Martin Boetz used to be head honcho at Longrain Sydney and Melbourne, but he left to go on somewhat of a quest for fresh. He established the Cooks Co-op, on his farm an hour north of Sydney on the Hawkesbury River, producing ingredients first for himself and friends and now for his new restaurant Rushcutters, located on the old Neild Avenue site in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.

We grill Martin on the tree-change, his dream holiday and his addiction to chips.

Q: Tell us about your latest venture?
The Cooks Co-Op showcases and supplies amazing produce from the Hawkesbury region right on the door step of Sydney. We are using this to create beautiful dishes at Rushcutters

Q: What is the inspiration for your grow-your-own, co-op philosophy?
Being able to plant, watch grow & then create a dish is the ultimate chefs dream. Meeting passionate farmers & producers & learning something new each day.

Q: What was it like to leave Longrain (and why)?
It was just the right time. I replaced myself well.

Q: Favourite place in Australia to holiday (and why)?
The Sunshine coast, I have great friends there & I am involved with the Noosa food & wine festival each year which I love to be a part of. The hinterland is also so special.

Q: Place in Australia that you’ve always wanted to go to but haven’t yet (and why)?
I would love to go to Broome & the Kimberly.

Q: Best region for a foodie escape in Australia (and why)?
I love Tasmania. There is so much to see eat & the diversity is amazing; seafood, beef, fruit, & veg to dairy. YUM.

Q: Must-pack item for your holiday suitcase?
New sneakers & shorts…. I am on holidays

Q: You’re feeling lazy: what dish do you make for yourself?
Risotto, with whatever is in the garden

Q: You were born in Germany, what’s your first memory of Australia?
The Cicadas, the heat & why was the toilet outside?

Q: Coffee or tea? How do you take it? Where’s your favourite place to get one?
Vanilla Tea with milk at Ovvio at the Five Ways

Q: You seem to have a ‘thing’ for Thai food, what’s your second favourite style of cuisine (what dish specifically)?
Rustic & simple European food to let the ingredients shine through…

Q: What do you consider a crime against good food?
Picking unripe food & then gassing it to ripen.

Q: Your worst vice?
Chips. I cannot stop eating them when they’re in front of me

Q: The ingredient you can’t do without?
Salt