Don’t wing it: Use these chef-approved ideas to impress your dinner guests.
Jun 04, 2023 10:25pm
“You can tell the birds have been really well fed and well looked after,” says French-Australian chef Reymond. “This is the first time I have encountered such beautifully flavoured and textured birds in Australia, and when you eat one of their chickens or ducks, that is something really special.”
Rather than commercial chicken, the specialty poultry range includes corn-fed duck, slow-grown cockerel (a young male chicken) and slow-grown pullet (a young female chicken which has yet to lay an egg).
Here, each Melbourne chef applies their own cultural traditions, cooking techniques and personal flair to the produce — creating a series of impressive dishes for any occasion.
Jerry Mai: Steamed ginger cockerel
Jerry Mai, Vietnamese-Australian owner-chef of a slew of Melbourne restaurants, cut her teeth bringing Vietnamese, Thai and Cambodian cuisine to the Melbourne food scene. When it comes to cooking with cockerel, these Asian flavours are never far from the plate.
Drawn to the tender texture and ‘gai’ flavour of the Aurum Poultry Co. range, the culinary star created a distinctive recipe for steamed ginger cockerel inspired by her memories of Tet (Vietnamese New Year) “when the whole chicken, head and all, is presented.”
To achieve this rich, tender taste, Aurum Poultry Co. practices slow growing. While the chicken industry standard lifetime is 42 days from hatching to processing, the Fook Wong birds are grown for over 100 days to develop muscle and strengthen bones.
Jacques Reymond: Roast cockerel with tarragon sauce
With a celebrated history in the Australian hospitality landscape — helming his eponymous fine dining venue for 22 years — chef Jacques Reymond combines traditional French technique with Asian flavours.
Reymond’s recipe for roast cockerel with tarragon sauce, a creamy herb condiment that pairs well with chicken, is a hallmark of French cuisine.
“Fook Wong Cockerel reminds me so much of the Poulet de Bresse they breed in the village I am from in France,” he shares. “These cockerels have so much natural flavour, that there is no need to cook the accompanying sauce for a long time.”
Aside from slow growing, Aurum Poultry Co. also commits to low-density farming, keeping fewer birds to allow them more room to run and to spread their wings, which builds stronger muscles. And more muscle means greater texture and flavour.
David Dellai: Cockerel forest cacciatore
“I see it as a chance to educate customers on a product that they may be unfamiliar with. I also use the chicken bones in a number of my stocks and sauces as they are packed full of real poultry flavour,” Dellai says.
Refined simplicity and quality ingredients define his cooking style, as seen in his recipe for slow grown cockerel forest cacciatore. This traditional Italian dish is given a creative twist as Dellai incorporates forest-foraged ingredients.