Have you hesitated from cooking mussels at home? Don’t! They’re the easiest thing to cook on earth. There’s so many recipes to suit all tastes, from light and tart to rich and almost sweet, but these marvellous molluscs shine in Bronwyn’s capable hands at Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed.
And I don’t write the recipe here, because Bronwyn tells you all about it in the short video we filmed at Bangor. She explains the tale of what to do if they don’t open. Is it a myth? Largely, yes, and she does tell you when to ditch.
And I’d like to tell you a bit about Bronwyn, who loves her job, does it well, and came into the industry in a curvy trail like so many today. First up, she’s not “a wanky chef”, and runs a very democratic and supportive kitchen. Bron doesn’t run by anybody’s playbook, and encourages ideas from staff, owners, suppliers, emphasizing they’re all learning together.
As we talk, Bron’s loyal sous, Lucy, chimes in sometimes as she keeps busy getting the restaurant ready for service. And where did Bronwyn start? She’s always loved cooking, and after a big career in retail, and a decided tree change, she was selling her own sourdough bread at the Bream Creek Farmers’ Market.
She was offered a job working for Ben Bate at the Dunalley Waterfront Café. Ben is an accomplished chef, having worked for Marco (yes, the Marco!) and at Bilsons in Sydney, and they clicked. Bron did her apprenticeship in 18 months, and she soon ended up at Bangor as sous chef.
Lucky for us, and Bronwyn, the head chef at Bangor then didn’t work out, and she stepped up to the plate to take Bangor to a new level. Her take on what makes a head chef? “They need to be a leader, and have good conflict resolution skills. The great thing about Tassie is the opportunities that abound here. And I make sure I surround myself with good people. So many skills can be transferred from other industries.”
Bronwyn is now an advocate for Industry Link, and talks at length about how she manages her food costs, her budgets, waste and sustainability. Ahhh, my favourite word! She reduced food costs by 10% in 6 months.
And she keeps her staff fluid. Sometimes the front of house staff work in the kitchen, so they know the food, and know it well. It’s obvious there’s a beautiful culture happening here. It’s a small team, they support each other, and for all of them, work is just another arm to family. It’s that good.
So I hope you enjoy the video, and there’s much more to come, with great and useful content about restaurant costing, management and sustainability in our up and coming membership site, Cook and Cauldron. I’m working like crazy on putting together some incredible tips and help for you industry and foodie people out there. But in the meantime, just enjoy Bronwyn and her beautiful dish.