Netflix’s Chef’s Table brings Australian barbecue to life
Netflix series Chef’s Table: BBQ puts the spotlight on Australia’s hottest dining experience at Firedoor.
By Leah Dobihal
Behind the flickering flames at Surry Hills restaurant Firedoor, chef and Friend of Australia Lennox Hastie harnesses humanity’s oldest form of cooking: fire.
The newest season of Netflix’s Emmy-nominated series Chef’s Table, released on 2 September 2020, features the world’s best barbecue cooks – one of whom is Firedoor’s very own Lennox Hastie.
The Australian episode of Chef’s Table: BBQ follows Hastie’s hunt for Australia’s most delicious ingredients, and the ways in which fire can elevate them to something truly unforgettable.
During the episode, Hastie tells the tale of his fascination with fire from the beginning, all while seeking out some of Australia’s unmatched produce. What accompanies these iconic ingredients? A beautiful backdrop and a roaring fire.
The first stop on his Chef’s Table: BBQ tour is a visit to premier butcher Victor Churchill, where Hastie sources beef that he dry-ages for not 30 days, not 90 days, but 200 days. According to Hastie, it's well worth the wait.
Australia has a rich history of cooking over fire – a history that began with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people tens of thousands of years ago. During Chef’s Table: BBQ, Hastie taps into this ancient knowledge with Kuku Yalanji man Juan Walker, owner and guide of Walkabout Cultural Adventures in Queensland's Daintree Rainforest.
With Walker in the lead, Hastie learns to catch mud crabs from the damp sand on the edge of the rainforest. Within minutes, bright orange flames are licking at the freshly caught crabs.
Though Australians have an affinity for barbecuing the country's abundance of fresh seafood and meat, Hastie doesn’t ignore the earthy flavours that vegetables bring to the table. A visit to Stix Farm in the Hawkesbury region of New South Wales offers the fresh produce that will soon take on the rich, charred flavour that only fire can create.
While Chef’s Table: BBQ brings Hastie to some of the country’s most fertile locations, there’s nowhere he feels more comfortable cooking over fire than in his Sydney restaurant, Firedoor.
Powered entirely by wood and flame, Firedoor is a dining experience fuelled by humans’ connection – and fascination – with fire.
One of the reasons Hastie is so drawn to this method of cooking is the way it has brought people together for millennia, and Firedoor continues this tradition.
The restaurant’s open kitchen allows diners to be a part of the action, watching the team master coal, heat and fire to serve up everything from oysters and octopus to zucchini and caviar.
Carefully selected wood produces the unique embers and smoke that keep Hastie’s menu brimming with intrigue and surprise. Each dish is grilled, baked, charred and warmed over fire; no conventional ovens or stoves can be found. It’s apparent as you take your first bite that fire isn’t just the method of cooking at Firedoor – it’s an ingredient in its own right.
Firedoor isn’t the only place to experience exceptional open-flame dining. Here are some of the best places to try Australia’s hottest food trend.
Try Australia's flame-cooked feasts
- Pialligo Estate Smokehouse Pizza, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: Try the pork crackling and potato pizza, cooked by woodfire.
- Table 131 at Longitude 131, Uluru, Northern Territory: Enjoy an iconic outdoor dining experience with a central fire pit and snacks cooked over the flame.
- Three Blue Ducks, Byron Bay, New South Wales: Stop in on a Sunday for local and ethically sourced ingredients roasted over the barbecue.
- Barrio, Byron Bay, New South Wales: Taste the freshly grilled seafood, including mussels, pippies and octopus.
- Vic’s Meat Market, Sydney, New South Wales: Sink your teeth into a smoked wagyu cheeseburger with Vic’s homemade barbecue sauce.
- Walkabout Cultural Adventures, Daintree, Queensland: Follow in Hastie’s footsteps and catch mud crabs with a Kuku Yalanji guide.
- Africola, Adelaide, South Australia: Try the Peri Peri chicken with brown rice and schmaltz and a side of signature fermented flatbread.
- Peacock and Jones, Hobart, Tasmania: Don’t miss the duck breast roasted over coals.
- Fancy Hank’s, Melbourne, Victoria: Order the Black Angus brisket with burnt ends.
- BWG Steakhouse, Applecross, Western Australia: BWG is famous for its dry-aged steaks cooked over a wood- and coal-fired grill.