Table Talk: Dom Gattermayr

Table Talk: Dom Gattermayr

Dom was born in Melbourne to parents who both worked in hospitality. As a child she lived on top of her parents’ cafe in South Melbourne where she learnt the in's and outs of cafes from an early age.
Her cooking has never been about making things fancy or super inventive, it’s more about the produce and making something that is nourishing and balanced, combining old and new techniques and recipes.
Florian, created by Dom and her friend Rose Richards, started from their shared passion for fresh, home-style simple cooking with European sensibilities and a focus on traditional cooking. 


Rose and Dom at Florian

What is one of your happiest food memories? 

There are so many but I often think about a time I was in Bali with my family and we went to Lucky Fish, right on the beach in Bingin. You sit on plastic chairs on the sand with the water lapping up and the sun setting. You choose your seafood from eskies filled with whatever was freshly caught that day, it's then weighed and cooked on barbeques and served with rice and sambal. Everything is so fresh and vibrant. The memory encapsulates the sheer enjoyment of eating simple food, sharing from big plates with no frills, just good flavours. 


What is your current favourite place to eat out in your city and why? 


For a while now I’ve really enjoyed eating at Lagoon dining on Lygon St, Carlton. It's a contemporary Chinese restaurant and every time I go there the food is considered and clever. Recently I ate a sichuan ox tongue that has really stuck with me. I love their cold shredded potato dish, rolled rice noodles and char siu pork too. 



What inspires you in the kitchen? 

I suppose this changes a bit, but right now, it would definitely be my team at Florian. Having a little team to bounce ideas off and constantly help develop recipes is incredible. Having a creative community of like minded people from all different walks of life can be hard to find so I'm grateful to have it in our small kitchen. 


I also recently read a book given to me by one of my staff members called "An Everlasting Meal" by Tamar Adler. It was such an enjoyable read and taught me so much. It's nothing most cooks wouldn't already know but the ideas and concepts around how and what to use ingredients for has made me think twice about some things and then re-inspired me to try others.


How do you like to shop for food?

I love to go to the market and see what's around to draw inspiration. I often go with some vague idea and then totally change my mind once I see an ingredient or two that catches my eye. More recently I've been finding that my idea of seasonal fresh produce has had to change with flooding, drought and other elements of climate change. The best way to see what's good and available to you is to go and see it at the market. My favourites are Footscray, Springvale, Queen Vic and Preston. 



What food did you eat growing up? 

I ate a lot of Asian cuisine — my mum loves cooking Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese food. We would go for family dinners on Victoria St Richmond or in Footscray after a grocery shop at our favourite shopping market, little Saigon, which has since burnt down...  My mum is a chef so we always had delicious food, even if it was something from nothing! My dad is Austrian and my mum has a Polish Jewish father's side. This also added to the diversity of food I ate growing up. There wasn't much me and my sister were brought up not to eat! 


Food For Everyone
Florian's Cured Fish Plate by Dom Gattermayr & Mia Boe


A scene inspired by Salvador Dali's cookbook that artist Mia Boe discovered in a bookshop decades ago. This is Dom Gattermayr's Cured Fish Plate—an iconic dish at her eatery Florian—dreamed up by Mia. 
A table at Florian in a surreal landscape, the components of the recipe (trout, salmon, barramundi, horseradish, capers, eggs) all visible amid an unknown narrative.
Shop the poster here