If we can’t make it from scratch in the Dinner Ladies kitchen, then we’ll order it in from the best in the land. There are a handful of vital ingredients we buy in from the specialists. These are the folks who’ve spent 24 hours a day, often for decades, mastering their foodie craft. Meet the makers!
Moofish: The best fish supper
We buy our snapper, salmon and barramundi from Moofish, a family-owned and -run business with over 20 years’ experience in both the seafood and meat industries. The family comes from a line of traditional butchers and fishmongers based in the eastern and northern suburbs of Sydney. They’ve been supplying Sydney restaurants, cafes and hotels with premium-quality meat and seafood products since the 1990s.
Since the business’ inception they have built partnerships with some of Australia's best fishermen, meat and seafood suppliers, ensuring they only provide premium and sustainable Australian products (including the Humpty Doo barramundi we love at Dinner Ladies).
Here’s the Moofish promise: ‘Moofish believes that the key to a healthy and balanced lifestyle starts with a person’s diet – and that is why we only supply their clients with the very best seafood available.’
Want a taste of Moofish’s great seafood? Here’s how we’ve cooked it up to make dinner:
Lucas Meats: Iconic butcher
For 60 years, Lucas Meats in Sydney’s eastern suburbs has built a reputation for supplying the finest quality meat and produce. Lucas Meats first opened its doors in 1963, with Leo Lucas at the helm. His son David took over what has now become an iconic Bronte landmark in 2002. David combines his traditional butcher’s skills and experience with a genuine understanding of today’s modern consumers.
Here's the Lucas Meats guarantee:
‘Our products are bought from specialist producers; people who share our passion for good food. The Lucas family has worked hard over the years to forge strong connections with Australia’s top-quality meat suppliers. The majority of our suppliers have been working with us for years and continue to provide us with unrivalled produce. Many of them have even become second-generation family businesses just like us.
We pride ourselves on upholding tried and true skills of the butchers trade to the needs of today’s consumers. Our customers know us for our uniquely-flavoured line of bacon and hams. We have our own curing and smoking facilities based in Bronte, NSW.
From farm to fork, the integrity of production is important to us and we know it is to you, too.
Everything we offer is of the highest quality achievable. This is due to our commitment to sourcing meat products from the best suppliers in Australia that we personally know and trust.
All meat is raised using smart farming methods that prioritise sustainable, humane animal husbandry over mass production methods.
We source only all-natural products and use traditional preparation processes. You will never have to worry about artificial ingredients or unsafe production methods at Lucas Meats.
Our insistence on quality control to provide our customers with outstanding meat products is unrelenting. Our reputation is built upon it.’
What do we cook with Lucas meats? Possibly some of your family favourites!
Rodriguez Brothers: The kings of Spanish smallgoods
Rodriguez Brothers is where we buy our chorizo and other smallgoods. What a find they were! So, when we were out shopping for Spanish sausage, here’s the guarantee that lured us to their doorstep…
‘Rodriguez Bros is a leading manufacturer and importer of quality Spanish and South American smallgoods in Australia. We also specialise in Spanish cheeses, groceries, and paella burners.
The Rodriguez family were the first producers of artisan Spanish smallgoods in Australia, starting in the 1960s in Sydney’s Leichhardt. For over 50 years Rodriguez Bros has been a trusted brand in traditional Spanish cuisine.
Rodriguez chorizos are made to a traditional Spanish family recipe and are featured in many of the Spanish restaurants throughout Australia.
Want a taste of Rodriguez Brothers Spanish chorizo?
Cobram Estate: Global leader in olive farming
When we wanted a home-grown olive oil for our dressings, we couldn’t go past Cobram Estate, with their olives grown, harvested and first cold pressed in Northern Victoria. And not just because of their amazing-tasting oil – they’re also proud global leaders in sustainable farming. These are just some of the reasons we use Cobram:
‘Together Rob McGavin and Paul Riordan planted the first olive tree in 1998. Over the last 20 years the brand has grown to become the market leader in the Australian olive industry and a global leader in sustainable olive farming. Today, we are Australia’s largest olive farmer with over 2.4 million trees planted on more than 6,500 hectares of pristine farmland.
We could talk about our olives for hours. The variety, the flavour, the health benefits, how they’re grown, the right time to harvest and how extra virgin olive oil is made.
Our passion for quality inspires everything we do. We take a tree-to-table approach to create fresh, healthy, award winning extra virgin olive oil.
