GROWING up in Riverina heartland Andrew Milton was already a keen cook by age 12.
The former Yerong Creek boy liked nothing more than putting together dinner for his family or making pancakes on weekends.
Milton’s dad worked on properties around the district and was often supplied with farm-fresh produce like lamb.
“I grew up in the town but it’s a small town so it felt like we were all off the farm,” he said.
After finishing his studies at Billabong High School, Milton began an apprenticeship at The Commercial Club Albury before he was made head chef at the SS&A Golf Club, aged 23.
“I’ve been in the industry on the Border for 15 years except for two years away in South East Queensland,” he said.
Since his return to the Border, Milton shaped the gourmet menu for the SOHO tapas bar before he took on the head chef role at The Hovell Tree Inn.
Early this year Milton headed up the opening of La Tierra, a restaurant dedicated to exploring modern variations of Mediterranean cuisine inspired by local produce.
He said La Tierra offered share plates and banquet-style menus.
“This style of dining brings people together and creates a good environment,” he said.
Milton said their coal-fired Josper oven imparted food with a unique, smokey flavour.
Highlights are an 18-hour slow-roasted lamb shoulder and half a coal-roasted chicken.
What's your favourite winter dish?
Passion fruit panna cotta
What's your favourite season?
What are the staples in your pantry now?
Tomatoes, potatoes, fresh herbs
What is your earliest cooking memory?
Cooking pancakes for mum and dad in the morning. I was about 12.
Which ingredients do you grow yourself?
We plan to set up a rooftop garden at Mantra.
Which six people would you invite to dinner?
Mum, Dad, sister, my partner and partner's parents.
What is your favourite foodie ritual?
Family dinners on Sundays.
What are you bingeing on TV?
What did you have for dinner last night?
Beef Cheek with caramelised onion mashed potato
What are you drinking at the moment?
Beechworth Pale Ale
La Tierra Restaurant,
524 Smollett Street, Albury
Phone: (02) 6048 8000
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