Good Food Month: you have your Night Noodle Markets, restaurant lunch deals, cooking classes, and bar hops – but what about an evening where you buy a ticket for the luxury of being cooked a three-course meal by one of the best chefs in Australia, and at the same your ticket allows 400 meals to be delivered to people in need?
As the charity of choice for Good Food Month, OzHarvest is holding 10 KitchenTable Dinners with 14 chefs at its Headquarters, in Alexandria. With chefs from restaurants such as Bennelong, Chiswick, Firedoor, and Rockpool, they promise to provide an intimate and unique dining experience across the course of an evening, and what’s more – you can watch them while they work in the cavernous OzHarvest kitchens.
We started our evening with a welcoming by the CEO and founder of OzHarvest, the lovely Ronni Kahn. About eight to ten billion dollars of food is wasted each year in commercial and residential waste, and OzHarvest is the first perishable food rescue organisation in Australia; collecting quality excess food from commercial outlets and delivering it to over 600 charities providing assistance to vulnerable members of the community Australia-wide. A single $200 ticket for tonight’s dinner provides 400 meals alone.
Our chefs for the evening were Monty and Jaci Koludrovic of Icebergs. Monty had a moment to talk about how Jaci and himself share the values of OzHarvest, his disbelief at the ridiculous disparity between communities that struggle to feed themselves and those that do not understand the significance of their food waste. Frugality, and respect for food and the people around us are essential values that need to be passed on to the future generation.
The food for dinner was donated and sourced by Icebergs, the seafood donated by De Costi Seafoods. Beverages over all the dinners have been kindly donated by Vittoria Coffee and Tarrawarra Estate, while even the amazing glassware was loaned by Riedel. It goes to show the sort of amazing things there can be when people come together.
Our first course was a dish of Local Burrata, Prosciutto, Lemon Thyme, and Capers – possibly one of the most photogenic dishes I have ever seen in my life (and that’s saying something, being a food blogger!)
There’s an immensely satisfying moment when you piece through the skin of a burrata cheese and have it ooze spectacularly over your plate. Its creaminess was a classic pairing to the tender prosciutto; its flavour sweetened by the hand-picked flower petals and the lingering freshness of the lemon thyme.
Our second entree was no less decadent: Bruschetta – Grilled rye toast, Scallops, Foie Gras.
The rye had been grilled to a charred crust but still soft in the centre, with a lingering molasses-like essence that brought out the sheer silkiness and burst of freshness from the sliced scallops. The generous layer of shaved foie gras on top added a beautiful earthiness and creamy factor to the entree – it was without a doubt the most decadent bruschetta topping I’ve ever tasted.
Our main was a Baked Market Fish, with Asparagus in Fermented Chilli Butter, served with a Baby Gem Salad and Mash.
The evening’s fish was Silver Perch – described by Monty as “the lovechild of John Dory and Murray Cod“; having the amazing John Dory flake factor, but still with a very tender, firm flesh and low oiliness. Cooked with orange and lemon slices and the decadent chilli butter glazing over the fillet, it was quite a deliciously light main served with some perfectly-cooked asparagus; the rich and buttery mash contrasting nicely with the slightly bitter and tangy radicchio salad.
Jaci, the pastry chef at Icebergs, had prepared for us something particularly special – her own recipe for a Zokoko Chocolate and Alto Olive Oil Mousse, served with melon and berries. If the dish sounds a little familiar, it’s because it made an appearance on the last season of Masterchef Australia.
While it was visually stunning – the thick mousse adorned with gold-speckled shards and flakes of wafer-thin sugar, it was the inner-composition of the mousse which had me – the dessert diva – absolutely speechless.
I can’t even begin to identify the layers that were in this creation. Maybe a hazelnut dacquoise? Or was it almond meal? The varying textures of the dessert all worked together cohesively, the mousse being impossibly smooth but not overly rich – lingering over your tongue and begging you to eat more of it. So of course I did.
The OzHarvest Kitchen Table dinners are for another week from 19-23 October (Mon-Fri) and tickets can be bought online. Tickets are $200, which includes a three course dinner with exquisite TarraWarra Estate Wines and Vittoria Coffee beverages. For queries email email@example.com or call the Events Team on (02) 9516 3877.