At The Bar with KIN Head Chef Jack Cassidy

Awarded Best New Regional Restaurant of the Year at the Good Food Guide Awards 2024, KIN Head Chef Jack Cassidy says it’s the north east of Victoria’s rich wine history that inspires what happens next in the dining scene.

KIN is located in the Victorian town of Wahgunyah – and on the grounds of All Saints Estate which opened in January this year. Run by three owner-operator siblings Eliza, Nick and Angela Brown [who are fourth generation owners and also run St Leonard Winery and Mount Ophir Estate], it’s KIN that’s got everybody talking.

“There are a lot of hidden gems and people growing world class produce here, so having a restaurant that can showcase this will hopefully help everyone in the region – that’s ultimately the main goal,” says Jack Cassidy who also worked at Jackalope and Hotel Sorrento.

“There is so much room for growth in regard to how its food and dining scene is perceived in the North East part of Victoria, which is such an exciting opportunity for us,” he says.

The restaurant team is still riding high after being named Best New Regional Restaurant this month.

“It means the absolute world for us as a restaurant,” says Cassidy.

“The team has been pushing really hard to ensure all of our guests have a great experience with us and we’re overjoyed that this has been recognised by the Good Food Awards.”

Cassidy selects fresh produce from the small garden on site; this week it’s all eyes on carrots, strawberries, horseradish and garlic.

“It’s so great when you have a team who are passionate about growing produce on the grounds,” he says.

“We also work with small, independent farmers who really care about what they do, and are excited to bring their produce in. When they’re happy about it, it rubs off and we get excited to cook with it,” he says.

MY CITY

Rutherglen. I love the space and no traffic jams.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY

Strange one, but my discovery of fish sauce. I was working at a cafe called Mighty Boy for an ex-Supernormal chef called Scott Blomfield. He was teaching me how to make Pho, so we made the stock and he asked me to taste it; I thought nothing of it I was like, yeah, not bad. But then, he added the fish sauce and sugar and got me to taste it again. And the change blew my mind. It really made me understand the power of ingredients and why each one you put into a dish goes in for a reason.

FAVOURITE BAR MEMORY

Concrete Boots in Richmond. I know it’s good, because I can’t remember them.

DRINK THAT DESCRIBES YOU

Negroni. Nothing unnecessary.

BEST HANGOVER CURE

Bloody Mary.

BEST INTERSTATE BAR

The Garage Bar, Mission Beach, Queensland. Every cocktail we tried was awesome.

FAVOURITE WINE

ASE 2018 Durif.

FAVOURITE WINERY

Has to be All Saints Estate for me. I’m definitely biased but the owners treat me and my family like gold.

BEST NEWCOMER

Canadian Club soda and lime. Really keen to try the hard stuff solo but my wife said I have to wait until she’s no longer pregnant.

NEXT DESTINATION

My wife and I are tossing up between Japan and Sri Lanka. The food and culture for both these places really intrigue us.

 

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