Follow chef Paul West as he cooks delicious food, lends a helping hand to the community and works to create a sustainable farm. Paul still has a lot to learn as life continues on the River Cottage Australia farm.
Fifteen years after Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall moved into the first River Cottage in the UK, he’s headed to Australia to spread the message of sustainability – and to anoint an Aussie worthy of carrying on the River Cottage tradition. That job goes to former Tasmanian chef Paul West, who’ll set up River Cottage Australia on the picturesque NSW Far South Coast – with a little help from Hugh!
In this first episode the pair will face uniquely Australian challenges and characters as they make plans for growing produce, raising livestock - and becoming part of the local community.
Watch the first episide:
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Pan-fried mushrooms with red wine and thyme
Hugh and Paul get hands on and hunt for octopus on one New South Wales’ most beautiful coastal lakes - and join members of the local Indigenous community as they climb a sacred mountain to learn the secrets of bush tucker, and hear their powerful Dreamtime stories.
To top it off, Hugh and Paul will cook up the best local and seasonal produce they can find, and share it with those who’ve already begun helping them on their journey towards a sustainable way of life.
With Hugh back in the UK, Paul finds himself alone at River Cottage Australia – but not for long. He’s about to welcome a new best friend to the farm – Digger the border collie pup.
With his new mate nipping at his heels, Paul sets about getting his winter vegetable crop fed – and that involves an organic fertiliser recipe that makes use of some of the farm’s most unwanted products.
Further afield with the help of local hunters, Paul discovers how a notorious pest can be turned into a delicious meal.
It’s Festival time in the local village of Central Tilba, and Paul’s keen to make an impression with his cooking skills. But will his home-made relish - using locally gathered produce – cut it with the locals?
Paul also welcomes his first dairy cow to the green pastures of River Cottage. But will he ever learn how to milk it?
Exclusive recipe from Paul West - great with snags! Quince chutney
With his cows, chooks and veges thriving, Paul decides it’s time to explore the nearby coastline – and he discovers an abundant source of seafood delicacies. He meets a local lobster expert, and together they catch a crayfish brunch – and Paul introduces him to a deliciously different way of eating them.
The farm is in need of livestock, so Paul visits a local breeder to select some prime pigs – but first he needs to catch them. Later, Paul wants to enter a cooking competition at the local harvest fair, but he’ll need the help of a couple experienced locals if he wants to come out on top.
Paul’s about to take delivery of a small parcel of pigs that will hopefully one day feed him. Before that, he prepares a pork dish using one of the tastiest and most under-used parts of the animal.
Then, it’s off to the local harvest festival bake-off! With the help of a country cooking champion, Paul enters his pumpkin scones into the hard-fought contest. But will his entries rise to the occasion?
With a malfunctioning water tank, and no dams to rely on, Paul is suddenly faced with a farmer’s worst fear – a critical shortage of water. His cows, pigs and veges all depend on a steady supply, so Paul enlists the help of a local farmer to see if they can tap on old spring on the property. But will it be enough to save the farm?
With the help of another local, Paul tries freediving for mussels, and transforms them into a delicious meal. Later, Paul looks to expand his poultry flock and meets a man who knows his birds – but which breed is best for Paul?
The realities of owning a farm set in for Paul as he enlists the help of an experienced slaughterman to teach Paul how to process birds humanely, and to the highest standard.
Later, Paul transforms his freshly processed poultry into a hearty Coq au Vin - but will his invited guest share his taste for this classic French dish?
Paul’s dream is to one day make River Cottage Australia self-sufficient – and he’s well on the way. With his own herbs, vegetables, eggs and cream - from Bessie the cow - he whips up his first ever “all from the farm” meal.
Down by the coast, it’s Oyster Festival time where Paul tries his hand at the oyster shucking contest.
Paul takes a trip to a local property where he finds a stunning Australian bush food orchard. Later, he uses his pickings to create a refreshing cordial from scratch.
Despite the stunning surrounds of Tilba, not all is well at River Cottage Australia. Flies are a constant issue – especially in Paul’s country kitchen. So he meets a local sustainable farmer who introduces him to an ingenious all-natural solution.
