The Australian team wins Gold at the Asia Pastry Cup 2012, Singapore
©Matthew Venables 2012
As some of you might already know, my partner and I have filming these talented pastry chefs for more than two years now, and it has been a great experience to watch them work and train like madmen and create beautiful chocolate, sugar and ice sculptures. It has also been a privilege and a great pleasure to see them win Gold at the Asian Pastry Cup last year in Singapore!
Team Pastry Australia
©M.Venables 2012, All rights reserved
Some of you might know that I was overseas last April-May, namely Singapore and France, sorry it took me so long to sort all that out. I’m back now, with lots of great memories I’d like to share with you!
First and foremost, let me tell you about the Asian Pastry Cup, a competition organised by French brands Valrhôna (chocolate) and Ravifruit (fruit purees) to select the best teams from the Asia-Pacific area. The top 4 will be able to compete in the World Pastry Cup, which will be held as part of the renowned SIRHA (a huuuge fine food show) in Lyon next January.
My partner and I have been following the Australian team closely for more than a year to document their preparation and training for the Asian Pastry Cup and we flew to Singapore last April to witness this crucial step in their journey to the “Coupe du Monde”.
As I might have mentioned before, my partner is vegetarian and although he’s never tried to convert me, I have happily taken to eating vegetarian only… at home. When I’m out with friends, it’s another story though: bring on the meat I say!!
Thus after a pleasant first “Meat-Up” banquet at Bar H for Chinese New Year, I decided to renew the experience, accompanied with my friends Karen and Cenk. The Meat-up dinners were started a few years ago by Tim Elwin from Urban Food Market, and this one was going to be held at one of Rozelle’s oldest pubs, 3 Weeds. I was all the more enthusiastic as I was yet to try the Restaurant part of the pub, headed by Chef Leigh McDivitt (I’d heard a lot of good things about him!)
Meat is tastier when you know that the animal was raised in a good environment and had a good life, something that Tim Elwin always had on his mind when he set up his sustainable butchery business, Urban Food Market. Tim makes a point of only sourcing the best meat possible, raised sustainably and ethically. For this dinner, all the meat and wine came from suppliers located within 100 miles of Sydney.
At the recent Social Dinner Club Lebanese dinner at Efendy, my foodie friend Karen introduced me to Merna Taouk from Homemade Fine Foods. Merna kindly invited me to attend a Saturday “Master the Mousse” class, held at the Tempe factory she shares with fellow artisan food producers Pierre Issa, of Pepe Saya butter fame, and the duo from Pat and Stick’s Homemade Ice-Cream Co. (You can also find there the Arabic pastries Booza and free-range stocks of The Stock Merchant).
October was a busy month for food lovers, as Crave, Sydney International Food Festival, unfolded with hundreds of events all over town.
However the festival was not just about Sydney, and rural areas were not forgotten: on Sunday, October 30, five NSW regions competed against each other to showcase their produce in the 100 Mile Challenge Lunch. This was a free event but only Fairfax subscribers and ABC listeners could get in the draw to win tickets.
I was lucky enough that my friend won tickets and took me along! A free lunch at Eveleigh Markets on a beautiful Sunday, what more could you ask for?
A few weeks back I was invited to attend the Malaysia Kitchen BBQ Madness taking place in Parramatta, where a bunch of prestigious chefs were to do cooking presentations and introduce traditional Malaysian dishes to the audience, as part of the SIFF / Crave Festival.
With names like Florence Tan (a celebrity chef from Kuala Lumpur, who I had seen in a Rick Stein‘s Far Eastern Odyssey series), Adam Liaw and Alvin Quah, both from Masterchef Season 2, it promised to be a great event!
Sara @Belly Rumbles, Wanitha & Lord Mayor of Parramatta Lorraine Wearne
The only chef I didn’t know was Wanitha Tanasingam, the Malaysia Kitchen Ambassador, and I was really glad I got to see her as she turned out to be a fantastic host, very funny and lively!
I made my way at the Church Street Mall in Parramatta a bit after 9am to find that the cooking presentation of Wanitha had already started. I was happy to see a few familiar faces in the presence of my fellow bloggers (Thang, Sara and Josh, Jacq and later Karen ..). Even Billy from A Table for Two & Masterchef 3 turned up later that day, causing quite a stir amongst the fans out there!
Posted in Events
Tagged Adam Liaw, Alvin Quah, BBQ Madness, Crave Festival, Florence Tan, Good Food month, Laksa, Malaysia Kitchen, Masterchef, Satay Chicken, SIFF, Wanitha Tanasingam
Earlier this year I noticed a new supplier had moved just across the road from our office, into the same building as Martin Seafoods and Feather & Bone. It turns out it was a food cooperative aptly named Food Connect, linking regional growers directly with city people wanding fresh, organic and chemical-free fruit and vegetables.
Laura Dalrymple from Feather & Bone suggested to the Food Connect team to set up their operation there, as they shared the same vision, and hoped that together they would form a sustainable food hub. (A biodynamic wine supplier has recently moved in as well.)
“Pastry is all about creativity, sharing and generosity.”
This is the motivation behind the creation of the Sydney Pastry Club by Fabien Berteau, pastry chef at Park Hyatt, and Elerig Liguet, from Deshel Foods.
As stated on their Facebook page, the idea behind this club is “to showcase Sydney Pastry Chefs’ skill and imagination” by getting them to revisit dessert themes (eg. Meringue Lemon Tart, Gateau Opera, the Baba, Black Forest…). Chefs have two months to design their idea and to come up with their very own creation, which they will bring to the meeting for the other members to taste. Fabien insists on the fact that it remains very friendly & informal and that it is in no way a competition: “We’re just having fun.”
Last Wednesday was a really bad day to venture outside: cold, rainy, windy… all attempts to protect oneself proved futile, as the umbrellas were overturned by big gusts of wind! However I decided to forgo the temptation to go home crash on the couch and watch Masterchef to brave this ridiculous weather and attend the launch of a new literary magazine, Seizure. This new publication was created by some good friends of ours, and my partner happened to have done a fair bit of photography work on it, so I really wanted to come and support, rain, hail or shine!
Last week I was invited to a French-themed dinner hosted by Cenk, creator of Social Dinner Club, at Garden Court Restaurant, on the 5th floor of Sofitel in the CBD. Sofitel is a 5-star hotel owned by Accor, the famous French multinational corporation.
The Garden Court’s website describes the restaurant serving “modern contemporary cuisine with a French influence”. I was quite impressed when I made my way inside the grand entrance hall, the decor was simple but classy, you could see guests and patrons enjoying a relaxing drink in the lounge on the ground floor and staff members were most polite and friendly when I asked my way to the restaurant.