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When Tim Dixon left Pullman Bunker Bay Resort after working as Executive Sous Chef from July 2018 – April 2019, he had no idea that the decision would open a new chapter on his history with the resort.
After pursuing his passion for the Margaret River Region’s local produce at popular Busselton restaurant, The Goose, Dixon has returned to the resort, taking the helm as Executive Chef.
Dixon is a passionate advocate for all things local and seasonal. Embracing the local Noongar Wardandi Six Seasons is key. For Dixon it is all about gathering, foraging, respect for the region’s local custodians and above all else, letting the produce be the star of the show.
From finding wild forest mushrooms in autumn to the first raspberries of summer, Dixon loves the excitement and thrill of quality seasonal produce - which are abundant in the Margaret River Region.
“Nature is quirky. So many things are the same, yet every piece is uniquely different. It is how you identify that difference that defines you as a chef,” Dixon said.
In Dixon’s kitchen, each plate tells a local story. He takes the time to listen to the growers, the farmers, the fishermen, the producers, visiting them and appreciating their efforts. He believes that the only way a chef can truly showcase local products and producers is by living and breathing the how, the why and the when.
Understanding the ‘when’ is particularly crucial in Bunker Bay and the South West.
Dixon leans on the expert knowledge of local indigenous Elders Bill and Nina Webb, who are part time employees at the resort, spending many hours in the resort’s native gardens learning what each distinct Wardandi season may bring. These constantly evolving seasonal delights spring to life on the resort’s menu.
With a long history living and working in Western Australia’s coastal regions, fresh and sustainable seafood will also shine brightly on the resort’s menus.
“I am from a coastal town in Western Australia’s north west called Exmouth, which has given me a deep and long history with the ocean,” Dixon said.
“I have used my fishing adventures and memories to influence what some might call a specialty for Western Australian seafood. I prefer to use the term “an understanding of”, as to ‘specialise’ in my opinion is to assume that one may be an expert. I am not, and one can never be an expert when it comes to the ocean.”
“Our coastline holds so many treasures. It is not just seafood that excites me. It’s what in the rock pools and on the shore line… coastal herbs, barks and native plants, salty berries, seaweeds, salts, foams and sea sprays.”
“The ocean has been my life. I respect all that it is, all that it becomes and all that it gives.”
Dixon moved to the South West in 2010, enjoying driving the country back roads where you can see, smell and feel the produce growing in crops, right to the fence lines at road’s edge. He often stops to meet a farmer if they are in the paddocks to hear the story of local food.
Stepping into his new role as Pullman’s Executive Chef, Dixon is an inspiring leader. He believes a kitchen team should learn from each other and draw strength from each other’s passions.
It has long been a belief of Dixon’s that working with food is a daily learning journey.
“A chef’s motto is often ‘If you didn’t learn something new today then you probably didn’t cook today,’” Dixon said.
One of twelve children from a rowdy and noise-filled house, Dixon’s love of food came from his mother. She cooked not only for her large family, but also for the constant visitors brought home by Dixon’s father, who was a prominent community member.
Sunday lunches would often see twenty or more guests gathered on the back patio tucking into a sumptuous spread, shaded by a bougainvillea pergola.
“I would spend hours just watching, sometimes helping, always licking the beaters, always admiring and always learning. I am truly thankful for her love and the love of food that she fostered in me.”
“We will soon be launching a menu at Other Side of the Moon Restaurant that embraces the Wardandi season of Djilba,” Dixon said.
“In this season we acknowledge a time of transition, an explosion of pink wild flowers and the traditional time for land animals.”
“The kitchen team are looking forward to blending their love of the ocean with Djilba and will be show casing land animals including emu (Weitj) and kangaroo (Yonga) alongside coastal greens, wildflower honey, Pemberton marron, Margaret River beef, North West seafood and land fowls.”
“The menu will involve elements of Indigenous flair and twists of Asian elegance, brought to life through a blend of traditional and modern techniques. There will be some theatrics for good measure, too.”
“Our goal is to showcase the region’s outstanding produce and honour the resort’s sensational Indian Ocean views.”
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