How I Winter: Hugh Allen, Vue de Monde

Published on August 1 2019.

Photo: Hugh Allen

Hugh Allen, chef at Vue de Monde, took the reins at the eminent Melbourne fine diner in February this year. Now he’s getting ready to cook up a storm at our deluxe winter event, the White Night Feast, happening on 22 August in the grand surrounds of the Royal Exhibition Building. Here he tells us how to get the best out of the season.

When I was a kid, winter was all about community, a gathering of friends and family cooking together, eating together. Also I loved the snow: going to the mountains was a major bonus.

And now that I’ve got a few more winters under my belt, it’s travel! Victoria is more beautiful in the winter, especially in country Victoria where the grasses are lush and green. It’s a cosy time. And the produce is often better, especially seafood.

The best thing about winter is food. Eating out for me is much more enjoyable in the winter. When it’s hot I’d rather drink beers and sit on a beach. I also love skiing, and drinking well at this time of year.

The soundtrack of winter 2019 for me is “Life Is Fine” by Paul Kelly.

In the kitchen at Vue de Monde, winter means using a lot of seafood. We love oysters, sea urchin, crabs and the like, and they’re often at their best when the water is at its coldest. The root vegies are also looking good right now; this winter was the first I’ve used salsify in Australia.

And my idea of winter feasting is lots of people, a big Viking-style feast. It’s all about generosity and lots of good drinks to share around.

My favourite guilty pleasure in winter is a great red. Not that guilty, really. Vue de Monde has an amazing cellar and wine program run by our head sommelier Dorian Guillon, who passed the Master Sommelier exam, so I’m in safe hands. My favourite at the moment is Bass Phillip’s 2017 gamay.

This winter, stay warm by spending time with your family and friends, eating well and drinking better. Rug up!