Big Bad Wolf cooks a better catering industry
Standing up for female producers and advocating for change in kitchen culture, Barossa chefs Alana Brabin and Sarah Turner will launch their catering company Big Bad Wolf at the upcoming Beer & BBQ Festival.
There are a few anachronisms in the hospitality industry that chefs Sarah Turner and Alana Brabin are looking to throw into the fire through their new catering company, Big Bad Wolf.
Launching next month at the Beer & BBQ Festival, the Big Bad Wolf will show how outdated the often gender-based perception of a stereotypical barbecue chef is and showcase talented women in the wider industry.
For example, the chefs will create slow-cooking products from Birdwood Venison, run by Nancy and Leila Kasprzak.
“We want to bring out female suppliers and artisans to help people learn more about where their food comes from and the families who make it,” says Alana.
The chefs also want to dismantle the ‘toxic’ working conditions for which the industry is known – despite their Beer & BBQ debut consisting of a few consecutive long days.
“Beer and BBQ are going to be huge days, but it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Sarah says.
“It will be a full week of preparation and long hours, but we’ll put on some good music and get on with it. We enjoy it.
“What we need to rethink in hospitality is that an 18-year-old does a 17-hour workday, five to six days a week.
“It can no longer be how we operated in 2022.
“It has to change. It’s as simple as getting rid of the double shifts in the pubs and thinking about how it can be better for everyone.”
The two chefs met a few years ago while working on Tasting Australia’s Glass House dinners.
They discovered a common desire to take charge of their destiny, advocate for certain producers and speak out about working conditions. From this shared ethos, Sarah and Alana decided to team up and start a company.
“We’re both at a stage in our lives when it’s time to have a little fun and do the work we want and feel good about what you’re doing,” Sarah says.
“No more 5 pm days – outside a food festival.
“We take the jobs we want, work with the suppliers we ethically agree with, and make it a work environment that other people want to be a part of, everyone included.
“We’re both at a stage where it’s time to have a little fun, do the work we want, and feel good about what we’re doing.”
In addition to Birdwood Venison, Big Bad Wolf will serve smoked beef brisket croquettes with smoked aioli; home-grown tandoori pumpkin with dhal and minted Labneh; and pork buns with pickle, rosemary, and parmesan.
“It’s not your usual street food — it’s simple but delicious and healthy, good cold winter beer food,” says Alana.
“The deer sits on the charcoal for a few hours to get a little smoke on it, and then it goes into a secret Barossa red wine blend and then cooks very slowly overnight. Then it just pulls apart – nice and tacky,” she says.
“I’ll bring three of my favorite barbecues, and you’ll be able to see the process; it will be very theatrical.”
After launching at Beer & BBQ, Big Bad Wolf will cater everything from intimate customer home dinners to paddock-style weddings.
The upcoming festival will, therefore, suitably serve as a textbook example of the ‘fun’ that working in the hospitality industry can bring.
“It’s just going to be a great time for us and some of our other hospo friends to get together and have some really good food and a really fun environment and laugh,” Alana says.