Nose to tail: How the unwanted cuts have become the best

Nose to tail: How the unwanted cuts have become the best

Restaurants like The Four in Hand and Josie Bones are wowing diners with the parts most would throw away
Four in Hand
Pig's ears dished up at the Four in Hand.

Pig's trotters, uteri, crispy tripe and offal are associated with cheap street stalls in Southeast Asia rather than fine dining restaurants.

But many Aussie chefs are tired of the best cuts. They claim cooking the best and throwing out the rest is not only unethical, it’s just plain boring.

It was London chef and food author, Fergus Henderson, who opened St. John restaurant in the mid-1990s and said: “It seems common sense and even polite to the animal to use all of it.”

Colin Fassnidge used to eat there. Now the co-owner and chef at Sydney’s The Four in Hand, he has brought that philosophy to Australia.

“When we first took over The Four in Hand, it was dead, no one came there," Fassnidge said. "So we had to keep our food costs down so we used secondary cuts of meat which were cheaper.”

“We gave them pig's ears, they were like: ‘this is what I feed my dog’,” he said.

Six years later, “I think they’re a little bit wowed … so if they get a crab lobster bisque and they have a pig’s tail sticking out of it, it’s not something they see every day.”

He believes it brings creativity to his kitchen and wouldn’t do it any other way. “I will not cook a fillet steak because I just don’t think there’s any flavor or skill to cooking a fillet steak,” he said.

Josie BonesThe pig's trotter served up at Josie Bones.Many Australian chefs are now winning people over by mixing unusual cuts with regular dishes: pig’s trotter spring rolls, pig’s ear schnitzel and beef brisket with scallops are part of the food movement.

One such creator is the co-owner and chef at Melbourne’s Josie Bones, Chris Badenoch. “We don’t have one single prime cut on our whole menu,” he said.

“The animal’s life has been taken for us to consume it. We should respect that and eat the whole thing.”

At Josie Bones, literally every part of the animal gets used. If a pig's head is on the menu, the bones are made into stock, the head is stuffed, the tongue steamed and the ears go into a salad. 

“We just got too rich and too lazy and we forgot about the old ways of cooking,” Badenoch said.

Four in Hand Hotel, 105 Sullivan St., Paddington; +61 (0)2 9362 1999, www.fourinhand.com.au

Josie Bones, 98 Smith St., Collingwood; +61 (0)3 9417 1878, www.josiebones.com

 

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