Homegrown talent returns to Margan and The Persian Place has Christmas sorted | NIBBLES

CULINARY COUP: Margan head chef Jonathan Heath and newly-appointed sous chef Thomas Boyd, who previously worked at The Ledbury in London. Picture: Supplied

CULINARY COUP: Margan head chef Jonathan Heath and newly-appointed sous chef Thomas Boyd, who previously worked at The Ledbury in London. Picture: Supplied

In last week’s column I promised you further exciting news from Margan Estate.

The wait is over. 

Former Margan chef Thomas Boyd is returning to Margan Restaurant as sous chef and will be working elbow to elbow with talented head chef Jonathan Heath. 

Boyd started at Margan as an apprentice and, restaurateur Lisa Margan said, quickly displayed a unique talent for commercial cookery.

He narrowly missed out on winning the Brett Graham Scholarship in 2012 but was named ACF Australian Apprentice of the Year.

He worked his way to junior sous chef at Margan before leaving to travel and work overseas. Boyd worked at The Ledbury in London’s Notting Hill, which is owned by fellow Novocastrian Brett Graham and ranked 14th in the world in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016 list earlier this year.

There, he met future wife and Hunter Valley native Eliza Stevenson who, Food & Wine revealed last week, has taken on the position of restaurant manager at Margan. Previous restaurant manager Melinda Beswick has moved on to become Margan’s cellar manager and sommelier. 

“Melinda was the perfect choice to take on the role,” Margan said.

“Her background includes restaurants such as Pier, Qualia Hamilton Island and Tower Lodge, Pokolbin, before she joined the team at Margan three years ago. She has taken the front-of-house experience from strength to strength, culminating in a Chef’s Hat for Margan this year in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide awards, as well as numerous other accolades.

“She is currently undertaking her Master of Sommeliers Diploma and is looking forward to getting her hands dirty in the winery for vintage 2017.”

Heath is excited to welcome Boyd back to Margan and is looking forward to introducing him to the “estate grown, estate made” approach to dining.

“Margan is all about offering a unique food and wine experience with a strong guest focus at its core. It is great to have two such talented hospitality professionals committed to taking this to a new level,” Margan said.

Last week Margan was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the NSW Tourism Awards for their continued Excellence in Food Tourism.

Eat and be merry

Christmas dining is all about spending time with family and friends, sharing stories and laughs – as well as a scrumptious meal. 

Unfortunately, someone always has to be the host, and cook. And if you want to eat out, nothing is open or those venues that are open are already booked out. 

Have you considered something a little bit different? This year The Persian Place, known for its delicious share plates and impeccable service, is offering to host your family and take care of the cooking.

Chef and owner Bob Abbaszadeh told Food & Wine the Newcastle restaurant would be open on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, the public holiday on Tuesday, December 27, and on New Year’s Eve.

For just $49 diners will be treated to a six-dish banquet designed to be shared, and a welcome drink on arrival. The feast will start with dips and breads followed by a selection of five shared Mazzeh dishes ranging from vegetarian, slow-cooked lamb and chicken accompanied by sides of pickles, rice and salad.

For more information or to make a booking, phone 4926 5500 or go online to thepersianplace.com.au.

A hated herb?

Coriander is a divisive herb, Food & Wine has discovered.  Haters of the herb have set up a Facebook page and dedicated February 24 as International Coriander Hatred Day.  Their aim? To compel restaurants of the world to state on their menu if the dish contains coriander.  

To each their own.

Lycra-free night

Cyclists are being asked to peel off the lycra and attend a Newcastle first known as Cycling Social at The Edwards Bar on December 14.  Tickets cost $60, which includes a free drink and street eats. All proceeds go to Tour de Cure, a not-for-profit cycling charity funding cancer research. Book at trybooking.com.

Boxing Day brews

Murray’s Brewery is celebrating its 11th birthday with the release of two limited edition beers, an app to keep the kids happy and a free blues concert.

Murray’s Mango Beer and Anniversary Ale 11 will be unveiled on December 26 as part of this year’s Boxing Day Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival. 

Brien McVernon will perform the blues from noon.

Brewery owner Murray Howe expects the new-release interactive kids’ game to be a hit.

“The space for kids to play is one of the most consistent compliments we receive,” Howe said.

“We’ve launched Pirate Bob’s Scavenger Hunt, an interactive mobile app that takes the kids on a random adventure searching for treasure on our property. 

“Find it on the App Store or Google Play then sit back, relax and watch the kids wear themselves out.”

When it comes to food, consider the brewery’s signature Big Smoke BBQ share platter featuring beef brisket, ribs and pork painstakingly slow-smoked over wood-fired heat.

There are also healthier options like Murray’s mango and maple bacon salad, which Howe said went well with a refreshing glass of Mango Berliner Weisse beer, and a children’s menu. 

Most of Murray’s previous Anniversary Ales have been firmly in the domain of English Barley Wines and Strong Ales but this year the brewery has produced a strong Anglo-Belgio Porter style beer that has been aged in Tasmanian whisky barrels.

For more information or to book a table phone 4982 6411 or visit murraysbrewingco.com.au.

This story Hunter homecoming first appeared on Newcastle Herald.