Saying hello to chefs and friends took second place for a moment, when I first arrived for lunch this week at Quarter Twenty One. My attention was first captivated by the site of live bees in the restaurant. Maya Sunny Honey (and their live bees) were one of the four producers at the Becasse and Quarter Twenty One Producers Forum, Tuesday 8th May. Bees of course are such an important part of our ecosystem and food supply chain (more than providing us with honey); it’s estimated that if bees became extinct, human beings could be wiped out in less than 100 years.
Another producer, Alto olive oil, was seated at my table: Robert at one end, and daughter Westerly dining beside me at the other end. That was a pretty special moment. It’s always extra special when Chef Justin North gives us a chance to meet the food producers in the restaurant at lunch. This time it was even more special for me, as Robert and Westerly are regular readers and were amongst our first subscribers here on Inside Cuisine. It was lovely to see (and taste) their olives and olive oil at the producers forum lunch. Australia still imports around 35 million litres of olive oil (I’m told), much of which has doubtful provenance, can often be tired by the time it arrives, and may also be incorrectly labelled. This made the Australian Alto story all the more interesting.
Bilpin Apple Cider, from up the Bells Line of Road, was not only the base for our arrival cocktail, but as the third producer, the cider also married with the pork mosaic as both a beverage and in the dish.
These lunches are such a fantastic way to experience the culinary creativity of three talented chefs, and the two restaurant teams. Joining Chef Justin North for the lunch, were Becasse Head Chef Monty Koludrovic and Quarter Twenty One Head Chef Michael Robinson. Two of the courses (with one pork course designed by each Robinson and Koludrovic) embraced the nose to tail philosophy of the restaurants by using between them a whole 40kg pig. That free range animal, represented the fourth producer of the day, Matt Simmons of Melanda Park free range pork.
Maya Sunny Honey completed the producers’ picture for a sweet finish to the Becasse and Quarter Twenty Producers Forum:
Becasse Artisan Bread
Alto marinated Volos olives
Confit blue eye cheeks
Apple cider cocktail
Alto olive oil, Crookwell, Great Dividing Range
Warm salad of autumn vegetables slow cooked in olive oil with marinated confit blue eye
2009 Nugan Estate “Frasca’s Lane Vineyard Chardonnay, King Valley
Bilpin Apple Cider, Bilpin, Blue Mountains, NSW
Mosaic of pork shoulder, neck, smoked hock and pickled tongue, chilled cider consomme
Bilpin Original Cider, Bilpin
Melanda Park Free Range Pork, Swallow Rock Reach, Hawkesbury River, NSW
Roast pork loin and belly, Jerusalem artichoke, pear, celeriac and licorice
2010 Willoughby Park Shiraz, Denmark
Maya Sunny Honey, Mudgee, NSW
Ironbark honey cream and mousseline with compressed melon and melon sorbet
2008 Cookoothama Botrytis Semillon, Darlington Point
I could, go into long descriptions about the food and the discussions. The way to really participate in this paddock to plate experience, would instead be to book your own place at the next seasonal Becasse and Quarter Twenty Producers Forum.
Read more about Becasse here on Inside Cuisine.
Read more about Quarter Twenty One here on Inside Cuisine.
Level 5, Westfield Sydney Corner Pitt Street and Market Street, Sydney NSW Australia
+61 2 9283 3440
Quarter Twenty One
Level 5, Westfield Sydney Corner Pitt and Market Streets, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
+61 2 8064 7900