Sous chef Dallas started off the evening with a nod to her time in the Ukraine, for opening her eyes to the joys of cooking and good ingredients. She wowed the crowd with cheddar crackers (request to share the recipe!) and poppy seed crackers, served with homemade ricotta and preserves. The hors d'oeuvres were washed down with a refreshing Moscow Mule.
We moved to the table for Sous chef Amy's homage to chef Michael Smith early years of fine gourmet and were delighted with a roasted carrot and goat cheese terrine. Beautiful! The colourful dish was served wth candied pecans, greens and a puree beet dressing. Always up for experimenting, sous chef Amy's beverage included carrot infused vodka, elderflower syrup and sparkling wine.
Sous chef Vanessa impressed the room with her handmade rice noodles (wow!), drawing inspiration from her time living in South East Asia. The noodles were featured in a dish of expertly flavoured pad thai, topped with chopped peanuts and a fried egg, and served with some vegetable and fruit art! Who doesn't love a lime flower! The noodles were paired with a refreshing lemon mint cocktail.
For the salad course, Sous chef Leah reflected on her time in Italy tasting and drinking while teaching. Sautéed potatoes were served with crispy capers, fresh corn, roasted tomatoes and bacon on a bed of arugula. The salad was topped with a dollop of arugula and Romano cheese pesto. Breaking from the cocktail train, the chefs washed down the salad with a glass of chianti.
Master Chef Christine was true to Chopped, her inspiration, and created a dish based on the sous-chef submitted ingredients: browned butter, apricots, quinoa, heart of palm and gatorade. She impressed the SCs with quinoa ravioli stuffed with duck, served with apricot sauce, sautéed kale and heart of palm puree. The dish was enhanced with toasted nuts and a cucumber slaw with gatorade dressing and a tea-based cocktail. Very impressive response to the ingredient challenge!
Sous chef Abe closed the meal with his deconstructed blueberry pie, paying respects to his years of enjoying his mothers cooking. Served with Soyez au Champagne, the chefs dined on a dish of blueberry 'cheese', frozen yoghurt balls, sous vide blueberries, toasted flour nuggets decorated with fresh mint and blueberry sauce. So good we went back for seconds!
Be it your mother, a cooking show, a chef or time in another country, it is clear the gateways to gourmet is varied but grounded in quality ingredients enjoyed with friends. Thanks to Master Chef Christine for a memorable evening!
Next up: Master Chef Dallas.
Date and theme to be determined!