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world chef showcase : SIFF

October 15, 2009

It was upon me before I even saw it coming.

Sydney International Food Festival (fondly known as SIFF) has replaced what was once called Good Food Month, and with the name change has come a plethora of brand new events and offers for those lucky enough to live in (or be visiting) Sydney during October. Among the new arrivals? The World Chef Showcase, which was held this last weekend at the Star City Conference Rooms.

I’d contemplated going, but balked at the prices. For $285, I could get a degustation for two. Or eight Let’s Do Lunches. Or fourteen Sugar Hits. Imagine! A Sugar Hit almost every other night for the whole of October! So I decided not to, and entered at competition on Grab Your Fork just in case.

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Luckily for me (and you should have seen the excited gesticulations when the email landed in my inbox) I won! And with that, I was off to Session 2 of the Showcase on Saturday. Theme: China.

I’ve tried to condense this post, but there was so much to see and hear and learn over the hours we were there. So for your benefit, I’ll break it down into three parts, namely – How I foundit / What was demonstrated / Things I learnt.

Jereme Leung

jereme leung cooking eight treasures chicken

jereme leung cooking eight treasures chicken

How I found it

I am embarrassed to say that I missed the first five minutes of Jereme’s presentation (and was too out of breath to properly concentrate on the next 15). No matter though, because it seemed he spent most of this time talking about his various restaurants and the vision behind them.

What was demonstrated

My interest was ignited, however, when he pulled a spatchcock out from under his bench to demonstrate a dish called eight treasures chicken german download warcraft 3 for free. Jereme explained that the lovely, crispy, caramelised skin that we see on the various poultry hanging in the windows at Chinatown is created by marination, and air drying, and ladling hot oil over the bird over and over and over again until it is crisp and lovely.

What I learnt

In this session I learnt that, like me, some chefs think nothing of speaking to their produce whilst cooking it. Hmm.

Kylie Kwong

kylie kwong

kylie kwong

How I found it

I was probably least excited to see Kylie. Oh, I know! She’s regarded as one of Australia’s leading Asian cooks – but that’s just what it is. Asian. Drawing on a mixed bag of influences and ingredients and throwing a sustainability and organic bent on it. That said, she is just like she is on the television, and she does have a fantastic amount of knowledge about sustainable produce in Australia and how to substitute well known condiments (such as hoi sin sauce) for their sustainable counterparts Download windows 7 upgrade for free.

What was demonstrated

Kylie did two dishes: Caramelised Pork Belly with a Chinese Coleslaw and Deep Fried Snapper Wings with Hot and Sour Sauce. I loved the idea of using vinegar to break down the structure of the carrot and onion for a more constant mouth feel and also how beautiful the snapper wings looked on a plate.

What I learnt

If you ask nicely at your local fishmonger, you may just be able to score snapper wings for about $2/kilo. Also, when deep frying delicately flavoured dishes, a neutral oil (ie not peanut oil) is best.

Alvin Leung

alvin leung of bo innovation with his assistants

alvin leung of bo innovation with his assistants

How I found it

The self-proclaimed demon chef arrived with a bang and three bottles of beer (just in case he got thirsty… which he did). Alvin was wonderfully engaging with a dry sense of humor, a clearly ambitious streak and a fondness for taking the mickey out of anything that took itself too seriously iphone apps cannot beed. At one stage he declared that he would be doing some Chinese calligraphy to plate up, and then proceeded to plop dollops of purple cauliflower puree on the plate whilst muttering “See those? They’re waves. That’s Chinese Calligraphy for water. Yeah”.

What was demonstrated

Four dishes were churned out in the short time he was given – more than any other chef we saw.

coffin bay oysters with spring onion and lime sauce, ginger snow

coffin bay oysters with spring onion and lime sauce, ginger snow

These oysters once had a “ginger snow” sitting atop, but this had melted by the time we leapt up on stage post-presentation to take our happy snaps.

moreton bay bug, preserved duck egg, cauliflower duet, black truffle, green onion sauce

moreton bay bug, preserved duck egg, cauliflower duet, black truffle, green onion sauce

The bug was deep fried and served with a preserved duck egg sauce (12 yolks! with butter! my heart!), two denominations of cauliflower and a shaving of truffle.

sweet and sour pork with lychee jelly

sweet and sour pork with lychee jelly

This was sous vide and then fried for a crispy outer wo kann man ebook kostenlos downloaden. A salsa was placed on top, followed by a rectangle of jelly and a generously sized sheet of gold leaf.

aussie noodles by alvin leung

aussie noodles by alvin leung

The “Aussie Noodle” was made with kangaroo, a splash of beer (he couldn’t find the cooking wine) and a healthy dose of Vegemite. The smell was… yeasty – though I’ve heard through the internet that those who were able to taste the dish found it delightful.

pie floater woo kok

pie floater woo kok

Each table was also presented with his version of the “Aussie Meat Pie Floater” – a woo kok dumpling stuffed with a surprise filling of braised, shredded pie beef and a dollop of mushy peas. So. Much. Love.


