2 May - By Robyn Sharpe
How do three chefs who had never worked together – each from their own unique restaurant, two from Sydney and one from McLaren Vale – come together at Tasting Australia in Adelaide’s Town Square Glasshouse Restaurant to create one unforgettable meal on one incredible night for 130 people?
It starts with Simon Bryant asking them to be involved. His choice of Annaliese Gregory, Josh Niland and Karena Armstrong for Monday night’s collaborative dinner was deliberate and reasoned by noting similarities in how they use ingredients.
“Josh (of Saint Peter) has interesting methods of cooking – like how he’s doing the tuna tonight,” explained Simon, pointing to Josh's slow baking of the fish at 40C for 90 minutes.
“Karena (of The Salopian Inn) uses very strong flavours but handles them very delicately, and Annaliese (of Bar Brose) had done a lot of really big flavours in the past but is paring back now, so all three chefs have a similar approach.”
While chef collaborations are a challenge, the trio decided to play to their strengths, producing one dish each to showcase their specific talents and expertise. A convergence of ideas came together in a final course, with a shared cheese and produce plate.
Each chef brought a small team from their own restaurant, and with the aid of some volunteers from Le Cordon Bleu, worked together to prepare, cook and plate each course.
All food preparation had to be done on site in the Glasshouse kitchen, which provided some unique experiences for the chefs – such as Josh having to carve an entire albacore tuna on a small bench usually used only for plating food.
With the Glasshouse kitchen also being used by other teams in the days before their dinner, chefs were not able to perform a practice run of their menu.
Therefore, Josh, Annaliese and Karena took the opportunity during Monday to play around with their dishes on one of the fire pits in the Charred area of Town Square.
“The result wasn’t really like what we’re aiming for on the night because of the very different cooking method,” said Josh. “But it was a great way to test the flavours and make sure we had them right.”