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Food and beverage stories

Chefs’ masterpiece

Edition 199_TetsuyaDavid

Call it a major culinary event. Two great chefs cooking up a degustation feast showcasing Tasmania’s freshest premium produce.

It was also history in the making, with Tetsuya Wakuda – one of the world’s most revered chefs – cooking in Melbourne for the very first time.

Tetsuya, who runs acclaimed restaurants in Sydney and Singapore, collaborated with fellow-chef, David Hall, from the Tasmanian themed restaurant, Pure South Dining.

"This will be an unforgettable taste of Tasmania,” Tetsuya, a two Michelin star chef and Brand Tasmania ambassador, enthused on the day of the degustation dinner.

“We are creating an outstanding culinary experience, with a carefully curated menu celebrating the best the state has to offer.”

Watch the video to join Tetsuya for the ‘Taste of Tasmania’ degustation dinner

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Watch video on YouTube

Last month’s ‘Taste of Tasmania’ dinner, at Pure South Dining on Melbourne’s Southbank, was organised by Brand Tasmania to coincide with the Fine Food Fair.

And for Hall, who moved to Australia from Scotland seven years ago, the chance to work with “one of the world’s iconic chefs was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity".

Hall also added, he felt right at home working with produce from the island state.

“It reminds me of Scotland. The places are very similar in terms of climate and landscape including the clean air, water and soil,” he explains.

“And, like Scotland, Tasmania has good beef, venison and pork.”

The menu for the ‘Taste of Tasmania’ was sublime.

One hundred thirty VIP guests – including Rosehaven stars Celia Pacquola and Luke McGregor – were treated to a six-course degustation dinner washed down with the finest cool climate wines.

Plump oysters from St Helens, paired with Clover Hill bubbly, opened proceedings.

The next three courses were curated by Hall, and began with line-caught kingfish accompanied by mandarin, celeriac, marigold and hazelnut together with a Pooley Riesling.

In a nod to his native Scotland, Hall then presented ‘Cullen Skink’, a thick soup of mackerel, leek, potato and herb veloute, teamed with a Stargazer Tupelo.

His final creation was pasture-fed wallaby from King Island with carrot and native pepperberry, accompanied by Stefano Lubiana’s award-winning Ruscello Pinot Noir.

“Tetsuya and I both spent a significant effort working on the menu, and I have no doubt that the end result was one of the greatest celebrations of Tasmanian food and wine,” Hall said.

Tetsuya then rounded out the evening.

For the fifth course he also turned to King Island. But this time for beef.

The great chef presented braised King Island short rib and dutch cream potato, washed down by Moorilla’s Muse Cabernet. Plates of fresh seasonal vegetables were laid on the table.

The dish was stunning in its simplicity, with Tetsuya wanting the two main ingredients – the beef and potatoes – to “speak for themselves”.

“I used to add,” Tetsuya explains.

“Now I take off. It is all about simplicity. I want to rely on taste, and to let the ingredients speak for themselves.

“Regardless, it is all about taste.”

However, it was Tetsuya’s dessert that really captured imaginations: a perfect cylinder of shiny deep chocolate cake with an Anvers chocolate mousse centre. It was paired with Josef Chromy Ruby Pinot.

Tetsuya even flew his own pastry chef in from Singapore especially for the occasion, with the dish taking two days to create.

The result was a work of art, which Tetsuya says “appears on the plate with nothing, no garnishes”, letting the ingredients take centre stage. 

Tetsuya’s love affair with Tasmanian produce stretches back almost three decades and was sparked when he discovered Petuna’s Ocean Trout.

Today, his signature Confit of Ocean Trout remains one of the most photographed dishes in the world.

And, judging by this stunning ‘Taste of Tasmania’ dinner that he and David Hall created, it is a love affair still in full swing.

Image courtesy of The Mercury

14 October 2018, Edition 199

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