Tansy Good, Skinner & Hackett, Melbourne

Author: Michael Harden
Photography: Marcel Aucar

Catching up with a Melbourne culinary champion.

Tansy Good, one of Melbourne's high profile, influential chefs of the 1980s and '90s, has resurfaced in Carlton North, to much rejoicing from Tansy-watchers everywhere (she's a chef with a very loyal fan base).

The new gig is at Skinner & Hackett, the fine meat purveyor in Rathdowne Street owned by Gerald Diffey (Brooks, Gerald's Bar) and Jonathan Stobbs. She's making sandwiches and salads for the lunch trade alongside a small but ever-increasing range of take-home meals using the shop's impressive free-range meat and artisan products.

Good has flown under the radar for the past few years, running the cafeteria at Melbourne uni's horticultural college in inner-city Burnley, but in its heyday her Spring Street restaurant, Tansy's, was a fine-dining hotspot.

Lauded as one of the best in the country, it has a glittering list of alumni, including Karen Martini, Philippa Sibley, Rita Macali, Andrew and Matt McConnell and Gerald Diffey, who, it seems, is very pleased to have at least part of the old band back together. "Having Tansy on board is absolutely great - what she can do with our produce is amazing."

Classic French may be Good's background, but at Skinner & Hackett the brief is broader, so there have been sightings of fajitas with white beans and skirt steak alongside lentil salad, and a grilled zucchini and spicy salami sandwich. "Tansy does what Tansy wants to do, " says Stobbs. "She puts her own spin on everything." 

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