MOUNT ZERO HERO | Lachie McCallum & Kirsty Laird

September 14, 2023

Olive jam; Those two words together may jar (pun intended) a little, but we love exploring different ways of using olives, hence, we created olive jam (with the help of our friend chef, Markus Werner).

The lush texture and sweet complexity of olives are naturally enhanced in this condiment and all-rounder. We love it; dolloped on a plate next to mozzarella and tomato, spread over sourdough toast, then topped with sardines, and served on a cheese plate. We could go on… So, we thought we’d get in touch with chefs Lachie McCallum and Kirsty Laird who own and operate North Fitzroy’s Obelix & Co., to see how they would use it. 

Lachie McCallum & Kirsty Laird
Lachie McCallum & Kirsty Laird of Obelix & Co.

Lachie and Kirsty are committed to local produce, treated with care, and prepared through a French lens. At Obelix, they make all their own terrines, pâtés, salads, pies and more, and have just opened an adjoining dining room (Bouchon) that is an extension of an opportunity to expand the offering of the delicious local produce that they work with.

All these elements added up to us asking them to be our Mount Zero Heroes this month, and we’re thrilled they said yes!

Deli Goods at Obelix & Co.
Deli Goods at Obelix & Co.

We both discovered Mount Zero as chefs in the industry, says Kirsty, “and it was easy to bring the products into Obelix as our focus is Victorian-only produce.” 

Kirsty and Lachie use Mount Zero’s grains – such as our quinoa, sorghum and fava beans – for their salads, our olives and olive oils, “We love the freshness of the produce and the team are always great to work with,” says Kirsty. “I also love that Mount Zero works with other local producers if they’re not growing something themselves, and through that, create relationships for us.”

Kirsty also loves our Agrumato range, especially the mandarin oil – “I use it to finish dishes or over raw fish,” she says. “It’s great in salads, and shaved fennel is delicious with it poured over.”  

Giving the pair the olive jam was a fine idea, as they’re sharing two recipes with us. 

One brings immediate comfort. “We thought a Raclette and olive jam jaffle would work well, and it does!” says, Kirsty and they’re also sharing a sautéed greens dish that can be adapted to the greens coming in through any season. 

“With the sautéed greens, we had kale and chard cooked and served with goat's curd. We then loosened the olive jam with a little olive oil and dressed the leaves with that,” says Kirsty. “Spring greens would work well, too. Add some grains and sunflower seeds, and the olive jam adds that delicious sweetness.” 

Sautéed Greens w/ Labneh & Olive Jam
Sautéed Greens w/ Labneh & Olive Jam

The Fast Five with Lachie McCallum 

1. If you weren't in hospo what would you be doing?    

I’d still be doing something hands-on - construction or landscaping – I’ve dabbled in both. 

2. Last place you dined out? 

Yum Cha at Gold Leaf in Burwood. We went through the week, don’t go on the weekend, it’s so busy! 

3. What's your favourite Melbourne restaurant? 

Lagoon Dining, Carlton

4. Favourite season/s of the year for produce? 

Spring/Summer at the moment as I get to make a switch to lighter seafood and salad options. 

5. Do you have any special projects scheduled for this year or beyond? 

To focus on the Bouchon and to try to increase our wholesale offering. 

Also, working towards a good work-life balance. We’re really happy with the direction everything is going, so more of that!

By Hilary McNevin

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