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Side hustle to booming micro-business for Gippsland Salt Co

Words by Richard Cornish
Images Supplied

What started as a lockdown side hustle for a Gippsland chef has turned into a booming micro-business. Emma Paynter is Executive Chef at the Criterion Hotel in Sale and a lover of salt, smoke, and food preservation in all its permutations.

At this time of the year, she brings out some of her favourite recipes, such as confit chicken and brined, smoked spatchcock. With work at a standstill over winter, Emma started toying with making and marketing her salts. “It came to me at 3 am. I jumped out of bed and had the whole product and business worked out by six,” she says. Assisted by her business savvy wife, Sally Brabham, Emma had the planning, packaging, and all the labelling detail nailed in a few weeks and the product on the shelves by spring.

The product is based on 14 different flavoured salts, all made with different Victorian sourced salts. The other ingredients are as local as the pair can get such as backyard grown chillies, pink peppercorns foraged from peppercorn trees growing on the banks of the Avon River at Stratford and ginger grown in a Gippsland greenhouse.

The Confit Salt is made with coarse crystals and spices such as cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, juniper, and pepper. There’s enough to do two large batches of duck legs. Emma also uses it to make a bed on which to roast potatoes for gnocchi or whole pumpkin.

The Bloody Mary Salt is much finer and laden with the flavours of celery, lemon, chilli, and paprika to round out and sharpen a good stiff Bloody Mary.

The Brining Salt is layered with flavours of real bay, kaffir, chillis, and pink peppercorn and is ideal to mix up with water and soak a shoulder of pork before putting it into the smoker.

Shop the range on OHO Markets.


WHAT: Victorian salt flavoured with Gippsland, and other botanicals
MORE INFO: Gippsland Salt Co

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