Another of the recipes from the Relais & Chateaux – The Chefs Collection – event (a private cooking lesson with two of Australasia’s best lodge and resort chefs) this time by James Stapley, Executive Chef Whare Kea Lodge Chalet, Wanaka New Zealand. Both the chef and the dish are yummy. Might be worth a visit to Whare Kea Lodge (just for his cooking mind you…)
Or try this recipe – Steamed Japanese Miso Custard with Tasmanian scallops, truffle & smoked eel – from the Relais & Chateaux Executive event by Chef Hugh Whitehouse, Saffire, Freycinet, Tasmania.
JAMES STAPLEY, EXECUTIVE CHEF
WHARE KEA LODGE & CHALET, WANAKA NEW ZEALAND
Whare Kea is renowned for its outstanding cuisine. Executive Chef James Stapley is an award winner who stepped into the kitchen to raise the level to standards equal to any in the world. An Englishman, trained in the kitchens of the Hilton and Selfridges Premier Restaurant in London, he first came to notice in New Zealand when his expertise at Pegasus Bay Winery won Cuisine’s Restaurant of the Year’s Best Winery restaurant award.
After working with the iconic Sargio di Vino where he excelled in producing simple yet delicious fare using only the finest local and seasonal ingredients, he ultimately became the mastermind behind the sumptuous yet subtle cuisine which surpasses the demands of a discerning international clientele at Whare Kea. His food is simply presented – deceptively so for the preparation is anything but –– 25 ingredients for a dish that tastes as if it floated down from a cloud. He likes a clean style and does not condone anything except ingredients that are guaranteed to result in a dish that speaks for itself. “That way you treat the ingredients well.”
James can often be found exploring the local markets as well as foraging with the artisans of this area, personally selecting his produce and chatting with the locals as he establishes a rapport that has guaranteed the table at Whare Kea its impeccable reputation. His own garden provides much of the fresh yield for the unique and individually conceived menus which he creates according to season and guest preference. Usually five courses of subtle interplay that leave the palate sated and satisfied yet always looking forward to more.
James describes his role as “a dream job. I know when the guests are coming. I can organise and can interact with them to find out what they like, what they want. You invest a lot more thought because you get to know them and their dietary needs. I’m more in the artisan style. And I have an affinity for Asian flavours. I only use NZ cheeses and you can find really good ones. Olive oil and saffron are local. I just love that concept, when I’m driving to work and the smell and the tastes are in my head. And I can find pretty well everything from the boutique growers and producers. I love creating dishes guests wouldn’t necessarily cook themselves. It’s getting the balance right.”
40 ° Salmon with Pickled Cucumber, Tempura Oyster, Black Sesame and Miso Caramel
200 g sugar
200 g salt
4 pieces of dried seaweed
1 litre water
1 side of Salmon, pin boned and skinned
Make a brine by placing the sugar, salt, seaweed and water in a large saucepan. Gently heat to dissolve the sugar and salt for about 10 minutes. Cool the brine completely. Remove the pin bones, skin and all of the fat from the Salmon. Cut the Salmon into 5 cm long strips. Place the Salmon in the brine for 1 hour. Set your water bath to 40 °C.
Remove the Salmon from the brine and wash it under cold running water. Cut the Salmon into 5 cm squares and vacuum seal. Cook for 15 minutes until the Salmon is just set.
200 g caster sugar
100 g water
2 large tbsp Miso paste
Make a caramel with the water and sugar, once the caramel has reached the desired colour remove from the heat. Add the miso paste and keep stirring. As it is cooling down stir in 2 tablespoons of water and set aside until ready to use.
200 g water
100 g caster sugar
200 g rice wine vinegar
2 slices fresh ginger
1 red chilli, chopped
A couple of stalks of coriander, no leaves
Peel the cucumber into long, thin strips and discard the seed core. Put the cucumbers into a bowl and refrigerate. Place all other Ingredients (except the cucumber strips) in a small saucepan. Gently dissolve the sugar and bring the pickling liquid to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the pickling liquid to cool completely.
When the liquid has completely cooled pass it through a fine sieve. Remove the cucumber from the fridge and pour the pickling liquid over the cucumbers.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Tempura Bluff Oyster
8 Freshly shucked Bluff Oysters
1 cup self raising flour plus a bit extra
1½ litres Rice Bran Oil
Put a large saucepan of rice bran oil and heat to 180°C.
In a bowl add a pinch of salt, 1 cup of self raising flour and enough ice cold sparkling water to bring it to the consistency of a thin cream. Dust the oysters with a little extra flour then submerge in the batter. Carefully drop the oysters into the hot oil one by one. Cook for two minutes or until nice and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
To Serve Spread a little of the miso caramel across a serving plate. In a row place the Salmon, the pickled cucumber and an oyster. Sprinkle over a few black sesame seeds and some fresh baby coriander leaves to garnish.