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Archive for the ‘Best Emerging Chefs-Australia/N-Zealand’ Category

MY DOWN UNDER GARDEN-AUSTRALIAN CHEFS: JAMES PARRY/DANIEL PUSKAS

Every encounter was a wonderful discovery, but the Australian and New Zealander chefs blew me away! They have a very distinct personality and a very unique cuisine that mixes technique, technology and influences from Spain, Japan or Thailand. They are all linked in the research of the best product (produce) and the freshness of the instantaneity.

I interviewed Daniel Puskas several months ago while working with the chef Martin Benn at Sepia, it was the first time I did an interview with a “sous chef” for this series, but what a ”sous chef ”, remarkable!

And in fact, less than two years later it has just opened his own restaurant, Sixpenny with Chef James Parry.

I can say that with their roadmap and passages in the kitchen of several great chefs, it was written in the sky were our two acolytes would open their own restaurant. Puskas, it is Tetsuya’s, Zuma, Sepia and Parry it is Kwong, Barber, Aduriz, but it is at Oscillate Wildly that the two chefs worked together and promised to open a restaurant.

Just open, Sixpenny received several compliments and accolades. Sixpenny that’s more than two excellent creators, Puskas and Parry have a broader view (a reflection) on the world of gastronomy (“cuisine”) and this is reflected in their “cuisine à 4 mains”. But I recognize in the menu or the recipe attached the touch of Daniel Puskas. A perfect mastering of techniques, science and an extensive knowledge of the products. The cuisine of Sixpenny is at the service of “Nature” (local), it is a cuisine that highlight of the essence of a product.

If I were an investor, I would put money behind this is two chefs for long time. I’m certain we’ll talk about their contribution to Australian cuisine in a few years …

 

 

 

Q+A WITH JAMES PARRY/DANIEL PUSKAS ( www.sixpenny.com.au ):

1-(Scoffier) One year ago, you tell me : “My goal is to one day have my own restaurant cooking contemporary Australian food with a focus on using local suppliers. To do this, I plan to create seasonal menus and use produce from my own garden or sourced from our local suppliers who we have developed good relationships with .”And now, this is the concept behind Sixpenny? How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine?

DPuskas/JParry- We like to cook food that is tasty and that we are proud of. We like to enhance the flavors of the individual ingredient. We try to grow as much as possible, the more we grow the more we understand the challenges of growing this gives us a much greater respect for the ingredient.

2-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

DPuskas– My Nana’s greens beans. She grew these in the backyard and I remember picking them with her. As a child I refused to eat any other green beans.

JParry- Family meals, my motivation to cook comes from these gatherings with my family. Knowing the joy that it brings to everyone.

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires your cuisine?

DPuskas– I am inspired by a variety of chefs, both local and overseas, for different reasons. Andoni, Bras and René Redzepi inspires me with their love of nature and natural approach to cooking, sourcing native and seasonal produce. On the other hand, Ferran and Albert Adria inspires me with their innovative modernist approach to cooking. They use new techniques and products to help achieve textures and tastes in food that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Heston (Blumenthal) playful yet refined cuisine is interesting in that it creates modern dishes based on historical foods and events.

Locally, Martin Benn, Mark Best, Dan Hunter and Ben Shewry are, in my eyes, defining and shaping Australian cuisine with their distinctly unique food. I also take a lot of inspiration from my close friends/chefs. We are always chatting about what we are up to in the kitchen and offering helpful advice. Without them I wouldn’t be the chef I am today.

JParry– Inspiration comes from everywhere Chefs I’ve worked for (Andoni Aduriz, Dan Barber, Kylie Kwong) and chef friends I’ve worked alongside (Rosio Sanchez, David Toutain, Leandro Carrera) my family, and our producers people like Beth and Hayden McMillan, Richard Gunner. Reading is also very important not just cook books but about farming, food history, human history. Joel Salatin is a great leader in regenerative agriculture, his books and work are truly amazing.

4-(Scoffier) You have worked at an unique restaurant (Sepia) with an excellent chef, Martin Benn, and the restaurant has earned many accolades. What differentiates your cuisine at Sixpenny of that of Sepia?

DPuskas– Martin’s food is very modern and fun with a lot of japanese influences, at sixpenny we concentrate more on the individual ingredient. We always start by looking at whatever it is we are using for example a ‘sweet potato’ and say how can we enhance the flavor of that ingredient to make it the best tasting sweet potato you have ever eaten.

5-(Scoffier) You made a stint at Mugaritz, what did you learn of the chef Andoni Aduriz?

JParryAndoni is an amazing Chef who leads an equally amazing team. He constantly reminded us that Mugaritz is more than a restaurant it’s a way of life. The passion that drives you be a great chef should also drive you in all aspects of your life. I constantly reflect on my time in Spain, it’s was an amazing experience that will forever influence and inspire my life.

6-(Scoffier) You worked together at Oscillate Wildly, how your “cuisine” has it evolved since then?

DPuskas/JParry- Perhaps technique was at the forefront in our cooking whilst at Oscillate, now we encourage the produce to lead the way. We still use and have great interest in technique, it’s solely no longer the focus.

7-(Scoffier) How do you develop your recipes for your Tasting menu? What are your source(s) of inspiration ?

DPuskas/JParry- We look at the bare ingredient and work out how to build the dish from there, giving all ingredients equal respect (allowing a sweet potato or a baby gem lettuce to be the focus of a dish). We think about what it is that makes that ingredient unique and try and emphasize this. If the ingredient is good enough, what could we possibly do to make it better???

8-(Scoffier) I could be wrong but I found that there was an interesting search for wine in your Tasting menu? How did you select the wines?

DPuskas/JParry- As we said before with our food it all comes from local suppliers we try and carry that same idea on with our wine. 80% is from NSW and the rest is made up from around Australia.

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Sixpenny?

Recipe: Steamed Mud Crab, Silky Macadamia, Chamomile.

10-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef and for your restaurant?

DPuskas/JParry- We can only hope that sixpenny grows and evolves with us, we hope that we can keep creating unique experiences and inspiring others to care a little more about the food they eat and perhaps try growing a thing or two themselves.

RECIPE: Steamed Mud Crab, Silky Macadamia, Chamomile

INGREDIENTS & PROGRESSION RECIPE
Crab
1. Put crabs to sleep before beginning the cooking process. Vac the crabs in large vac bags but first wrap in glad bake to prevent the claws punching holes in the bags. To cook steam in the combi oven set on 90°C steam until the shell turns red. On a 1200g crab this will take approximately 50 mins. Once cooked pull out of the oven and let sit at room temp for 10 mins, then in cold water for 10 mins, then in ice water for 10 mins. Once cold pick crabs and portion into 25g portions.
Macadamia Milk
-1kg macadamia nuts
-1kg water
1. Preheat oven to 160°. Determine amount of milk you want to make in weight and weigh out approximately the same amount of macadamias as the ratio is 1:1. Roast ¼ of total macadamias in the oven just until golden. Be careful not to take too far. Approx 6 mins.
2. Add the ¼ to the other ¾ and blend with the equivalent amount of water in the thermomix until completely combined. Do this in small batches if you are making a large quantity. Put into a container and allow to sit overnight.
3. The next day squeeze out the milk by placing small amounts in a superbag (or oil filter) squeezing out as much liquid as possible.
4. Vacuum seal portions in small vac bags to maximize shelf life.
Macadamias & Chamomile
-100g macadamia nuts
-Chamomile
1. Roast in oven at 160°C for approx 8 mins or until golden brown. Chop into halves.
2. Garnish with fresh Chamomile leaves and flowers.
3. Also garnish with dots of olive oil.
FURTHER INFORMATION
SIXPENNY/Chef(s) James Parry + Daniel Puskas
83 Percival Rd,
Stanmore (Sydney), NSW
info@sixpenny.com.au
PRESS
2. The Australian by John Lethlean, April 28, 2012
3. SMH by Terry Durack, March 27, 2012
NOTE: Copyright for the photos: sixpenny restaurant
Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2012
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MY DOWN UNDER GARDEN-NEW ZEALAND CHEFS: DAN PEARSON

Every encounter was a wonderful discovery, but the Australian and New Zealander chefs blew me away! They have a very distinct personality and a very unique cuisine that mixes technique, technology and influences from Spain, Japan or Thailand. They are all linked in the research of the best product (produce) and the freshness of the instantaneity.

I have often spoken of young chefs from Australia or New Zealand, but today I present to you a chef originally from England who adopted New Zealand and for whom, I confess, I have a “parti pris”.

Dan Pearson has brought with him to Auckland not only his culinary skills (and its British influences) but also a taste and an energy that moves things and inform people. It might be ambitious, but it is work that he does every day with its pop-up concept Egg & Spoon and Chef’s Arses Blog.

