Meet Martin Dixon of Golden Rooster in Camberwell
Article posted: February 22, 2019
Martin Dixon is a big believer in serving poultry from paddock to plate as quickly as possible.
Mr Dixon and his wife Marnee rise when the rooster crows most days to serve local chickens, game birds and other specialty meats from their store Golden Rooster, located in the Camberwell Fresh Food Market.
That said, quality is as important as speed to the business, which focuses on free range, organic and chemical-free products.
The husband-wife team only took over the Golden Rooster business late last year, but together bring a wealth of experience from their existing poultry store in Prahran.
And while it has only been a matter of months since moving into the area, they have been busy giving the store a makeover with new window displays and uniforms.
The Dixons have received a warm welcome from locals, as one of only two poultry shops in the market.
For many shoppers, it’s about the personal service that stores like Golden Rooster can offer over the big supermarket chains, Mr Dixon said.
In addition, shoppers are caring more and more about how animals are prepared for consumption and how they are processed on their way to the dinner table.
The rise of free range
The demand for free range chickens has grown over the years, as part of a broader shift towards more ethical treatment of the animals that end up on our plates.
“It’s about treating the animals right,” Mr Dixon said.
“The days of mass-produced chickens in cages, where they don’t move to try and get maximum growth out of them, those days are numbered.
“A lot of people, especially in areas with higher disposable incomes like Camberwell, do seem to care, and there is a growing demand for it in those areas.”
Mr Dixon said they also try to source birds and other products locally, where possible, to support local producers and reduce the need to artificially preserve products.
You are what you eat
Shoppers are much more cautious of what they put in their bodies these days, driven by a greater awareness around additives and preservatives, Mr Dixon said.
“I think people are waking up to the fact that these preservatives and chemicals are not so good for you and we haven’t had enough exposure to them over a long enough period of time to understand what they going to do to our bodies,” he said.
Golden Rooster prides itself on selling Bannockburn and La Ionica poultry, which is processed without chemicals.
Mr Dixon noted many poultry producers used chemicals to “bleach” the meat of bruises and make the flesh appear whiter.
The store also caters to people with allergies, offering preservative-free sausages and gluten-free breadcrumb for schnitzels, among others.
Something more exotic?
Home cooks looking to try something different can also find a variety of game meats at Golden Rooster, including pheasants, guinea fowl and Jurassic quail, plus rabbit and hare.
Mrs Dixon said they also field requests for more specialty products, particularly from homesick expats wanting to celebrate their own national holidays away from their country of origin.
For example, they have sourced turkeys for American customers looking to celebrate Christmas in July to make the most of Melbourne’s cooler climate.
“For the Chinese New Year, there would be orders for squab or other game birds,” Mrs Dixon said.
The business also gets requests for goat, which can be used in curries and other Indian dishes.
“We get a real kick out of sourcing something that a customer was looking for, and you know that they are so grateful,” Mrs Dixon said.
“That’s what keeps this job exciting for us.”
Visit the store
Shop 9 – 10, Camberwell Fresh Food Market, 519 – 525 Riversdale Rd, Camberwell
Phone: (03) 9813 2182.