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 Australian Team

AND THE GOLD MEDAL WINING AUSTRALIAN TEAMS’ DISHES…

Entrée  – West Australian rock lobster, sweetbread cream, tomato & corn brawn, sous vide Alaskan black cod & King crab, radish, nasturtium, popcorn shoots, nantua reduction, herb oil, almond

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Main Course – Slow cooked beef fillet with smoked Wagyu brisket braised oyster blade & truffled Rougie foie gras, sauce bordelaise, fondant potato, root vegetable puree, autumn vegetables, chia seed crusted beef cheek 

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Dessert – Valrhona milk chocolate & salted caramel ganache, banana & passion fruit mousse, caramelized banana, passion fruit meringue, banana & macadamia streusel pudding, rum caramel, passion fruit sorbet

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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

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

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

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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!!