Damien Curtis has a job title that instantly sounds impressive: Head Smoker.
For someone who has lived in the region for the past ten years, the path to starting his own smokehouse was a series of interesting twists and turns. Growing up in Paris and the UK, making films in Arnhem Land… It all fits together in a funny sort of way! A lifelong love of camping, hunting and the outdoors meant that learning to smoke fish the traditional way was, funnily enough, a logical place to end up.
Damien took himself to Grimsby in the UK to learn all that he could. Traditional Grimsby smoked fish has Protected Geographical Indication status, so this was the place to go to really get to the heart of the process. While there are only a handful of the famed kiln-smokehouses left, the knowledge he was able to tap into was profound. Damien then bought his smoking cabinets in Hull and had them shipped back to Australia so he could take the skills honed in the UK and apply them here.
He now sources all his fish direct from fisherman from the Tweed to the Clarence region and uses only what is in season and can be caught wild. His preference is for oily fish, rich in Omega 3s with species ranging from mullet and taylor to mackerel and even eel.
His rillettes have a cult following too. Made with cashew cream and olive oil, the rillettes have garnered acclaim including taking out a coveted gold medal at the Sydney Royal Competition.
A genuine local, artisan delicacy.