By Victoria Cosford
A thick hunk of toasted sourdough, a joyous tumble of braised tomatoey capsicum and onion and beans, a perfect fried egg to crest it all – and there it is on the counter waiting for whoever ordered it and I’m so tempted to claim it!
It’s just one of the gorgeous rustic dishes that Francisco is whipping up at his farmers’ market stall, Francisco’s Table. Those legions of fans who have long loved Nomadic Kitchen’s offerings will not be disappointed by the pop-up.
Fran’s is hardly a new face, anyway. For the better part of the last 20 years he’s been in the area feeding the fortunate at long lunches in country halls, catering jobs, functions – not to mention Byron Bay’s Barrio, whose kitchen he was responsible for getting up and running and which he manned in its early stages. A native of Argentina, he’s cooked in top Australian restaurants but tells me his preference these days is for comfort food. ‘The older I get,’ he says, ‘the more I want comfort; food that’s wholesome and warm.’ The food, in other words, you’ll find at the markets.
What’s most important to him, however, is his support for local producers, purchasing most of his ingredients from the markets. ‘I know exactly where everything comes from’, he tells me. ‘Every ingredient has a story, and that’s a privilege.’ He loves the social aspect of the farmers’ markets too, ‘the chance to see friends. It’s a bonus!’
What we can expect over the coming months, months when it is precisely what we all want and need, is ‘wholesome food’, he says. ‘Lots of pulses, always one cake and biscotti.’ Homely food with big flavours!
Francisco’s Table has his next long lunch happening at the beautiful Burringbar Hall on Sunday 25 June.
Booking is essential.
Go to www.franciscostable.com/pop-ups.
Francisco’s Table is at New Brighton every Tuesday from 8–11am, and Mullumbimby every Friday from 7–11am.