A road trip to the Hunter Valley, an invitation to a food fight – hell yeah I said – count me in..
In the Hunter corner team captain Jamie Ryan joined Tim Montgomery, Emerson Rodriguez, and Troy Rhoades-Brown.
And in the Sydney corner was the Banc Boys: team captain Matt Kemp, with Colin Fassnidge, Justin North and Warren Turnbull.
As you already know, there was actually no fight or ring, but each team did have an allocated (and anonymous) side of each plate (each course.)
And the menu (Monday 10th September 2012) was..
Produced by some of the Hunter Regions up and coming young chefs, all apprentices of the Hunter Region Institute of TAFE
Bimbadgen Estate Sparkling Semillion NV
Spanner crab, tofu, black bean, pickled ginger crumle, yuzo gel
Seared line caught calamari with sambal puree, macadamia and wild rice
2012 Scarborough Green Label Semillon
2011 First Creek Winemakers Reserve Chardonnay
‘Jacket Potatoe’ white Pyreness lamb shoulder, potato, pumpernickel, spring greens
Golden Plains pork shoulder with smoked potato and prunes
2010 tyrells Single Vineyard Stevens Shiraz
2009 Brokenwood Hunter Valley Shiraz
Vanilla crème brûlee, malt, banana, date, fresh honeycomb
Chestnut Mont Blanc, chocolate jelly and dulce de leche
2009 Margan Botrytis Semillon
I voted. Perhaps I shouldn’t have. When MC (Ready Steady Cook) Peter Everett counted the red and blue cards, I raised mine. Perhaps I shouldn’t have because even without the advantage that I’d been behind the scenes, out the back in the kitchen(s), I really could have picked the dishes by the Sydney boys (even if I’d been blindfolded.) Can you pick who cooked what?
“Hunter Chefs & Co were extremely happy with our 3rd Annual Food Fight. As the event grows each year we expected the 250 seat venue to be a sell out which it certainly was. The anonymity of the voting for each course certainly added an extra element this year and whilst extremely close Team Hunter were ecstatic to take the win over a highly credentialed Team Sydney. But all that aside we had 8 lucky apprentices get to work alongside 8 very well regarded Chefs and through some amazing support from our guests we were able to raise over $10,000 in funds to support the Brett Graham Scholarship and other apprentice focussed educational initiatives.
I guess the biggest challenge for Hunter Chefs & Co is where do we go from here? We have been talking about bringing Brett Graham from the Ledbury out to join us and he is keen to support if his schedule allows so maybe Team Sydney would take on the Hunter again or maybe there is another key food region that wants to take on Team Hunter?” Ben Neil, Chairman – Hunter Chefs & Co
Did you know that Chef Brett Graham started his cooking career in the Hunter Valley? While he wasn’t at the lunch this year, his mum was and caught up with some of her son’s old cooking chums. Yes, there’s a reason that the Sydney team comprises the chefs that worked at Banc – so did Brett Graham.
Head Teacher Commercial Cookery at Hunter TAFE, Mark McManus explained that the Brett Graham Scholarship started about eight or nine years ago to give Hunter Tafe apprentices a chance to broaden their knowledge of food and to help develop their own style of cuisine. The idea was for them to go overseas and work with Brett then come back to the region and help raise the profile and quality of food served in the Hunter. “As we hoped it is now a reality – with Troy Rhodes-Brown and Chris Thornton both previous winners of the competition now holding Chefs Hats in their own restaurants in the Hunter region.”
“The scholarship developed from the simple days where the Hunter TAFE teachers would serve the food to the invited guests. Now there’s the Hunter Chef Co on board helping raise funds for the scholarship and incorporating a front of house competition.”
“The idea was to select the best of the best from the Hunter TAFE campuses to compete for the converted prize – to work with Brett who had the humble beginnings of attending Hamilton TAFE as an apprentice.”
The Brett Graham Scholarship is open to 3rd and 4th year cookery apprentices, who have completed training or are currently enrolled at Hunter TAFE in cookery. The competition is also open to those who have completed their apprenticeship within the past 12 months.
Postscript: Who won you’re wondering..? First course blue. Second course red. Third course red.
That’s a victory on the day for Team Hunter!