Young chefs and front-of-house staff, essentially the next generation of restaurateurs, are celebrated in the Electrolux Appetite for Excellence national awards program, which is focused on the younger hospitality-working generation.
|Jay Lee (Mosaic Restaurant) and Sarah Knights (Uccello) at work for the |
Electrolux Appetite for Excellence ‘Whet Your Appetite’ pop-up dinner,
Electrolux showroom, Mascot
|Plating dishes for the Whet Your Appetite dinner|
|Small Acres ‘Cyder’|
We had the pleasure of conversation with Alexander Tuckett from Pilu at Freshwater, whose easy-going and personable nature seemed made for a restaurant floor and less so for a rugby field.
|Shortcrust tart of veal, apple and watercress|
There was also a completely scoff-worthy Scotch egg of smoked eel and quail that didn’t last long enough for a picture.
|Pulled rabbit, pear chutney, brioche|
|Fish and chips, tartare sauce|
There were deep-fried crumbs, a familiar fishiness and powdered mash potato in the mix somewhere that completely turned fish and chips on its appetiser head.
|Beetroot cured ocean trout, horseradish mayonnaise, fennel salad and dill kipfler potatoes|
The shared platter salad featured a bed of sliced fennel, with beet crimson-dyed ocean trout pieces scattered about, all dressed with a zingy horseradish mayonnaise. There were also quenelles of dill-heavy crushed potato, bulking out the salad in style.
|Pot roast pork neck with lotus root, sweet potato and wilted greens|
|Pot roast pork neck with wilted greens and jus|
Thin chips of sweet potato and lotus root, the latter gorgeously decorative, added colour and texture to the well-caramelised, tender pork neck – although there was some variation in doneness between pieces, in addition to the variable sizes.
Chatter up and down the long tables was at a highly friendly level, as six varieties of booze might hint at, while project director Phee Gardner stopped by for a chat about the program and the finalists that she’s obviously very proud of.
|Roasted grain ice cream with pancetta powder, parmesan and sweet persimmon|
Appropriately served with a none-too-sweet (for a sticky, anyway) 2010 Lark Hill Auslese Riesling, the soft roasted grain ice cream hid a mild persimmon compote and was garnished with dried persimmon bits and a savoury crumb featuring pancetta, in addition to the cheese.
I felt that the cheese overwhelmed the dessert, which could have used a lot more sweetness to combat the unusual and various savoury components.
At the night’s end, it was lovely to acknowledge all the young faces in the kitchen and on the floor and wish them well for the program – they’d certainly whet my appetite for watching their promising futures ahead.
Food, booze and shoes attended the Whet Your Appetite event as a guest, with thanks to Sarah Mason PR.