Why Australian seafood is worth the price

Restaurateur-chef Matt Moran says our national white fish, barramundi, is a best seller in Australian restaurants.
Restaurateur-chef Matt Moran says our national white fish, barramundi, is a best seller in Australian restaurants. Photo: Supplied

COMMENT

I'm a big believer in the saying, "Don't bite the hand that feeds". And that motto is never more relevant than when it comes to supporting our farmers. 

As a chef, I know first-hand about the need to keep food costs down. But profit margins shouldn't come at the expense of farming families.

Our national white fish, barramundi, is a best seller in Australian restaurants.

But you may be surprised to know that more than 60 per cent of the barramundi served here is imported.   

The dark truth is that, in order to save costs, many restaurant operators serve barramundi farmed in south-east Asia under the guise of Australian – it's cheaper as a result of less regulation. But this puts pressure on barra farmers in tropical North Queensland, the Northern Territory and Victoria.   

I want the dishes to speak of the flavours of Australia.

There is no law that insists the industry must articulate where the produce was sourced. And as a result, many Australians don't  know whether their seafood is local or imported.

We need to do something about that. And this is where people in the Australian hospitality industry have the power to be game-changers. 

After spending my childhood on a farm, I know the back-breaking passion, sweat, love and labour that goes into rearing the very best produce in  Australia, and it's work that's worth every cent. 

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I stand by every piece of produce we put on the plate for guests at my restaurants. I want the dishes to speak of the flavours of Australia – to speak of our land and water and the people who helped bring it to the plate. 

I want the dishes to tell a story of honesty, integrity and genuine passion that celebrates Australian produce. 

To me, it is all about using seasonal and local produce. It's about that irreplaceable Australian food experience and if something isn't in season, it's not on the menu. 

On Friday, October 18, I'll be joining more than 40 restaurants around the country to support National Barramundi Day. It's a day all about celebrating the stories behind our barramundi farmers, who deliver fresh, delicious and local seafood. 

It's a great time to say "thank you" to our farmers and really look at where the food you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner comes from. Support local farmers, taste the difference, and ask for Aussie barra.  

Matt Moran is restaurateur, chef and fourth-generation farmer.