“I have always loved the rhubarb plant and its vibrant, cherry-coloured, delicious stalks. My mum grows rhubarb in her vegetable garden and has done so ever since I was a young boy growing up in Melbourne, Australia. I still put in requests for jars of her homemade rhubarb and strawberry jam to this day.” Curtis
Rhubarb is an ingredient that is particularly seasonal, available from late April to late June. Historically, the rhubarb was more commonly used as an ornamental plant, but we can thank the Brits for bringing it into the kitchen. Although it is commonly used as a fruit and made into sweet pies, puddings and crumbles, it is actually a vegetable and is an incredible ingredient to use in savoury dishes. It’s more than a pie plant.
For example, duck with orange has always been a crowd favourite and in the same way the acidity of the orange works well with the duck, the same applies for rhubarb. Duck is very rich and needs something with a little sharpness to cut through the intense flavour.
As usual with our hero ingredient, we threaded this tangy spring vegetable through each of our tasting plates in May. We married rhubarb, sourced from a variety of Northern Californian fields, with local and highly seasonal ingredients such as strawberries, lavender, ginger and spot prawns. Initially we were faced with a challenge (a thrilling one at that) to create a degustation with an ingredient so synonymous with classic desserts but that’s why we’re all here – to learn, grow and really evolve ourselves as chefs (and to create delicious dishes for our special guests, too!)