Food dudes put region’s produce a cut above

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS: Ben Hull and Kirby Shearing combined their talents for the inaugural Dude Food Degustation event. Picture: BEN DEERING

By Brett Kennedy

MANY new ventures can be traced back to conversations had over a few glasses of wine, a recipe which applies to the inaugural Dude Food Degustation event.

Ironically, it was the very wine being consumed – small batch varieties grown using volcanic soil- that was the catalyst for the “foodie” feast.

Soul Projects chef Kirby Shearing and Natural Born Grillers operator Ben Hull organised the event, which was held at Mr Hull’s Mount Gambier burger restaurant earlier this month.

Promoting the work of Good Intentions Wine Co and Limus Wines – operated by Andrew Burchell and Kyatt Dixon respectively – was a major motivation for the October 19 degustation dinner.

“Volcanic wine is massive in Italy and Spain where they are growing grapes in volcanic soils,” Mr Hull said.

“The (Good Intentions and Limus) wine is really natural, earthy and quite fruity – it pairs well with our kind of food,” he said.

Mr Shearing and Mr Hull welcomed a diverse crowd for the sold-out dinner event, limiting seats due to COVID-19.

Presenting a six-course blind menu, Mr Hull commended patrons for their commitment to the unique experience.

“It was pretty cool for people to go ‘I trust these guys, I trust these winemakers’ and come along,” Mr Hull said.

Waiting the tables throughout the night, Mr Shearing and Mr Hull served up two mains and a dessert each, explaining their unique and “fancier” take on dude food.

“Dude food is homely, comfort food – fried chicken, mac and cheese,” Mr Hull said.

“We used as much local produce as possible,” he said.

One example was Mr Hull’s take on steak and eggs using a Wagyu skirt steak from Mayura Station and eggs from The Splendid Egg.

A bulk of the produce was also sourced from She’s Apples Mount Gambier Market and Beachport Berkshires.

“I think we have got a great foodie culture for a country town,” Mr Hull said, highlighting stallholders at the monthly Mount Gambier Library Market as a prime example of the region’s diverse produce.

“The library market is just flush with international food – there are heaps of different cuisines and nationalities represented,” he said.

With wine the catalyst for the event, Mr Hull was pleased with the reception to the boutique drops.

“I’m glad we got to do something different, relax, and showcase those that don’t get so much local notoriety,” Mr Hull said.

“The times it was dead silent out there you thought ‘they are enjoying this’,” Mr Hull said.

“They were having an experience and we created that.”