Nation's top chefs choose regional produce as food finalists
SOME of the region's best produce, from grass-fed hoggets to sweet, tangy vinegar, has been recognised by the nation's top chefs.
Both Ballandean vinegar and verjus producer LíráH and organic sheep farm Siwa Fresh near Roma have been nominated for an ABC delicious. Produce Award.
The awards received a record 3110 nominations from around the country before the team of leading chefs, including Maggie Beer and Shannon Bennett, chose finalists.
LíráH owner and principal vinegar maker Ian Henderson's sweet chardonnay and sweet apple vinegars were nominated.
Ian hopes it will be second-time lucky after LíráH was also a finalist last year.
"Most people know us for selling retail bottles of vinegar, but our main market is actually supplying chefs so it's more about being recognised by your peers," he said.
"These are the Logies of the food industry so it's a very big deal."
Amy Tiller from Siwa Fresh said it was a huge coup for their grass-fed hogget to have been recognised, just more than a year after the business began.
"We've been told by so many customers it's delicious, but to have that recognition just proves we're doing something right," Amy said.
Amy's father Adrian decided to cut out the middle men and sell his own lamb, hogget and mutton at the beginning of last year.
The family-run business recently opened its own organic butcher shop in Brisbane and can deliver to Toowoomba on request.
Finalists will walk the red carpet at a special awards dinner on July 15 in Sydney before the winners are announced in the August issue of the delicious. magazine released on July 17.
"The chefs will be cooking with the hogget at the awards dinner which is really exciting," Amy said.
"Obviously, if we won anything, it would be beyond belief."
The awards are now in their eighth year.