When you go visiting, take cake! Paul's chai teacake with cinnamon dusting
River Cottage Australia land-holder Paul West is keen to restore the gully which acts as a natural watercourse on his farm – but it’s almost totally overgrown with blackberries. Paul learns he can hire a herd of hefty eaters to deal with the problem – but will they have the appetite for such a massive job?
Meanwhile, Paul hatches a plan to create new life at River Cottage with the help of Ron - his brand new rooster. At the same time, he has a tough task to perform – Big Boy the pig is ready for the butcher, but is Paul?
More challenging times for our new farmer - Paul has enlisted the help of the local mobile butcher and slaughterman to process Big Boy the pig right on the farm. Paul creates a delicious fresh blood pudding, and sizzles up some liver to ensure no part will go to waste.
Elsewhere on the farm, Paul looks to plant Australian natives in the gully to help with biodiversity - not only at River Cottage, but for the wider area. Later, Paul asks a few friends over.
The local CWA ladies have a big job for Paul – and there might be a sweet reward in return. If he can help them paint their headquarters, they’ve offered to share some of their cake–making secrets with him. How will his cake stand up against some of the finest in the district?
And as we head to the coast nearby, Paul learns that there’s more to seaweed than meets the eye. Not only is it good for the garden, he has an idea for a clever new recipe.
Exclusive recipes from Paul West: seaweed pickle
On the farm, Paul’s been collecting old chook feathers - but what on earth for? Could there be something fishy going on?
Paul lends a helping hand (and cake) to the local CWA as they get together for a much needed paint job for the local community hall - but all that effort will be sure to work up an appetite.
Hugh is back on the farm to check the progress at River Cottage Australia - and try his hand at milking Bessie. Luckily, timing for Hugh’s visit couldn’t be better, as the cycle of life continues and new life is hatched. Paul makes Hugh a cheesy breakfast.
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Cheese toastie
Later, Paul and Hugh make a trip to the beach to see what they can catch for dinner – but which meal will impress the most?
River Cottage Australia has come a long way, as Paul’s first season on the farm comes to a close. But it hasn’t happened without help. To thank everyone who helped in the journey of transforming a rundown property into a functioning farm, Paul and Hugh invite guests from the local community to share in the fruits of their labour – and to celebrate as a likeminded community.
A paella is perfect for feeding a crowd! Try Paul's paella with chorizo and peas
Time has passed and the seasons have changed at River Cottage Australia. Paul West is about to experience his first summer on the land. Will he have enough water, food and produce to keep the farm thriving throughout the dryer months? More than ever he’ll need to rely on the expertise of friends and neighbors to help him expand the farm.
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Potato pavé
Paul has big plans to increase his livestock at River Cottage Australia and has his sights set on impregnating some of the farm animals, but as Paul quickly learns you can’t control nature. And that includes his beloved best friend Digger, who has grown from a playful pup to a rebellious teenager. To continue to live on the farm with Paul Digger will need discipline.
Paul has learnt how to be a dairy farmer the hard way but now It’s time for Paul to make another tough lesson. How will he cope saying goodbye to another farm favourite? Meanwhile, Paul plans to increase the livestock continue and he becomes a mother hen to fifty baby birds.
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Crispy school prawns
Paul visits a friend to help butcher and learn the different cuts of meat and gets hands on building a new shelter for his chickens. Meanwhile, Paul needs to find ways to earn an income so goes to the farmers market for the first time. Will the punters go for his homegrown grub?
Paul gets some goats but the going gets gruff when he tries to milk them for the first time. His cheese making skills get challenge by local friend Erica when they enter into the secret world of cheese making.
Paul gets hands on and converts a household item into a smoker. Meanwhile the big event of the month the Bega Show is just around the corner, but will Paul’s rooster be up to scratch? And a favourite family recipe goes in the oven.
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Nan's jam and coconut slice
Farm life is not easy! Paul has always known this but when he’s faced with a tough task his experiences and lessons from last season prove very useful.
New friendships are formed when Paul gets expert help to build a brand new oven at River Cottage – the start of many new builds to come.
The CWA ladies come to River Cottage seeking Paul’s skills and help with an important charity event. Will Paul come up with the goods for this catering challenge? He also faces another big hurdle when his bumper cash crop is in the red! Paul needs to take action in hope he can turn this deficit into dollars for the farm.
