Interview with Jennie Tressler
Executive Chef at Novotel Canberra First Edition
This month, I had the chance to interview Jennie Tressler, Executive Chef at First Edition, in Canberra. We discussed her kitchens use of the local produce, seasonal cooking and vegetarian key dishes that are hearty and incredibly satisfying. I can't wait to personally visit First Edition which is located at the Novotel in Canberra and treat myself to some of Jennie's exciting dishes.
Hello Jennie! It is great to chat with you. How long have you been in Canberra and at the helm of First Edition Bar, Novotel?
I have been back in Canberra for 4 years and at Novotel for the past 2 and a half. Previous to this I worked in Italy for 4 years.
As I understand, you dedicate your share platters to the local producers, showcasing some amazing offerings from the local area? Can you tell us about some of the suppliers you work with?
Balzanelli smallgoods is an amazing family business supplying us with the best products I have ever worked with. The Balzanelli family has been operating since 1979.
Fedras Olive grove Owned and operated by Jeff Konstantinou. Established in 1990 the olive trees flourished in the Collector soil.
Tilba real dairy provides us with pecorinos, smoked vintage, Brie, and super blue. All of Tilbas cheese is produced by the much loved herd of Jersey cow.
I imagine with such a local focus; your dishes are very seasonal – what’s coming up for spring that we should keep an eye out for?
Spring is my favourite season, cherries, stone fruits, berries, blood oranges, new beginnings. Our new menu is going to be focused the vibrant colours and flavours of spring. A mixture of light spring dishes and come back for more comfort food. Homemade spring fruit and flower inspired desserts.
I have also heard that a lot of your key dishes are vegetarian, which of course I love the idea of, why did you choose to construct a lot of your menu around veggies instead of meat?
I think there’s a lot to be said for feature produce dishes. Nature is amazing the shapes and colours in exotic mushrooms, the random colours of heirloom tomatoes. The way the elements shape produce is phenomenal. You can get more colours and textures from grains and vegetables then you could with meat. That being said my menu does also feature a choose your own protein section with an amazing section of well sourced meat options so you can get the best of both worlds.
What’s next for First Edition and yourself? It’s just the beginning for first edition.
As a team we are really excited for the upcoming new menu. I can’t wait to add to our existing local suppliers. Meeting the producers is really inspiring to be able to create dishes that showcase them and give my clients a window into the Canberra tablelands that they might not have time to visit.