Being married to a Chef ain’t all its cracked up to be. It’s certainly not all gourmet dinner parties and one on one cooking classes. You’d think in the 15 years we’ve been together I’d have picked up some useful cooking tips… not really. Chef is frankly not that stuffed to give me a “how to” cooking lesson after 12 hours in a hot kitchen and I can’t really argue with that!
Something that I’ve been wanting to learn for years is how to make a quality potato gnocchi. So when C Restaurant asked me along to a Gnocchi Masterclass – I was super keen. Finally, I’d learn how to make gnocchi from a chef, just not from my Chef!
Most Perth peeps are familiar with C, the revolving restaurant on St Georges Terrace has been around for decades. Originally it had been named Highlight 33, as it’s on the 33rd floor of St Martin’s Center. For me, C Restaurant evokes images of romantic proposals and intimate dinners for two. It’s also popular for high teas and special family occasions. Chef and I dined at C Restaurant a couple of years ago. It’s a totally unique venue in Perth’s CBD.
On my way to the Masterclass, I hopped into the lift at St Martin’s Tower, eagerly pressing the button to the 33rd floor. It’s a longer lift ride than normal and you may even feel your ears pop – it’s a long way up. As the lift doors slid open, I walked into the classy restaurant and I was immediately mesmerised by THAT view!
We were greeted by Restaurant Manager, Steve Halliday and taken to the main prep kitchen, which is upstairs on the 34th floor, at the very top of the building. Executive Chef Frantisek Ilizi (Fero) and his Sous Chef, Matthew Ladkin, took us through the steps to make their signature gnocchi dish.
First the potatoes are boiled whole, then we peel the skin. It’s good fun getting our hands dirty!
The potato is put through a mouli (or a masher can be used) and then the mashed potato is spread onto the floured kitchen bench. We add egg, grated parmesan, plain flour, nutmeg and seasoning.
Next the ingredients kneaded together to form a firm dough and then rolled into logs.
The logs are then cut on a diagonal into the gnocchi shape we all know and love – though my own attempt looked a little on the large side – whoops! The gnocchi is then cooked in boiling salted water and then put immediately into iced water, to stop the gluten continuing to cook and that helps to keep it’s soft texture.
With the partially cooked gnocchi, we head downstairs to the small service kitchen. It is so interesting to hear how they cook a busy service for so many people from this tiny space! The pass has to have one of the best views in WA too.
Chef Fero then pan fries the gnocchi to give it a little colour and adds cream, spinach and gorgonzola cheese. This was then spooned over some rich Napolitana sauce and finished with roasted tomatoes and a parmesan cheese crust.
Then for the best part… it was time to eat our efforts! We were seated at a table by the window, with a glass of vino. A complete rotation of the floor takes 90 minutes. So you don’t miss out on seeing a thing. The floor moves slowly, but fast enough for you to notice it. The view is from a totally different perspective than we’d normally have on our beautiful city. I’m always in awe of the Perth skyline when we see it from Kings Park, but at C Restaurant you’re right in there, amongst all the shiny skyscrapers.
The pillow-like gnocchi totally lived up to my expectations – no wonder this signature dish is a permanent fixture on C’s menu. The sauces added rich and punch-y flavours too. I am impressed.
All Perth-lovers should try C Restaurant at least once. It’s also a great place to take visitors to Perth. If you go to C Restaurant for dinner, my tip is to book an early table, to see the city view both in the day and the twinkling lights of the office towers by night. You might even get lucky and enjoy a stunning sunset.
Whilst the Masterclass isn’t a regular event, it would be wonderful if C Restaurant did offer it to the public. I think they’d be a lot of Perth foodies that would relish the chance to learn how to create such a delicious dish in one of Perth’s most unique kitchens.
Thanks to Meg for organising and to Steve, Fero and the C Restaurant’s kitchen team for a memorable gnocchi lesson, luscious lunch and C’s very own recipe book!