Three Blue Ducks started as a humble eatery in Bronte, and has now expanded to 7 venues across Australia. Their focus is Australian produce, refining classic ingredients in a slightly more sophisticated but easily consumable way. They created a new genre in the cafe scene with their simple yet elegant food, that wasn’t expensive or pretentious but just really god damn tasty.
With venues spanning across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, they aim to cover all bases with all-day cafes, restaurants, a farm and even a surf park.
Three weeks into their new TV show, Three Blue Ducks on Channel 10, co-owners and head chefs Andy Allen, Mark LaBrooy and Darren Robertson give us an insight into their relationship to each other, with their venues, the food they find and cook and the true joy that comes from connecting to Australian country.
“You’ve got to look at what’s truly sustainable,” LaBrooy tells me over the phone, as he’s driving back from a morning of fly fishing. “It’s how you treat your staff, how you treat yourself, how you refine fresh ingredients from preparing them on the land to in a commercial kitchen. It’s not just about how far a product has travelled or whether it’s ‘organic’ or not.”
The Three Blue Ducks TV show has a really unique format. The chefs visit different parts of Australia that are known for specific produce, they’ll meet the farmers and locals, come up with a dish idea and cook it for them out in the open country. If it gets the tick of approval, they’ll take it back to one of their venues, refine it for a restaurant kitchen and service and serve it as a special for the night. Then, if they get the second tick of approval, they’ll put it on the menu.
“It’s really humbling to show this process because it doesn’t always go smoothly,” LaBrooy says.
“To replicate something in a restaurant means it needs to be refined and tweaked and sometimes just experimented with. In one of the episodes, I caught some mussels and smoked them outside over kelp and they were fucking yum. Then I took them to our venue in Bronte and the conventional smoker didn’t work, so I had to scrap them a few minutes before service.”
“Those moments as a chef can be just as nerve-wracking as they are exciting. We’re still human, and we really want people to like what we do. Cooking is how I truly show that I care for people, and I want anyone that eats my food to have an experience that they enjoy and remember.”
The show is super refreshing because you can see the beautiful bond the boys share as well as their absolute love for what they do.
“We care about each other and care about our environment,” LaBrooy says, “I’m smiling in my car while talking to you right now. They’re my best friends, you know?”
“The best food we’ve ever created is when we’re all together. There’s a real electricity between us and it’s just so fun and playful and we’re always able to try out new things that hero our different strengths.”
While Andy brings quintessential Aussie-ness, an amazing palette and is super creatively minded, Darren comes with a long career in fine dining and works in a disciplined and sometimes more complex way. Mark brings the simplicity; “Sometimes I just come along and add some chilli and garlic, you know?” Although he does a lot more than that—creating the most delicious looking abalone carbonara on the latest episode—it’s the lack of ego that exists within their connection to each other that I find to be the most refreshing element of all.
Often, in creative environments, strong characters with individual talents can butt heads and be destructively competitive with each other. But not these guys.
“We don’t take offence to the contributions of others, we welcome it. If any of us got the ego out of check, we’d tell them. That’s the beauty of our friendship, it just seems to work and we can communicate with each other so well. We just really respect one another.”
“We don’t cook food that’s challenging for the sake of it being challenging. Some chefs throw in dishes to challenge themselves and you as the customer, but they’re not necessarily tasty. We just want to cook tasty food and eat tasty food. I mean hell, Andy and I ate prawns in white bread rolls with sriracha and mayo the other day!”
“We want to cook simple food and hero the ingredients and the region, teaching people about where they come from and how the dish came to be how it is in front of them. That’s what it’s all about.” You can watch episodes of the Three Blue Ducks TV show on 10 Play.
The cold weather in most parts of Australia coinciding with EOFY celebrations is the closest thing that we’ll get to snowy Christmas vibes. And if you’re in dire need of some festive cheer after the first six months of 2023, grab your ugly sweater and head to your nearest Red Rooster for Xmas in July deals.
From June 29 – July 31, 2023, Red Rooster is serving up free food items, a chance to win $10,000 or one of 10 merch packs valued at $400 and other fun prizes. All you have to do is sign up as a Red Royalty member and spend $5 on at a location near you or online.
Each week there’ll be new delicious deals and prizes to win. The week one deals have already dropped and they’re looking pretty tasty. You can get access to them via your Red Royalty account. The more you purchase, the more chances you have to win.
Spoiler alert: you can get 10 chicken nuggets for free, right now. Brb running to Red Rooster.