5 minutes with Scott Heffernman

Name: Scott Heffernan
Business and location: Executive chef of the Hobart Restaurant Group, which runs waterfront restaurants Smolt and Frank

Can you share a happy fish and chip memory?
My earliest seafood memories are of dad cooking freshly caught gummy shark at our ‘shack’ on western Tasmania’s coast. On weekends when we were at the shack, we’d have crumbed gummy shark with crumbed abalone and chips.

Where have you eaten the best fish and chips?
Our beach shack – it’s still best when you’ve caught it yourself and you’re eating it straight away in that sort of setting.
That said, I’ve also had some great fish and chips at Dunalley (about 60km east of Hobart). The fishmonger there also cooks fish and chips.

In your business, what do you consider to be the best fish to use for fish & chips?
At Frank, we use Pink Ling. The ling is mild and soft; and can be cooked a little longer than other fish, which is great for our special masa-battered fish.

And how do customers enjoy it?
We batter our Pink Ling in masa, a corn flour used in tortillas. Together, the fish and the flour make a great, earthy combination.

We also grill Pink Ling on our ‘chapa’, a South American flat grill. You get a really nice gelatinous liquid from the fish as it cooks and that makes it all crispy on the outside. It takes a little longer to cook but it is beautiful – nice and sticky and crusty. And it browns up beautifully. We serve it with a South American blood sausage and sweet corn.

Do you have a personal favourite?
I normally choose crumbed Flathead or Blue Eye and chips. And if I’m at the shack, whatever we’ve caught with a beer.

What Australian wine (or other beverage) would you match with your fish & chips?

Crisp white wine works well with the Pink Ling – a sharp white wine cuts through the sweetness.

How long have you been making/serving fish & chips?
I’ve spent about 20 years cooking seafood. I cut my teeth in a small town and also researching fish and the best cuts by buying whole fish and testing different ideas. That early learning side was really important.