THE BYRON SET – Terase Davidson from Taste Byron Bay
Terase has been an angel for us at Spell! The first time we met her, she just turned up to the office with all of this delicious food – which happened to be the week after Splendour last year when we are pretty sure some of the team hadn’t seen a vegetable for a week and were in need of a good nourish and treat. Since then, Terase has catered many of our photo shoots and events, as well as some personal meals for us busy working mummas! We had a chat to her about how Taste works and also got a delicious healthy recipe.
Terase will be at the Byron Farmers Markets this weekend cooking up a storm at the Chef’s Tent where a handful of local chefs are going to be cooking each week, celebrating local produce! Head down this week to meet her if you’re in the Bay.
How did you start Taste Byron Bay?
I guess you could say the seed for Taste Byron Bay was planted when I was a young girl. My grandfather and one of my uncles are both chefs, and I spent lots of time hanging out in the kitchen as a child, and in our backyard vegetable patch eagerly waiting for dinner time to come around and my mum to call out what she wanted me to pick fresh from the garden for dinner.
My work background is a mixed bag of event management both in Sydney and London and I am also a trained chef. Which is kind of a weird combination, but kind of the perfect combo of skills needed to follow my dream of setting up and running my food tour and cooking class business here in Byron. It’s fair to say, that I’ve always been thoroughly fascinated by food and its ability to bring people together, Taste Byron Bay allows me to connect with visitors and locals around a shared love of quality produce every day, which is pretty much my dream job and I get to live and breathe it every day!
What is the ethos behind it?
Taste Byron Bay is all about showcasing local seasonal produce, and the talented farmers in this gorgeous region of ours. There are lots of reasons to eat seasonally and locally, of course it is better for the environment and is often more sustainable, but really it just tastes better! I want to encourage and inspire more people to eat seasonal local produce for the flavour rewards. All our cooking class menus are designed around what is in season and local, we try to make everything local to Byron, but we also consider Australia to be our local too, so will also source quality ingredients from outside Byron.
It always frustrates and confuses me when I see anyone eating food that is out of season because I think just “why would you?” “it must just taste …… well underwhelming to be frank” wait for those gorgeous cherries to come into season and celebrate the full flavour reward.
Where did your passion for food come from?
My passion for food definitely started when I was a young girl, actually all my happy childhood memories include Byron Bay, family and food.
I love that food has its own language. By that I mean it can traverse country and economic boarders and boundaries, I’ve had so many wonderful experiences whilst travelling overseas, where I’ve not spoken the language but somehow managed to translate that I am a chef and been quickly welcomed into family homes to learn traditional family recipes or whisked out the back into a restaurant kitchen to meet the chef and the team, a shared love of food really is a beautiful and powerful thing.
I think for me my passion for food is also part of my DNA, which might sound odd, but when you consider that in addition to my uncle and grandfather being chefs, out of 16 grandchildren (on my mothers side of the family) four of us are chefs. Yep, you always need to bring your appetite to our family dinners that’s for sure!
I also love how food crosses generations, I absolutely adore the time a spend with my niece in the kitchen. And seeing how proud she is of her cooking creations, teaching the next generation how to cook good food is an important gift that will last a lifetime.
What is your favourite part about having a business like this in Byron Bay?
Oh my gosh where do I start?! Byron has always felt like home for me, so although I’ve only recently moved up here it feels like I’ve come home.
Easy access to some of the best produce is Australia is also a biggie for me, you can pretty much shop at a different farmers’ market everyday within a 50km radius of the Byron town centre. Which is pretty unique to Australia and pretty darn awesome to be apart of a community so dedicated to shopping locally.
Byron also has a raw and creative energy that you can’t help but be inspired by, there are so many truly exceptional business women and men in this town, doing some seriously cool stuff. It feels really good to be surrounded by so many people that are living and chasing their dreams.
Your favourite food trend right now?
Seasonality and food providence is by far my favourite food trend and one that is very dear to my heart, I really hope it’s here to stay!
I think 20 years ago we really didn’t necessarily think about where our food came from. We just wanted to eat everything all year round and often thought about price before we considered eating food that had real flavour, sadly this process also lead to our local farmers getting further and further squeezed on pricing.
I reckon great food should be celebrated, and that is not to say that food needs to be expense, it just needs to be fresh, local and seasonal. The perfect example of this getting back to basics food philosophy is the humble tomato, because when you get your hands on a beautiful tomato fresh from your garden or farmers’ market all you need do; is a splash over some good extra virgin olive oil, some quality salt and a squeeze of lemon and you are all set for the most amazing flavour party!
You don’t need to be a chef to enjoy great food, you just need to source quality local ingredients, yep it can really be that simple.
Your least favourite food trend?
I think the over complication of presentation is probably my least favourite food trend, whilst I thoroughly respect the science, creative flair and techniques involved ….. if I am eating a bacon and egg roll …… call me crazy BUT I’d like it to look, smell and taste like a bacon and egg roll please.
If you could get a lesson from any chef, who would it be?
I’d love the chance to spend an afternoon in the kitchen again with my grandfather, he was a great chef and passed away more than 25 years ago. He was a big believer in using fresh ingredients and keeping it simple. We used to go fishing together when I was a kid, catching our own bait and cooking up our fresh catch together. I always asked loads of questions when we were cooking together, though I am sure there was lots I forgot to ask him too.
