Hi, My Name Is: Josep Espuga

Melbourne Food and Wine – 11th  August 2021
Article By Pat Nourse

Josep Espuga is the new culinary director of Pt. Leo Estate in the Western Port Bay. He now manages the three-venue Estate overseeing Laura, Pt. Leo Restaurant and the Wine Terrace. Originally from Catalonia and with a CV sparkling with Michelin stars, Espuga has brought a wealth of knowledge to the Mornington Peninsula. His passion lies in sourcing local produce to showcase the people, farmers, producers and the histories, and using every part of each ingredient, an approach that helps feed his creativity in the kitchen and minimise Pt. Leo Estate’s environmental footprint.

Delivering for Victoria’s latest lockdown, Pt. Leo Estate has launched an at-home offering designed by Josep Espuga, offering options from their à la carte menus (why not go big and try the heat-at-home lobster flambé?) or let Espuga decide for you with the multi-course Pt. Leo Favourites for Two ($190) which includes focaccia, tuna carpaccio, lobster rotolo, Angus beef fillet, char siu pork belly, slow-roasted beetroot, green salad, Valrhona chocolate mousse, a petit four and a Pt. Leo Estate wine.

Hi, my name is: Josep Espuga, culinary director, Pt. Leo Estate.

You might remember me from such establishments as Bommie restaurant on Hamilton Island, Bohemian and Pretty Little in Melbourne, and my menus from Etihad Airlines’ first-class flights from Abu Dhabi to Australia.

I’ve been cooking for 25 years; 20 full-time, five while studying, ten of them in Australia, mostly in Melbourne.

And I’m passionate about people, farmers, producers and their stories. I feel so fortunate because the Mornington Peninsula is full of them.

Which means I’ll be cooking things like Flinders mussels with Daniel’s Run tomatoes, Tiger Eye beans and a Simon’s Farm pumpkin crêpe with apple-cider gastrique and praline; wood-fired squab, foie gras and Jerusalem artichoke gratin with Sauternes jus and hazelnuts; and lobster rotolo with américaine sauce and beach spinach.

We’re working with a variety of ingredients from the Peninsula in a variety of our dishes at Laura and Pt. Leo Restaurant, including truffles from Red Hill and feijoas and yuzu from the Fruit Forest Farm.

I’d like you to come in and see us so you can experience the incredible view over Western Port and Phillip Island, the warm hospitality at Pt. Leo Estate and a walk through our 19-acre sculpture park.

And if there’s one thing I don’t want you to leave without trying, it’s anything cooked in our wood-fired oven, such as our Black Angus eye fillet served with pommes Anna, and a wine tasting at our cellar door.

Image: Chris McConville

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