From the archive: This article was from our original site -MyCityLife posted on 16 June 2014.
The stage was set for the ultimate foodie experience as a spectacle for giving. It was cooking for a cause with an epic lineup of mega proportions destined to change worlds. The 2014 Variety of Chefs Ball landed at the Hilton Brisbane, setting in motion all the glitz and the glamour of this event. Intentions to supersede the target of $150,000 saw the event reach the incredible mark of $345,000, resulting in the training of 23 dogs to assist with children with special needs.
The rockstar lineup with a rockstar range bought ten of the country’s top chefs, personalities, teams and special ingredients in tow, for a truly momentous dining spectacle. Amongst the flashing of bulbs and excited palaver of the guests, the evening sleekly started, dishing up canapés from Restaurant Two‘s Chef David Pugh and Hilton Brisbane‘s Executive Chef Jeremy Clark, matched to the lushness of Louis Roederer Champagne or Orchard Crush Apple and Pear Ciders and other spirited delights. Impeccable service with all the stealth and direction of a successful military operation saw an incredible evening descend upon the ballroom of Hilton Brisbane.
The palate was first sparkled by bottles of Capi, and then the first entrée burst onto the tables with suckling pig, buttermilk, pickled and fresh radish, pearl onion and chive oil furnished by Gerard Bistro‘s Chef Ben Williamson. The suckling pig was deliciously flavoursome, the vegetable components adding a vigour to the richness of the pork. The chive oil gracefully united all the elements with its clean mildness while the pickled radish leant an energy to the palate.
The alternative drop saw huon ocean trout sashimi, shio koji rice, ginger, soba grain and wasabi gathered delightfully, care of Wasabi Restaurant & Bar‘s Chef Jiro Numata. The trout sashimi was wonderfully cured, while the rice, ginger, soba grain and wasabi added a textured zest to the fish and jelly. The 2013 MarlboroughCatalina Sounds Pinot Gris and Ridgemill Estate Riesling matched these light dishes beautifully.
Billy Kart Kitchen‘s Chef Ben O’Donaghue saw entrée two take over with seared scallops, agrodolce, orange, mint and eggplant. The eggplant added to the harmonious texture, the agrodolce a wonderful contrast, adding a sharp sweetness to the plump fishiness of the seared scallops, while the orange and mint added a touch of balance in flavours to this rather complex dish.
Meanwhile, Bare Bones Society‘s Chef Kym Machin oversaw the alternative drop of kale salad with chicken, apple, miso and white sesame balsamic with a dish that was visually stunning and wholesome; the white sesame balsamic light but tangy against the structure of the kale and chicken as the apple and miso balanced out the brightness of this course. The 2012 Margaret River Vinaceous Shakre Chardonnay and 2013 Tuscan Poderi del Paradiso Rosato continued to keep the spotlight on the lightness of these dishes.
The climax of this foodie extravaganza saw rockstar chefs, Aussie restaurateur giants, cuisine emperors and mammoth characters Matt Moran and Adrian Richardson go head to head, vying for our tastebuds during main course. The Great Southern Beef rib, Portugese spices, peppers, eggplant, whipped feta and herbs were hearty, the meat melting with tenderness enroute to mouth, the spices adding a light kick to the vegetable components, with the whipped feta and freshness of herbs forming a pleasing fabric for this finely crafted dish.
Matt’s alternate dish of cumin spiced lamb, sherry vinegar, pickled cabbage, celeriac puree, candied walnuts and pesto proved popular for lamb lovers, the combined zest of the pesto, pickled cabbage and sherry vinegar balanced by the smoothness of the celeriac and gaminess of the lamb, the walnuts enhancing the softness with a pleasing surprise of refined crunchiness. The 2011 Barossa Kaesler Cabernet Sauvignon and 2013 Marlborough Opawa Pinot Noir were ambrosial embellishments; the pinot noir a lighter option to the cab sauv as the preferred scintillating enhancement for the beef.
Matt Golinski and Al’FreshCo’s Chef Alastair McLeod polished off the evening with dessert as the final (and favoured) course. Matt’s hazlenut chocolate cigar, ginger poached pear and goat’s milk ice cream was a vision of tempting sugary refinement
Alastair’s wattle seed meringue, strawberries, Irish Whiskey caramel, gingerbread crumble looked vibrant with its glorious colour and structure. The McLaren Vale NV Woodstock Muscat and 2010 Yarra Valley Rob Dolan Late Harvest Semillon were finely matched to the sweetness of the desserts, though the citrus notes of marmalade and lemon peel from the Semillon particularly enhanced the characters of the strawberries and Irish Whiskey caramel, the gingerbread crumble and warm coffee flavour of the wattle seed meringue working together marvellously.
From the Hilton, Brisbane the 2014 Variety of Chef’s Ball was a foodie phenomenon, uniting ten chefs from across the country for a worthy cause to see Variety Queensland working directly with Australian families and organisations and empower sick, disadvantaged or special needs children. It was an epic evening where all chefs and guests celebrated #VOC2014 like it was 1999.
Photo credit: Lady Lex