Uniquely, we look after every stage of how extra virgin olive oil is made– from planting the trees on our groves, to harvesting and first cold pressing the olives and bottling the oil. This ensures every bottle or tin of extra virgin olive oil meets our high standards, resulting in our award-winning extra virgin olive oil.
We use, recycle or upcycle everything. Less than 0.5% of output from our operations ends up in landfill. Our olive pits are now used as a renewable energy source to heat our boilers and surplus stock is sold to other businesses for similar purposes. We utilise the olive leaves to make our Stone & Grove™ branded olive leaf tea and Wellgrove® olive leaf extracts, and any pruned branches are mulched and returned to the soil as organic fertiliser. Our olive pomace waste is now used in the soil to reduce chemical fertiliser requirements.’
For truly great olive oil flavour (in what, we like to think, is a truly great dressing!) try these:
Riverina Fresh: Dairy like it used to taste
If you’ve ever wondered why our bechamel sauce, creamy pie fillings and mac & cheese taste so… well… creamy, it’s because we use Riverina Fresh. They’re a 100% Australian-owned dairy company who’ve been in business since 1922 in the Riverina Valley – the southern NSW inland region known as Australia’s ‘food bowl’. So they know their milk.
‘At Riverina Fresh we partner with a small group of 20 dairy farmers in our backyard of the Riverina region, to supply our premium milk to supermarkets and cafés across NSW, VIC and ACT.
The region has a temperate climate and the farmers have a flat dairy curve which ensures our milk is always of a consistent quality and great taste.
The Australian dairy farms that supply our Riverina Fresh milk are owned and operated by our passionate farmers, many who are second generation. They are experts in dairy and are committed to producing quality fresh milk.
Our daily processing is mindful to protect the freshness and flavour of our milk. We collect milk daily from the farms and have it delivered directly to our factory in Wagga Wagga, NSW where it is bottled fresh. The consistency of our processing enables us to produce consistently good milk.
Riverina Fresh milk has a smooth, full bodied flavour and an unmistakably rich mouthfeel. It is packed with natural goodness and exceptional taste, which is why it is an award-winning milk year after year.'
We cook with creamy Riverina Fresh dairy to make some of our – and hopefully your – all-time favourite dinners:
Two Providores: Sharing stories and produce
When we set out to source a specific ingredient – say the crumbled King Island smoked cheddar we wanted for our new Cauliflower and smoked cheese gratin – who do we go to? Two Providores, of course. Their business is to connect ‘Australia’s best artisans and producers with like-minded chefs’. This is how they describe their business in Sydney foodie hub Marrickville:
‘Our artisan range features world-class specialty products from producers committed to sustainability, ethical harvesting and positive environmental change.
Help us to support our local Aussie farmers, growers, cheesemakers, beekeepers and bakers – together, let’s keep Australian producers producing!
We are experts in our respective fields and come from diverse backgrounds around the world. This experience and culture results in a team that pulls together to offer fabulous personal customer service coupled with quality products.
Our artisan range features world-class specialty products from producers committed to sustainability and positive environmental change. We also proudly champion the best local producers that Australia has to offer. Together, let’s keep Australian producers producing.’
If you’d like to taste that great Two Providores King Island smoked cheddar, here’s how we used it:
Carême: Cream of pastries
When we discovered buttery, melt-in-the-mouth Carême pastry, we snapped it up. And then we rolled it out, crimped the edges and egg-washed it over all our pies and sausage rolls!
Claire Wood, the co-owner of Barossa-based Carême Pastry, let us into the secrets of making buttery puff pastry that ALWAYS tastes good. Read more of that interview here.
‘Pastry needs to appeal to both the eye and the palate – think of those irresistibly dreamy pastry displays in French patisseries. The world of pastry incorporates both art and science – nothing excites our senses more than the sight of a classic tarte au citron or a golden homemade rustic pie.
‘Great butter is the secret ingredient that gives our dough its colour, mouth feel, rich full flavour and texture. There are many different types of pastry, and different types of fat are used to produce high-quality dough. For us, that fat has to be butter and the starting point is always the quality of the butter. Butter melts at body temperature, which results in that ‘melt-in-the-mouth’ sensation of the best pastry. Our speciality at Carême is puff pastry and quality butter is integral to that.
‘Without giving away our trade secrets, at Carême we adopt a hands-on approach to making our dough. We take the same level of care that a pastry chef would in a restaurant or patisserie. Carême is as good as homemade, or chef-made. Oh, and did we mention the butter?!’
We are pretty much addicted to Carême pastry! You’ll find it – perfectly flaky, buttery and golden – anywhere we can use it…