Winning awards rarely poses a problem, but Eden Smokehouse proprietor Stan Soroka was left with a dilemma of a different kind after bagging eight medals at the prestigious Sydney Royal Fine Food Show, including a hard-won gold medal.
When the Magnet went to photograph Stan after his latest haul of medals, he joked that he hadn’t yet found a place to hang them amongst his growing collection.
But even after years of recognition, the thrill is not lost on the artisan gourmet food producer and purveyor, who netted the gold medal for his sliced smoked ocean trout, as well as picking up four silver and three bronze medals.
“It’s still fantastic even though we’ve been in it for eight years,” Stan said with a grin.
“We’ve had a gold medal before, but we haven’t had one for a while.
“Every year we’re striving to look at the judges’ results and try and improve, but we’ve got a lot of stiff competition out there, especially a new entry into the game in Piallago Farm at Canberra.”
Stan believes the awards are about much more than a pat on the back.
He said the competition provides a chance to test his products against the best of the best, with his customers reaping the benefits.
“We all watch what each other is doing and we try to be the best at it, so the consumer ends up being the winner out of it,” Stan said.
“It’s still exhilarating to win that many awards, and it’s our yardstick that tells us whether we’re improving and getting better, and the answer is ‘yes’.
“There are a few that have dropped out of the competition, but those of us that are very serious about this artisan gourmet product are hard at it and constantly pushing that bar up, and it’s just a lot of fun.”
And while the recognition brings customers through his door, Stan says there are advantages for the whole town.
He said ‘foodies’ are travelling from far and wide to sample his products as a result of the recognition.
“The amount of publicity we’ve had from it over the years; it drags people down to the town and attracts people to come here,” he said.
“It’s also now leading into this unofficial food trial that Sydneysiders are doing.
“They’re coming right down the coast and we’re one of the places on the list that they tick off, along with the Bega cheese factories and Disaster Bay Chillies.
“It’s bringing tourists in, so it’s exciting times."
Class 7: silver medal; Hot smoked salmon – sliced
Class 8: silver medal; Hot smoked salmon – sliced
Class 10: silver medal; Hot smoked salmon – unsliced
Class 11: bronze medal; Salmon gravlax – sliced
Class 17: gold medal; Smoked ocean trout – sliced
Class 20: bronze medal; Smoked ocean trout – unsliced
Class 23: silver medal; Smoked rainbow trout – whole fish
Class 27: bronze medal; Smoked whole eel