Since it’s inception over a decade ago, for mankind, social media has been heralded as a source of equal amounts inspiration and misery. Photos of models sipping margaritas on the beach in Mykonos might encourage viewers to pursue more travel, yet simultaneously invoke a simmering envy of the macramé dresses hanging effortlessly from their wiry frames.
But online platforms have a much more diverse potential to connect individuals than exclusively through voyeurism; a potential is not only savoured for the fashion, travel or luxury enthused. In fact, for Regatta’s Executive Chef Logan Campbell, Instagram was the source of something far more delicious than lavish cocktails on a Greek island.
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One afternoon during winter, Logan found himself sifting through Instagram in search of new ideas for his menu. His fingers stumbled across the feed of a restaurant in Melbourne using a product he hadn’t heard of before for a dinner special: deer milk. His interest was immediately piqued.
“I knew I wanted to try it but after searching through Sydney distributors I couldn’t find it anywhere.”
Ever the curious and proactive chef Logan contacted the company, Pāmu, via email but they never got back to him. He decided to switch tactics.
“After a few days without a response I sent a message direct through their Instagram… and they replied.”
Eight days later, a batch of powdered deer milk arrived and Logan got to work engineering what would become the sorbet feature in his popular Regatta dessert, Strawberry Patch.
“I tasted the milk then worked out a recipe using something I’d already tried.”
Logan had previously worked with camel milk.
“It only took one go.”
In the age of information where bodies, health regimes and dietary choices are frequently on virtual display, products like milk, cream and butter have been up for scrutiny. But Logan’s deer milk dessert is actually quite healthy. The sorbet only needed a touch of added sugar; the rest of its rich, creamy, almost floral flavour was found naturally in the milk. Deer products are high in protein and healthy fats, as well as lactic acid – a key ingredient in anti aging cosmetics.
Logan is a pragmatic man though.
“Anything labelled ‘healthier’ or ‘not healthy’ is always relative. Balance is important. The point is it’s nice to have a little of something you enjoy. Let’s face it, you don’t go to a restaurant to have something you can have at home.”
He’s right. Not many Sydney siders have a herd of deer ripe for the milking in their backyard. The milk comes all the way from the vibrant green lowlands and vast high country of New Zealand.
But Campbell doesn’t consider himself a renegade in using Instagram to scout rare products from across the ditch. He is more of an ‘ideas man’; someone who prides themself on research, innovation and organisation.
“I think the very nature of social media is the sharing of ideas. Sometimes people look and keep scrolling. I like to look and if I see something interesting, I’ll ask myself how I would do it and an idea will start to form.”
When asked if the Regatta’s next menu favourite will be a dish inspired and sourced through social media, Logan was somewhat cryptic.
“I’m still waiting to hear back from a Japanese seafood company regarding their Giant Isopods… the Japanese call them Ogusokumushi.”