I LIKE ‘EM HOT: It is said you should never trust a cook who won’t eat his or her own food. No problems there for Kent Curran or Fiona Zambelli. Photos: PAUL MENSCH
Last week’s ‘Weekly front page photo of Irymple’s Kent Curran and his sausage rolls got tongues wagging, and also prompted a few people to visit his store to try them out. It has also started what could be a hotly-contested competition to find Sunraysia’s best sausage roll…
By GRANT MAYNARD
THEY’RE touted as the best sausage rolls and pasties in Sunraysia…possibly the State.
But it’s not the bloke who makes them that’s skiting, it’s his customers!
Kent Curran at the Irymple General Store has made a name for himself as the maker of some damn fine pastries, chief amongst them his sausage rolls and pasties.
He also makes a pie or two sometimes, and his crispy fried chicken is good too, but it is his sausage rolls and pasties that has people ‘in the know’ coming back to his store time and time again.
He is not a baker, or a chef by trade, but he does know his way around a kitchen.
He credits that to his stepmother Colleen.
And, he admits the sausage roll recipe is “mainly” hers. A family secret passed down from generation to generation the story goes.
But he does claim to have tweaked it a bit during the past five years at the Irymple store.
As yes, it does have quite a few ‘secret’ ingredients.
“But Colleen’s not convinced that I have done anything to improve on her recipe,” Kent said.
Kent is well-known in Sunraysia sporting circles, and wider afield too, having tasted premiership success as a tough, hard-as-nails back man with both Ouyen United and Gol Gol.
He also has a long history in hospitality, starting out at the Queen Bee Roadhouse in Ouyen about 20 years ago when it was owned by his family.
The family recipes for crispy chicken and homemade sausage rolls and pasties were a winner from the get-go with Mallee residents.
Those delicacies were lost to the Mallee – unless the hungry hordes wanted to travel – when the Currans moved to Gol Gol to take over the store where Colleen continued to churn out those sought-after pastries.
Meanwhile, Kent had moved to Darwin and opened his own café dubbed ‘Bay 52’.
He introduced his local Territorians to his traditional homemade fare. Kent recalls having trouble keeping up the rolls to the big eating, big drinking northerners.
He entered, and won, several cooking competitions in Darwin for his homemade sausage rolls and slices.
Kent returned to Sunraysia a couple of years later.
He took over the Irymple General Store from his father about five years ago and hasn’t looked back. Kent has built up a very strong clientele for his sausage rolls, pasties and crispy chicken.
Kent believes there is still a place for home-style, hearty healthy meals in today’s fast-paced world.
And further, he believes the key to return patronage is cleanliness, great food and great service, and he is very proud of his staff at the Irymple General Store.
Kent has also found that his rolls and pasties are as good as cold hard cash in many circumstances.
He has used them to barter for everything from haircuts to mobile phone repairs.
He also says that they have proven themselves as a good bribe to get out of goal umpiring at the footy on a chilly winter’s day.
Or the trainer’s job on the same inhospitable day!
Remarkable aren’t they?
After reading last Friday’s front page, Gol Gol’s Fiona Zambelli, FACING PAGE, rang to tell us that she makes a pretty mean sausage roll too.
The Golly Café and Bakery proprietor reckons her rolls are a match for anyone’s.
Fiona is not a baker nor chef either, but grew up surrounded by a number of very competent female cooks.
“I was brought up on good, homemade cooking,” she says proudly.
And Fiona’s sausage rolls have a proven track record. They are a favourite with her locals, and she recently sold 700 from a stall on the Saturday of the Great Vanilla Slice Triumph!
“That was a very busy day,” she recalls.
Fiona is very protective of her recipe, and revealed that she doesn’t have it written down.
“I make the rolls from scratch without measuring anything,” she told the ‘Weekly.
“It all comes together without much thought these days.”
As the saying goes: Practice makes perfect.
So how lucky are we in Sunraysia? To have two great sausage rolls made within 15 kilometres of each other.
And there may be others out there too. Let us know.
The ‘Weekly encourages our readers to try both Kent and Fiona’s rolls, and let your tastebuds be the judge.