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Paul's steak and kidney pies
Paul’s pasture poultry have all grown up and it’s processing time. Chris Franks is back to share his knowledge and wisdom. And another River Cottage favourite returns - Iain Hamilton gives Paul a hand building a special BBQ grill.
Paul puts his new grill to the test at the annual Bermagui Seaside Fair and hosts his second stall - it’s full of surprises. Earlier, Paul joins a brotherhood of brewing buddies in Candelo for a night of homebrew and beats. Before retiring to his homemade hot tub bearing all against the backdrop of the bush.
Paul welcomes home his jersey cow Bessie and finds himself creating wine from an unsuale source. Meanwhile. tomato season has sprung and Paul needs to make the most of his troubled crop. He welcomes two new friends to the farm with expert Passata knowledge passed down by generations.
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Slow-cooked beef and tomato with gnocchi
After welcoming back his jersey cow Bessie to the farm, Paul begins to worry that she might be barren, so he asks the local vet to visit. He learns there’s more to mushrooms than meets the eye. And takes advantage of the autumn rain by dropping into mates Darcy’s to dunk some traps into his dam.
Living so close to the coast has many advantages. Paul learns how to forage for seaside food from a friend but it’s not for free and he faces a chef style challenge.
As a valuable member of the community Paul is put to task when he helps out the largest fire service in the world, the RFS.
Paul visits a local cattle auction with his friend Darcy as he looks to further expand the livestock at River Cottage Australia. Paul then welcomes a special lady on the farm – his mum Cath West comes to River Cottage and lends her green thumb in a working bee for cute kindergarten kids.
It’s Paul’s first summer on the farm and he eagerly waits for his sows Dolly & Pinky to give birth.
This year the bar is being set even higher for the final feast at River Cottage and the net cast even more closely. Paul sets himself a challenge to create a long lunch menu only using produce sourced within sight of Mount Gulaga – his Gulaga Gathering. It’s a luscious celebration of the best seasonal produce Paul can forage, harvest & gather.
As Paul gets closer to the day of the big feast, he’ll need the expertise of local chefs & friends to help him prepare a four-course menu – will they be able to satisfy 30 hungry guests? And Paul’s farming dreams come true when he welcomes new babies but will he be up for the challenges ahead?
In over a year, Paul’s farm has grown from a hobby farm to a serious small holder operation, but without proper infrastructure he needs plan for the future. Paul looks to his produce to see how he can turn a profit – but who’s buying?
With River Cottage bursting with life, Paul needs to sell his pigs for profit. But can he manage to round them up?
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Blood orange tart
There’s trouble on Paul’s farm and his goats go missing. It’s also time to turn the winter veggie patch into his first cash crop as he visits an old friend for some helpful tips.
Paul travels south to Bega where he helps in a community kitchen. He’s also questioning Bessie’s future and needs to find out if she’s pregnant.
Tough times for Paul when he asks home butcher and friend Matt to help him slaughter his first goat. Paul needs to get Bessie wormed and vaccinated, so it’s a trip to the neighbor’s stockyard where the job can be done safe and easily.
After the slaughtering of Paul's first goat, he looks to put it to good use at the community garden. Paul then takes his pigs into town for sale, but how many will he sell?
Exclusive recipes from Paul West:
Paul decides to add hens and honey to his farm, and goes on a road trip to find out how. Digger proves he’s got the nose for truffle hunting.
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Pearl couscous with parsley and pickled red onion
As Paul fills out his veggie garden, he looks to add further biodiversity with the addition of bees. Paul scrubs up Ron the rooster to take him to to show, but will he get the blue ribbon again?
Paul welcomes visitors to the farm. His Dad arrives for the first time and they go on a camping trip to hunt feral deer. Later, Paul adds more chickens to his farm for his egg laying operation.
Paul's dad is at River Cottage and helps out in the kitchen as Paul prepares for the Latimer sisters, who grew up at the farm and have come home for morning tea and to give Paul a history lesson.
Paul goes on a wild bee hunt and builds a hive for the farm. He also looks at running Digger through some more training with potentially entering him into a competition.
