Farm to Great with Noosa Beach House
Noosa Beach House Executive Chef George Francisco creates great food, with help from his friends on the farm. Deb Caruso egg-xamines the relationship between farmer and chef.
Noosa Beach House Executive Chef George Francisco relishes the opportunity to showcase local produce and is an active member of Slow Food Noosa, a grassroots organisation that links pleasure and food with awareness and is part of the global Slow Food movement with a network of more than one million members worldwide.
He is a recipient of the ‘Snail of Approval’ which recognises those in the food industry that champion the Slow Food principles of good, clean and fair food.
George respects the seasons and loves bringing local produce to life at Noosa Beach House.
“I try to create dishes around what is available locally so in a sense, I let the farm write my menu,” he said. “For winter, I’ve created a Twice-Baked Gruyere Cheese Soufflé with Shaved Australian Black Truffles.
“It’s the perfect dish as we come into cooler months and includes two of my favourite suppliers: Gruyere Cheese from Fromart and Dragan Farms, an organic farmer based in Peregian Beach that specialise in pasture-raised eggs.”
Dragan Farms co-owner and mum of two, Alexi Cox, said they loved working with local chefs because of the honest feedback they get.
“They tell you straight so you will know instantly if your produce isn’t up to standard,” she laughs.
Dragan Farms has become a destination for locals keen to access organic and wholesome food as close to the source as possible and what they don’t grow, they source from nearby organic producers.
“Initially, we were a small family business raising chickens on my mum’s paddocks and we did all the work,” she said “But as the kids’ commitments have grown, so has our team – Mike runs the paddocks and his partner Danielle collects the eggs; Jade and the girls help me in the farm shop.
“Each member of our team is invaluable and we couldn’t do it without them.
“We produce eggs, honey and Dragonfruit in the summer months and try to keep things as close to how nature intended it,” she said. “We believe when you work with nature it is reflected in the produce. The chickens are on fresh paddocks from dawn to dusk, they eat exactly what they want, when they want. A happy chook produces a quality egg.”
Alexi said it was an honour for George to use their eggs and recommend them for the perfect soufflé!
“It also gives us a great excuse to visit Noosa Beach House when we are in Noosa,” she says.
Get your soufflé direct from Noosa Beach House or pop into Dragan Farms on Wednesday and Fridays from 9am-5pm and 8am-2pm on Sundays and give George’s recipe a go!
Twice Baked Gruyere Cheese Soufflé with Shaved Australian Black Truffles
• 20g butter (unsalted)
• 20g plain flour
• Pinch salt
• 100ml milk (warm)
• 30g Gruyere cheese, grated
• 10g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
• hint nutmeg, grated
• 2 Dragan Farms egg yolks
• 4 Dragan Farms egg whites, whipped to stiff peaks
To line the mould
• 1 tablespoon softened butter (unsalted)
• 1 tablespoon plain flour
For the second bake
• 120ml pouring cream
• 15g freshly grated Gruyere cheese
• Pinch salt
• 15g or more Australian black truffle (other black truffles are acceptable)
• Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees
• Melt butter in a large saucepan, add flour and salt and cook together, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the side of the pan.
• Slowly add the warm milk off the heat, stirring to avoid lumps.
• Return to heat and bring to a boil.
• Cook until thick, about three minutes.
• Add nutmeg, then cheeses and stir.
• Allow to cool slightly, then add yolks and mix thoroughly.
• Let cool completely then fold in ¼ of the stiff peak egg whites.
• When lightly incorporated, fold in the remaining whites.
• Rub the inside of a soufflé mould with softened butter then add a spoonful of flour and coat the entire inside of the mould evenly.
• Turn the mould upside down and give it a light tap on the bench to remove excess flour.
• Add soufflé mix to the soufflé mould.
• The mix should just come up to the top of the edge of the mould before baking.
• Run your thumb with a tea towel around the edge of the mould to clean it. Bake in a preheated 180-degree oven until golden brown and the middle sets.
• For one soufflé this size it should be about 20 minutes.
• If desired, enjoy it straight from the oven.
At the restaurant we cool the souffle completely and remove it from the mould. In a sauté pan, we add the cream, grated Gruyere cheese and salt for the second bake. On top of this we add the cooled soufflé. Note that the souffle will have fallen during the cooling process but do not be concerned it comes back on the second bake. Place the sauté pan in a 180-degree oven and bake until the soufflé puffs back up and is hot all of the way through. Put the soufflé in the dish you wish to serve it in, pour the remaining creamy cheese or cheesy cream over the top of the soufflé and then grate the fresh black truffle on top.