While exploring Victoria and the city of Ballarat, Norm and I had the opportunity to lunch at Eclectic Tastes with Rachl Huetsma and Kevin Moloney. What a delightful treat. Better yet, was meeting the owner, Margo Pettite, who agreed to allow us to learn more about Chef Suzi Fitzpatrick and some of her recipes.

Eating and producing beautiful food have encompassed Chef Suzi Fitzpatrick’s life.  She trained in the early 90s at William Anglise College and honed her skills with some Melbourne top chefs and restaurateurs including Stephanie Alexander, Geoff Lindsey and Matteo Pignatelli.

By 2000, Suzi’s preference was headed to the “Slow Food Movement,” while being head chef at Zukini, Australia’s original organic and biodynamic restaurant.

Suzie says, “In Australia, organic and seasonal menus were very much in their infancy, but we slowly began to forge the way that is now common place.”

Now, 10 years later after polishing her skills at the Lake House, which is an exceptionally well know and wonderful experience, with Alla Taska, Suzi’s goal is to put Ballarat on culinary map.

In her words, “My food is back to basics—local and organic where possible, using the best technique. I don’t want to fuss around for hours to find I have something made something average. Simplicity with complimentary flavours is the answer. I’m very inspired at present focusing energy at Eclectic Tastes. A recent review penned that my menu was a ‘schizophrenic representation of world cuisine.’ I love that. Dipping into the classics from everywhere, reigning in my experiences and hopefully, exciting the taste buds of regional Ballart.

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Watermelom & Strawberry Salad from Eclectic Tastes

Watermelon Salad – Serves 6


½ seedless watermelom

1 quart (2 punnets) strawberries

10.5 ounces (300 gms) orange blossom and honey labna (yogurt)

3.5 ounces (100 gms) roasted almonds

¼ ounce (100 mls) sumac molasses

¼ bunch mint leaves


Orange Blossom and Honey Labna (Yogurt)

18 ounces (500 gms) natural yogurt

Hang the yogurt in a muslin cloth overnight. This will reduce the weight from liquid loss to approximately 10 ounces (280 gms).

Place the hung yogurt in a bowl and add 3 Tablespoons honey and 1 Tablespoon orange Blossom and mix till well combined.

For Salad

Slice the watermelon into triangular peeks of various sizes.

Clean and remove green stems.

Bring the sumac molasses to room temperature.

Tear the mint leaves.

To Assemble

Divide the melon among 6 pltes keeping format in a line across plate.

Add the strawberries randomly, scatter with almonds, mint leaves and drizzle with molasses.

Take two tablespoons to form an egg shape of Labna (yogurt), and place three quite randomly onto the fruit.

I’ll share more about Eclectic Tastes in our next post.

Eclectic Tastes

2 Burnbank St
Ballarat 3350
VIC, Australia
(03) 5339 9252