening to experts in their field, research, trawling through my cookbook collection, experimenting in the kitchen and through collaborations.

On every Straight To The Source industry tour, we learn firsthand from real people that are growing, producing and foraging, often applying techniques and traditions that date back centuries, and in the case of the Indigenous communities we work with, much longer. The methods and ingredients used within these regional communities influence our itinerary and the outcome of the experience is always inspiring.

Evolving with the Industry

Evolution is a natural progression, and I've seen plenty of change in the Australian food industry over the years. Keeping myself and business-relevant is important. As a food consultant chef, it's my job to research the ingredients I source for my clients, understand the food supply chain, explore flavours, and analyse trends in Australia and internationally. Being aware is important as is being true to my beliefs and values.

I am hungry for knowledge and happily share it through the regional tours, the food I cook, people I engage with and through my work.

Straight To The Source

At Straight To The Source, we research each tour at length, as well as handle all the logistics, to ensure our industry tours are educational and meet the objectives of our audience - which happens to be people like us: chefs, hospitality professionals and primary producers. Scheduling time to get out of the kitchen or workplace isn’t easy, but it is a great way of keeping your finger on the pulse, to connect with your peers and to establish vital links with producers. Professional Development is one of the most important things we can each do for ourselves at every stage of our career, and Straight To The Source aims to make the process relevant, inspirational, accessible and worthwhile.

For more tour details visit Straight To The Source on or Instagram @Straight_To_The_Source.

At Chef Works, we are driven by those who are inspired by all things culinary. Fueled by the belief that every culinary professional deserves the right apparel and tools to enhance the work they do. We understand that the recipe for excellence goes far beyond simple ingredients.

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