Category Archives: Events

Anna Polyviou’s Dessert Degustation at Shangri-La, Sydney

Adriano Zumbo - Anna Polyviou - Daniel TexterAdriano Zumbo, Anna Polyviou and Daniel Texter

An energetic and passionate pastry chef, award-winning Anna Polyviou‘s had a career spanning 13 years that’s taken her around the world from Melbourne to London, Paris (working for Pierre Hermé), Chicago and now, Sydney.

After five years running the pastry and baking operations at Bathers Pavilion, Anna has recently been appointed to her new role as the Executive Pastry Chef at the Shangri-La Hotel in The Rocks.

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Valrhona Dulcey launch at Establishment

Dulcey blondeNew Valrhona chocolate: Dulcey, a “blonde” chocolate (32%)

Valrhona is a name I grew up hearing about, as my hometown Romans-sur-Isère was not far from their headquarters in Tain l’Hermitage (Drôme), an area better known for their Syrah wines, made by Chapoutier, Jaboulet et al. I knew at the time it was supposed to be a fine chocolate, but I wasn’t aware of their international reputation, which is pretty much that of being one of the best chocolates in the world.

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Pinot Noir tasting at the Sydney Wine Centre – Annandale

Maya & MilesMiles and Maya in that famous scene from “Sideways”

Maya: “Why are you so into Pinot?”

Miles Raymond: “Uh, I don’t know, I don’t know. Um, it’s a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It’s uh, it’s thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It’s, you know, it’s not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it’s neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot’s potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they’re just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and… ancient on the planet.”

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Team Pastry Australia: The Film – Pozible Campaign

The Australian team wins Gold at the Asia Pastry Cup 2012, Singapore
©Matthew Venables 2012

Dear Readers,

You might have seen in the Sydney Morning Herald of this week an article about the Australia Pastry Team, who is going to compete next week in the most prestigious international pastry event, the World Pastry Cup, taking place at the end of the month in Lyon, France.

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 at the Asian Pastry Cup – 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”.

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100 Mile Meat Up – 3 Weeds – Rozelle

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.

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Chocolate Mousse Class at Homemade Fine Foods – Tempe

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).

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100 Mile Challenge – Crave SIFF – Carriage Works

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?

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Malaysia Kitchen BBQ Madness – Parramatta

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 JoshJacq 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!

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Autumn Farm Tour with Food Connect

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.)

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