Justin North Becasse MasterChef NZ Chef’s Table

Dear Rebecca,

Tourism New Zealand invites you to an exclusive and intimate fine-dining experience at the Chef’s Table, Becasse to be hosted by New Zealand’s culinary genius, Justin North.

You will be treated to a five course degustation and exceptional New Zealand wine.

Over dinner, Justin will speak about his involvement in the special New Zealand MasterChef episode which is set to air the following night, as well as profile New Zealand’s cuisine experiences. We hope you can make it!

EVENT DETAILS

Date and Time: Thursday 30 June, 7pm

Location: Becasse – Level 5, Shop 5018, Westfield Sydney, Cnr Pitt St Mall and Market St Sydney

RSVP By Friday 24 June, 2011

An invitation like that is pretty exciting! It’s always a delicious treat eating the food of Chef Justin North, whether it’s at the new Becasse (now in Westfield), or his neighbouring restaurant Quarter 21 or his other Sydney dining establishment Etch.

But the ultimate prize is sitting inside the Becasse kitchen at the Chef’s Table.

There we watched Justin North, Becasse Head Chef Monty Koludrovic and the brigade, cook and plate up our magnificent produce showcase. And while Justin explained the provenance of our dishes, he also popped backwards and forwards to plate up the dishes for those in the main Becasse dining room.

As it turns out, the produce driven Chef Justin North generously added a few extra courses to our degustation and so we ended up with much more than five. I think I counted twelve incredible dishes in all.

Five course degusation

Amuse bouche

Marlborough salmon, king prawn, pomegranate and Vietnamese dressing
N.V. Pelorus Cloudy Bay, Marlborough

Squid ink coddled hapuka, squid, Spring Bay mussles, cauliflower and miso
2009 Timpot Hut pinot gris, Marlborough

Forgotten vegetables, smoked pork jowl, yabby tails with aromas of cedar
2009 Chard Farm Mata-Au pinot noir, Central Otago

Cervena venison, spouts, black pudding and Armagnac jus
2008 Te Mata Estate “Awatea” cabernets, merlot, Hawkes Bay

Pre dessert

Silken lemongrass and lime caramel, passion fruit crunch with vanilla yoghurt sorbet

or

68% Alto Beni Zokoko chocolate cadeau and salted black cumin caramel
2009 Escarpement Hinemoa Riesling, Martinborough

Petit fours

The extra courses included

Carrot jelly, kohlrabi puree, buckwheat and smoked scallop

Bespoke winter vegetable garden

Local black truffle rissotto

Southern Highlands young potatoes baked in truffle and clay

Winter still life

Some of the dishes of the night – such as the exquisite forgotten vegetables – were Chef Justin North’s signatures. Justin told us of how when he first created that dish he was looking at the “beautiful produce” at the markets and wondering what restaurant customers would think about a main course of vegetables. I remember his first incarnation of forgotten vegetables at the previous Clarence Street premises. Now the mighty new version includes smoked cedar during the baking and on the bespoke ceramic plate. I really like that vegetables are the hero of this dish. And that they are the forgotten vegetables of Justin’s New Zealand childhood (and of mine in Australia) – veggies from under the ground – earthy flavours like swede, white turnip, congo and saphhire potatoes.

We were all really taken with the flavours of the fatty Marlborough salmon, juicy and unctious within the pomegranate jelly coat. But more than just the taste and look of the dish I really love the story that went along with it. Justin got sentimental, not only saying he was originally from Marlborough south but also about how he proposed to his gorgeous wife (and business partner) Georgia there.

Still other dishes reflected the MasterChef episode that was to go to air the following night. Our versions all stayed true to Becasse under the creative hand of our Chef and host. Those two MasterChef contestants might have been lucky flying off to New Zealand for their masterclass, but I think that our small table of guests was pretty darn lucky too.

After making a bit of a girls pack with Tessa next to me, I was able to take a taste of each of our shared desserts. I know the wonderful Zokoko chocolate from Sydney’s outer western suburbs – Emu Heights. The Morgans ethically imports single origin green cacao from single plantations and roast them here locally. This year Zokoko again won gold at the Sydney Royal Agricultural Society show.

Of the desserts though, the tangy light and fresh sunshine of the silken lemongrass and lime caramel, passion fruit crunch with vanilla yoghurt sorbet was my first choice of the night. And I’d go far as to say that out of all the times I’ve eaten at Becasse, it’s one of the finest combos of flavours and textures that they’ve dished up. Loved it!

I think when all was said and done though, the finale of Winter Still Life with slight hints of aniseed and spectacular toffee crown was about as good as it gets.

Did I say it before? How lucky were we? I’m a bit of a fan – in case you didn’t already guess.

Read more about the new Becasse here on Inside Cuisine.

Becasse Restaurant
Level 5, Westfield Sydney
Corner Pitt Street and Market Street, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
+61 2 9283 3440

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Comments for this article

4 Responses to “Justin North Becasse MasterChef NZ Chef’s Table”

  1. Chris says:
    July 4, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Beautiful looking desserts, thanks for the photos!

  2. Julie says:
    July 4, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Oh you are so lucky! Great photos. Was planing to make the trek up to Sydney soon just to eat here! Now I really HAVE to.

    • Rebecca Varidel
      Rebecca Varidel says:
      July 4, 2011 at 2:01 pm

      thanks yes it would be definitely worth making a trip – are you planning on booking the dining room or the chef’s table?

  3. Maureen says:
    July 4, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    What gorgeous photos of fantastic food! Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

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