The “cuisine” of Dan Pearson is simple, accurate, completely inspired by local products. Its English roots exist but they are subtly hidden in the “aesthetics of light and colours”, the same quality that I found in Michael Meredith’s work (but differently). Perhaps it is a “New Zealand-touch”, I do not know yet …

Sometimes we meet chefs whose creativity and hard work that amazes us, sometimes they are personalities whose involvement goes beyond creativity in the kitchen … Dan Pearson is a mixture of both, definitely a chef to follow!

 

 

Q+A WITH DAN PEARSON (www.eggandspoonrestaurant.com ):

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics?

DPearson– Good quality ingredients with great flavour; not over-complicated or masked by using too many complicated techniques when they’re not needed. Simple flavour combinations with flare. Food to me is the most important art form. Being able to make a guest smile with honesty on a plate is what matters most.

2-(Scoffier) Egg & Spoon is a pop-up concept (mobile), your goal is to open a permanent restaurant?

DPearson– Most definitely. There are a number of reasons behind the pop ups. Firstly it allows me to take my time to find the right location for Egg & Spoon, as this one detail can make or break your business, and to put to the test areas of interest and trial different ideas. Secondly, it acts as a good marketing tool in the build-up to eventual opening. Finally, it allows me to work with young up and coming chefs around the country looking for new experiences within the industry. Fingers crossed we will have a location by mid-2013.

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

DPearson– I come from a very English background so I would have to say a good Sunday roast or braise, whether its pork, beef, lamb or chicken with all the extras. Roast potatoes, boiled potatoes, roast carrot and parsnips, boiled greens (normally overcooked in our house), gravy, bread sauce and stuffing, all on the table by midday and finished off with a good rhubarb or apple crumble with custard. Then, have an afternoon snooze in front of the Eastenders omnibus and prepare to enjoy round two with a leftovers sandwich and the family game of monopoly.

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

DPearsonPigs head, without a doubt. There is just so much potential for a great dish. Terrine, roast, pickled tongue, crispy ears, potted meat, skin tuille, braised cheeks, pressed jowl… Pork has such a versatile flavour that you can marry it with all the seasons.

5-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your cuisine?

DPearson– My two biggest mentors are Toby Stuart, Head Chef of Roux at Parliament Square, and my chef when working at Foliage, Chris Staines.

Toby showed me his book Essential Cuisine by Michel Bras when we worked together in London. I saw the first page of recipes – boiled eggs – and all of a sudden everything I had been looking for was staring back at me. I’ll never forget that moment as it changed me as a chef forever. Toby is an amazing guy to work with and has a CV that any chef would dream of: Troisgros and Richard Neat to name a couple.

I don’t really know where to start with Chef Chris as he did so much for me whether was in my darkest hour or my finest moment. Right from the moment I walked into the kitchen on my stage I knew I was in the right place. This is a chef that promotes freedom of creativity and builds a team that values respect towards each other and our ingredients, and the all-important value of team work. This only touches briefly on the many kitchen ethics we, as a team, learned and practised daily.

I only ever intended to do my year at Foliage and move on, but chef constantly evolved with the times. With so much development there was no need to go anywhere else. I hear so many people speak of Foliage as the hidden gem of London. We achieved a rising two star in my time but never got the second. I’m still scarred by this as a lesser restaurant (in my view) got theirs – ouch. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for those two guys as they steered a rebellious little prick in the right direction.

Where else do I find inspiration (apart from the obvious Michel Bras)? Peter Gilmore of Quay in Sydney: I did a stage there in 2010 and it blew me away. I’m such a geek that I stole one of his plating-up spoons (if he reads this then I can send it back in the post…). Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park: great book. Juan Mari (The Wizard) Arzak, Pierre Gagnaire everyone in the top fifty, everyone in every Michelin guide… the list is endless as my favourite hobby is searching for food porn.

6-(Scoffier) Michael Meredith (Meredith’s) told me that the New Zealand scene was very young and vibrant. Since your arrival (2009), do you perceive a New Zealand signature in the world of the gastronomy?

DPearson– The New Zealand food scene is indeed very young and vibrant. This has its pros and cons.

Pros: New Zealand is untouched soil in terms of recognition for its gastronomy. When people think of New Zealand they think of three things: rugby, Lord of the Rings and sheep. This is great for chefs like me and my friends as that means there is not that much fierce competition or rivalry in order to be recognised. All of the up and coming chefs here whether from NZ or abroad all get along very well and work with each other on a regular basis to further our own skills, share ideas, produce contacts, training for younger chefs and more than anything have fun working together.

Cons: Cheffing is on the skills shortage list, some areas of the catering education system is not as fine-tuned as it could be, you can count on one hand how many restaurants could really compete with the big boys overseas, we don’t have a trusted guide system or an internationally recognised guide that would help bring in a higher quality of staff, which in turn would give the chefs of New Zealand’s future a better education (and prevent them from going overseas for training and in turn risk them not coming back because of all of the above). It’s a vicious circle and a problem that isn’t going to be solved overnight.
It would be great to see a New Zealand restaurant amongst the crowd of top dogs, but in terms of New Zealand finding a signature within the world of gastronomy I think we’re going to have to wait a few years.

7-(Scoffier) How do you develop your recipes? What are your source(s) of inspiration ?

DPearson– Some recipes are developed over time, some made up on the spot and some are untouched from when they were passed onto me through the kitchens I have worked in. I carry a sketch book with me everywhere I go as inspiration is all around us on a day to day basis. My brain never unplugs from thinking about food so when I get an idea I need to document it straight away through fear of forgetting or getting lost amongst the thousand other things I’m thinking about.

I have sketch books dating back to almost a decade ago now and it’s a great way to record self-development. There are some dishes that I still go back to and develop on paper, with maybe ten different versions of one dish spaced over a decade, and it’s still not what I’m after.

Books are a great source of inspiration; I’ve stopped counting how many I have. Not just the pretty, new ones either. The earliest cookbook I own so far dates back to nineteen sixteen. I am a firm believer that we wouldn’t have the new without the old and I find it very interesting just how far recipes have developed within a century.

Going out to dinner, doing stages, online food porn, talking with other chefs, planting veges in the garden, going to the markets…

And the biggest inspiration of all has to be as simple as being in the kitchen. It’s the one place where I’m never fidgety as there is always something to do.

8-(Scoffier) You are a very important (assiduous) contributor to the blog Chef’s Arse, what is the purpose of the blog? And, currently, what are you interested (books, chefs, trends, countries etc.) in gastronomy?

DPearson– The main purpose of my blog is to feed the brains of the young chefs of New Zealand. I have taught and spoke to so many talented individuals here that have no idea about what is going on in world of food. No idea about Michelin, top fifty, Ferran Adria, Escoffier, modern techniques such as sous-vide, and much, much more.

Industry-related media here is more aimed at the foodie or the advanced home cook rather than people like myself that want to look at food porn, want to know who’s the best, who’s up and coming, read about controversial topics of debate and new techniques, but more than anything just to be inspired.

I enjoy the foodie magazines that we have here but I am a thirty-one year old food geek and I know how to appreciate them. Is the young spotty kid working in a burger van in the dog-arse end of nowhere buying these magazines to be inspired? And if they are just what standard is it showing and setting them?

I started off in a burger van and I didn’t have anyone showing me material like we have on the blog. If I did I think the path I would have taken to get to where I am now would have been a lot less complicated. But the simple truth of it is that I just didn’t know such things existed. There are a lot of young kids over here in that same situation and if my blog manages to help or inspire just one of them then I know I’m on the right track and giving back to the industry.

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Dan Pearson?

DPearsonRecipe: Apricot, lamb fat, wild radish

10-(Scoffier) What is your goal (ambitions) as chef? Do you think about write a book, a television show, others?

DPearson– World domination!! Only joking. My main goals are to just carry on playing with food. Egg & Spoon for me has always been an ever growing idea, an evolving creative process without any restrictions and I want it to continue in that vein and be able to look back over the years (like I do with my sketch books) and see its evolution.

I would love for Michelin to bring out an Australasia guide as that would really raise the bar over here. I’m super competitive and what better way to harness that energy by setting yourself goals of a high standard. I have three empty stars tattooed on my arm and I want at least two coloured in before I hang my whites up.

I would love to do a cookbook. All my friends are in one except for me, so I think having my own is the only way it’s going to happen…

The one thing that makes me push on more than anything and the one goal I want to achieve the most is that when my daughter Alice sees all the things I do, that she is proud to call me her Dad.

