Yesterday, I spent the afternoon at the WA Day Festival, where one of the main events was the Buy West Eat Best WA’s Celebrity Signature Dish competition. For all involved, particularly each of the celebrities and Chef mentors, it’s been a month long battle of identifying their region’s produce, creating recipes and practising their kitchen skills to be on their game for yesterday’s epic cook off event held at Elizabeth Quay.
Each of the celebrity contestants represented produce from four of WA’s major food producing regions the Kimberley, Peel, Southern Forests and the Swan Valley and soon enough there was a flurry of activity onstage.
Mark Gibson (7 Perth) who was representing Peel, had a wealth of produce to pick from, as the Peel and Mandurah region has a bounty of fresh produce. A dish featuring Mandurah’s famed crabs was deemed “too obvious”, so to represent Peel this year Mark devised a dish centred around the “hero ingredient” of Harvey Beef with Chef Kenny McHardy.
Mark’s Peel region dish featured a huge Slow Braised Harvey Beef Shin which had been cooked overnight in the wood fired oven at Chef Kenny’s restaurant – Manuka Woodfire Kitchen in Fremantle.
On the side were roasted local sweet potato, served with Mundella yogurt and pickled baby carrots. A glass of Peel region wine like a Millbrook shiraz or Drakesbrook malbec complements this dish perfectly.
After lots of taste testing and careful deliberation, the judging panel of Anna Gare (TV’s The Best and Junior Masterchef), Rob Broadfield (The West’s Food Editor) and Dan Masters (Head Chef of Rockpool) had a tough job on their hands.
Dan Masters said, “For people who aren’t chefs the standard of cooking was very good. Justin Langer can cook better than I play cricket. It was great to see all of the talent doing the cooking but it was a lack of seasoning that hurt everyone when we tasted each dish. Having said that, the fish wings from the Kimberley region were stunning, but the beef from Peel was the winner.”
Rob Broadfield commeted, “Full marks to the chefs of course, but it was the produce that shinned. Good produce equals good cooking.” And of course, there could only be one winner. I had all my fingers and toes crossed for Peel – they had lots of very tough competition.
The 2017 WA Signature Dish was awarded to Team Peel and Mark was proud as punch! Mark’s dish of Slow Braised Harvey Beef Shin with Roasted Sweet Potato and Pickled Vegetables was considered by the judges to be the dish that best represented WA on a plate.
Winner Mark Gibson commented, “I have discovered so much about the region during this campaign. I always generally thought of the Peel in terms of coast, but the more I found out… that’s one of the reasons we selected beef as the hero ingredient, the further inland you go in the Peel the more there is, and Kenny showed me how to cook it in such a great way.”
Buy West Eat Best does a wonderful job of showcasing produce that’s available from across Western Australia, we should all be mindful of selecting produce with the Buy West Eat Best logo on whenever possible. For more information on WA’s Celebrity Signature Dish visit www.buywesteatbest.org.au. You can even replicate each of the celebrity dishes – visit the Buy West Eats Best site for Mark’s recipe.
Massive congrats to everyone involved with creating the winning Peel Dish – Mark, Kenny and all of the Peel region food producers. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed discovering Peel, Mandurah and all it has to offer us. Make sure you check it out soon and remember… Buy West, Eat Best!
I have been excited to be involved with this years Buy West Eat Best WA Celebrity Signature Dish as a digital ambassador for Team Peel and the Mandurah & Peel Tourism Organisation (MAPTO). All words and opinions are my own.