Monday, November 22, 2004

Anti-oxidants and Authentic Aussie foods

Just a comment on the health aspects of Australian native foods.

We evolved hunting and gathering an enormous range of foods and severely compromised our nutrition by narrowing our diet to only those food we could domesticate. What this means is that most races reduced the range of foods they ate down to 10% of their ancestral traditions. Little wonder that we have so many nutritional diseases often called diseases of civilisation.

More recently, scientists are discovering enormous differences between the nutritional value in wild foods compared to cultivated ones. Sure, once correcting for water content, the macro-nutritents are roughly equivalent but the devil is in the details: Anti-oxidants are at record levels, for example, it is well recognised now that my analytical proof and scientific publication of the world record for a fruit concentration of vitamin C lies with the Kakadu plum (now used in nutritional supplements, cosmetics and foods to a lesser extent); additionally, anthocyanins in many wild fruits like rosella, Davidsons plum, Illawarra plum, quandong and riberries are also highly significant. In fact, a recent report by a doctor has suggested that Parkinson's disease can be cured with oral sprays of blends of anti-oxidants.

The interesting thing with whole foods is that the anti-oxidants also seem to come with other components such as folic acid, iron, co-enzymes and what are called adaptogens and which collectively, improve the efficacy and absorption of the anti-free radical compounds. There's a lot going for eating these super-foods rather than popping pills of synthetic cocktails (and just making the pharmaceutical companies richer).

Australian food

Then there is a whole gammet of nutritionally beneficial phytochemicals in Australian wild herbs and spices and I refer you to this website for some information and here for a more detailed collection of papers on the topic.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Downunder taste of Jack Daniels

A recent BBQ competition in Lynchburg, Tennessee was a huge event with an international contingent including an Australian team supported by Dining Downunder, Cherikoff Rare Spices, BeefEater BBQs, A & S Meats, and NSW Tourism.

One local BBQ competitor drove their fully sponsored, $1m pan-tech fitted out as a huge mobile BBQ grilling machine. So the Downunder effort faced stiff competition. Arthur Birch represented the Aussies and found some local help willing to lend a hand while looking good doing it.

The native Australian ingredients and even some of the dishes challenged the judges who couldn't get their heads around a wattleseed pavlova. Besides, it got snuck in without being cooked on the BBQ and even a splash of JD in the wattleseed cream didn't mellow their outloook.

However, Arthur fared better with his beef brisket which, after being inspected as a piece of un-marinated meat, got covered in Red Desert Dust and slow cooked for 14 hours on really low heat. It ended up scoring 12th out of a field of 60.

On his return home to Australia, Arthur was invited to the ABC radio studio in Nowra, near where he works as a parking infringement officer (and promotes his book "Not Guilty! Your Worship" on how to get off paying your parking fines - email me if you want a copy. They're $20 each and you could save this many times over by following Arthur's advice).

Anyway, Arthur cooked up a steak sandwich with Rainforest Rub on the onions, Wildfire Spice on the roo steak and served on a Wattleseed sandwich made from Moores Restaurant style breads (from Woolworths supermarkets).

It all got rave reviews.

So watch out Lynchburg. We will marshall a team for 2005 which will grill, braise, broil, bake and generally BBQ themselves into the record books. But first we'll have to find a few chefs who drink JD....

Friday, November 19, 2004

Packing for Phuket

Only a little over a week before the next Australian cuisine promotion starts and this one's in Phuket, Thailand. I'll be at the Sheraton Grande Laguna with my colleague, Benjamin Christie cooking up a storm with my Australian ingredients in an exciting menu of Australian fusion made super special with the flavours of Australia.

If you're in the area, drop in and experience the flavour bliss of riberries, wattleseed, Oz lemon, wild limes and over a dozen other ingredients we'll be working into delicious dishes. We will also be representing Bega cheese, Springs Smoked Salmon, n'joi olive and Yarras infused oils on this trip.

How good is it to have the GM of this amazing resort see our cooking show, Dining Downunder and instigate our visit? Sure, the show's on in 30 countries around the Asia Pacific at the moment and we are getting a bunch of inquiries for promotions. So these will keep me living my life as a global citizen - these are definitely the Good Old Days!

Anyway, Xmas is almost upon us and if you're short on ideas for that cook in your life, please drop on over to our on-line store and pick up a few goodies along with our cookbook. It'll provide months of great dishes for you and your family and carry the Xmas spirit well into 2005.

Meanwhile, here's a recipe using Oz lemon which is a lemon myrtle based seasoning (but better by far than the herb on its own). If you haven't heard about Oz lemon, head over to my herb and spice site and you'll find plenty of info on this incredible rainforest tree leaf.

Over the next few blogs, I'll make up the ingredients for what I call a rainforest parfait ("Everyone likes parfait." as Donkey says in Shrek). The first component is an Oz lemon cream cheese. Now if you are in Australia, you can cheat a bit and just use the branded product, French vanilla* Fruche. Just sprinkle in enough Oz lemon as if you were seasoning it with salt and wanted to make it pretty salty. Stir and leave for at least an hour before taste testing and over night is good for full flavour development.