RECIPE: Apricot, lamb fat, wild radish

INGREDIENT & PROGRESSION RECIPE

1. Smoked lamb fat – take fridge temperature lamb fat (roasted/clarified) and put in a cold smoker. For smoking chips Manuka wood is a favourite but you can also manipulate the flavour and scent by the addition of other dry ingredients, i.e. lavender, rosemary, tea leaves, spices etc. Once the fat has been lightly infused, melt and keep at a warm temperature.

2. Apricots – the fruit should be served at room temperature, not just for this dish but as a general rule. When you put fridge temp food in your mouth the first thing your brain will register is that it’s cold and only second to this will be the flavour, if it’s in your mouth long enough. Also we don’t want the lamb fat to solidify around the apricot upon soaking them, we want the apricot to soak it up like a sponge so when we put it in our mouths there’s a gentle explosion of flavours and aromas.

3. Chilli salt – put your safely sourced seawater into a double boiler and reduce over a long period of time. Once your salt crystals have formed and chilled, mix with freshly ground red chillies to a 4-1 ratio.

4. Other ingredients – wild radish flowers and beans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, grain mustard and wheatgrass.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

EGG & SPOON/Chef-owner Dan Pearson

Auckland, New Zealand

info@eggandspoonrestaurant.com

Chef’s Arse blog

Facebook Egg & Spoon

1. Fine dining at the White Lady, May 2012, Auckland Now

2. Eat Here Now, April 2012

 

 

(THANKS AT TYSON SUTTON FOR THE PHOTOS. © TYSON SUTTON.)

Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier ©2008-2012.

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M.Orr+T.Lim/Duke

MY DOWN UNDER GARDEN-AUSTRALIAN CHEFS: THOMAS LIM + MITCHELL ORR

Let me say that if the plate (assiette) of those Chefs are as generous and of the quality of their responses, we can assume that we will have a great time. Every encounter was a wonderful discovery, but The Australians chefs blew meaway! They have a very distinct personality and a very unique cuisine thatmixes technique, technology and influences from Spain, Japan, Thailand as well as New Zealand.

After having started this Series with some Australian chefs (Ben Shewry, Martin Benn, Dan Hunter, Mark Best…) who are became Coups de coeur, I’m back with two very young chefs who love food and breaking the rules. Thomas Lim was trained in the kitchens of Tetsuya Wakuda before opening The Duxford, his pirate restaurant, the perfect place to develop creativity. Regarding Mitchell Orr, the winner of Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year 2010, he learned his craft of Giovanni Pilu (Freshwater) and Martin Benn (Sepia) before to open and become co-chef(s) of Duke Bistro in 2010.

The restaurant is young, but the chefs are developing a unique style, unique to Australia. Their cuisine is fun and creative with a strong focus on the flavours. It is edgy and authentic; It Is finger food versus haute gastronomy techniques!

Everyday they reinvent themselves in their cuisine, this will sometimes give recipes to forget and often flashes of genius! Stay tuned for several years…

 

Q+A WITH THE CHEF THOMAS LIM + MITCHELL ORR (www.dukebistro.com.au ):

1-(Scoffier)– How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics?

TLimOur food reflects our appetite, knowledge and personality. We believe cooking and eating is all about enjoyment, therefore we don’t take ourselves too seriously and try to take a more relaxed approach in the kitchen. We are constantly reading and learning about old and new techniques, new ingredients and certain ideas that all play a part in how we structure and execute a dish. As long as our food is always evolving and delicious, which is what we really try to display on our menu.

2-(Scoffier)– This interview is with you and co-chef Mitchell Orr, how is the work divided between you two? And how is
the creative process between you?

TLim Between us we develop the whole menu. Even though our training backgrounds are quitedifferent the way we think creatively are pretty in sync. We may often disagree on certain points or ideas but that difference of opinion is a strength, often leading to the one missing element that will take a dish to the next level.

Either one of us may have an idea for a dish and through bouncing theidea back and forth between us we will come up with different options on how to bring the dish to life. From there we test and refine until we are happy with the completed version.

This process keeps us thinking, evolving and grounded in what we are doing.

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavor or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

Thomas – Warm soda bread with cold butter along with bacon and cabbage at my Grandmas place in Ireland. One
of those memories where everything played its part, from the aroma of the bread to the weather outside. Brilliant!

Mitch – Catching rainbow trout and cooking it whole over coals at my grandma’s in Gippsland Victoria. The freshness of the fish along with the smoke from the coals is probably my first really amazing food memory.

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

TLim- Although we don’t cook one cuisine we tend to use a lot of Japanese products in our cooking. Things such as kombu, dried wakame, mirin, sake and white sesame oil add depth and umami giving us more complete flavor profiles in our dishes.

We may be inspired by a flavor, ingredient or dish more common place in Italian cuisine, through our training we are then able to use Japanese
ideals to complement the ingredient or take the dish in another direction.

5-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your cuisine?

Thomas – Jeremy Strode showed me how to execute restraint on the plate and to stand behind your food no matter where you are. Mike Eggert and Darren Robertson inspires me to push myself and keep evolving.

Mitch – We’ve both been lucky enough to work with and for some amazing chefs, both older and of our generation. Working for Giovanni Pilu taught me a lot about terroir and pride in your region (He is Sardinian), Martin Benn taught me a great deal about umami and friends such as Puskas, Mike Eggert and the TOYS family keep me motivated and searching for new techniques and ideas.

6-(Scoffier) I have discovered with this Serie several extraordinary chefs from Australia (Best, Shewry, Benn, Hunter,
Puskas etc.) and I often ask this question: Is there any an Australian signature cuisine presently?

Thomas-I don’t think there is a signature Australian cuisine, yet. However I think we can count ourselves extremely lucky to have a number of chefs who display and interpret their own idea of what Australian cuisine is all over the country, therefore we have a wide spectrum of different styles and flavors that all relate to Australian cuisine.

Mitch – I don’t think there is a signature Australian cuisine either. Without that long clear history that most of Europe and Asia have it’s a very hard thing to define. The multicultural nature and abundance of different cuisines here is a massive influence and strength. I don’t believe we need a singular “Australian” cuisine to define us.

7-(Scoffier) How do you develop (your inspiration) your recipes and construct your menu at Duke?

TLim- We try not to limit ourselves to where we draw inspiration from, whether it’s a new or old technique, an ingredient, something we have eaten, a particular time of the year or something we may have seen outside of the kitchen. Generally our menu is changing all the time, if a certain menu item becomes tired or boring to us when we are cooking it or too popular or we feel the dish is perfect and its had a good run we remove it.

We don’t really want people coming with a pre-conceived notion of what Duke is, we’d rather people come and have their own experience. We try and avoid having signature dishes for this reason.

8-(Scoffier) Foraging is very popular among several chefs in Scandinavia and elsewhere in the world. But these are often
countries where many products are not available off season. Australia is very different, it seems that you have fresh vegetables and fruits at all times. Is foraging is a trend and is it necessary in Australia?

Foraging is very popular at the moment and we think it’s great, however in New South Wales we are quite limited to what we can collect from our natural surroundings compared to anywhere in Europe. Still there are plenty of wild flowers, weeds, berries and some mushrooms around. With the help of our good friend and chef, Mike Eggert, we are able to collect and supply the restaurant with a small bounty of weeds, flowers and
cress’s everyday.

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Thomas Lim &
Mitch Orr at Duke Restaurant?

TLim– Recipe: Leather Jacket Cheeks, Chicken Skin, Rouget Mayonnaise

10-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef or for your restaurant? Do you think about write a book, a television show, others restaurants?

TLim- We are still a very young restaurant so at the moment we are just going to concentrate on Duke and continue to build the business, one day at a time and enjoy ourselves.

RECIPE: Leather Jacket Cheeks, Chicken Skin, Rouget Mayonnaise

LeatherCheeks/©Dukebistro

INGREDIENTS

-2 leather jacket cheeks, skin removed

-2 pieces of chicken skin, 10cmx10cm,
cleaned

-0.5g TG – meat glue

-Sea salt

-2 cabbage leaves

-1 tbsp rouget
mayonnaise

-20ml grapeseed oil

-Garlic chive flowers

PROGRESSION RECIPE

-Place chicken skin, skin side down, a flat surface with the leather jacket cheek in the centre at a 45° angle.

-Take the top left and bottom right corners of the chicken skin and fold towards the centre. Dust the cheek and the two centre folds with TG, then fold in the two remaining corners of skin ensuring the wrapped cheek is a tight little package. Repeat the process with the other cheek.

-Seal cheeks in a vacuum bag and allow to set in the fridge for 1 hour.

-Place a pan on high heat with a 20ml of grapeseed oil. Season cheeks and pan fry 30-40 seconds each side.

-Remove from pan and fry cabbage leaves till crisp.

-To assemble, spread rouget mayo on plate placing both cheeks across the mayonnaise with cabbage leaves and garlic chive flowers on top.

