Mount Zero Hero: Hall of Fame

February 8, 2022

Well, would you look at that. In 2022 we are entering our eighth year of celebrating Mount Zero Heroes, so we thought it was high time to take a look back through the highlights reel and share some of our most popular Mount Zero Hero profiles. Fun fact: our very first Mount Zero Hero was Cle-Ann, who today works with us right here at Mount Zero HQ!

Jo Barrett and Matt Stone

Matt Stone and Jo Barrett at the Oakridge Winery in 2017

We chatted to Jo and Matt in 2017 when they were at Yarra Valley's Oakridge Winery, speaking about their passion for local, quality produce and their commitment to their values.

Jo delighted us with her recipe for Mexican wedding cookies made with roasted flour and Mount Zero Lemon Pressed Olive Oil. Meanwhile, Matt taught us the value of fermenting with his kimchi and pickled cucumbers recipes straight from his cookbook The Natural Cook, which both use Mount Zero Pink Lake Salt. 

In 2020 after five years as co-executive chefs, Jo and Matt left Oakridge and lived and worked in Joost Bakker’s futurefoodsystem self-sustaining house until November last year. They have recently been appointed executive chefs at Byron Bay eatery Harvest Newrybar. True to form, Harvest is all about prioritising produce sourced from local producers, and giving visitors the opportunity to learn about sustainable, local and seasonal food practices.

Jo and Matt were named ‘next generational leaders’ in 50 Next List in 2021, which celebrates people from 34 countries across six continents for their leadership in food and drink and shaping the future of gastronomy. Jo has also been producing the Have A Go series, encouraging people to pick up a new culinary skill.

Julia Busuttil Nishimura (aka Julia Ostro)

Julia Busuttil Nishimura at the Mount Zero Warehouse in 2017

We first spoke to Julia in 2017 - and since then, her generous, uncomplicated and seasonal approach to cooking has attracted thousands of loyal admirers, including Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver who have called her first book, Ostro, “life-enhancing” and “truly brilliant.”

A big fan of Mount Zero’s olive oil, Julia shared with us her recipe for freekeh salad with smoky eggplant yoghurt, which uses Mount Zero’s Cracked Freekeh, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Pink Lake Salt. 

Julia has gone on to release her second cookbook A Year of Simple Family Food in 2020 and is set to publish her highly anticipated and third cookbook later this year. 

Anna Quayle

Sean Donovan & Anna Quayle Fitzroy Town Hall Hotel 2017

In 2017, we caught up with Anna Quayle who was (then) head chef at the Fitzroy Town Hall Hotel. With Anna’s expertise and creative flair in the kitchen, the Hotel was voted ‘Best in its class’ in Delicious Magazine’s Top 100 Restaurants in 2016. 

Anna opened Bar Romanee in Yarraville, with deli and wine aficionado Jim Gridas (from Barkley Johnson) in late 2020. Bar Romanne, a French wine-bistro, is inspired by Quayle’s experience with classic European (and specifically French) techniques, as well as her love for Victorian produce.

Make Anna’s burrata with artichoke and olive tapenade, bbq ‘barnsley’ lamb chop with farro salad, or haricot beans with shellfish.

Josephine Prendergast

Josephine pictured in 2019

We met with Josephine in 2019, as she was working across Melbourne restaurateur Con Christopoulos Spring Street venues: The European, City Wine Shop, Melbourne Supper Club, Siglo and the Spring Street Grocer. 

Her Instagram account @CalmDownCooking was born from a recognition that like-minded parents were keen to access wholesome, kid-friendly recipes using ingredients that are nourishing, healthy and delicious. In the three years since our interview, Josephine has continued posting fun family recipes on Instagram and grown her passion into an established TikTok account by the same name. 

Josephine shared with us her recipes for roasted sprouts with Mount Zero dukkah and Mount Zero Lemon Pressed Oil as well as Mount Zero chickpea and Hardy Mammoth Green Olive salad

Jimmy Campbell

Jimmy Campbell speaking to diners at Mount Zero

We interviewed James ‘Jimmy’ Campbell in 2018. Working with the likes of Frank Camorra for the best part of a decade, he won two Good Food Guide hats as Head Chef at MoVida Sydney and was recognised as one of MoVida group's rising stars.

Returning to the family farm in Cavendish in 2017, he took over the kitchen of the Bunyip Hotel to deliver delicious, locally grown meals in a true country pub setting. Built in the 1860s the Bunyip has had many facades, and has now become known for its refined menu and great atmosphere. 

James shared a risotto recipe with us using Mount Zero Piqual extra virgin olive oil and cracked freekeh.