Gourmet

The Mornington Peninsula has a plethora of local producers that make the finest products from jams and condiments, olives and olive oils, cheeses, confectionary, wines and this list goes on.

Rare Hare at Jackalope Hotel

There’s a buzz in the air on Mornington Peninsula, and it comes in the form of a contemporary cutting edge designer hotel, formal restaurant, smart bar, casual dining experience and cellar door. The name is Jackalope – and it’s the new home of Willow Creek Vineyard Wines. The vision of Louis Li's, a 29 year old Chinese national who has been living in Melbourne for ten years, Willow Creek Vineyard is now the site for the world’s first Jackalope Hotel.  Moving here as an 18 year old to study film making, Louis Li is well versed in luxury property development with his parents being involved in a number of luxury hotels and residential properties in Kunming in south western China.  So in a sense his first solo project is following in the tradition of his family business.   Being a film maker Lewis Lee is a great storyteller, and his first foray into hospitality shows his appetite for art and design and food culture, which shines through every element in this property.  His debut Jackalope Hotel in Merricks will be followed by a 40 room hotel in Flinders Lane which is scheduled to open in 2019.

Finesse Catering Group

Brad and Roong Holtz of Finesse Catering Group are a formidable team. Passionate, creative and classically trained, their worlds collided when Brad attended one of Roong’s cooking classes in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, where Roong taught tourists and professional chefs the art of traditional Thai cooking. At the time Brad was working as a chef on small private yachts in Alaska and Mexico but they found a way to be together, moving to the Mornington Peninsula in 2007.

Adhoc

Adhoc offers a quality restaurant experience in a relaxed dining environment. The family friendly atmosphere is evident upon arrival. Carefully designed to allow privacy for intimate dinners and with communal tables for larger gatherings, couples sit alongside parents with children in a harmonious and relaxed space. It’s light, bright and welcoming, yet stylish and sophisticated, so you can enjoy a casual coffee and cake, or celebrate a special occasion. The staff are excellent, offering table service with an efficient but warm attention to detail.

Main Ridge Olive Oil Co

Tim Jupp is full of surprises, experienced and focused beyond his years. Young and talented, this fine dining chef has moved away from the 80 hour working weeks his chosen profession demands to chef at Commonfolk in Mornington, where the hours are much more conducive to family life. Given that he and his wife Michelle have four children under the age of 11, you can understand his life choices.

Red Hill Truffles

It’s a sunny, chilly autumn afternoon and Jenny McAuley of Red Hill Truffles is preparing for the busiest season of the truffle calendar. ”The truffle season starts at the beginning of June and runs for 12 weeks,” explains Jenny. “The truffle starts growing in the ground in the first week of December and it takes until the first of June to grow and ripen. The fungus grows on the root of tree, and the tree likes the fungus because the fungus kills the grass around the tree that competes with it for the sugar, water and elements it needs to thrive.

Essence Food for the Soul

When chef husband and wife team Jim and Melanie Houston got married at the Portsea Hotel, little did they know that 10 years later they would buy a business across the road from the Portsea Hotel and live in it with their three children for the best part of a year. That business is now known as Essence Food for the Soul. As chefs, life for Jim and Melanie was busy, particularly with three young children. The long hours took a strain, and they were ready to make a lifestyle change within the food industry. Sometimes everything falls into place and you find the ideal scenario, and this wholesale food business was perfect for the chef team. Essence Food for the Soul is all about the best quality produce made into delicious, heat and serve meals that help the time poor to eat well.

The Red Hill Kitchen

Towards the end of an inconspicuous unsealed road in Red Hill there is a kitchen in a quaint weatherboard house surrounded by a prolific vegetable garden, where Bernie Furness creates some of the most delicious take home food available. The Red Hill Kitchen is something of a closely held secret to locals, who make up about ninety per cent of the business. So renowned is it in these parts though, that after being closed for six months a couple of years ago, when they reopened word spread quickly and business resumed as if they’d never closed.

Red Hill Cheese

For Jan and Trevor Brandon, the transition from hobby to professional cheese making was practically unavoidable. They had become too good at it and the right people were taking notice.