TO DO (BEFORE)

Rouget Mayonnaise

-30g rouget stock

-150ml grapeseed oil

1. Using a stick blender in a cylinder gastronome, slowly add grapeseed oil to rouget stock while
blending.

Rouget Stock

-6 rouget frames

-1 head garlic

-1 brown onion, sliced

-1tsp fennel seed

-1tsp celery seed

-1tsp cumin seed

-1tsp black peppercorns

-2 bay leaves

-1tbsp tomato paste

-50ml Pernod

-Grapeseed oil

1. Roast rouget frames in a hot oven for 20 minutes.

-Place a pot on a medium heat and fry off
onion, garlic and spices in grapeseed oil. Add tomato paste and cook for a
further 2 minutes.

-Add Pernod, followed by rouget frames then cover with hot water.
Simmer for 90 minutes, pass through an oil filter. Reduce stock by 50%.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

-Duke Bistro/Chef(s) Thomas Lim + Mitchell Orr

65 Flinders St. Darlinghurst

Sydney, NSW 2010

www.dukebistro.com.au

PRESS/REVIEW

1. Food in the fast lane, Sydney Morning Herald, May 31 2011, http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/restaurants-and-bars/food-in-the-fast-lane-20110528-1f93c.html

2. Young guns blazing, The Australian Magazine, April 9 2011, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/executive-lifestyle/young-guns-blazing/story-fn49ohsg-1226034587079

3. Carte Blanched, The BlackMail…, February 2011, http://www.theblackmail.com.au/food/carte-blanched/

4. The Loft Project (London), Event with T. Lim + M. Orr, July 29-30 2011, http://www.theloftproject.co.uk/news/

 

Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier ©2008-2011

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Daniel Puskas/©A.Mintzes

MY DOWN UNDER GARDEN-AUSTRALIAN CHEFS: DANIEL PUSKAS

Let me say that if the plate (assiette) of those Chefs are as generous and of the quality of their responses, we can  assume that we will have a great time. Every encounter was a wonderful discovery, but The Australians chefs blew me away! They have a very distinct personality and a very unique cuisine that mixes technique, technology and influences from Spain, Japan, Thailand as well as New Zealand.

It is not because of my Austalian roots (really!), that I am presenting to you a second chef from the same restaurant. It’s just that Sepia has been awarded ”Two Hats” in Australia and that Martin Benn was appointed Chef of the Year at the 2011 Good Food Guide Awards. And next to the chef Benn, there is the very talented chef Daniel Puskas.

Daniel Puskas was born in Sydney (Australia). He began his career as an apprentice chef at Tetsuya’s. From there Daniel travelled to London where he worked at Zuma restaurant (London). Back in Australia, Daniel Puskas took up a position at Marque Restaurant (See the Q+A with Mark Best). At Marque, he was nominated like the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Chef Award. After several others travels and stages, Daniel took up the kitchen of Oscillate Wildly (Sydney). And now, he acts as co-Chef of Sepia with the great chef Martin Benn.

Like the chef Bennhis cuisine is a cuisine of purity, experimentation and perfect mastering of French techniques and strong Japanese’s influence. It is a cuisine that tries the highlight of the essence of a product. Creativity at the service of Nature!

 

Q+A WITH THE CHEF DANIEL PUSKAS:

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics?

DPuskas- My approach to cooking is modern and progressive whilst using traditional techniques and a natural focus. I like my dishes to be clean and creative with a slight twist. I take inspiration from many different sources to incorporate into my cuisine, such as history, word play and people. I also take a lot from nature, trying to make sure the food looks organic, colorful and fresh. Above all, I try not to over complicate things, using only a few components per plate to allow the ingredients to speak for themselves.

2-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

DPuskas-My Nana’s greens beans. She grew these in the backyard and I remember picking them with her. As a child I refused to eat any other green beans.  

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

DPuskas- At the moment we are having a lot of fun with dashi at work. Dashi is a base stock made from kelp and bonito flakes and is a traditional and fundamental component to Japanese cuisine. The umami flavour of the dashi creates a lot of depth and complexity to the dishes without using heavy and rich sauces. Recently, we’ve been emulsifying flavoured butter into different dashi stocks. 

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your cuisine?

DPuskas- I am inspired by a variety of chefs, both local and overseas, for different reasons. Andoni, Bras and René Redzepi inspires me with their love of nature and natural approach to cooking, sourcing native and seasonal produce. On the other hand, Ferran and Albert Adria inspires me with their innovative modernist approach to cooking. They use new techniques and products to help achieve textures and tastes in food that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Heston (Blumenthal) playful yet refined cuisine is interesting in that it creates modern dishes based on historical foods and events.

Locally, Martin Benn, Mark Best, Dan Hunter and Ben Shewry are, in my eyes, defining and shaping Australian cuisine with their distinctly unique food. I also take a lot of inspiration from my close friends/chefs. We are always chatting about what we are up to in the kitchen and offering helpful advice. Without them I wouldn’t be the chef I am today.

5-(Scoffier) Eight years ago, we only know Tetsuya Wakuda like Great chef from Australia, but I have discovered with this Serie much fantastic chefs… and a really different (new) cuisine; French techniques with Asian influences and local products. Is there any an Australian signature in cuisine (in the world) presently?

DPuskas- Australia is close to Asia so we are influenced by its produce and ingredients and luckier for it. We are fortunate to have chefs like Neil Perry, Tetsuya, David Thompson, Kylie Kwong and Christine Mansfield to help us understand and use Asian foods and techniques. As a country, we are a very young and multicultural. This is helping to shape and develop our cuisine. I believe that the future of food in Australia will get stronger so that one day we will have a rich food history.

Sepia Kitchen/Photo Louise Lister

6-(Scoffier) You have worked with several excellent chefs; Tetsuya Wakuda, Mark Best, a stage at WD-50 and Alinea, and Martin Benn. Presently, you are a small but a really strong team at Sepia Restaurant. How do you work every day with Chef Martin Benn?

DPuskas- Martin Benn is an amazing chef and a great boss. It’s easy working alongside him in the kitchen because he’s a great motivator, mentor and friend. We work side by side on the pass everyday, with Martin controlling the service and me making sure things are running smoothly. Generally at some point we sit down with a coffee or a glass of wine and talk about new dishes that we are working on. We always discuss what we can do to change and develop new and existing dishes to improve them.

7-(Scoffier) How do you develop (your inspiration) and construct the Saturday night chefs tasting menu at Sepia, a really popular experience?

DPuskas- Martin is very flexible and encourages all the kitchen staff to think about menu ideas for the Saturday deg. If one of the younger chefs has an idea they will approach us and be encouraged to develop it. Martin has always wanted his team to be included in everything. If a dish is a standout on the Saturday deg it will make its way on to the weekly menu.

8-(Scoffier) Do you use some elements from molecular gastronomy or new technology in your cooking techniques? If yes, which?

DPuskas- Yes we love new and innovative ideas and techniques but we try not to lose focus of the original product. If we can make a dish without the use of different types of additives then we do it. One day I would love to have fancy equipment like gastrovacs and lyophilizes, but at the moment we have a pretty standard fit out.

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Daniel Puskas?

DPuskas-Recipe: Butter Poached Leek, Cooked and Raw Wild Garlic, Lentil Sprouts and Golden Dashi. 

10-(Scoffier) What is your goal (ambitions) as chef? Do you think about write a book, a television show, others?

DPuskas- I love being in the kitchen and inspiring the younger generation. My goal is to one day have my own restaurant cooking contemporary Australian food with a focus sustainability. To do this I plan to create seasonal menus and use produce from my own garden or sourced from local suppliers when possible.

 

RECIPE: Butter Poached Leek, Cooked and Raw Wild Garlic, Lentil Sprouts and Golden Dashi

Recipe Poached Leek/©A.Mintzes

INGREDIENTS & PROGRESSION RECIPE

-1 Baby Leek

-20g Lentils

-2 stems of Wild Garlic bulbs attached

-Baby Daikon Leaves

-Native Violets, Red Nasturtium

-20g of butter, 200mlOlive Oil

-5cm stick of Kelp,1 tea spoon, Mirin, liquid Shiro Dashi, 1Tbl spoon of white soy,

-500ml of water

-Xantham Gum

1. Leek: trim of the green on the leek and reserve for stocks or ash. Bag the leek with a little of the olive oil and 10g of butter. Season with salt and pepper and vac on full. Poach in a water bath around 70°C for about 10 mins or until soft to touch then refresh in an ice bath.

2. Sprouting lentils: using a small tray and paper towel, sprinkle the dried lentils onto the layer of paper towel and cover with another piece of paper towel then water, making sure it’s very wet and then keep in a warm part of the kitchen around 36°C making sure it stays moist. This will take about 2 days before you start to see the lentils sprout. Let them grow for another day and then store in the fridge.

