Chef's business

Tasmania is a bright beacon for foodies. Sumptious natural resources from this 'clean, green' island provide a rich palette of tastes, textures and colour for its enterprising and innovative chefs.

In recognition of this serendipitous fusion Leatherwood Online is inviting our leading chefs to share their favourite recipes using Tasmanian ingredients.

Your comments are welcome through our contact page. Tell us about the chefs you admire and suggest recipes they could share.

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We introduce the series with a delightful seafood dish from head chef at Meadowbank Estate, Simon West, shown below in his spotless kitchen.

Meadowbank Estate, 699 Richmond Road, Cambridge

It’s about an hour’s pretty drive from Hobart to 699 Richmond Road, Cambridge, to Meadowbank Estate, a former grazing property dating back to 1850, and now producing its own fine wines from a vineyard that was first planted in 1974 for the private enjoyment of its owners.

Today Meadowbank sells its fine wines at cellar door sales and, recently stylishly refurbished, offers a restaurant plus large terrace with beautiful views over vineyards and the river.

Simon West, Head Chef at Meadowbank, hails from Victoria, where he owned, ran or worked in several top winery restaurants on the Mornington Peninsula. However he’s happily settled here now: “Where else can you be in the city or out in the country or at the water’s edge, all within 20 minutes? I love the food too, especially the seafood. And I just love the people.”

He also thinks sand whiting has an undeserved reputation for being fiddly. Yes they are small, but a good fishmonger will fillet them for you and they are not only delicious, at time at writing they were only $4 a kilo.

Sand Whiting fillets with saffron glaze and mussels

The dish sounds complicated, because it divides into four different components, but all that really needs be done at the very last moment is steaming the mussels, then frying the fillets.

Saffron fish glaze

1 litre fish stock (if you don’t make your own, you can buy excellent readymade stocks at good fishmongers, such as Mures in Hobart)
Pinch of saffron threads

Boil together until liquid has reduced by two-thirds; you should be left with 300ml saffron fish glaze. If you make ahead, either use the same day, or freeze in an ice tray (which will give you handy little cubes of glaze you can use with other dishes). Melt in a small pan over low heat.

Herb crumb topping

3 sprigs each chervil, thyme and dill, finely chopped
Handfull parsley, finely chopped
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
100g butter, melted
Sea salt
Cracked white pepper

Mix all together and bake in moderate (170°C) oven 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside and keep warm.


12 sand whiting fillets (6 fish), allowing 3 fillets a person
1-2 tablespoons light olive oil (do not use extra virgin olive oil), sufficient to just cover the base of the pan
12 mussels
1 cup white wine

Place mussels in a pot with white wine, cover tightly and steam 2-3 minutes until mussels open. Remove meat from eight mussel shells. Set aside in a warm place, along with four mussels in shells for garnish.

Season whiting fillets on skin side with salt and pepper. Heat light olive oil in a heavy based frypan and sear whiting fillets skin side down for three minutes. Turn, immediately remove pan from the heat and quickly remove fillets.

To serve

Place mussel meat in plate, surround with fresh vegetables in season (here we show broadbeans and asparagus, blanched, dunked in ice water to keep the colour, then gently cooked in a pan with butter and 1 tablespoon saffron glaze) and drizzle over saffron glaze.

Top with stack of three fillets on top, put mussel in shell on one side and sprinkle with herb topping.