What I learnt

Never leave a chef in a kitchen with a bottle of alcohol. More of it will go into their mouth than into the food. Also, don’t get too caught up with plating. It’s great, but Alvin would like you to stop wiping that plate down already and serve the meal to the eaters while it’s still hot.

Morning Tea

the dumplings makers from din tai fung

the dumplings makers from din tai fung

A treat for morning tea download hoai! Unlimited xiao long bao from Din Tai Fung! And mini bao, with red bean or black sesame filling! I ate two of each. Because I am a pig.

speedy hands from din tai fung

speedy hands from din tai fung

“Please poke a hole in the skin and let the soup run out. Then drink the soup before eating the dumpling. Don’t put the whole thing in your mouth – you may get burnt!” explained an announcer over and over again. I didn’t heed the call, preferring the blink-worthy explosion of flavour that is ziao long bao. I probably should have listened…

xiao long bao from din tai fung

xiao long bao from din tai fung

Fuschia Dunlop

fuschia dunlop (aka my new foodie hero)

fuschia dunlop (aka my new chef hero)

How I found it

Oh. My. Goodness. I’m all a flutter for Fushia. Cool, calm and composed but with a clear passion for regional Chinese cuisine – and the knowledge base to back it up. Fuschia demonstrated two dishes before taking us on a powerpoint and video journey of her discoveries while travelling China, including meals where she ate a dish comprised on two hundred fish cheeks ps3 games german. The extravagance!

What was demonstrated

Fushia demonstrated two dishes: Gong Bao Chicken with Peanuts and Fish-Fragrant Eggplant. Both smelt divine and were fantastic examples of home-style cooking that make an impact when served. I was thrilled with her asides, “The garlic is chopped into [insert Mandarin word, undecipherable by me-who-is-useless-at-languages] which means thumbnails. Because, look. They look like thumbnails!”

What I learnt

I want to go to China. And eat all over the country. And compare the ways different regions cook their food. And study at aƂĀ  culinary institute in Szechuan. And be the first British female to ever do so. Carried away much? Yes please.

Lunch

lunch options from sean's kitchen

lunch options from sean’s kitchen

A break for lunch herunterladen! And a jumble of choices at Sean’s Kitchen. Above, you wee jamon baguettes. There were also wagyu burgers, sashimi boxes, antipasto platters and paella, which is what both Helen and I went for.

The seafood was lovely, the rice was fragrant (if lacking in a crusty bottom) and the quail was… well I like my quail just cooked, and this had been cooking for a fair while. It ws flavoursome though, and, more importantly, it was filling.

quail & seafood paella from sean's kitchen

quail & seafood paella from sean’s kitchen

The Panel

the panel: christopher tan, andrea nguyen, stephanie wood & aun koh

the panel: christopher tan, andrea nguyen, stephanie wood & aun koh

How I found it

Stephanie Wood of the (sydney) magazine sat down with Christopher Tan (who is not a blogger), Aun Koh (of Chubby Hubby) and Andrea Nguyen (of VietworldKitchen) to talk food and the internet. I must admit, I was slightly disappointed that Aun downplayed his blogging to “something that is the least of who I am and what I do” but loved (loved loved!) Andrea and her frequent exclamations (“Oh twitter? God! I love twitter!”)

I was also slightly disappointed that only one Australian blog and no Sydney food blogs were recommended on Stephanie’s “suggestions of blogs to read” sheet that was handed out at the end of the session kostenlose messenger herunterladen. I also found it interesting that three International bloggers were chosen as the panel, as (by their own admission) they knew precious little about how blogs and the internet were affecting the Australian food sphere.

What was demonstrated

No food this time, but we discussed the closure of Gourmet, what it means to blog, what twitter is, how blogs are used and what role they will play in years to come.

What I learnt

Blogs have absolutely exploded overseas (in a similar way to how they’re exploding in Australia… but with bigger explosions and thousands more blogs). It’s over-whelming.

Afternoon Tea

sweet treats from manna from heaven

sweet treats from manna from heaven

Not that I needed more food. Or sugar. What with the all day Toby’s Estate coffee and San Pellegrino drinks, I was well on my way to a sugar high. But there were cupcakes! Tiramisu cupcakes and lemon polenta and cocount cupcakes and chocolate and pistachio cupcakes and I ate two of them and promptly retreated into an over-consumption sugar-overload-haze for the next ten minutes betriebssysteme windows xp kostenlos downloaden. Or hour. Time started standing still about then.

cupcakes from sparkle cupcakery

cupcakes from sparkle cupcakery

Poh Ling Yeow

poh ling yeow

poh ling yeow

How I found it

“Oh No! Oh Poh!” exclaimed Matt Preston as Poh looked up and said “Oh crap. I left the glutinous flour behind. Can someone get me some flour? I’ll start with the other part first…”

And oh-my-goodness she was lovely. Scattered and excited and giggly and self-depracating and intensely focussed and forgetting to talk and then snapping out of it and laughing at herself.

