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Chef Thomas Moore, Sage restaurant

Nettles, regional produce, & great producers

Until late 2007, Sage restaurant was run by Thomas Moore and his wife Crystal from a small (intimate is a better word) space in the lovely old (by Canberra standards, 1920s) Gorman House Arts Centre, in Canberra. Thomas gives a lot of his time to training at the local TAFE and has just received a Minister’s Award for Excellence in Training Australian Apprentices. They sold the restaurant to one of their young chefs Kyle Prowse, late in 2007 and now they manage the Grazing Restaurant at Gundaroo

Thom, can you tell us about what started you using nettles, and about how you sourced them?

"I got the idea to use nettles from my parents (ex-herb farmers) - Mum especially, who wanted me to source some for a quilting project she’s working on. She uses the nettles to dye the material a deep natural green.

I grew up on a farm which had an abundance of nettles, and have always been curious about eating them, as my parents often joked to us as kids about how nutritious those “weeds” were, and threatened to cook them up for us.

They were quite surprised when fifteen years later I told them that I had actually put nettles on my menu!
I found that the grassy flavour of the nettles really brings out the flavour of the lamb, and that the addition of crème fraiche, fresh cream or mascarpone cheese to the risotto seems to add to the richness of the dish and gives the risotto a sophisticated mouth feel."

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