WA Signature Dish Launch

IMG_6893I was very excited to attend the launch of WA’s best known cooking competition, WA’s Celebrity Signature Dish, at the fabulous Arthouse eatery in Northbridge. The popular comp is back for 2017 with a new twist! In the past the competition was a cook-off between amateur cooks, this year four celebrities have been paired with some of Perth’s very best Chefs.

Each team will represent one of WA’s four major food producing regions: Peel, The Kimberley, Swan Valley and The Southern Forests. Using fantastic local produce, they will prepare and cook a dish that represents the flavours from that area.IMG_6902

I’m going to be the Digital Influencer cheering on “Team Peel” and I’m also very excited to be working closely with the Mandurah and Peel Tourism Organisation in an Ambassador role. Being a Perth northie I’ve rarely visited the Peel region. So I’ll be exploring that area in the coming month and sharing my foodie finds with you.IMG_6883

Here’s my first find… a delicious rose from Peel winery Drakesbrook, in Waroona. Their Viticulturist, Bernie Worthington, was telling me that they’ve won several awards for it and I’m not surprised. It’s a top drop.IMG_6867

The Department of Agriculture and Food’s “Buy West Eat Best” program is holding the competition during the WA Day Festival weekend at Elizabeth Quay.  Four of WA’s leading media, lifestyle and sporting personalities will compete in a 60 minute cook-off to be held on Centre Stage at the 2017 WA Day Festival. Here’s the line up of “Perthonalities” and their Chef mentors.IMG_6907

Peel Region

Talent: Mark Gibson (Channel 7)

Chef: Kenny McHardy – Manuka Woodfire Kitchen

Blogger: Me!

Southern Forests Region

Talent: Rayne Embley

Chef: Ollie Gould – Shorehouse

Blogger: Martin aka Morsels


Kimberley Region

Talent: Peter Curulli (Mix 94.5fm ‘Lisa & Pete’)

Chef: Pete Manifis

Blogger: Kristy aka Queen of Bad Timing

Swan Valley Region

Talent: Justin Langer (Former Australian cricketer)

Chef: Caroline Taylor

Blogger: Gus aka Gusface Grillah

The cook off event will be hosted by Scott Taylor (Owner of The Trustee Bar & Bistro, Shorehouse and more). A judging panel will make the tough decision on our State’s best dish, including Dan Masters (Rockpool), Anna Gare (Junior Masterchef) and Rob Broadfield (The West Food Editor). The cook off event will be hosted by Scott Taylor (of The Trustee Bar & Bistro,  The Shorehouse and more). It is expected to be a very popular event at the WA Day Festival at Elizabeth Quay. The cook off will commence at 1.30pm on Sunday the 4th of June.

I’ll see you there – go Team Peel!

Stay tuned for more about Chef Kenny McHardy, Mark Gibson and their preparation for the cook off and the wonderful Peel region too.IMG_6876


For more information on WA’s Celebrity Signature Dish visit  the Buy West Eat Best website and visit the WA Day Festival site for program information.

Apprentice of the Year 2015

IMG_9594Today was the Western Australian Apprentice of the Year hot kitchen competition held at the West Coast Institute, Joondalup.

The field of 1st, 2nd, 3rd year apprentices and commercial cooks were from some of Perth’s leading restaurants, (Co Op Dining, Bib & Tucker, The Subiaco Hotel etc) which is fantastic to see hospitality businesses investing in their youth. The kitchens were abuzz from 9am to 1.30pm with the chefs each creating a three course menu for the judges to critique. They had limited ingredients to work with.

The many judges from all around Western Australia included Stephen Clarke of Clarkes of North Beach and Andy Mann, Executive Chef of Domain Stadium/WACA  (and my Chef was also judging too!). They were impressed by the overall standard. Here’s a few of the many many dishes that caught my eye…IMG_9593IMG_9591IMG_9592

Patrick O’Brien the President of the Australian Culinary Federation (WA) announced the winners.IMG_9595

The winners are;

1st year Linh Khanh Tran (Tropico North Beach)

2nd year Mark Johnson (Co Op Dining)

3rd year Brody Young-Steedman (Co Op Dining)

Commercial cooks Kuo Cheng LinIMG_9597

Congrats to all the winners and their employers! Head Chef Kiren Mainwaring must be doing a tremendous job with the young talent in his kitchen as Co Op Dining had two winning chefs.

