AN Aussie institution or a culinary crime?
Ballarat is in the midst of a chicken parma war – with foodies calling for the city’s best restaurants to replace the pub favourite with healthier options.
On Saturday, The Courier reported Ballarat’s bustling pub scene is increasingly providing locals and visitors with a myriad of mouth watering choices when going out for a parma.
Increasingly chefs are adding their individual touches to the traditional recipe.
Food writer and chef Suzi Fitzpatrick said the pub favourite should be put aside altogether because it is “crass and unrefined” and was a long way from healthy.
“I’ve struggled with weight issues all my life and I see many young people in Ballarat struggling with the same problems,” she said.
“I know that everything is fine in moderation but with the chicken parmas there is no moderation.
“The 2011 Weight Watchers dinning out guide states that a 240gm chicken breast, crumbed and fried has more than 1500 calories ... which is more that a day’s food intake for most people.”
Popular Sturt Street restaurant Europa Cafe doesn’t offer patrons parmas as an ordering option, preferring more individual and exciting dishes.
Properietor Adam Rasmussen said the dish didn’t fit with the retaurant’s overall menu.
“To me the parma is a belted out piece of meat, grilled or deep friend and really just pub grub,” he said,
“Pub food has its place by all means, but we believe finer dining options with top quality produce and quality dishes are really important for Ballarat.”
Head chef at the Lydiard Wine Bar Damien Jones agreed and said the region’s restaurant scene had outgrown its reputation for pub food.
“Ballarat’s restaurant scene is getting stronger by the year with a lot of good chefs and new venues opening up, giving people new and contemporary options,” he said.
Mr Jones – formerly of David Thompson’s Michelin starred London restaurant Nahm – is considered one of the best chefs in Australia.
“I love a parma like anyone and it is hard to say no to one when you have had a few beers, but it is really comfort food and I think people are looking for some more exciting, good food.”