Peter Barrett

Sustainable designer and gardener Joost Bakker. Click for more photos

Kitchen Spy: Joost Bakker

Sustainable designer and gardener Joost Bakker. Photo: Luis Ascui, Getty Images

  • Sustainable designer and gardener Joost Bakker.
  • The staples: some of Bakker's fermented goods.
  • Addictive: four-year-old Dutch gouda.
  • The staples: milled sourdough bread from Bakker's restaurant, Brothl.
  • Recipe stalwart: Bakker's fermented rice.
  • The staples: Bakker makes his own butter from Schulz Organic Dairy body cream.
  • Secret vice: Dutch chocolate sprinkles, for smothering on bread and butter.
  • Toolkit: Bakker's wheat grinder.
  • The staples: fresh eggs from Bakker's chickens.
  • Inspiration: Sandor Ellix Katz's <i>The Art of Fermentation</i>.
  • Bakker's house features exterior walls of potted strawberry plants.

Dutch-born Joost Bakker's early interest in drawing has led to a creative life that fuses food, design, philosophy and art. He has installed flowers at top-flight restaurants, constructed sustainable ''green houses'' around the country (including Federation Square and at the Sydney Opera House) and recently his zero-waste-producing Melbourne restaurant has been turning heads.

This year it was renamed Brothl, for the broths made from bones Neil Perry's restaurants throw away. We caught up with the 41-year-old in his self-built straw-bale house (clad in strawberries, no less), where he lives with wife Jennie, daughters Ruby, 11, Charlie, 9, and Remy, 6, pet dog Molly, five chooks and two goats.

The staples

My pantry There are always eggs from our chickens, tomato sauce that Jen makes every year, Nutty Monkey Company salted organic peanut butter for the kids, freshly milled sourdough bread from Brothl, and half a dozen different types of honey (I have nine hives and a healthy honey rivalry with a friend in Neutral Bay). In terms of fermenting we are currently doing kimchi, mead, beans, red capsicum and my daughter Charlie has done a sensational pickle with our shallots.

My fridge We eat a lot of fresh stuff so there's not a lot. We go through heaps of Dutch cheese though. I really like this Dutch gouda. It's been aged four years and it's addictive. I make my own butter with raw body cream from Schulz Organic Dairy, which I get every Monday morning, and I make yoghurt from the milk. With the buttermilk that's left over I ferment rice (42 hours in summer, 48 hours in winter).

Most unforgettable meal

I was on my way to give a talk at MAD Symposium in Denmark, two years ago, when I got a call from my wife telling me to come home because my dad, who had been ill for a while, was going backwards fast. I didn't quite make it home before he died but one of my mates, Jason Chan from Batch Espresso, made this beautiful big pot of stew for us. We ate it the night dad was buried - it was just unbelievable.

I'm drinking

I drink coffee and water and we make two different kombucha teas - a traditional one and honey and ginger for the kids. I like wine and I'm loving Cullen chardonnay at the moment. We got boxes of the stuff last time we were at Margaret River. It's probably Australia's most famous biodynamic vineyard. It's quite a complex wine, particularly when it's not too cold. But I like beer too, perhaps a cold Coopers Pale Ale.

Last night's dinner

Potatoes with kale, carrots and sausage. We picked two bunches of kale from the garden, boiled some potatoes until nearly all the water was gone, then added the kale, chopped carrots and finely chopped German sausage. The kids love it and it's really sustaining in winter.

Recipe stalwart

Fermented rice. It's so simple. I use Rainfed Rice but any biodynamic semi-polished rice is good. I soak it in buttermilk but you can use water (as long as its not tap water, which is chlorinated) and then you just leave it for 24 hours. This way you activate the rice, making it more nutritious and easier to digest. Then you just cook as normal.

Favourite

My Schnitzer oat roller - I even travel with one. I can't live without fresh oats in the morning, which I have with yoghurt and honey. Fresh oats are really good for your body as well as your mental health.

Secret vice

Dutch chocolate sprinkles. Smother your bread with butter and sprinkle this over the top. We have it for breakfast on Saturdays. The kids love it as much as we do.

My inspiration

It's really down to what we've got in the garden. We have about 100 heirloom apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums and 12 different citrus trees. We can't live without Stephanie Alexander's cookbook and I'm loving Sandor Ellix Katz's The Art of Fermentation at the moment, too.

My toolkit

My honey bucket is great - it has a honey gate and it just pours out smoothly (it's really hard to handle honey), my wheat grinder is really important and my herbs go well in this stainless steel lolly dispenser I found. And I'd struggle without my WEGA coffee machine - I have a good half-dozen coffees a day.