is the co owner of famous Bronte cafe Three Blue Ducks
Daren is also co author of The Three Blue Ducks cookbook, presenter of Darren Robertson’s Charcoal Kitchen, a judge on recipes to Riches, oh and just an all-round cool dude.
We caught up with Darren while he was busy getting everything ready in Byron Bay for the launch of Three Blue Ducks on the Farm in late March.
1. What’s a typical food day in the life of Darren Robertson (warts and all)?
At the moment things are a bit frantic setting up the new place in Byron. A typical day would be to meet my business partners, Sam Reid, Mark LaBrooy, Jeff Bennett and Chris Sorrel at The 100 mile table an amazing cafe down the rd from the farm. We meet there and plan our week over a breakfast, usually sausage and greens with fried egg, a juice and coffee. Then back on the farm, meet chefs, local farmers, either on site or at another cafe, perhaps Punch and Daisy for a lunch time, maybe the haloumi salad, any excuse really to venture out and eat. A few more coffees and juices throughout the day. Probably meet up with Mark to work on the new book. A surf and then usually cook something for dinner for my partner in crime Magdalena. I’ll cook a curry, a salad, or a bowl of pasta. Something pretty simple.
2. What’s your prediction for this year’s big food trend?
A bigger push to use ingredients that have been grown ethically. People growing more food, whether it’s a community garden or just a little herb planter box in your kitchen. More cafes and restaurants making more of what they offer from scratch. Less cooking food in bags, more cooking over coals, fermenting, seaweeds and native Australian ingredients on menus.
3. Desert Island. Three foods. Go…
Oysters, a good steak and eggs for breakkie.
4. What can you tell us about the new Three Blue Ducks venture in Byron Bay?
We are opening a cafe/restaurant on The Farm Byron Bay. The Farm is 80 acres, complete with cows, pigs, chickens, bees, fruit and veg. We will work with growers producing from the farm and from the local area for the cafe, restaurant and retail space. There’s also going to be an outdoor BBQ area, a florist, a playground for kids, a bakery, a bar, an animal petting area, cooking classes and a barn overlooking the farm for pop-up events. All five of us have moved up to make this happen. But we will also go between Bronte and Byron as Bronte is still our flagship. With any luck Three Blue Ducks on the Farm will be open by the end of March.
5. Three Blue Ducks is very much about farm to table eating even though you’re in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. Do you think this is the way urban dining is headed?
It’s heading in many directions. Working with local producers and suppliers is just something we enjoy doing. It’s that old Alice Waters philosophy of allowing the growers to determine what you put on your menu. We still have a long way to go to achieve this but it’s definitely where many are heading.
6. What recipe would you be keen to see Bondi Harvest tackle?
Anything from my the daggy Chinese restaurant menu would be great!
7. What dish/ingredient is your behind-closed-doors guilty pleasure?
Every so often I do crave really daggy Chinese restaurant food, the stuff we used to get in the UK, glowing sweet and sour pork, crispy beef, honey prawns, all that jazz. All this used to be a huge treat growing up, so it’s pretty nostalgic. I always slightly regret it afterwards though!
8. When you’re cooking at home do you put on your chef’s hat? Or is it toasted cheese sandwiches?
I cook similar food to what we serve in the cafe, it’s all pretty simple so no need to put on any head gear!