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What to eat in Margaret River, Western Australia: Chef Michael Elfwing

TIME : 2-26 17:14:58

Swedish-born Michael Elfwing is executive chef at the multi-award winning Cape Lodge restaurant. He studied in Australia and worked for many years with chef Cheong Liew at the celebrated Grange in Adelaide, as well as The Fat Duck with Heston Blumenthal and other European Michelin-starred kitchens. Cheong Liew entrusted his signature restaurant Senses in Kuala Lumpur to Elfwing for five years before Elfwing's move to Margaret River. See capelodge.com.au.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE TABLE IN MARGARET RIVER?

My own at home. My wife is a fantastic cook and wants nothing more than to cook for others and watch people enjoy her food, so I am a very lucky man.  

But if I want a real treat I would say FoodbytheChef, by George Cooper is my best pick. George comes to you and cooks an amazing menu. He is really the best at what he does. I have enjoyed many meals by George and his use of local and foraged ingredients rivals the best in the state. FoodbytheChef is a real local secret. This is Margaret River's best table at the moment. See foodbythechef.com.

THE LOCAL FOOD DISCOVERY OF THE PAST YEAR?

Crabs – both blue swimmers and snow crabs are coming on our menu for spring and summer. They have such amazing sweetness to them and I find both much underutilised and even hard to get at times, even though the blue swimmers live just a stone's throw from my own house.

WHAT IS MARGARET RIVER'S BEST-KEPT FOOD SECRET?

Della Fay olive oil, just across the road from Cape Lodge and set on 100 acres of gorgeous vineyards, olive grove, citrus orchard, pomegranate, macadamia forest and avocados galore. They make amazing wines and the produce is second to none. Della Fay gives you the best of true, locally produced fruit, veg and nuts. Once you have a sip of their wines you might not drive any further south. See kellysvineyard.com.au.

PLACE TO GO ON A DAY OFF?

We take our little boy and three toy poodles to our friend's property where we can let the dogs loose and run around. It is a beautiful country property and reminds us why we relocated to the region from Kuala Lumpur.

FAVOURITE INDULGENCE IN MARGARET RIVER?

It might be taken for granted here but great coffee and great weather is my simple indulgence.

BEST TIME TO VISIT, AND WHY, IN MARGARET RIVER?

During late spring, November, the region is looking its best and the weather allows you to do anything you please. This, paired with the fact that Margaret River Gourmet Escape is on, makes it a must to travel south in November. Where else in the world can you pack so much of the best into such a small area and never face a traffic jam? 

WHAT SHOULD A VISITOR AVOID, FOOD-WISE, IN MARGARET RIVER?

Don't attempt to forage for ingredients that you see chefs do on TV. Some produce is not meant to be eaten and if you are in bad luck there might be a snake lurking in the dunes too.

WHAT'S HOT IN THE AREA RIGHT NOW?

Renovated restaurants and a lighter fresher look overall. It seems like everyone is doing it and it is so great to see that the region is moving forward and being proactive to ensure we exceed the ever-growing guest expectations.