The 89.7FM FoodinFocus Chef’s Challenge kicked off on the 11th of July with some strong, dynamic contenders for the crown of Winter’s Most Seasonal and Realistic Chef.
Hosted and Judged by FoodinFocus announcer Natascha Moy and President of The Food Media Club, Stewart White and an Eastside Listener Viv Wijaja this was a great challenge. Over six weeks these fabulous chefs battled it out for the crown and the chance to win a fantastic mini-break at the very sophisticated Sebel Kirkton Park, Hunter Valley as well as a meal at Roberts Restaurant and a personal wine tasting at Tower Estate as well as a personal wine tasting with Daniel Binet at Ballabourneen.
Each dish was expertly matched to a several wines by our resident much loved Gus Lander from the Wine Society.
Justin North cooking in the studio during the Chef Challenge
Each Chef won a section but the ultimate winner was Matt Kemp from Restaurant Balzac and the Burlington. See all the recipes in the posts below and enjoy making them at home.
The challengers need to create a winter dish that:
- Uses a protein
- Uses seasonal vegetables
- Can be easily replicated at home
- Can be transported and reheated
- All the produce needs to be from a sustainable source
- Chef’s must know about the produce they use.
- Produce used
- Produce knowledge
- Easy to replicate
Overall Winner – Matt Kemp
- Innovation - Matt Kemp
- Produce Used – Justin North jointly with Michael Moore
- Produce Knowledge - Justin North jointly with Michael Moore
- Easy To replicate – Sydney Pemberton
- Taste – Sean Connolly
- Presentation – James Kidman
Matt Kemp, well what can I say about this colourful man. He is a very good chef. I had one of the best degustations at Restaurant Balzac and as I often tell people who ask, he cooks to my tastebuds. This dish was no different. The winning dish in our Winter Chef Challenge on FoodinFocus Radio, 2009. The tender duck hit all the targets; it is easy to replicate, can be made and reheated, uses great local produce which is seasonal, is innovative and was delicious. He deserved to win although it was a tight competition. Well done Matt!
- 4 duck legs – 250g each
- 100g gordal olives – stoned and flesh separated
- 1 small onion – peeled cut into 8
- 1 small carrot – peeled cut into 8
- 1 small stick celery – cut into 8
- 2 cloves garlic – cracked
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 500ml veal stock
- 500ml white chicken stock
- 50ml vegetable oil
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- Heat oven to 150 degrees celcius.
- Take heavy based pan and place over moderate heat, add oil and warm. Season duck legs with salt and pepper, add to pan – skin down first and colour until golden brown. Turn over doing the same.
- Remove legs from the pan and set aside.
- Using the same pan add the vegetables and cook till golden brown.
- Return duck legs to the pan with the thyme, bay leaf, olive stones and both stocks.
- Bring this to the boil. Remove cover with baking parchment and a tight fitting lid.
- Place into the pre-heated oven for about 2 hours or until the thigh bones are nearly free from meat when you try to twist it.
- When cooked remove duck leg out carefully and set aside in a warm spot.
- Take the cooking liquor, pass it through a fine strainer and return to a wide pot. Place on stove over a high heat and reduce to 1/3.
- When sauce is ready, chop up the reserved olive flesh and add to sauce.
- Present the duck leg either individually or on a platter, baste with the sauce and serve with some soft polenta.
Justin North reminds me more of a Rugby player than an award winning chef and restauranteur. He is quietly spoken and deeply respected for his vast achievements including the creation of his masterful restaurants, Hatted Becasse, Etch, Le Grande Cafe and Plan B. Justin is regarded as a champion of sustainable eating and the ethical treatment of animals and he is an active supporter of the producers who do such a great job of providing us with organic, biodynamic and best practice produce. He is also one of my personal Chef favourites.
- 2 tbsp butter unsalted butter
- 2 organic eggs
- 1 tbsp whipped pouring cream
- Murray river pink salt
- Cracked black pepper
- 50g lobster meat
- 5g fresh black Australian truffle
- 1 bunch chives finely sliced
- Mixed baby leaves
- Soften 1 tablespoon of the butter in a non-stick fry pan over a gentle heat until it begins to foam.
- Meanwhile crack the eggs into a bowl and lightly beat, fold in the cream, season with the salt and pepper.
- Chop the lobster and add to the foaming butter, stir gently until the heat begins to warm it through then remove from the pan and set to one side.
- Add the remaining butter to the pan, then add the egg mix and gently fold through the heat with a wooden spoon until the egg just begins to set, sprinkle in the truffle, chives and lobster. Fold the omelette onto your warm serving plates and serve.
Sean Connolly, is one of my favourite chefs, not only does he make me laugh but he is also a great chef. He incorporates his Yorkshire roots in his food serving up delicious blends of flavours and textures. He is the Executive Head Chef of hatted Astral at the top of Star City, as well as Sean’s Kitchen, also located in Star City. Recently he hosted a TV series on SBS called My Family Feast. I look forward to him joining us on the FoodinFocus Radio show in a few weeks.
- 1 dessert sp of vegetable oil
- 250 grams diced Speck or smoked pork belly
- I kg chuck steak or beef cheek cut in 5cm x 5cm cubes
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup Cognac
- 1 bottle dry red wine .Half for the marinade & half for cooking., To keep the traditional flavours of Burgundy red, go with a Pinot noir.
- 1 litre beef Stock or even a light veal jus.
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Bouquet garnis oh fresh herbs rosemary, thyme, tarragon, bay leaf & parsley stalks wrapped in muslin.
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 300gms cup pearl onions or spring onions, blanched and peeled
- 300 gm Swiss brown mushrooms with stalks cut flush with mushroom cap.
- A pinch of sugar (to balance out the red wine’s acidity)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Maldon salt
- whole white pepper in pepper
- The day before this dish is required it is necessary to marinade the beef.
- Place the beef in a large bowl pour half a bottle of the pinot over the beef & stir in the crushed garlic & drop in the bouquet garnis.Place in the refridgerator for 24 hours.
- The next day pour away the wine from the marinated retaining the beef,garlic & bouquet garnis. Place the beef on a paper towel to absorb any excess red wine.
- Put a Dutch oven over medium heat and drizzle 1 teaspoon of oil.
- Fry the speck until golden brown & crisp, then remove it to a paper towel for later usage.
- Next sauté off the Swiss brown mushrooms until brown lift out the mushroom & put to one side.Brown the beef well in oil and bacon fat in batches. Do not crowd the pot or the meat will not brown properly but will start stewing, thereby ruining the slow time release of the fat in the beef & rendering the beef dry.
- Once the meat is browned, put it all back in the pot and sprinkle the flour over it. Stir to make sure it is well-coated.
- Then add the tomato paste & sitr for1 minute more.
- Pour in the Cognac and stir the bottom of the pan to scrape up bits on the bottom of the Dutch oven. You may like to flame the cognac at this point to burn off the excess alcohol .
- Once the alcohol has mostly evaporated,pour in the red wine & reduce by half add beef stock and bouquet garnis. Stir everything together..
- Bring the pot up to a simmer and cook until the liquid starts to thicken, yielding a consistency like that of a sauce, approximately 15 minutes.
- Add the onions,mushooms & cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 2 hours or until very very tender.
- Uncover the pot,and sugar.
- Season with 2 pinches of salt crystals and 4 twists of white pepper.
- Remove bouqet garnis, stir in the butter.
- Sprinkle of warm lardons of bacon.
- Serve with Springs new potatoes and heavily butter fat asparagus.