Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Time Out Taste Test - March into Merivale!

Chef Tatum with Grandad and Grandma
Tonight, we are here to support my niece, Tatum on her first chef challenge representing Quay Restaurant. 

This Time Out Taste Test challenge, orchestrated by Time Out Magazine and Merivale Restaurants is in it's third year.

There are six Chef's from six top Sydney restuarants. Three of these will go through to the final round. Next week, there will be six more chefs and three more winners. The final should be exciting!

The event tonight is hosted by Uccello Restaurant and this is my first visit. On first sight, the place is impressive. Rooftop pool, cabana style seating, outdoor bars, plush unisex toilets and resort decor. 

Sadly, upon closer inspection, the place is a shade of it's former glory. The bathroom chairs are weathered and in need of replacement, soap dispensers broken, cabana cushions looked tired and well in need of freshening. Luckily for us, this doesn't matter as we are here to support our family!
Fellow Chef and Boyrfriend, Brad Guest giving support.

Manager, John checking final details on the first dish
All the Apprentice Chefs help plate...
Ryka Johnson from Rockpool provided us with the first course, which was a magnificent melt in the mouth Bresaola with rocket and a divine Tomato Sorbet. Unfortunately, I didn't eat fast enough and my sorbet became mushy...eeek!

Next was a crispy Vietnamese Pork Belly by Khanh Nguyen from Becasse. Beautifully presented little cucumbers with a minty gel refreshed the crunchy fried vermicellli and pork belly treat.. Not sure what the purple leaf was...if you know, drop me a line.

Next, the special dish that we came for, the Poached Chicken with Crispy Skin and Parsnip Puree created and prepared by Tatum Rumble from Quay . Boo hoo, I couldn't taste my nieces dish because it came in a salad of lobster consomme but I am assured by my fellow diners that it was simply delicious!

Tatum describing her inspiration

Next, a Caramelised Pigs Head, another first for me.. Oh my...what wonderful flavours. Very rich however and I am paying for it 12 hours later. Jack Chapple from Etch did a fabulous job on this dish.

Caramelised Pigs Head
OK, Alex Haupt (from EST) I am not a big meat eater and this is the third, quite rich red meat dish in a row. Not your fault but possibly we could have had a refreshing sorbet or dessert here. I loved the texture of the underneath meat but sadly the chunk on top was a little on the tough side. I shouldn't have to work for my meal! However, the crispy roasted walnuts were incredible. 
Beef Brisket
The only dessert of the evening received an unfair advantage in my eyes. This tea and chocolate mousse by Michael West, Four in Hand restaurant was indeed a well deserved reprieve. The chocolate was melt in the mouth divine but the tea gels were lacking in sweetness which I was looking for at this stage. 
Tea and Chocolate Mousse
Chefs line up and await their fate...
Winners are announced!
In all, it was a fabulous evening thanks to all. Guess you would like to know which chefs are through to the next round...

1. Ryka Johnson from Rockpool (The Bresaola and Tomato)
2. Jack Chapple from Etch (Caramelised Pigs Head)
3. Michael West, Four In Hand (The Tea and Chocolate Dessert)

Tatum, you are an amazing chef and passionate person and you will do well. We look forward to more challenges and more of your fabulous creations!

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