WHILE he calls the city home these days, restaurant and food critic extraordinaire Simon Thomsen has fond memories of the Clarence Valley and the food scene here.
When Simon was a chef - before he decided he had more skills with a pen than a knife - Yamba prawns were the thing everyone was talking about and they were appearing on menus all over the East Coast of Australia.
"When I was a chef, Yamba prawns were the big, hot, seafood item on the menu. Nowhere else could you get these big, fat, eastern king prawns caught just off the coast off the reef," he said.
When he was growing as a writer, however, Simon could see the food scene blossoming around him.
"I was growing up as a professional eater at the same time as the region was growing as a food scene.
"In the last 10 years particularly, there have been a bunch of niche farmers that have moved away from the more traditional agriculture industries in the Clarence, which I feel has been wonderful for the region."
He will be milling around the Gate to Plate Village Markets tomorrow morning, so if you see him, say hi.