Sustainability champions Jo Barrett and Matt Stone head to Harvest in Byron Bay

Jo Barrett and Matt Stone in the kitchen at Future Food System in Melbourne.
Jo Barrett and Matt Stone in the kitchen at Future Food System in Melbourne. Photo: Earl Carter

 Sustainability kitchen warriors Jo Barrett and Matt Stone are making the great march north to Byron Bay, the chefs joining the team at the rapidly expanding Harvest restaurant group.

A boom in restaurant openings across regional NSW has seen increasing numbers of top-shelf hospitality hires make a tree- and sea-change.

Stone and Barrett, who made their mark at Oakridge winery restaurant in Victoria's Yarra Valley before joining boundary-pushing Future Food System in Melbourne, have signed on as executive chefs with the group, working alongside its creative director, David Moyle.

With a Harvest Newrybar spin-off opening next year at the new surf lodge at Wisemans Ferry, on Sydney's north-western outskirts, it adds to the group's collection of food venues in and around Byron Bay.

Harvest in Newrybar is part of a growing hospitality group based in and around Byron Bay.

Harvest in Newrybar is part of a growing hospitality group with a sustainability focus. Photo: Elise Derwin

Stone says there is plenty to keep the three of them busy and that he and Barrett will initially focus on the group's northern NSW venues. Given their philosophy of using local produce, the zero-waste chef says the region will give him his first real run in years at cooking with seafood. "I'll be using those Ballina prawns," he says.

"We've all long admired what Matt and Jo do," says Moyle. "And to be able to work together on adding to the impact they've already made is a huge moment for Harvest."

Stone will join Harvest early next month, spending the first few weeks visiting producers and suppliers before jumping into the kitchen in late November. Barrett won't join Harvest until early 2022, tying up some project work in Melbourne and working on her Have a Go magazine series.

The dining room they oversaw at the Joost Bakker-led Future Food System pop-up in Melbourne will not reopen, but tours of the facility will be amped up.