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Food and beverage stories

Fico serves Campania with Love

Edition 183_Rossi

By Graeme Phillips

Hobart culinary couple Federica Andrisani and Oskar Rossi have become the first Tasmanian chefs invited to participate in the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.

The Tasmanians’ week of lunches and dinners at Melbourne’s Tipo 00 restaurant were sell outs.

Rossi is the son of one of Tasmania’s leading artists, Tom Samek, while Andrisani is a daughter of Naples and Italy’s scenic and delicious Campania region.

They met while working at Italy’s El Coq and, after a search across two continents, they opened Hobart’s Fico Bistro and Vino to instant critical acclaim shortly before Christmas 2016.

The Melbourne Festival invitation was to join Tipo 00’s Andreas Papadakis and Alberto Fava in presenting a five-course menu titled From Campania with Love.

Drawing on Andrisani’s memories of her Campanian childhood, their contribution to the menu consisted of:

Tagliolini alla Genovese – their hand-made tagliolini cooked in an onion broth with beer vinegar and 36-month-aged Parmigiano Reggiano.

Pigeon ragu – Tasmanian pigeons from a grower near Hobart served with their livers and hearts and Tasmanian truffles. Rossi said the squab-sized pigeons were fabulous and, as the autumn weather in Hobart turned colder, so the truffles were at their peak.

Breakfast in Napoli – Andrisani’s childhood breakfasts of bread, milk and coffee updated to Levita madre gelato, coffee meringue, candied orange and lemon and buffalo milk espuma.

The Tipo 00 guys said they considered the couple’s new Hobart project, Fico, as “one of the most exciting to hit our shores”.

Little wonder the week-long From Campania With Love lunches and dinners sold out long before the event.

Another autumn culinary highlight was a working visit to Tasmania by famed chef Alain Passard owner/chef at the three-Michelin starred L’Arpège restaurant in Paris.

Passard was in Tasmania as part of TasTAFE’s Great Chef’s Series, which this year also features Christian Puglisi of Relae and Manfreds in Copenhagen and Dominique Crenn from San Fransisco’s Atelier Crenn.

Dominique Crenn was named the world’s best female chef in 2016.

The Series is designed to give TasTAFE’s cookery and hospitality students opportunities to work with and learn from some of the world’s best chefs.

Last year the series featured Australian-based high flyers Jacques Reymond, Donovan Cooke, Mark Best, Tetsuya Wakuda, Dan Hong and Michael Luo.

Passard, apparently, rarely travels outside France and getting him to Tasmania was a real coup.

Series founder Christopher McGimpsey, said: “I deliberately target chefs who’ve already reached the pinnacle and have nothing left to prove.

“It’s about giving back.”

Mr McGimpsey said Tasmania’s reputation for exceptional produce and Passard’s interest in the work TasTAFE was doing with disadvantaged and unemployed youth won the day.

Passard’s L’Arpège has retained its Michelin three-star rating for 20 years, even surviving the hooha of the early 2000s when it went fully vegetarian.

Passard now admits that was a little extreme and his menus today do offer some seafood, meat and even offal dishes. But vegetables remain his focus, something which he says enforces experimentation and, for diners, ensures an element of surprise.

Last year Passard was named number-one on the list of the world’s best chefs and L’Arpège was the only Parisian establishment included in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Passard grows his own biodynamic produce in three different parts of France and spoke to the students about the influence different terroirs have on the flavour of vegetables and the importance of legumes’ freshness and seasonality.

His lunch and dinner in Launceston and his $250 per head dinner in Hobart were all sell-outs.

Image courtesy of The Mercury

1 May 2017, Edition 183

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