What is your best tip for gourmet foodies visiting Byron for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
There are so many amazing places to eat in Byron, I think you’d have to be very unlucky to get a bad meal in this town.
I absolutely love everything about the brother and sister duo, The Nomadic Kitchen. Roberto and Michelle run a breakfast stall at the Byron, Mullumbimby and New Brighton Farmers’ Markets. Roberto sources all his ingredients directly from the farmers and creates the menu each week around what is fresh and seasonal, his family heritage is Italian and he trained at the River Cottage in London. Their stall at the New Brighton Farmers’ Market is also right next to the Nimbin Valley Dairy stall, so I also get to indulge my love of goats cheese dolloped on top of my breakfast too!
This might be perceived a slightly biased call BUT Sunday lunch at the Fig Tree Restaurant is a must do, and one of my favourite things to do on a Sunday. My aunty and uncle started the Fig Tree back in 1981, and my cousin Che now owns it. The menu showcases local seasonal produce, with ingredients coming straight from restaurants garden, ensuring some ingredients travel a mere 100 meters from the garden to the table, which is pretty cool in anyone’s book Sunday lunches are typically degustation, and there is always a chance to get up between courses to take a walk around the grounds or just sit and admire the views out across Byron from under the mighty Fig Tree.
II Bucco in town is always a great place for a casual dinner with friends and family. They make the most amazing traditional woodfire pizza, using you guessed it fresh local seasonal produce! Oh and their Caprese Salad always makes me giggle with delight, super simple fresh ingredients and a whole lot of OMG. You can’t book, so get there early if you don’t fancy waiting for a seat. OH and you need to order the Tiramisu, as soon as you sit down! Hey I know, kind of odd to order dessert before you’ve finished your dinner BUT trust me they often run out, so if you order early they will put yours aside for you …….. thus avoiding any order envy!
What’s next for Taste Byron Bay?
We are going to continue to expand our food tour and cooking class offering, and perhaps give our Salted Caramel Sauce it’s own Instagram account …… it has kind of taken off and has a life of it’s own! We are also getting lots of requests for private dinning and catering gigs, so will be spending some extra time expanding this side of the business too. I am not sure how I going to fit it all in to be honest, but I love and challenge and I love cooking great food and seeing lots of happy faces around the dinner table, so I am sure I will find a way of fitting it all in!
READ ON FOR RECIPES XX
POACHED CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS
There is always an inspiration to my recipe writing, and this super quick recipe was inspired by a lettuce of all things! I was in the garden up at the Fig Tree Restaurant and saw a row of perfectly pretty lettuces smiling at me and my belly started to rumble! So I grabbed one straight from the ground and headed back to the kitchen to make some lunch pronto.
1 cos lettuce
1 chicken breast – free range
2 sticks lemongrass – bottom ¼ only – smash to release the flavours
1 brown onion – peeled and cut into large chunks
½ bunch coriander roots – chop roughly and rinse using a strainer to remove any dirt
1 knob ginger – chop roughly leaving the skin on
2 long red chilli – chop roughly
5 kaffir lime leaves – crush in your hands to release the natural oils
1 cup greek firm set yoghurt
1 garlic – use a knife or hand mincer to crush
½ lime juice only
salt and pepper
Fresh mint, coriander, chilli and edible flowers if you can get you hands on some
- Place the chicken, lemongrass, onion, coriander roots, ginger, chilli and kaffir lime in a pot and cover with cold water (cover at lease 10 centimetres above the chicken breast)
- Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer, using a ladle skim and scum that raises to the top of the pot and discard
- Allow to simmer gently for 20-30mins depending on how big the chicken breast is
- Allow the chicken to cool in the poaching liquid for 5-10 mins
- Remove the chicken from the liquid and allow to cool before your pull the apart either using a fork our your hands
- Dipping Sauce / Dressing: combine the yoghurt, crushed garlic and lime juice in a bowl, add some salt and pepper and mix well to combine, adjust the seasoning as required
- Assemble the cos lettuce leaves on the plate, add your shredded chicken and herbs then dollop with some of the dipping sauce / dressing and lunch is done!
- You can use the same recipe for an entrée at a dinner party by simply serving it pretty on the plate like we have done in the photo shoot
- Also works great for taking to a DIY picnic or BBQ lunch with family and friends, simply keep all the ingredients in separate containers and then assemble at the picnic OR you can present all the ingredients on lovely platters and let everyone build their own
- Keep the poaching liquid and use it as a base for a homemade Won Ton soup, or simply add some noodles, chicken and vegetables for your very own homemade chicken noodle soup
I love the simplicity and flavours of this dish, it is also super simple to make and perfect for a casual meal with friends and family.
1kg free range chicken wings
Brookfarm Lime and Chilli Infused oil
salt and pepper
GARNISH: use some edible flowers or fresh coriander to garnish, you use the same dipping sauce / dressing as above
- Preheat your oven to 180 Celsius
- Place a sheet of baking paper on the bottom of your baking tray
- Add your chicken wings, drizzle with the Macadamia Oil
- Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, using your hands roll the chicken in the oil and seasoning to ensure it is well coated
- Place the oven tray in the middle of your oven and allow to cook for 25-30 mins or until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is nice and crispy
- Using baking paper at the bottom of the tray helps stop the chicken sticking to the tray, making washing up heaps easier YAY!
- Another great picnic recipe, simply cook the wings the night before and you have one less thing to worry about on the day
- Serve with steamed rice and green salad to make more of a meal