Discover Australia’s finest ingredients and most exciting food destinations with Tawnya Bahr as she takes Chefs, hospitality professionals and food lovers ‘Straight To The Source’...
1. Your restaurant/business
Straight To The Source provides bespoke regional food tours for the hospitality industry, that reconnects chefs with both the soil and its produce.
Tawnya Bahr Food Consulting focusses on menu development, ingredient sourcing, and I am also the exec chef at Jungle Buddies Café.
2. Describe your kitchens
My cooking spaces vary from state of the art commercial kitchens, to makeshift kitchens in paddocks and barns. I've learnt to be very adaptable!
3. Favourite Chef item and why
I love the fit of the female jackets as they’re so comfortable, and the new Boulder aprons we just bought for our Straight To The Source food tours look fabulous.
4. First job
When I was 15, I started out cooking bacon burgers and making rootbeer floats at A&W restaurant in my hometown in Oregon.
5. Your cookbook
Don’t have one, although I have collected many throughout my career, and constantly dip into them for both entertainment and inspiration.
Twenty years ago I arrived in Australia with no network, but a desire to be involved in the food industry, so I started out making artisan condiments in my kitchen. That grew into having a commercially viable product, and establishing The Condiment Connoisseur as a brand and gourmet distribution company that supplied large retailers nationwide. Selling that business, and then going off to culinary school and starting another very different food company, is an achievement that I am very proud of reflecting upon it.
7. Your cooking inspiration
My mum cooked and grew everything from scratch, so she definitely inspired me and sparked my interest in food provenance. I bought my first cookbook aged 8 at the local book fair, and have had a natural love for feeding people ever since.
8. Your speciality dish
I cook by how I feel, with ingredients that are in season, and more often than not have a fascinating story behind them. I have been running farmers’ market tours for many years, and also travel straight to the source, which was the inspiration behind the company name. This gives me a clear insight into my ingredients, and therefore when I’m cooking, this connection makes all my dishes a specialty.
9. Favourite dish to eat
Globe Artichokes, a tactile experience working your way to the heart.
10. Weirdest thing you have ever eaten
Cornmeal encrusted rattlesnake, with a dipping sauce. It needed the dipping sauce!
11. Favourite ice cream flavour
12. Favourite Drink
A smooth, hot piccolo, or freshly brewed iced tea.
13. Favourite wine
Rockford, Basket Press Shiraz from the Barossa Valley SA.
14. Who would you most like to cook for
Anyone and everyone who appreciates fresh, seasonal, unfussy and honest food.
15. Who would you least like to cook for
A certain American Republican candidate with an orange comb over.
16. Favourite things to do outside of the kitchen
Spending time with my husband, two great kids and our very spoilt golden retriever.
17. Your latest project
A chefs tour in September to Western Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. A hands on catch & cook seafood experience including razor fish and abalone plus an immersive opportunity to learn and cook with the local indigenous community.
18. Favourite city and why
To live, Sydney, but Portland Oregon is the perfect city for a foodie and family-friendly holiday.
19. Your greatest indulgence
A well thought out cheese board with perfectly ripened cheeses. I’ll dive in!
20. Your all time best culinary tip
Stock up on Australian garlic when it’s in season, as it will carry you through, and you won’t have to rely on inferior imported garlic.