The Tasmanian Food Conversation: Elliott Chugg

The Hotel Grand Chancellor Launceston is a renowned hotel in Tasmania. Recently renovated, the Hotel Grand Chancellor is a 4.5 star hotel right in the centre of the Launceston CBD. This hotel is popular for several reasons: their conference centre boasts the largest conference space in Northern Tasmania, it is surrounded by notable attractions such as Launceston City Park, James Boags Brewery and the Tasmanian Design Centre; and it is home to the iconic Avenue Restaurant.

To celebrate the launch of the Avenue Restaurant’s new menu, we sat down with Executive Chef Elliott Chugg to talk about Tasmanian produce and how it has influenced their new menu.

The atmosphere of the Avenue Restaurant is warm and inviting, the perfect atmosphere for families, couples or any individuals who want to experience a high quality Tasmanian meal. The restaurant is a popular dining choice for hotel guests, but it is open to members of the public as well.

Our Digital Marketing Coordinator and Elliott discussing the benefits of cooking with Shima Wasabi.          📷 Fiona Boyer

Elliott is no stranger to cooking with The Tasmanian Food Co. products – he was one of the chefs involved with The Tasmanian Food Co.’s Cooking in the Park demonstrations during Festivale 2019. He taught a large crowd of Tasmanian foodies how to cook Inspired Entertainer’s Chicken, featuring Nichols Poultry and Meander Valley Dairy products.

Sitting down with Elliott, it’s clear he is very passionate about being a chef in Tasmania. A common theme in restaurant-goers is the desire to eat and support Tasmanian produce. This was the biggest influence of the Avenue Restaurant’s new menu.

“There is such wide diversity of customers that I cook for in the hotel,” Elliott explains. But no matter if the customers are local, national or international, all customers want to try Tasmanian products, famous for being so fresh and delicious. “They are famous on the world stage,” says Elliott. “Let’s not undersell ourselves.”

Elliott’s favourite thing about being a chef in Tasmania is, “having all of these amazing products right at our doorstep. Right through from amazing proteins in Sassafras from Nichols Chicken, to having wasabi, to truffles, to walnuts down South. It’s just a haven for foodies here in Tassie.”

When asked about Tasmanian produce, Elliott’s first thought is the Tamar Valley region. He is very passionate about this region as it is where Elliott can source produce locally. “We are at the foot of the Tamar Valley, and we’ve got everything here at our doorstep. And if it’s not here, it’s only a reach away, being in Tasmania.”

Cured Macquarie Harbour Salmon, served with Shima Wasabi. 📷 Fiona Boyer

The conversation shifts to more specific elements of the Avenue Restaurant’s new menu. “It’s modern Australian meets classic French,” Elliott describes. “It’s French inspired. Everything we do is classic, like our sauces. Our sauces are a great example of how you can say our menu is French inspired.” It is clear Elliott is thrilled with the success of implementing traditional French elements into the new menu, such as jus and Café de Paris butter.

When creating the menu, Elliott considered a whole range of things: highlighting dishes he is passionate about cooking, showcasing fresh local ingredients and producing something that he is confident his customers will enjoy. An example of this is using products like Meander Valley Dairy Double Cream, which is free from gelatine or any other thickeners. “It is important for me with dietary requirements of our guests that I can produce a vegetarian dish. When heating a dairy product that has been thickened with gelatine, once it has been scalded and cools down it will have different characteristics to a cream that does not have thickeners.”

Elliott was also excited to upgrade to some newer, more premium products for the menu.  “We are really happy to have the Cloth Matured Goats Cheddar on our menu,” says Elliott. “The cloth bound really aids in the maturation process and gives it some really good tones and notes. It makes it more of a premium cheddar.”

Pyengana Dairy’s newly launched Cloth Matured Goat Cheddar is handcrafted using the same practices Pyengana Dairy has been using for over 130 years.

The Avenue Restaurant’s menu features products from Nichols Poultry, Meander Valley Dairy, Shima Wasabi, Robur Farm Dairy and Pyengana Dairy. Call The Hotel Grand Chancellor Launceston on (03) 6334 3434 to make a booking today.