What was demonstrated

Poh did three desserts: kuih koci, glutinous rice with durian jam and ginger custard. And, best of all, we got a tasting plate of the first two dishes to munch on with our glasses of Brown Brothers dessert wine.

Best thing of all? They were really easy to make (from the looks of it anyway) and tasted terrific. Especially for a durian fiend like me.

kuih koci and steamed glutinous rice with durian jam

kuih koci and steamed glutinous rice with durian jam

What I learnt

Malaysian desserts are all about texture and guesstimation. What may work one time might flop the next, so it’s important to adapt the recipe as necessary to suit the humidity etc. But my mum’s been telling me that for years – hasn’t she?

the verdict

It was an absolutely giant day and I was absolutely exhausted at the end of it. Not too exhausted to go to dinner afterwards, albeit in a buzzy sugar crazed sort of state. And the cost? Well, it’s like any conference where you go to hear from speakers who are at the top of their game. It’s similarly priced, and if you’re really interested in learning, it could be very useful. I noticed chefs from all over in attendance – Lauren Murdoch from Ash Street Cellar, John Poh from Kuali and Carol Selva Rajah. So if you’re interested in learning from the best (and these guys really are the bst), it might be well worth saving your pennies for next year!


  • #1
    October 15th, 2009

    Mmmm tastes of Asia… I’d go there in a heartbeat (if the tickets were more affordable). Le sigh! Ahh but firstly, congratulations for winning Helen’s competition! Secondly, I can just imagine those speedy hands from Din Tai Fung – but luckily you were able to take a few snaps! Oh and Fushia Dunlop and Alvin Leung and Poh! Sounds like a fantastic day out with the kitchen greats!

  • #2
    October 15th, 2009

    How exciting to see so many chefs. I went to program 6 and absolutely enjoyed it. I really hope it is on again next year.

  • #3
    October 15th, 2009

    Oh wasn’t Fuchsia amazing? And those dumplings… I had a few more than two…

  • #4
    October 15th, 2009

    That’s a lovely roundup. You were so lucky to win such a great prize!

  • #5
    October 16th, 2009

    Am a big fan of Dunlop, too šŸ™‚ And also not a fan of Kylie and seeing Din Tai Fung dumplings *everywhere* this festival season

  • #6
    October 16th, 2009

    Ooh good idea entering the competition, I didn’t get a chance to and it was wayy too expensive for me to pay for it! Looks like a great day, nice way of breaking it down for us šŸ™‚ Omg unlimited xiao long bao, I could eat a ton of them.

  • #7
    October 16th, 2009

    I went on Sunday, crowd was a bit smaller but the talks were all quite interesting. I saw Lauren Murdoch and had a bit of a chat with her, very nice lady. I slipped in a note to get her to put one of her awesome desserts back on her menu at Ash St, I hope she does it šŸ™‚

  • #8
    October 16th, 2009

    Yes they could have used more Australian bloggers on the panel. And it makes practical sense-no airfares! It’s not like we have a shortage of bloggers šŸ˜›

  • #9
    October 18th, 2009

    Really enjoyed reading this, especially since I didn’t get to go to any showcases.

  • #10
    October 19th, 2009

    I knew u would get the ticket when I saw your answer šŸ™‚ it looks like an absolutely fun day.

  • #11
    October 19th, 2009

    Ooh wooowwww! Sounds like a great dayyy and experience XD jealloouuss!

  • #12
    October 23rd, 2009

    @Trisha: Oh it was! It was! I was flying high from the excitement long afterwards!

    @Katherine: Really? That one looked fantastic too… I’ll have to start stashing away my pennies to do a double next year. Maybe.

    @Helen: Did you? I couldn’t get my hands on them. Much respect for your dumpling snagging technique!

    @Belle: Thank you – glad you enjoyed it!

    @Lex: Not a fan of the dumpling mania? I’ll eat them for you if you like?

    @Steph: Gotta love a good giveaway – and I got to spend the day with Helen! Hoorah!

    @Howard: Was it the crazy Rocher in a cake madness dessert? Cos that one is best.

    @Lorraine: Even in Sydney! Crazy huh?

    @Y: Oh good šŸ™‚ I was hoping it would be useful to people who couldn’t make it.

    @Billy: Man, that answer took me so long to write! But yes! The reward was worth it!

    @FFichiban: So much funness. It abounded! Truly!

Shez