The Wandering Palate Book of the Year – Just Duck | The Farm | The Chefs | The Cookbook

Just Duck  The Farm | The Chefs | The Cookbook

by Jodi and Greg Clarke (Great Ocean Ducks) Photography: Andy Zakeli

Notwithstanding my complete and utter fascination with all things ‘Duck’, here is the PEREFCT Christmas gift–for anyone– and for those who love cooking, especially ducks!

Jodi and Greg Clarke are ‘living the dream’ on their idyllic 16a farm on the southwest coast of Victoria, near the Twelve Apostles and the Great Ocean Road. They probably wouldn’t quite put it that way, having put their heart and soul, their back and bare knuckles along with the shirt of their back into {it}; I suspect the follow-up unplugged version, Greg being a professional writer, will read more like Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’.

Just Duck - duck and strawberryBut there is truth and inspiration in the very fact that Jodi and Greg raise the best ducks in all the land, well Australia that is, and there are a gaggle of chefs that will testify to this. Indeed, this book is in as much a shared belief and ideology between chefs and restaurateurs; artisan farmers, free-ranging birds or specifically ducks, heirloom breeds and animals reared in a humane way, a topic that is becoming increasingly pertinent.

There is no greater endorsement in the culinary world when top chef’s embrace your produce and Jodi and Greg have built a loyal following with some of Melbourne and country Victoria’s finest; the likes of Andrew McConnell at Cumulus, Dan Hunter at Brae, Ian Curley at The European and all the talented chefs that have contributed recipes to this book which I would suggest will go a long way towards demystifying the humble duck.

Indeed, it’s curious thing, the fear many people have of cooking ducks, and yet in actuality, it is easier to roast a duck than it is a chicken; just season (I like to rub it Chinese Five Spice) and put it in the oven! With their natural fat, ducks self-baste and are less prone to drying out or over-cooking and in about an hour, you will have a wonderfully flavoursome feast.

And as the eponymous pinot noir producer, Neil Prentice at Moondarra vineyard who also gets a word in Just Duck, “Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Pinot and Duckhere’s the thing: it doesn’t matter if the duck dish is roasted, Cantonese, tataki (Japanese style), confit or Thai red curry. Duck and pinot are simply meant for each other.”

Just Duck is equally a visual feast as it is a recipe book and along with Jodi and Greg’s own intriguing story and how Great Ocean Ducks evolved, there are some wonderful background stories on the chefs and restaurants that they are supplying.

I will be writing a full review if Just Duck in due course but wanted to get this brief introduction out to you now, so you can get your orders in NOW for Christmas. I highly recommend Just Duck, it is a Must-Have for any kitchen, no matter where you are in the world.

Furthermore, your purchase of this book will be instrumental in supporting a small-scale farmer and the battle against mediocrity. As Greg puts it,Despite our incremental wins, Jodi and I are still a long way from commercial viability…This book is our version of diversification, but we also hope that it will in some way more connect the work and lives of farmers to the food they produce.”

Just Duck is only available direct from Great Ocean Ducks, which you can order online and pay through PayPal

If you’re ordering a book from outside Australia please contact Greg at to inquire about postage/freight costs.

Further reading about Great Ocean Ducks on The Wandering Palate

Great Ocean Ducks – Wandering Ducks!

Cheers Curtis Marsh, The Wandering Palate

Just Ducks front cover


By Curtis Marsh | Produce | Related to: , , |

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