If you’re interested in cooking comps, make sure you check out the upcoming Oceanafest hot Kitchen Comp at PCEC. Oceanafest has been running since 1997 and is regarded as Australia’s premier hot kitchen cooking competition. It’s on the 5th to 7th of July, open to the general public and free to attend. The national culinary teams from Thailand, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia will be competing as well as local teams and individual chefs. It’s a bi -annual event – here’s my round up of Oceanafest from 2013.


See you there!

Culinary Olympics 2012


pic courtesy of the Australian Culinary Federation

Its been a year since the national Australian Culinary Team were in Germany, for the massive hot and cold kitchen competition – The Culinary Olympics. It was a couple of weeks of blood, sweat and tears from the senior team – all worth it to receive an Olympic Medal and improve Australia’s world ranking to be in the top 10 in the world. Chef had a ball. I hope to post more pics and info about this soon!

Aus Culinary Team – Pattaya Cup – Thailand 2013


Chef competed as part of the Australian Culinary Team last week, in Pattaya, Thailand. This international culinary competition had teams from all around Asia and Europe vying for the Pattaya Cup.

The competition involved the team of five, preparing an edible buffet for 20 people, in four hours. There had to be eight dishes involved, including salad, tapas, soup, mains, cake etc. Halfway through the competition (about two hours in), a mystery ingredient was thrown into the mix and the chefs quickly had to come up with something to make 10 portions of, with the beef strip loin.


*The Australian Buffet


*Appetiser – Kokoda of Seabass



*Sunrasia Gateaux (Chocolate, pineapple and orange flavours)

As well as the competition itself and all the preparation and planning involved, the team did have a small chance to have a look around the expo too and see what other chefs around the world are creating.  As well as some amazing cooked food, there were also some impressive fruit and vegetable carvings. Chef saw some amazing calved watermelons – the lady who carved the intricate design said it only took her 40 minutes to complete – unbelievable!!



And some pics of other interesting food spotted at the expo…





The team also enjoyed some traditional Thai Cuisine while they were there too.


Unfortunately, the Australian team didn’t come away with the cup – they were runners up for the 3rd year in a row. Hong Kong won the Pattaya Cup by ONE point! Australia scored a very high mark and also came away with a gold medal, which was a fantastic result.

Oceanafest – Closing Ceremony

The closing ceremony was held on Wednesday (17th April). The function room at PCEC was a sea of chef whites and tall chef hats. After a few speeches, the awards were underway. There were awards for the regional leg of the Global Chef Challenge. That was won by Shannon Kellam, who now will represent the Pacific Rim in the international event. Shannon is a very busy chef, who also is on the National Australian Team and was Australia’s representative at the Bocuse d’Or competition in France (earlier this year). And that’s not even mentioning his day job – Exec Chef at the Brisbane Club, QLD.

Another of the individual competitions has not yet been decided. Chefs from around the Pacific Rim took part in a regional leg of the “Hans Bueschkens Young Chefs Challenge”. They were competing to represent the Pacific Rim. The grand finale is being held in South Korea, in May. Unfortunately, the Australian representative was involved in a car accident just before the cook off, and he was unable to compete. But in incredibly good sportsmanship, the other competitors agreed that he should compete when well enough.

Then the team event medals were handed out. Locally, WA did very well, receiving a Silver medal. That was a very good result, for a team that was given only a few days’ notice, before competing. Overall the “University Club of WA” took out the local award. All the international teams did well. Hong Kong was the best of the visiting teams. Australia won gold, as well as the overall competition. It was the first time the Aussies had taken the overall winner title at Ocenanafest. That was a great result for them!

Oceanafest – Restaurant of Champions Germany

The German Team

Chef enjoyed the German dishes a lot. Overall, he felt the presentation was lacking, but the flavours were really spot on. The textures of each component complimented each other well. The marron is such a delicate flavour. Chef thought they pulled it off, considering it is an Australian ingredient, which they were most likely not used to working with. In the days leading up to the competition the German team spent some time in WA’s South west and it was great to see them working with local produce.