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Paul West's focaccia
Paul faces the hard task of taking his first pigs born and raised on the farm to the abattoir, and makes a trade for some venison.
Paul learns about catching eels and gathering other wild food from Indigenous local and chef Noel Butler, and watches his next generation of chickens hatch.
Exclusive recipes from Paul West:
Paul makes his way to town and sells his first eggs and veggie boxes in Tilba. Months of hard work pay-off when Paul turns his own pigs into profit at the Eden Whale festival but it’s not all smooth sailing.
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Crackling pork loin with cider gravy
Paul bottles up his beer that has been brewing - including some with a garden twist. And after months of training it’s time for Digger to shine at a local dog competition.
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Yoghurt cake with strawberries
To welcome the start of summer Paul hosts a cricket match at RCA and shares his produce with his friends. And his beloved cow Bessie finally gives birth.
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Roasted carrot, red onion and mint salad
In the last year Paul’s farm family has grown and with the fencing an ongoing issue for Paul, he finds a way to change the face and shape of the farm. Paul also has grand plans to take his food message on the road with a retrofitted Food Van but has he bitten off more than he can chew?
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Beef ravioli in broth
Paul has his hands full with his ever-expanding farm and so he employs Harrison as his part-time farm hand. First on Paul’s to do list is to help treat one sick pig.
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Lime ginger marmalade
Paul’s spent the last few years planting and growing produce without a long term plan so he gets important advice on how to transform the farm’s future.
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Honey and oat slice
Digger is reunited with someone very special and Paul bravely takes his food truck for its first test run at the local farmers markets but he’s a little unprepared!
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Roast pork belly rolls with apple
After ironing out some of the food van fumbles Paul decides to drive it over the mountains and into the “big smoke”, stopping off for some trout fishing and learning they’re tough to tackle. In Canberra, he meets urban growers and visits a food swap.
After taking his food van on the road, Paul is still in Canberra. He joins Oz Harvest to teach a cooking class about stretching your food without stretching your budget, then puts the food van to another test - the taste buds of city slickers!
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Chicken pot roast (poule au pot)
While Paul is away Harrison was left to manage the farm and hasn't all been plain sailing. Then Paul makes use of his home grown honey, and looks to revegetate the gully on the farm.
Paul visits his friend Tabatha to get some new animals and takes on a new challenge – sheering sheep. Paul rises to the challenge at a community event that makes him sweat for his supper. And does he have what it takes to make the local footy team?
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Pizza three ways
Paul gets hands-on and digs in as he plants trees in the farm gully with the help of his friends from The Crossing. Using his experience in Canberra, Paul goes back on the road. His first stop is a tiny town of 20 called Morundah which as turned a local pest into a palatable bar snack.
Paul heads to Griffith and Narrandera and meets up with inspirational farmers who’ve reinvented themselves to survive. Can the knowledge he’s gained apply to his own patch of paradise in Tilba?
Still in the Riverina, Paul visits a wheat-farming mate who has changed the future of his town with beer. He learns about crop rotation at an organic farm, and plants a few seeds of his own.
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Deep-fried tofu with chilli soy dipping sauce
Paul gets roped into a local footy match and random mascot race. And at the Wagga Wagga “eat local” farmers markets Paul uses the produce he’s gathered to create an afternoon tea that delights the shoppers.
Back on the farm it’s time to make some much needed changes. Jean teaches Paul the forgotten skill of stone masonry. Paul learns how to spin a yarn, and turns some natural fibers into something wearable. And in the kitchen, Paulis making croquettes.
Exclusive recipe from Paul West: Cheesy potato croquettes
Digger brings joy to some people in need. And Darcy returns to solve a long time problem on the farm – but can they get the water from the dam to all the gardens and livestock using a little DIY?
Paul takes part in a species eradication program but it’s not your average day out weeding as this method goes to new heights. Paul begins planning for a field day held at River Cottage, so he is on the hunt for some fresh local ingredients to feed the locals.
As a way of celebrating the talent, artists & producers in the area Paul hosts a huge field day on the farm. Paul proves he’s not afraid to strip down for fashion before wowing the crowd with a special tribute that sums up his last three years in Tilba.
Watch River Cottage Australia at 6pm weeknights or if you miss an episode, catch up on SBS On Demand.