TASTING AUSTRALIA FOOD CURATOR
Growing up as part of a prominent Adelaide Hills market gardening family, Pollard spent his school holidays with rhubarb-stained hands and an early appreciation for brisk air and sustainability. The other half of his childhood was spent in the small coastal town of Beachport where fishing, crabbing and working in local kitchens helped develop the connection between produce, place and how it can translate once served.
Training began at The Scenic, before some time on pans and plate-up in the open kitchens of Sebel Playford on North Terrace as a second-year apprentice. Over the next 10 years Pollard would touch base at a newly opened Locavore, where the 100-mile menu was a welcomed challenge, as well as other notable establishments throughout the hills and city including XO Supper Club and Citrus. A short break travelling through South East Asia and Europe helped Pollard gain clarity and a new passion for basic, traditional, ‘from scratch’ cooking was ignited.
Returning home, he met his now wife Adele, before heading north to explore the Queensland landscape. Working with chefs from around the globe and slinging flour for handmade pastries at the crack of dawn was a turning point, and after doing so at fine diner Salted Vue in Cairns, Pollard was ready to move home and make his mark on the South Australian dining scene.
The desire to translate his high-end restaurant training, passion for unique produce, traditional methods and sustainability all came to fruition at Topiary. Unusual botanic patterns, edible weeds and the finer details of nature became inspiration for the menu. Set in a unique garden nursery surrounded by pocket-sized micro climates, the menu will never be quite the same on any given day. His tea house, now turned restaurant, is a creative hub. Century-old techniques of culturing, churning, curing and smoking are present, but food is plated and paired with a contemporary feel reflecting the surrounds.