Guy Jeffreys 2017 Winner
When The West Australian Good Food Guide goes looking for Guy Jeffreys it’s no surprise to find him in his favourite spot — happily picking broad bean shoots after finishing a busy lunch service.
That’s what he does when he’s not in the kitchen of Millbrook Estate’s restaurant where he spends the best part of around 50 hours a week painstakingly honing the craft of a chef who practices what others preach. Nose to tail? Root to shoot? Heirloom? Grown from seed? More lip service anyone?
While others reel off the popular lingo and debate whether to put the buzz words in Helvetica or Baskerville font on their menus, the unpretentious and endearingly humble Jeffreys has long been getting down and getting his hands dirty… and loving it.
That’s why he begins and ends his long working day hanging out with the chickens and tending the half-hectare vegie garden a short stroll from the cottage he lives in with his family on the Jarrahdale property. His approach to his vastly understated job description as a chef/gardener is to lead by example, rostering other chefs in a communal sunset gardening shift every Thursday till sunset. For him, it’s not a job it’s a downright calling and one he approaches with missionary-like zeal.
“There’s no point in weeding the rows for six months and then picking the beans and not using the shoots,” he says. “That would be a waste. Root to shoot? Yeah, I think I just made that expression up. That’s what we do. It’s just the vegie version of nose to tail.”
The shoots will end up in a salad on tomorrow’s menu which is a constantly changing showcase of produce from the picturesque property where he has been quietly trailblazing the holistic approach to food for the past seven and a half years, well before the trendsetting chefs started seeing veg as the hero on the plate.
“Sometimes we even change the menu mid-service,” he says. “We’re now producing all the fruit and veg on the menu and do our own olive oil from the olive grove and harvest the fruit from the orchard.”
For Jeffreys the produce is only the beginning of the journey. From there he turns it into pretty plates banging with freshness and bursting with the intensity that only fresh picked produce can bring. And it’s not all about veg. Often it’s paired with duck hearts incubated and hatched on the property, or pork which is butchered in house.
As for winning awards and The West Australian Good Food Guide, he shrugs and says: “I think it’s great. Operators in WA don’t have many arenas for recognition like they do over east so to receive an honour in this one is truly special. I will be out of here as soon as I can to celebrate with others in the industry.”
We’re now producing all the fruit and veg on the menu and do our own olive oil from the olive grove and harvest the fruit from the orchard"Guy Jeffreys Winner & Millbrook Estate Head Chef