Why the Heston Blumenthal and Coles partnership might not be such a bad thing


I’m no fan of Coles. They are known for wielding their considerable market power to screw prices down for suppliers and they have a reputation for spending lots of money to silence critics of some of their practices and then boasting about it.

When I read in B&T that Heston Blumenthal was teaming up with Coles, my instinct was to think that the storied chef had sold out, but on reflection, there’s one thing about this partnership that makes me think this might not be a bad thing.

Native Ingredients

Sorely lacking from much Australian cuisine today is the use of native ingredients in cooking. We have some beautiful, grossly underutilised ingredients right at our doorstep. From the fragrant lemon myrtle to tart finger lime and the more well known macadamia, there are so many ways to flavour a dish with native Australian ingredients.

Finger Lime

Finger Lime, Image by Susie Wyshak published under Creative Commons

Blumenthal has stated that his intention is to use as many Australian and indigenous ingredients as possible in his new Coles range. There are many brilliant Australian chefs using these ingredients, but to have someone with star power of Heston Blumenthal promoting these ingredients is going to be a boon for the native ingredient industry in Australia, and not just those who supply Coles.

I spoke to Jude Mayall who is a director of Australian native food peak body ANFIL and the owner of outbackchef.com.au  who said, “People don’t know how to use native Australian ingredients. They think they belong out in the bush with witchety grubs but there’s so much more to it than that. If these [Heston Blumenthal] products show people how to incorporate native Australian ingredients in their cooking, then I’m all for it.”

Time will tell how much of an impact Heston’s range will have on the Australian native food industry, but I hope that the rising prominence of Australian native foods will see people look beyond the supermarket shelves to the incredible and largely untapped resources around us.

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Author:Jeremy Bowell

Jeremy Bowell is the founder and editor of Taste Explorer. He also writes for InsideCuisine.com, TheGrapeHunter.com, SoBadSoGood.com and has featured in the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Living section. He is an avid connoisseur of all things food and drink related.
  • Sara (Belly Rumbles)

    As a lover of our native ingredients, this development with Heston has me watching on to see what evolves. Hopefully all good things.

    • jezzster

      That’s what I’m hoping. This could be a really good opportunity for the native ingredient industry.