Barossa Valley Wine Company has partnered with Justine Schofield, former MasterChef contestant and host of Channel 10’s Everyday Gourmet.

19 Aug 2022

We took the opportunity to chat with Justine about her visit to our home, The Farms vineyard, located in the cooler southern region of the Barossa Valley, and the inspiration behind the delicious recipes she created to pair perfectly with our wines. 

Congratulations on reaching 1,000 episodes and 12 seasons of Everyday Gourmet. What an incredible milestone. 

I know, I can’t believe it! I thought 10 years was a great accomplishment, but season 12 has just started airing on TV, and it just feels like we keep getting better every year.

How old were you when you discovered your love of food? 

Probably as far back as I remember, maybe six years old. My mum’s French and food was always an important part of our day. It’s a ritual. After breakfast, we were thinking about lunch. After lunch, we were thinking about dinner.  

I also spent a lot of my childhood in France with my grandmother. We were always in the kitchen together, not slaving away; it was more about enjoying the process of cooking and learning how food can nourish your body.  

As I got older, I realised I loved feeding people. It’s my love language. I just adore cooking for my friends and family.

Before Everyday Gourmet, you were one of the finalists in the first-ever season of Masterchef in 2009. How did that come about? 

At the time of the Masterchef auditions, I had a job selling security cameras. I knew that wasn’t the career for me, so I booked a trip to spend some extended time with my family in France. My friends, however, had heard about this new cooking show and pretty much forced me to audition. Knowing that I always aspired to have a career in food, I bit the bullet and gave it my best shot. I got in, cancelled my trip…. and the rest is history! 

You visited the Barossa Valley for some upcoming episodes of Everyday Gourmet. What do you love about the region? 

I love, love, love a full-bodied Aussie Shiraz, so it was amazing to have the opportunity to spend some time at The Farms vineyard, the home of Barossa Valley Wine Company. It was harvest season when I went and it was fantastic to see how it all happens, how the community comes together, and how they really are passionate about their wine, and their region.  

I was particularly impressed with the premium nature of the winemaking techniques. Each block on the Farms vineyard is treated as an individual small batch and each one is tasted by the winemaker throughout ripening. At optimum ripeness, the grapes are harvested, fermented and matured separately. This allows the very best expressions of the vineyard and the vintage.  

Being there with the Everyday Gourmet crew to understand the winemaking process, and then developing recipes to match the wines was an absolute thrill for me. 

You also spent some time with Barossa Valley Wine Company’s winemaker, Roxanne Kloppers. Tell us about your experience with her. 

It’s so refreshing to meet a young female winemaker in what is considered to be quite a male-dominated industry. Roxanne is incredibly knowledgeable about wine. There’s a real science behind getting it right; I learned so much from her. 

It was lovely to have Roxanne along for the Everyday Gourmet journey in the Barossa. She taught me about wine and I taught her about food. She watched me cook and she tasted each one of the recipes I developed for Barossa Valley Wine Company. 

Were there any particular Barossa Valley Wine Company wines that stood out to you? 

The Stockyard Shiraz was my favourite. On my tour of The Farms with Roxanne, I discovered that the Stockyard range was named after the old stone ruin on the vineyard, it’s over 100 years old and was originally an outbuilding for livestock. It’s in a gorgeous spot overlooking rows of low-yielding Shiraz vines.  

And even though the Barossa is known for Shiraz, I learned that it also produces some other fantastic, emerging varietals like The Residence Montepulciano. 

When developing the recipes for Barossa Valley Wine Company, what kind of flavours were you inspired by? 

I really wanted to make an effort to combine classic ingredients to create dishes that would match the wines perfectly. So my recipes include delicious beef cheeks in red wine sauce with star anise, and duck leg ragu in tomato passata served with parpadelle. Both classic, hearty winter dishes that you know will marry well with a beautiful, bold red wine. 

I also developed some recipes that are a little more modern, with fresher flavours that you wouldn’t usually associate with a full-bodied Shiraz, like crispy, deep-fried pizzetas with pear, prosciutto and rocket.  

I came up with a shaved beef cheeseburger because I knew Roxanne loved cheeseburgers. I made one while filming the show at the vineyard - I had one bite and Roxy had the rest! It goes perfectly with an emerging, medium-bodied varietal like The Residence Malbec. 

Red wine is synonymous with winter. What would your ultimate cheese platter look like in winter and what red wine would you pair it with? 

I’m a big fan of simple boards with a few quality ingredients so you can really enjoy the individual flavours. I don’t like when everything is on a board - strawberries, crackers, prosciutto, pate - there’s just too much going on. 

Shiraz is so full-bodied so you don’t want to necessarily pair it with other dishes that have complex flavours that could complicate your palate. There is so much pleasure in enjoying a beautiful Aussie Shiraz with a lovely nutty cheddar or a sharp blue cheese. Serve it with some walnuts, maybe some grapes or sliced pear and a fresh baguette. That’s it! The simpler the board is, the more you’re going to appreciate the individual flavours and have a heightened food experience. 

Barossa Valley Wine Company is all about making special occasions more memorable. If you were to cook a meal at home to celebrate a special occasion with your nearest and dearest, what would your menu consist of? 

It depends on the crowd and occasion, but I think the art of entertaining can be done in two ways. 

For example, if it was a little more casual and I felt like entertaining in more of a theatrical way, I’d have my friends gathered around my kitchen bench chatting while making delicious pizzetas. In this instance, I’d have a few different Barossa Valley Wine Company wines out for everyone to try. It adds to the interactive experience of eating. 

If it were more of an intimate sit-down dinner, I’d make the duck ragu parpadelle pasta, especially in winter. It’s a great one for entertaining because you can prepare the ragu earlier in the day and then just cook your pasta when it’s time to serve. It’s perfect paired with either Stockyard Shiraz or The Residence Montepulciano. 

With Father’s Day coming up, what Barossa Valley Wine Company wine would you most recommend as a gift? 

If your dad is a red wine connoisseur, I’d suggest something really special like the 2018 Farms Shiraz. It’s a big, bold Barossa Shiraz made in the most traditional way; matured on a mix of new and old French and American oak for around 18 months. 

For something more mid-range, Stockyard Shiraz is a fantastic option for a gift, it’s still bold and Barossan but with a juicy mid-palate. 

And finally, what would you say are your top five essential ingredients in the kitchen that you can’t live without? 

Well firstly, salt is king. I definitely can’t live without salt. Good quality olive oil and lemons are also important. It might sound weird, but I always have dijon mustard on hand - it’s great for dressings, marinades and on the side of a steak. And of course, I wouldn’t be French if I didn’t say butter… and bread - they go hand-in-hand and should really be classed as one essential ingredient!