3. Wild Garlic: get rid of any dirt on the bulbs of the garlic and try not to damage the leaves or separate them from the bulb.

4. Golden Dashi: bring the water up to boil with the stick of kelp. Once it boils remove kelp and then season with white soy and liquid dashi. Simmer and reduce slightly until you achieve the correct flavor, then emulsify the olive oil into the hot soup. You might not need all of the olive oil so be careful when adding to the soup. Thicken slightly with Xantham.

5. To finish, warm a pan with butter. Hold the garlic by the bulbs and wilt the green in the warm butter. Season with salt and pepper. Warm the leek in a water bath then remove from the bag and place it in the same pan to give it a little color on one side. Warm the dashi and dress the plate.  Finish with the violets, nasturtium and baby daikon leaves.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION:

-Sepia Restaurant/Co-Chef Daniel Puskas/Chef Martin Benn

Ground floor, Darling Park

201 Sussex Street

Sydney (Australia) NSW 2000

www.sepiarestaurant.com.au

 

-Review(s):

-Chef of The Year 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/restaurants-and-bars/martin-benn-wins-chef-of-the-year-20100907-14yf3.html

Sydney Morning Herald, http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/restaurants-and-bars/sepia-20100906-14xn0.html

 

Tous droits réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2010

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Chef Mark Best/Photo: Stuart Scott

ÉLECTRONS LIBRES-AUSTRALIAN CHEF: MARK BEST     

The Électrons Libres, is a group of chefs that are as individual or a leaders of a group have taken a unique route that goes beyond the learning process. Their philosophy transforms the cuisine of the present time as well as the cuisine of the future in a specific area (place) or country. Sometimes they are the leaders of a culinary movement but often, they are alone in their search. Mark Best is a good example of an ‘’Électron Libre’’ in Australia.   

At the age of 21, Mark Best was an electrician who worked in the gold mines of Western Australia. In 1990, while helping a friend in a kitchen, he discovered ”the stove” (art of cooking), this event will change his life.  At  25, he started an apprenticeship at the Macleay Street Bistro (Sydney) and only four years later he won the Josephine Pignolet Award for the Best Up and Coming Chef. Rapidly, he open his own restaurant, the Peninsula Bistro (a critical success), but he stopped everything and left for France. In France, he worked for 4 months (with no salary) at L’Arpège (Alain Passard’s restaurant). Soon after this apprenticeship, he returned to Australia, and opened the successful Marque Restaurant in Sydney (April 1999). 

The cuisine of Mark Best is actually one of the most creative cuisine in the world. Mark Best works with a small team (6-7 persons) and in a very small kitchen. Working under those conditions has made him modify and develop his aesthetic. Like Alain Passard, he uses the best ingredients and works on different textures, contrasts and harmony of flavors. All that allows him to create the most delicious dish possible, nothing superfluous! Just see his recipes (ocean trout, beetroot macaroons, crab-almond gazpacho etc.) to understand the uniqueness of his cuisine. It is Passard + Australian’s ingredients + Asian influence, but at the way of Mark Best! 

I finish with the words of Mark Best: I love the creative process. It is the reason I can get up every day and enjoy going to work… 

  

Q+A WITH MARK BEST (www.marquerestaurant.com.au):  

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine at MARQUE and what is it main characteristics? 

MBest- The cuisine at Marque is inspired and driven by seasonal produce. We bring this to a point of unnatural expression with a range of techniques, some old some new. The plates are to look entirely natural. I don’t like the technique to be visible. 

2-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable? 

MBest- I guess the overriding taste memories would be from my mother’s family. All home grown vegetables, locally cured meats and pickled products. They were German immigrants who came to Australia in the 1850’s and maintain the food traditions to this day. 

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes? 

MBest- The beetroot seems to keep popping up in our ideas. It is a poor man truffle. Rich, earthy, full of flavour and surprise. 

Beetroot Macaron/Photo: Stuart Scott

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your cuisine? 

MBest- The 4 month stage I did at L’Arpège in 1998 continues to inspire and inform my cuisine. Passard is a genius. We have had his Chaud-Froid Egg on since opening in 1999. It is a philosophical touch point and reminds me of the beauty and genius of simple things. 

5-(Scoffier) Eight years ago, we only know Tetsuya Wakuda like Great chef from Australia, but I have discovered with this Serie much extraordinary chefs… like you and a really different cuisine; French techniques with Asian influences and local products. Is there any an Australian signature in world cuisine presently? 

MBest- Tetsuya and Neil Perry broke the ground for the next generation of Australian chefs. I and my pears are indebted to them for their international success. Australia is unique in that we are a wealthy western nation that is physically part of Asia. Indonesia is the same distance as Perth in Western Australia. We are heavily influenced by our migration and the ingredients they bought with them. I think the cuisine in Australia is becoming quite defined and mature. My own cuisine while firmly based in French culinary philosophy is totally informed by the ingredients and techniques of the Asian region we are part of. 

Interior Marque/Photo: Stuart Scott

6-(Scoffier) How do you develop (your inspiration) your recipes and construct your menu? 

MBest- The recipes develop over time. They are part of a constant theme of evolution and refinement. A lot of small ideas come together (sometimes) into a big one.  I also credit the tiny kitchen and its physical limitations with the food aesthetic. It is very pared back and minimal. We only have 6-7 chefs and send 500 plates a night. Things have to be sharp. 

7-(Scoffier) I know that the chef Pascal Barbot (L’Astrance) take a lot of time choosing and picking his produces at the market. Do you spend as much of time to choose and pick your produces? 

MBest- I have known Pascal since my time at L’Arpège and I think we share some similar culinary ideas. The great deal of our time is spent sourcing unique product. Knowing what to do with it is never a problem. The best produce immediately tells you what it needs to tell its story 

8-(Scoffier) Do you use some elements from molecular gastronomy or new technology in your cooking techniques? If yes, which? 

MBest- We keep a close eye on the culinary world and the latest technique. The trick is to integrate these techniques into Marque cuisine. 

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Mark Best and Marque Restaurant? 

MBest- My recipe is one of the Marque classics “Blue Swimmer Crab with Almond Gazpacho, Corn Custard, Jelly & Almond oil” The original idea was the combination of crab and almonds. After that it was a matter of expanding on the textures. The crab is king in this dish. 

10-(Scoffier) What is your goal (ambitions) as chef or for your restaurant? Do you think about write a book, a television show, others? 

MBest- My ambition is to have my restaurant full every day of my wonderful customers who demand the best from us. 

  

RECIPE: Crab with Almond Gazpacho & Sweet Corn Custard 

Crab with Almond Gazpacho.../Photo: Stuart Scott

INGREDIENTS & PROGRESSION RECIPE 

Corn Custard: 

-8 cobs of corn 

1. Method: shave corn off the cob close to the core, blitz and pass through fine sieve and cook liquid out in thermomix at 80*  for 4mins. If not thickened continue with 45 second intervals until thick. 

Gazpacho (almond): 

-200g slivered almonds 

-200g soaked bread 

-Sherry vinegar to taste 

-150ml olive oil 

-Half clove garlic 

-750ml water 

-Salt and pepper 

1. Method: In thermomix blend almonds, bread, olive oil and garlic until smooth paste, slowly add water until desired consistency, season with sherry vinegar and salt & pepper. pass through fine sieve. 

Almond milk: 

-300g slivered almonds 

-350ml cinzano bianco 

-3 clove garlic 

-10 peppercorns 

-2L milk 

1. Method: reduce bianco with the almonds peppercorns and garlic until dry, add milk and infuse on low heat until warm, do not boil. Blitz with stick blender and pass through fine sieve. 

Almond jelly: 

-400ml almond milk 

-2 1/3 sheets of gelatine soaked in cold water 

1. Method: warm 100ml almond milk and dissolve gelatine, whisk in the rest of the almond milk and set in fridge. Once set, place jelly in kitchen aid and whip on high until it looks like a meringue, set in a container 5 – 8cm deep. Keep in fridge. 

Popcorn powder: 

-Corn kernels 

-Clarified butter 

1. Method: heat clarified butter in pan, add corn kernels to cover the base of the pan, when first one pops cover with lid and keep pan moving, until corn has popped. In thermomix blitz popcorn on high speed till fine powder, season with salt. 

