Hunter Culinary Food Fight 2015 - MeatAndVegReviews
Dane and Renae were invited to head North West for the annual Hunter Culinary Food Fight for 2015. Hosted by celebrity Chefs, Matt Kemp and Colin Fassnidge, the highly-anticipated event will pit two competing teams against each other as they push themselves to create the best 3-course lunch the regions have to offer. This year we saw some of the Hunter Region’s most celebrated chefs turn up the heat in the kitchen as they took on a line up of newcomers hailing from Canberra and the Southern Highlands.
The menu was “meat” inspired and “veg” was catered for – but we will leave the review up to “meat” this time as veg sat back and enjoyed 11 glasses of sterling wines… (until the hangover kicked in)…
#Meat by Dane Ellevsen
‘Squid, cured & cooked, burnt cucumber & sea lettuce juices’ VERSUS ‘Petuna ocean trout, fennel, apple, verjuice, oyster emulsion & wasabi yoghurt’.
I absolutely loved the presentation of the trout dish but the squid was the real stand out for me. The squid was beautiful cured and cooked to perfection. It maintained its bite but it wasn’t tough by any means. The flavours were delicate and they melded together to create a memorable experience from the sea. I was quite disappointed when I’d slurped up my final spoonful.
‘Smoked pork neck, yolk, maple & caper leaves’ VERSUS ‘Lamb neck with seaweed butter, celeriac & fermented grains’.
Choosing a winner out of the mains was pretty tough. The lamb neck was tender, the seaweed butter gave off a beautiful contrasting colour and the fermented grains were right up my alley - but the Pork neck was the winner by far.
The protein was rolled in a peppery crumb that was loaded with zing. The use of caper leaves were inspiring and something I’ll incorporate into my life asap. The creamy mash and yolk combo worked perfectly with its salty accompaniments and the crackling would make any newly appointed vegetarian question their decision (not Renae though, she was too busy downing her sixth glass of wine by this stage).
‘Chocolate, nutella, strawberries & mint’ VERSUS ‘Apples, brioche & cider’.
The apple dish appeared to have had a greater thought process go into it with the crunchy texture of dehydrated apple and the crumb. The cider foam was a great accompaniment packed with flavour but the soft apple really let it down. I’ve never been a fan of apple in desserts, especially apple pie. It reminds me of chalky apples that are too old to eat and turned me off.
The winner however was the chocolate dish. Seriously, who can say no to chocolate?!
I frequently have cacao and strawberries for breakfast so I was incredibly happy with that dessert. It was a little sweeter than I would usually like but the fruitiness of strawberries and the bitterness of the chocolate balanced it all nicely. The dishy out back would have loved me as there wasn’t a crumb left – you’re welcome!
I reservedly tasted all wines that came to our table (whereas Renae devoured hers and got refills each time) and each one had its place when paired with the dishes. For me, the true star was the ‘Margan 2013 Botrytis Semillon’. I’m a massive fan of dessert wines and this one triumphs over anything in the past.
For Renae, the true star was me. Because I drove that drank ass all the way back to Sydney.