In 2008 Rodney Dunn and Séverine Demanet started The Agrarian Kitchen Cooking School & Farm. It was borne from a longing to connect back to the earth, and to grow and cook authentic food with real ingredients. It has welcomed guests from around the world to share in this experience for the simple fact that good food is even better when shared.
The next chapter in the agrarian journey began in 2015 after Rodney and Séverine fell in love with the beautiful Bronte building in nearby New Norfolk’s Willow Court - the town’s old mental asylum. With vast expansive space, large windows and high ceilings lined with the original pressed metal, the building begged to be filled with diners.
The vision is to create a space where local, seasonal produce is celebrated. Where the diner experiences a true sense of place through the food they eat. Where the ingredients speak for themselves with little adornment. Our aim is to foster a community of local growers, farmers and fishermen through which the mainstay of our ingredients are sourced along with excess from the cooking school’s garden and farm. Fruit and vegetables enter the kitchen with remnants of leaves and soil attached, meat as whole carcasses to be hung and broken down when required.
In the kitchen, under the guidance of Head Chef Ali Currey-Voumard, these ingredients meet the firepower of our handcrafted wood-fired oven, grill and hot-smoker, all built from old bricks off the Willow court site by master craftsman Dennis Benson. Excess produce of the season receives special treatment of preservation being pickled, jammed, fermented, and cured in our dedicated preserving kitchen to be featured on future menus or offered for sale in our store.
Our philosophy also extends to what is in your glass, with Beverage Manager Adi Ruiz applying a responsible radius to his selection of wine, beer and spirits, all the while dipping into the supply of produce to create his own syrups and fermented concoctions for cocktails and punches.
In the dining room, Restaurant Manager Katrina Birchmeier delivers unpretentious, diner-oriented service, where everyone is made to feel welcome. A convivial atmosphere is fostered to ensure the dining experience matches the authenticity of the ingredients on the plate.