Entrée – Baked Amelia Park sweetbreads & marron with beet vegetables, samphire, frisee, sweet & sour cucumber, pea mousse & marron foam


Main – Amelia Park beef tenderloin & Amelia Park beef ragout with beet vegetables, tomato, new Zealand spinach aromatized potato & potato shallot jus


Dessert – Kaffir lime crème & sour cream ice cream, macadamia nut, hibiscus jelly and wattle seed sponge


More Oceanafest…

Whilst at PCEC, Chef had a wander around the Fine Foods Expo. It’s pretty much a “food and wine expo” for hospitality industry professionals. One of Chefs suppliers “La Rose Noir” were there with their delicious Macaroons and cones (used for canapés etc). They looked fantastic.


Some of the other competitions at Oceanafest included cake decorating and static work. There were some very intricate creations on display, some made by some very talented apprentice chefs.


Oceanafest – Opening Day

Oceanafest has been running since 1997 and is regarded as Australia’s premier hot kitchen cooking competition. It is run every two years, alongside the “Fine Foods” hospitality Expo at Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The competition encompasses a wide range of hospitality professionals; Chefs, Cooks, Pastry Chefs, Apprentices, Armed Forces Personnel, Industrial Caterers, Training Providers and Home Cake Decorators. There are both individual and team chef events. The “Global Chef” comp has chefs competing from many countries including Fiji and NZ for the title. In the group event, there are teams from Hong Kong, Thailand, Germany and Singapore competing alongside the Australian team. There are also a few local teams such as the Pan Pacific and the WA team. They are all vying for the title of “Restaurant of Champions”.

The “Restaurant of Champions” event involves teams of 5 chefs having to create a 3 course menu. They have five hours in which they have to prep, and then serve the dishes, for 80 people. Chefs day started at 4.30am. By the end of service he would be shattered! The judges fly in from all around the world and scrutinise the very tiniest of details, nothing would get past them. They are judged on everything from technique to flavour and presentation. Even the way that they work in the kitchen is critiqued – if there is too much mess they have points deducted. If there is too much in their bins they get points deducted for wastage.

The teams competing on day one were the Pan Pacific Hotel, The Western Australian team and Thailand’s national team. I was lucky to be seated at the WA Team table and what a treat that was.

Entrée – West Australian Scallops, pea textures, black pudding puree, bacon & curried sweetbreads

Any dish with scallops is always a winner for me. The entree was very pretty too; Garnished with Salmon roe, Smoked white fish roe and Pea tendrils. All the components (and there were a lot) worked well together. The peas came in a “green pea powder” form and also a puree. The sweetbreads were delish in a crispy panko crumb. But for me, the hero of the dish was the black pudding puree. I have to admit, usually I’m not a huge fan of “blood puddings”, but on this occasion I could have licked it off the plate!! Delish!

Main – Mint Gremolata Crusted Lamb Roulade, Braised Lamb shoulder, Semolina gnocchi with butternut pumpkin puree, red wine shallot, baby carrots, brussel sprout wedges and red wine jus.

This was a stunner. The Lamb roulade was beautifully cooked and rolled with a creamy chicken mousse. The lamb shoulder was braised in red wine and was so full of flavour – yummy! The semolina gnocchi was a nice accompaniment to the rich meats and was well seasoned and the pecorino cheese really subtle, but tasty. The veg was cooked to perfection. I even could have eaten more BRUSSEL SPROUTS!! Really!!

Dessert – Raspberry Coconut Slice, Peach Tea Macaroon, White Chocolate Panna cotta, Lemon Curd, Peach Sorbet, Peach and Berry Salad

All the components of the dessert worked really well together. As a whole, it was really flavoursome. The raspberry coconut slice was fluffy and light. All the peach components were lovely. The lemon curd gave it a little kick. My favourite part of the dish was the white chocolate panna cotta, what a combo! The luxuriously silky texture was fantastic. A great finish to a fab lunch. Now just to cross our fingers and toes and hope team WA did well with those eagle-eyed judges!!