Blue swimmer crab: 

-8 blue swimmer crabs 

1. Method : take legs and back off crab, remove filters and steam on 100* for 8mins. 

Other ingredients: 

-1st pressing almond oil 

-Avruga herring roe 

  

FURTHER INFORMATION:        

-Marque Restaurant/Executive Chef Mark Best (Head Chef Pasi Petanen) 

4/5 355 Crown Street   

Surry Hills, NSW 2010, Australia 

www.marquerestaurant.com.au   

  

-Review(s) :       

1. Sydney Morning Herald, Restaurant of the Year 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/restaurants-and-bars/marque-crowned-sydneys-top-restaurant-20100906-14xyz.html

2.Redvisitor (vidéo), Voted 67th Best Restaurant in the World 2010, http://www.redvisitor.com/Local-Experts/Interview-Mark-Best.html 

3. 702 ABC Sydney, January 2009, http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2009/01/31/2478260.htm 

4. The Sydney Morning Herald, September 2009, http://www.smh.com.au/news/entertainment/good-living/chef-of-the-year–mark-best/2009/09/08/1252201213352.html  

OceanTroutLemonDillJelly/Photo: Stuart Scott

-Vidéo(s) :  MasterClass, World Gourmet Summit 2007  

1. Crab with Almond, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEN5aaPpmjU 

2. Cured Ocean Trout, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fi1PqlNtE-s&feature=related 

3. Citrus Marshmellow, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fi-gDk8N7pc 

  

Tous droits réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2010

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Chef Ben Shewry/Photo: Gaal Creative

MY DOWN UNDER GARDEN-AUSTRALIAN CHEFS: BEN SHEWRY 

Let me say that if the plate (assiette) of those Chefs are as generous and of the quality of their responses, we can  assume that we will have a great time. Every encounter was a wonderful discovery, but The Australians chefs blew me away! They have a very distinct personality and a very unique cuisine that mixes technique, technology and influences from Spain, Japan, Thailand as well as New-Zealand.  You have Dan Hunter with his wonderful gardens at the foot of the Grampian National Park, Ben Shewry who picks his herbs every day near his home before going to his kitchen or Martin Benn that has for partner the best ‘’poissonniers’’ in Australia. They are all linkedin the research of the best product (produce) and the freshness of the instantaneity. I was told once that the Australian chefs’ motto was: ‘’Take the freshest product (produce) and prepare it  the simplest way!’’  

Ben Shewry was born in New Zealand in 1977.  After in early training in New Zealand and Australia, he visited Thailand to develop his taste buds. Since 2005, Shewry is the Head Chef and explorer of Attica. Named Best New Talent by the Australian Gourmet Traveller in 2008, Top 20 Rising Stars 2010 by Food & Wine Magazine, he is one of the most innovative chefs in the world

Visually exquisite, his cuisine is complex and simple all at once. Shewry mixes his love for exploration and his love for the terroir to innovate and to create the best dish. Certainly a coup de coeur… 

  

Q+A WITH BEN SHEWRY (www.attica.com.au ): 

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics? 

BShewry- My philosophy is very simple- work very hard, and by that I mean that I actually do mise- en-place every day with my small team (4 chefs). That is a major point of difference, I watch and taste everything and still prepare twenty percent of the evenings food. The more common practice is that, the executive chef of today does not soil his hands with the peeling of onions and what’s not. After 18 years of cooking I still enjoy the menial tasks and I think it’s important that I teach and motivate my team by actually standing along side them to prepare our food. It gives me immense pride and satisfaction to watch their personal growth, this approach is now called “old fashioned” but at the end of the day we are all cooks and that’s what we should be doing- cooking. Of course the majority of our guests at Attica know this and its one of the reasons that we are booked out constantly through the biggest depression in my life time. 

The main characteristic is that my cuisine is very personal, very different from others. This comes from my main philosophy of trying to do things my own way- not looking at others for inspiration but instead drawing on my past to inspire my future. Of course there is always indirect influence but we try to be very honest in our approach. For example I don’t look directly at Ferran Adria for inspiration like many others do but its impossible for any modern cook to deny his influence on the past 2 decades of cuisine. 

2-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes? 

BShewry- Often it’s the ingredients of Thailand– the seasonings like fish sauce and tamarind. Used very subtlety, I understand them well and they can bring another layer of flavour in addition or conjunction with other more traditional seasonings such as salt and lemon. I’m also a fan of vinegar to add acid- every dish must have a balance. 

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your cuisine? 

BShewry- My main mentor is a chef from New Zealand called Mark Limacher, I trained under him in the late 1990’s- he was the best chef in the country at the time, head and shoulders above anyone else and I learnt so much from him- he was incredibly generous and honest in his approach. He told his staff “how it is” and brought realism at a time when food was full of fluff and a lot of people had lost sight of the fact that food must taste good first and foremost. I credit a lot of my success to him; he remains a great friend, confidant, and supporter. He has flown to Melbourne every year for the past four years to eat at Attica. David Thompson has also been an influence – through his books and kindness, he helped me to better understand Thai cuisine after I floundered in the wilderness with it for 6 years. David has a superior food intellect and his knowledge of all cuisines, technique and ingredients is truly inspiring- without a doubt he knows the most about food of any person I’ve ever met. I think he’s a genius and feel fortunate to call him my friend. 

My friends the chefs who dine at Attica- chefs love cooking for other chefs and we always look after them because the life of a cook is not an easy one and if you are lucky enough to have a night off its nice to be made a fuss of- its one simple pleasure we can provide for each other, a mark of respect and almost an unwritten rule to do this in restaurants. They always make me want to cook better- having cooks eating my food is good for motivation. 

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable? 

BShewry- I have many dishes inspired by my childhood with stories that accompany them, my dishes “a simple dish of potato, cooked in the earth it was grown”, “marron, cured beef, wild sea flora”, “terroir” and “snow crab” were all inspired my traumatic childhood events. I grew up in isolation in the rural NZ backcountry on my parent’s sheep and cattle farm. Most of my inspiration comes from the first 12 years of my life when I lived there. 

5-(Scoffier) Is there any elements from your cuisine that is typical from the Australia? 

BShewry- I’d say the only element that I share that is typical of Australia is the use of some tropical produce- we have great tropical fruit here. Also because of our close proximity to Asia there is more influence of Asian ingredients and techniques. 

6-(Scoffier) I look at your Menu at Attica, you often change your Tasting Menu? 

BShewry- Every Tuesday we do a menu called “chefs table” It’s a five course menu- I’ve attached my menu blurb. It changes completely every week and is only $75 for five courses. We want to keep it real! In addition to this we run an 8 course tasting menu from Wednesday to Saturday which is much more refined and focused- it is the fruits of our Tuesday night labour. The dishes that are successful on Tuesday will sometimes make it onto the 8 course menu after weeks of refinement and tinkering. 

Welcome to Attica, two years ago chefs table was born out of our desire to progress more quickly with the development of our cuisine, throw caution to the wind and to offer guests more variety at a reasonable price. The menu is a living, breathing thing and evolves week to week. I work on it during our weekend and let the seasons dictate what they may in terms of produce; many of the dishes are inspired by memories of my childhood in rural New Zealand and by sights of nature and life that I discover on my drive to work from my home on the Bellarine peninsula. Some dishes are just inspired by common sense and beautiful produce. My team and I arrive each Tuesday morning to begin the day’s preparations, we gather around a bench and discuss how we will go about putting these new ideas and thoughts into something cohesive as a menu, the evenings food will take 50 man hours to produce. 

None of the dishes have been cooked before….. 

7-(SCoffier) How do you realize your slow-cooked potato? 

BShewry- I look back at my history and that of my native country New Zealand. Hangi is a traditional Maori cookery method which involves cooking of ingredients in a pit in the earth. I was inspired by the Hangi’s of my childhood and one in particular at my Uncles folk festival in rural Taranaki where I witnessed a group of men slaughter a flock of 30 geese in a most inhumane and cruel way. I was about 8 years old and I’ve never been able to get that memory out of my mind. After the men came to their senses they were embarrassed about what they had done and left most of the geese to rot in the paddock instead of plucking them for the hangi. When my Uncle found this out he was wild and yelled at the men to go back and pluck every last goose. Need less to say the main memory from that particular Hangi was of cooked goose meat. My dish of “potato simply cooked in the earth was grown” took more than 5 months to develop and 25 varieties of potatoes were tested. It was inspired by the above event. 

8-(Scoffier) I know that the chef Pascal Barbot (L’Astrance) take a lot of time (40 % and more) choosing and picking his produces at the market. Do you spend as much of time to choose and pick your produces? I know that you pick herbs each morning at your home? 

BShewry- Throughout the seasons my team and I forage for over 45 different varieties of edible wild plants. Winter and spring are the best times and there is an abundance of weeds, herbs and succulents to be picked. Summers are very hot and dry and most of vegetation dies off. Its starting to dry up now and we are have to contend with snakes on our forays into the bush and wild. Not fun but I’m pretty careful. We often pick along unkempt areas by urban train tracks as well, so if the snakes don’t get us it’ll probably be a train!  I live 2 hours away from Attica in the country and there are many beautiful places to find wild ingredients there as well, it’s a great respite from the heated and stressful atmosphere of the kitchen. 

