2019 WA Gourmet Escape | On the farm with George Cooper

Tiller Dining chef George Cooper gathering produce from his farm in Yallingup Siding, where construction is underway for a farm-to-plate restaurant.
Tiller Dining chef George Cooper gathering produce from his farm in Yallingup Siding, where construction is underway for a farm-to-plate restaurant.

Tiller Dining chef George Cooper is madly preparing for this year's WA Gourmet Escape where he will be cooking a twilight dinner with famed chef Amanda Cohen at the Margaret River Secret Garden.

Cohen is the chef and owner of Dirt Candy, an award-winning vegetable restaurant in New York City and is also one of the Iron Chefs on Iron Chefs America.

Cooper said the sold out six-course dinner was for 60 people with matching wines from Ashbrook Estate and non-alcoholic cocktails from Seedlip.

"The Margaret River Secret Garden is a beautiful private estate," he said.

"We sit people in the middle of crabapple trees and try to give diners a really unique experience,which is what Gourmet Escape is known for.

"We take one of our mobile kitchens and setup in the car park, which is a really funny thing because when chefs come to me they do not expect they will be able to cook the food we cook in a car park.

"We will create a dining experience for people using produce from my farm and Cohen's take on vegetarian cooking .

"It will be interesting to see what she creates with her totally plant-based diet, it will be awesome to see what she can do because obviously she has a lot of hype in New York, I am looking forward to that."

Cooper and his wife Kayleigh have run a farm in Yallingup Siding for the past two and a half years with plans to open a unique restaurant on the property.

"People will be able to eat the food which is grown in front of them, the idea is farm to table without the hippieness," he said.

"Our previous business Food by the Chef was a little private dining business where we grew all our own produce, as far as the vegetables went.

"The farm is just an extension of that because we went from serving 20 people a week up to 500 people a week.

"We can still grow as much produce as possible and we try to grow a variety of heirloom products on the farm rather than just the generic broccoli and cauliflowers."

On the menu at Gourmet Escape, Cooper's planning a dish with eggs from chickens on his farm, along with a potato marshmallow and fermented vegetables.

"Amanda will be doing a sweet corn dessert, using corn we have grown on the farm," he said.

"I don't want to say too much else, I don't like giving my menus away."

The pair will also hold a vegetarian cooking demonstration on the main stage at the festival village.

WA Gourmet Escape will be held in the region from Friday November 15 until Sunday November 17. For more information please visit gourmetescape.com.au/.