For my non-Australian readers, get the following:

100g (3oz) quark, cottage or farm cheese
100g (3oz) low fat sour cream
enough milk to make the above blend into a smooth, thick cream
1/2 teaspoonful Oz lemon
2 teaspoonful palm sugar

Just blend the cheese and sour cream in a processor or blender adding milk to make it into the consistency of a firm yoghurt (you can use a Greek yoghurt for this and just flavour it up with the Oz Lemon).

Add the Oz lemon and sugar (honey is fine here too, just not a strongly flavoured one or it'll fight with the lemon notes).

I usually make a kilo or more of this and have it for breakfast as it comes or on cereal or over fresh fruit for dessert at night.

You can also use the fabulous Easi-yo, Greek style yoghurt powders from that innovative New Zealand company. Just add one to one and a half teaspoons of Oz lemon and 2 tablespoons of palm sugar to their packet mix and make the yoghurt according to their instructions.

* Just a thought but when you invade another civilisation, dessimate their population and steal their resources, do they become part of the property of the Motherland? French vanilla? OK. The French ousted the English in Polynesia and took over rule from the native Islanders but since when is vanilla, French? If botanical names go back to original sources then it would have to be Polynesian vanilla. I suppose it is just another marketing ploy, just like the New Zealanders renaming the Chinese gooseberry the Kiwifruit.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Get more bums on seats in your restaurant

Need an Easy Way to Get
Bums on Seats?

Imagine the profit from your hard day’s work if you had 10 times the business turnover that you do now?

Can you see your restaurant full all the time and food service pumping smoothly?

What will you hear your patrons saying about your food, the service and ambience and how will they be bringing you more business just by talking to their friends?

Yogi Bera might soon be referring to your restaurant when he said
“No one goes there anymore – It’s too crowded”.

Authentic Australian ingredients work for you:

· As interesting flavours for you and your chefs
· As interest-generating items for your waiting staff and
· As a major reason your patrons keep coming back AND why they will talk about your place to all of their friends

So if you’re an Australian food outlet and want to gain a real edge over your competitors, there is nothing like our authentic, self-promoting, delicious, wild foods.

We have aromatic herbs from the rainforests, which are as easy to use as basil and coriander.

Our pungent spices from alpine regions can be used like chilli, wasabi or pepper.

We have a roasted seed from the Central Australian deserts, which is fast becoming as popular as coffee or chocolate as a food ingredient.

Our moreish fruits cover the whole gamut of fruit flavours from citrus to plum but are quite new and different for sauces, garnishes, desserts or cocktails.

❖ But how do you learn about these ingredients quickly?
❖ How easy are they to get?
❖ How can you fast-track integrating them into your menus?
❖ How do you know you’re getting the best results from using them?

Just ring, fax or email Vic Cherikoff Food Services on the contact info below.

We were the very first in this industry, in fact, we started it. And no one knows more than we do about these unique ingredients and their best use in food service.

To find out how you can explode your business and make it worth your while to go in to work each day, call us to arrange an obligation-free consultation.


An Australian chef chose to use our Australian ingredients at a restaurant where he worked as Executive Chef. We helped him incorporate our ingredients and passed on a few concepts to take advantage of the innovation and creativity in the food.

The restaurant was in a Sydney suburban business park with a multitude of take away eateries, several other (cheaper) restaurants and even an International Hotel with its own restaurant. There was next to no passing trade and you would think, an easily saturated resident market. So what happened?

Our Chef doubled the number of covers at peak times and increased business on what used to be lazy lunch and dire dinner days by 10-fold!

And it went on for years just getting stronger. More regulars helped spread the word about the great flavours and patrons made the trek to eat there, week in, week out. It eventually allowed the owner to sell his business at a handsome profit whereas only a few years before, trade was poor, the business was losing money and nearly worthless.

Was this a one off? No. This particular chef went on to another establishment up in the Blue Mountains and repeated the result, even landing wedding events with authentic Australian themes for $40,000 for the day. He is now at a newly refurbished seafood restaurant south of Sydney and the same pattern is emerging yet again.

We can also point to similar successes around the country and now we also have countless examples from restaurants, function venues, cruise ships, airlines and event caterers from the 18 countries to which we currently export our range of products.

Authentic Australian ingredients used appropriately can
significantly increase the profit from your restaurant.

Now you just have to act and make it happen. The choice is yours.

Kindest regards,
Vic Cherikoff

PS Use the busy Xmas period to establish your restaurant’s reputation as one that offers patrons something special all year. Use the added patronage over the silly season to capture interest and then build on it throughout 2005. Have a quick look at for some clues on what to do simply.

PPS Call us now to join the ranks of the highly successful. Ring 02 9554 9477 or email me on but be quick as from 24th November I will be overseas for weeks at a time on numerous Australian food promotions as demand continues to grow exponentially.