Thursday, 18 December 2014

The fresher the better for Mooloolaba chef

Story from Salt Magazine by Penny Shipway

See Restaurant Mooloolaba's head chef Angelo Puelma paints an idyllic picture of his childhood growing up in the historic Chilean town of Quillota.
“This little town I grew up in grew avocados, apples, oranges, lemons and mandarins in the streets,” Angelo says at his riverfront restaurant, tucked at the back of Mooloolaba Wharf and away from the cacophony of diners at the busy nearby strip.
“We would sit in the [almond] trees and spend the day eating almonds. We used to climb this specific tree for plums and an old lady would get really angry at us. She would come at us with a hose!”
Angelo, 28, says food was always eaten straight from the source.
“We had a milkman who would walk up and down the street with a calf and knock on the door asking if you would like milk; we bought it from him every morning.”
“There was a bread man with a push trolley, and you knew the bread was coming – he had a horn. It was freshly-made by hand. Always. And in the afternoon an old lady would sell Chilean traditional sweets, filled with caramel.”
It is this paddock-to-plate style of dining that saw Angelo and his father Antonio take on the reins of See Restaurant in July.
Most of the food served at the restaurant is sourced locally and served fresh. And Angelo changes his entire menu regularly.
“I don’t copy anyone’s cooking,” he says. “I don’t buy the magazines; it’s only trial and error for me. I just imagine all the ingredients and how they will work out.”
Angelo hand-picks his produce from local farmers’ markets and buys his seafood straight off the Mooloolaba trawlers.
“I go to the markets every Sunday looking for new things,” he says. “I recently bought a bush tucker jam which I’m using.”
He is also fond of the region’s strawberries, macadamia nuts and lemon myrtle. Angelo says he can’t understand restaurants and cafes that bow down to popular food trends.
“If everyone is using kale, I’m not using kale,” he says.
Photo by Anastasia Kariofyllidis  

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