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Welcome to Point Of View 004 by DR DENIM. The point of this editorial is to give space to the thoughts and views of our community. To open up new conversations, invite new perspectives and build relationships with friends, old and new. Next on the block is Hugh Piper, a renowned Aussie chef located in Orange, NSW. With over 15 years experience in award-winning Sydney restaurants, Hugh recently decided to move West in search of the best produce NSW has to offer. We took a trip out West to catch up with Hugh and talk all things food, work and personal projects.

D: Who are you?

H: I’m Hugh Piper, I’m 31 and I live in Orange, NSW with my partner, Zoe and our cat Andy Warhol. 

D: What do you do?

H: I am a full-time chef and part-time vinegar maker.

D: Where do you live?

H: I have recently made the move from Newtown to Orange, regional New South Wales. 

D: Do your values inform your relationship to clothing?

H: Yes, I like to shop second-hand whenever I can, not only because I like retro clothing but also to minimise my impact on the environment. I like to shop labels that are committed to leaving as small a footprint as possible in their manufacturing process for both the environment and their workers. 

D: How do you find your life shapes your expression through clothing?

H: I feel creative when I have great produce in front of me, music blaring and feeling comfortable in my clothes. I like to wear cotton T-shirts when prepping and a crisp party shirt during service. Whenever I serve food I am conscious of the fact that I am serving up a plate of myself and I feel most myself in clothes that show my laid-back attitude. 

D: What are you working towards now?

H: I have just set up my own business putting on bespoke catering, events and hospitality consulting. In the near future, I would like to open an Italian-focused venue in Orange with my partner. I’m also working towards settling into a new town and living a slower-paced lifestyle. 

D: How important is creativity in your routine?

H: I find creativity super important in my day-to-day life whether it’s looking at new produce and recipes or getting dressed in the morning. At home, I take pleasure in making creative dinners and also find creative inspiration in the way that my partner has decorated our house. 

D: What is your denim go-to?

H: Skinny black jeans forever (!!) but you've convinced me that blue jeans are pretty good too. I've been wearing the Rush Jeans or Chase Jeans, along with the Trooper Tee. And for service, I throw on my Madi party shirt.

D: What are you listening to?

H: I am listening to lots of Garage/Indie Rock at the moment. Love me some jangly guitar. Bands like The War on Drugs, Twin Peaks, The Murlocs & Parquet Courts.

D: What are you cooking/eating?

H: I’m delving back into hand-rolling pasta now that I have more time on my hands. I’m also keen on learning more about cheese making! I love to produce this time of year too. Beautiful brassicas like broccoli and cavolo nero are always things I look forward to cooking with. 

D: What are you drinking?

H: Everything! I’m currently obsessed with a good Martini. I’ve been buying lots of different types of vermouths recently too. Lastly, some beautiful wine from De Salis, where I just spent 5 months working during vintage. 

Cook Hugh's go-to pasta recipe: 

Gnocchetti Sardi (aka Malloreddus) with Braised Zucchini (serves 4 with some leftovers)

This is such a wonderfully simple pasta to make, it’s a great intro to making your own pasta if you’ve never done it before. The sauce is just as simple and is a staple in our home. You can substitute the zucchini for broccoli or any leafy green like cavolo nero or chard. It’s a good way to use up some of the veg left in the fridge if they’re getting a bit old!


For pasta:
600g Semolina Flour
300ml tepid water

For the Braised Zucchini Sauce:
1 brown onion, diced
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 or 4 medium-sized zucchini (just under 1kg), sliced thinly
A small handful of some leafy greens like spinach, cavolo nero or herbs like parsley, mint or rosemary, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon miso paste
1 teaspoon fermented chilli paste (or chopped fresh chilli to taste)
Good quality Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Butter (optional)
Cheese for grating, eg Parmesan or Pecorino


    In a large heavy-based pot, heat a fairly generous 5 tablespoons of olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook gently until they soften.
    Add the miso and chilli paste, stir and cook for a minute.
    Add the sliced zucchini, herbs and greens if using. Cover with water until just under the level of the vegetables.
    Bring to a gentle simmer and place a lid on the pot, leaving a gap.
    This sauce should take about 45 minutes to cook. You want to bubble away nice and slowly, letting the vegetables break down into a chunky sauce.
    While the sauce is cooking, make the pasta.
    Place the semolina in a mixing bowl or in a pile on a work surface and make a well.
    Add the water then slowly incorporate the flour using a fork or your fingers.
    Once a rough dough has formed, knead it for 10 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic.
    Cover the dough with a tea towel or baking paper and let it rest for 30 minutes.
    Once it has rested, cut the dough into 6ths.
    Working one 6th portion at a time(keeping the other portions covered so they don’t dry out), roll out the portions into a long rope shape using your palms. It should be about 1-1.5cm thick. Don’t use any extra flour at this stage as you don’t want to make the dough too dry.
    Next, cut the rope into small rectangles about 1cm wide. To shape the gnocchetti, place a piece of the dough on a ridged gnocchi board or on the back of a fork, pressing firmly with the side of your thumb, roll it away from you. It should curl over and take on the ridges from the gnocchi board/fork.
    Dust with more semolina so they don’t stick to each other.
    Repeat with the rest of the dough.
    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
    Taste your zucchini sauce and add some salt and a knob of butter if you feel like it needs it.
    Boil the pasta for 2-3 minutes or until ‘al dente’.
    Strain your pasta, reserving about half a cup of the pasta cooking water.
    Toss the pasta, sauce and reserved cooking water.
    Serve with plenty of grated parmesan or pecorino.

With some events on the horizon, we can expect more exciting things from Hugh soon. Keep up to date with him via his website & socials:
Vinegar guy @very_molto

Shot by @andreaveltom on Wiradjuri country. We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land, and pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging.


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