9-(Scoffier) Do you use some elements from molecular gastronomy or from new technology in your cuisine? 

BShewry- I use modern cooking techniques, but that is not what is important – technique or technology should only be used to serve an ingredient. By that I mean- it should just be perfectly cooked, the technique should magnify the excellence of the ingredient not overwhelm or smother it. Old techniques are important as well. I worry about the next generation of cooks and their possible reliance on sous vide. Attica was one of the first restaurants to use this technique in Australia 4 years ago before there were any cook books published on it. I had to learn it through trail and era- this is the best way. There is no such thing as “put something in a plastic bag and set a timer for 8 minutes” and as if by magic it is perfectly cooked. Sous vide is like any other technique- you need to cook by feel. Over one year ago we began to move away from it- too many people were practising it and all the textures were too much alike. Good quality, precise ovens are underrated. 

10-(Scoffier) What is the importance of wine pairings in your menu at Attica? 

BShewry- Very important, my food is very light and incredibly difficult to pair wine with. Big wines overpower the dishes easily and so it’s important for us to offer wines that are sympathetic to my cooking. Camm our sommelier and I always try the wines together with my food for better judgement.  Two heads are better than one. 

11-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish) that is characterized the cuisine of Ben Shewry and Attica Restaurant? 

BShewry- Sea tastes (see the recipe) 

12-(Scoffier) It’s important for you to participate at Madrid Fusion 2010? 

BShewry- Madrid Fusion is very important to me and my team. Firstly, I am the first and only Chef to be invited from Victoria in the events 8 year history. Secondly we have been forging on for years, trying to do our own thing and its great recognition of that. There have been thousands of hours of work put into my cuisine, the only reason for that is it’s what I enjoy doing. It’s so much damm fun! The organizers of the festival came and dined at Attica and judged it on its merit- they didn’t just invite me based on the words of others. When you grow up in the backcountry of New Zealand you cannot imagine in your wildest dreams anything like this happening to you. All I have wanted to do are cooking. 

RECIPE: Sea Tastes, Prawns, Clams, Sea Flora, Sea Urchin (for eight) 

Recipe Sea Tastes/Photo: http://www.gaal.com.au

CLAM CUSTARD/INGREDIENTS 

500gm live clams (soaked in fresh water to remove sand) 

-300ml water 

-100ml white wine 

-250ml soy milk 

-8 eggs 

-salt and white pepper 

PROGRESSION RECIPE 

1. Heat a medium saucepan until very hot, add drained clams, water and wine and cover with lid. Allow to steam until just cooked. 

2. Strain clams from juices. Pick clams from shells and finely slice. Cover and set aside in fridge until needed. 

3. Set up a chinese steamer over a low heat. 

4. Measure 250ml of the clam juice and pour into a bowl with soy milk and eggs. Whisk well and season with white pepper and salt. 

5. Pour custard mix into 8 lightly greased small bowls. 

6. Place bowls inside steamer and gently steam for 5 to 10 minutes or until custard is set. Remove from the steamer and allow to cool to room temperature. 

PRAWN JELLY/INGREDIENTS 

24 fresh prawns 

-1 shallot, finely sliced 

-½ small carrot 

-½ celery stalk 

-1 parsley stalk 

-½ cup white wine 

-2 tablespoons olive oil 

-2 l water 

-1 tablespoon fish sauce 

-2 ½ titanium strength gelatine leaves 

PROGRESSION RECIPE 

1. Peel and de-vein the prawns. Keep the heads for later use. Gently steam the prawns in a chinese steamer until just cooked. Allow to cool and finely slice. Set aside in fridge. 

2. Heat a medium sauce pan to a gentle heat. Add olive oil, carrot, shallot and celery and sweat for 4 minutes. Add prawn heads and sweat for a further 5 minutes. Add white wine and reduce to a glaze. Add parsley stalk and water and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the prawn stock through a fine sieve line with muslin cloth. Season the stock to taste with fish sauce. Bloom gelatine leaves by soaking in cold water until they soften, strain away water. 

3. Measure 300ml of the prawn stock and bring to a simmer, remove from the heat and whisk in bloomed gelatine. Pour into a small dish and place in the fridge to set. This will take about 2 hours. 

SWEET & SALTY NORI POWDER/INGREDIENTS 

1 sheet of nori, lightly toasted on a hot oven (this will only take about 30 seconds) 

-1 tablespoon sugar 

-Salt to taste 

PROGRESSION RECIPE 

1. Crumble nori into a pestle and mortar. Add sugar and grind to make a powder, season with a little salt- should taste salty with a little sweetness. 

SEA URCHIN FROTH/INGREDIENTS 

50 gms sea urchin 

-250 ml chicken stock 

-100 ml tomato juice 

-100ml water 

-100 ml soy milk 

-Fish sauce to taste 

-½ teaspoon lecithin 

PROGRESSION RECIPE 

1. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes until the “raw” taste of the sea urchin has been cooked out. Remove from the heat, add lecithin and season to taste with fish sauce. Blend until smooth in a upright blender. Pass through a fine sieve. 

GARNISHES/INGREDIENTS 

1 small packet prawn floss (available from asian grocery) 

-32 cucumber balls, cut with a small melon baller and marinated in a tablespoon of fish sauce and a teaspoon of sugar. 

-1 king brown mushroom, finely shaved with a very sharp knife 

-Gathered sea flora such as sea lettuce, samphire, salt bush. 

TO SERVE 

1. Gently turn out custards into the middle of your plates. 

2. Combine the sliced prawns and clams into a bowl. Season with a pinch of salt and a few drops of lemon juice and light tasting olive oil. Mix well and then divide between the custards spreading evenly to form a mound. 

3. Place small pieces of the prawn jelly in any gaps in the prawn/clam mix. 

4. Place 4 pieces of the mushroom and 4 pieces of the cucumber on top. 

5. Sprinkle a pinch of prawn floss over each dish. Scatter a few pieces of sea flora on each. 

6. Sprinkle a little nori powder over and finish by frothing the sea urchin with a hand-held blender and spooning a little froth on each. 

SERVE 

  

FURTHER INFORMATION: 

-Attica Restaurant/Chef Ben Shewry (www.benshewry.com.au ) 

74 Glen Eira Road 

Ripponlea, VIC 3185, Australia 

www.attica.com.au 

-Review

-The Age Food Guide, Chef of the Year 2011, http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/restaurants-and-bars/emirates-chef-of-the-year–ben-shewry-attica-20100830-1407b.html

The Age Journal, http://www.theage.com.au/news/entertainment/epicure/restaurant-review/attica/2009/07/27/1248546674016.html 

-Video

-The Age, Signature dish of Ben Shewry,  http://media.theage.com.au/lifestyle/essentials/attica–the-tricks-behind-the-menu-1881779.html

Gourmet Traveller, http://gourmettraveller.com.au/behind_the_scenes_with_ben_shewry.htm 

  

Tous droits réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2010 

 

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Chef Dan Hunter/Photo: Tim James

MY DOWN UNDER GARDEN-AUSTRALIAN CHEFS: DAN HUNTER

Let me say that if the plate (assiette) of those Chefs are as generous and of the quality of their responses, we can assume that we will have a great time. Every encounter was a wonderful discovery, but The Australian chefs blew me away! They have a very distinct personality and a very unique cuisine that mixes technique, technology and influences from Spain, Japan, Thailand as well as New-Zealand. You have Dan Hunter with his wonderful gardens at the foot of the Grampian National Park, Ben Shewry who picks his herbs every day near his home before going to his kitchen or Martin Benn that has for partner the best ‘’poissonniers’’ in Australia. They are all linkedin the research of the best product (produce) and the freshness of the instantaneity. I was told once that the Australian chefs’ motto was: ‘’Take the freshest product (produce) and prepare it the simplest way!’’

Dan Hunter was born in Melbourne (Australia) and started his career in Melbourne working at the highly acclaimed restaurants Langton’s (three chef’s hats) and Verge (two chef’s hats). In January 2005 Dan Hunter moved north to San Sebastián where he began a period of learning experiences at the Mugaritz Restaurant with the great chef and innovator Andoni Aduriz. In 2006 he was offered the role of Head Chef, which he held for one year before returning to Australia. Shortly after his return in 2007, he took on his first position as Executive Chef at the Royal Mail Hotel. For most chefs, the Royal Mail is a dream (see the videos at the end). Dan Hunter’s cuisine is intelligent and elegant; he has learned with Andoni Aduriz to magnify nature and to make it even more beautiful!

