Nanango RSL head chef Matthew Orchard.
Nanango RSL head chef Matthew Orchard. Contributed

How this chef is reinventing a classic pub favourite

WE ALL know what a chicken parmigiana is, and we all love to tuck into one at the pub.

The classic meal is a staple at Aussie watering holes, bringing together a range of delicious ingredients in one mouthwatering bite.

At Nanango RSL, though, you will find parmigianas like you have never seen them before.

Head chef Matthew Orchard has been tinkering away with the classic recipe to create something new and unexpected.

Working with different themes, he and his team have come up with some truly weird and wonderful creations.

Take the Englishman, for example.

It features chicken schnitzel topped with mashed potato, roast beef, mushy peas, grilled cheese and Yorkshire pudding.

Or the Pirates Parma, topping the chicken with creamy garlic prawns and melted cheese.

For the vegetarians, there's a version made up of eggplant, sun dried tomato, tomato salsa, spinach, roasted capsicum and melted cheese.

Mr Orchard said the key to these quirky creations was experimentation.


Nanango RSL's chicken parmigiana
Nanango RSL's chicken parmigiana Contributed

"We've trialled a few different things," he said.

"We were looking for themes for different toppers."

He said the Englishman was one of the pub's best sellers and always got mouths watering at the RSL's regular Parmy Thursdays.

"Thursday's one of our more consistent nights...and the Englishman is one of our top sellers," Mr Orchard said.

Now, Mr Orchard and the RSL team are putting the meal's popularity to good use.

On Friday night, August 17, $10 from every parmigiana sold will go towards support drought-affected farmers.

Donations will be made to Rural Aid's Buy a Bale initiative.

Mr Orchard said they already had 130 bookings for the night.

"Obviously we've seen in the last two to three weeks, it's all over the news, our farmers struggling," he said.

"We thought it was a perfect opportunity."

Mr Orchard also weighed in on the classic Aussie debate: is it parma or parmy?

"I would probably say parmy, but parma works better for parma for a farmer," he said.

South Burnett

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