Chef Challenge - Jesse McTavish

Jesse McTavish is responsible for some of the most grammable food in town, through his involvement in such Melbourne brunch hotspots as Top Paddock (helloo-oo, did someone say “hotcake”?) and The Kettle Black (home of the ash roll and even more ways to serve crayfish on brioche. But it’s his work with sustainable seafood recipes and beachside foraging that really give this surfer boy from Byron Bay the it-factor.

For his Chef Challenge, Jesse shared some of his favourite summer sustainable seafood recipes for entertaining, utilising sustainable seafood options from our own market fishmongers, given a chic twist with some simple fresh food additions.

Sustainable Seafood Recipes:

Prawn Burger

Brioche bun
Siracha chilli sauce
Kewpie Mayo

De-vein, keeping head and shell intact
Boil enough water to cover the prawns, with 1 shallot, 1 star anise, salt, whole peppercorns and a bay leaf for 10minuted until the flavour develops
Pour over prawns and seal let rest for 5-8minutes depending on the size of the prawns.

Pickled cucumbers:
6:1 vinegar to sugar
Salt to taste
Bring to boil, allow to cool, pour over cucumber cut in 5cm lengths and quartered
Keep refrigerated for 24hrs before use.

Assemble and serve.

Oysters with Cherry Vinaigrette

Oyster vinaigrette:

12 Ripe cherries
100ml Chardonnay vinegar
5gm finely diced Shallot
Sydney Rock oysters, shucked
Push the cheeked cherries through a fine mesh strainer or chinois.
Add the remaining ingredients and adjust seasoning.
Pour over oysters and serve immediately.

White Sardine and Bread Salad


Whole sardines
6% per volume of sardines of salt lake salt
Chardonnay vinegar to cover

Remove heads, guts and spines of sardines.
Cover evenly with salt, layer neatly and refrigerate for 12hrs.
Wash salt off each fillet and cover with Chardonnay vinegar for 12hrs.
Use straight from the pickle mixture, use the pickle as a dressing. Yum.

Torn Fried Bread

Tear good quality sourdough and sauté in a pan on high heat in good olive oil and salt until it’s crisp and well coloured.
Remove and serve right away.

Blistered Tomatoes

Coat tomatoes with good olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a tray in a preheated oven at 220°c until blistered.
Remove and serve right away with fennel pollen.

Kingfish canapé
Torched Kingfish:
1 fillet hiramasa kingfish
1 bunch baby asparagus
Slices fillet with the grain in 3mm slices

Kelp Salt

Dried seaweed
Sea salt

Sauce Verde

1 bunch Parsley (roots attached)
1 bunch dill
50g capers
6 white sardines
Good Olive oil
1 lemon (juice)

Wash all herbs and blend all ingredients until incorporated.
Adjust seasoning.

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