Q+A WITH DAN HUNTER (www.royalmail.com.au ):

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics?

DHunter- The main aim in our cuisine is to search for the small intricacies within nature and highlight them. We intend to demonstrate the true essence or true nature of ingredients while maintaining their integrity. Purity of flavour and very singular flavours are typical of the dishes we present in the restaurant.

2-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

DHunter- We have a large organic vegetable garden and so a lot of what we serve at the Royal Mail is harvested that morning by the chefs. We are interested in the diversity of nature and so seek out heirloom variety vegetables, fruit and plants. We hope to present diners a much wider example of vegetables than is usually seen at a market or in a typical restaurant

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your cuisine?

DHunter- I worked at Mugaritz for two years and so obviously Andoni has been an important person for me. Given that we are in the country and don’t really cook an urban style of cuisine, I am also inspired by other chefs who have chosen a path outside of the city. Michel Bras is an example. Aside from these two there are many modern day chefs who are an inspiration like Ferran Adria and Heston Blumenthal. Cuisines rather than people are also points of reference. The way Japanese cuisine can highlight simplistic ideas through food is always a reference for me and a reminder not to get too fussy.

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable

DHunter- Not really. My childhood memories aren’t filled with complex ideas on food. Vegemite on toast, custard, roast lamb, ice cream – typical Aussie kid stuff.

5-(Scoffier) What do you eat when you are at home?

DHunter- Simple clean food

6-(Scoffier) I know that you worked at Mugaritz with the chef Luis Andoni Aduriz, what do you have learn of this great chef?

DHunter- A restless search for perfection within ingredients and that there is a lot of beauty within imperfection (nature). Mugaritz taught me a lot about aesthetics.

Royal Mail Hotel/Photo: Earl Carter

7-(Scoffier) Is there any elements from your cuisine that is typical from the Australia (or Dunkeld area)?

DHunter- We try and mimic natural forms in our presentations. When wild mushrooms are growing in the pine forests we attempt to mimic the experience of picking them on the plate.

We also use some native and non-native wild ingredients like native mint, wild onions, muntries (a type of dessert berry), pine mushrooms, slippery jack mushrooms, morels, sorrel, yarrow.

8-(Scoffier) I know that the chef Pascal Barbot (L’Astrance) take a lot of time (40 % and more) choosing and picking his produces at the market. Do you spend as much of time to choose and pick your produces?

DHunter- I spend a lot of time choosing what to grow in the garden and checking on how it’s going. As the reputation of the restaurant grows and more people from the local area understand what we are doing I’m finding that a lot of farmers are now interested in growing things for us. People are starting to experiment with raising rare breed animals for us.

9-(Scoffier) Do you use some elements from molecular gastronomy or from new technology in your cuisine? If yes, which?

DHunter- We do a lot of cooking sous vide or at very low temperature. We also use various gelling agents and are interested in the textural enhancement that ‘new’ products allow. I think that we think in a modern way which helps a lot more than simply utilising ingredients and techniques.

10-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish) that is characterized the cuisine of Dan Hunter and Royal Mail Restaurant?

DHunter- Recipe. Mushroom dish.

11-(Scoffier) Why do you choose Dunkeld to open your restaurant? It’s the best place for you to create an environment similar at Mugaritz (near of the nature)?

DHunter- Seemed like a good place. It’s far enough away from the city that people need to make an effort to come here. They stay overnight and fully relax and let us do our thing. The local environment is very interesting also we have mountains at our door step and the coast is only 45 minutes away. There is a good climate for primary production, good rainfall and warm summers. I think it’s an interesting place.

12-(Scoffier) What is your goal (ambitions) as a chef or for the restaurant? Do you think about write a book, a television show, others?

DHunter- To develop as a chef and refine the ideas that we currently have on food. I hope the restaurant can be a place where people enjoy themselves and that we are a reference for dining in Australia.

RECIPE: Wild Mushrooms, Pine Nut, Bone Marrow, Chlorophyll

Recipe Wild Mushrooms/Photo:Tim James

INGREDIENTS (4 peoples)

Mushrooms

-200g wild mushrooms

-i.e slippery jacks and pine mushrooms

-extra virgin olive oil

-salt

Bone marrow

-4 pieces of veal bone marrow soaked overnight in cold water

Veal stock

-20kg veal knuckle bones

-16kg stewing beef

-7.4kg brown onions

-3.2kg large carrots

-1.3 kg large, ripe tomatoes

-10 litres red wine reduced to 1 litre

-2 pork trotters

-1 calves foot, split

-50 litres water

-(results in 10 litres)

Chlorophyll

-200g baby spinach

-50g pine nut purée

-Fenugreek oil

Silver beet and chard

-20 pieces 5cm in length of rainbow chard and silver beet stem

Leaves and pine nuts

Per portion;

-2 baby beet leaves

-2 celeriac shoots

-3 wild sorrel leaves

-3 wild yarrow leaves

2 baby spinach

2 aztec spinach

2 virofly spinach

5 pine nuts

PROGRESSION RECIPE

For the mushrooms

1. Using a damp cloth remove all traces of dirt, grit and pine needles from the mushrooms.

2. Slice the larger mushrooms into even 2cm wide pieces. Leave the smaller mushrooms whole.

3. Warm a little olive oil in a pan and add the mushrooms. Seal the mushrooms quickly on a high heat and season with salt. To ensure that the pine mushrooms are cooked place them onto a stainless steel tray, cover them with foil and cook for 5 minutes in a hot oven. The slippery jacks will not need further cooking. When cool portion the mushrooms into even 40g portions. Reserve until service

For the bone marrow

1. To clean the marrow and free it of any blood it is necessary to soak it overnight in cold water. If still in the bone pop the marrow out and continue the ‘bleeding’ process by placing it again over night in iced water.

2. Once clean select appropriate sized marrow for the dish and cut those pieces that are larger in half. Reserve the marrow in iced water until needed.

For the veal stock

1. (All ingredients are to be roasted à 200 degrees)

2. Rub the bones with oil and roast them to a deep golden, turning them when needed and draining off excessive amounts of fat.

3. Cut the beef into large pieces, coat it with oil and roast to a deep brown.

4. Peel carrots and onions. Roast carrots whole. Halve the onions and roast until dark.

5. Halve the tomatoes and roast until dark in colour.

6. Place all roasted ingredients into a large stock pot with remaining ingredients and bring to a gentle simmer. Skim any fat and impurities from the surface and simmer for 12 hours. Ensure that the stock never boils hard and skim it regularly over the entire cooking time.

7. Once the stock has cooked for the prescribed time, pass it, first through a coarse strainer and then a fine one and return it to the stove to reduce. Continue to skim any impurities from the surface and reduce the liquid to 10 litres. Pass again through a fine strainer and cool rapidly. Reserve until needed.

For the chlorophyll

1. Wash the spinach and process it in a juicer. Place the spinach juice in a pot and bring it to the boil. Pass the boiled juice through a fine strainer, discarding the liquid and keeping the solid ‘chlorophyll’ left in the strainer. Combine the finished weight of chlorophyll with half the weight of pine nut paste, i.e 100g chlorophyll/ 50g pine nut, add a little fenugreek oil to the chlorophyll making a smooth paste. Reserve in an airtight container.

For the chard and silver beet stem

1. Remove the silver beet and chard leaves. With a ruler measure the stem into 5cm pieces and cut across the stem. Peel the outside fibre off the stem and the cut each piece into thin lengths. Place the stem into ice water so that they curl up. Once curled dress the pieces with olive oil and salt.

For the leaves

1. Wash all leaves in iced water, dry them on paper towel and portion them with the pine nuts into sealed containers. Reserve refrigerated until needed.

To serve

1. Place the portioned mushrooms to warm in an oven or under a salamander. Spread the chlorophyll across the centre of a plate. On top of the chlorophyll scatter the mushrooms. Warm the bone marrow in hot water and then cover it with reduced veal stock. Place the marrow under a salamander until it begins to caramelize. Season the marrow with mineral or sea salt and place it on the plate amongst the mushrooms. Scatter the leaves and pine nuts over the mushrooms. Serve.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

-Royal Mail Hotel Restaurant/Chef Dan Hunter

98 Parker Sreet

PO Box 50, Dunkeld

Victoria 3294, Australia

www.royalmail.com.au

-REVIEW:

-The Age Food Guide 2011, Restaurant of the Year, http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/restaurants-and-bars/vittoria-coffee-restaurant-of-the-year–royal-mail-hotel-20100830-1407f.html

-VIDEO:

-A Day with Dan Hunter, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyx4RdJdxd8

-Dan Hunter talk about his Restaurant, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH1K5RlbiB0

-No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain visit Dan Hunter, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPxKNGCxyok

Tous droits réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2013

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