Chef of the year Dinner 20 June 2015
Our Chef of the Year night is one where we celebrate, not only the members who have been nominated for Chef of the Year, but all of those who cook at our lunches. This is what makes our society one of the most active and unique in the world.
In the kitchen was last year's winner and nominee for Chef the year for 2014 John Rourke, whose preparation and cooking of the food for the evening showed why he was Chef of the year for 2013 and a previous winner in 2006.
The food was matched with wines chosen by Wine Master Paul Ferman. To start, canapés of Feuillete of feta cheese and beetroot which were tasty and slightly salty. They say we eat with our eyes, this proved true with great colour and presentation, as was the mini Quiche Lorraine accompanied by NV Aubert et Fils Champagne and a Gonzales Byass Amontillado Sherry.
Our entree was Terrine of Ocean Trout and Ling with a delicious sweet mustard and dill sauce. It looked good on the plate and even better on the palate!Perfectly cooked with flavours of fish not overwhelmed by the sauce.The matching wines were a 1996 Marc Bredif Vouray, soft and simple but probably better with the food than the 1997 Leo Buring Leonay Riesling. Both in good shape with golden colour, the richness of the vouvray was a good match with mustard sauce.
The main course was Confit of duck with sour cherries, creamed spinach and crunchy roast potato. Great flavours and presentation, the duck tender and moist and served with a red wine jus. This dish was matched with a 2010 Tyrrells Vat 6 pinot noir and a 1996 Sylvain Cathiard Vosne Rommanee 1 er cru. The Hunter pinot was young and pleasant, the Vosne Rommanee shone, a mature elegant wine high colour and showing some tannin on the palate.
John then presented the cheese and dessert on the same plate. The Tarago River Shadows of Blue matched with a poached pear in cinnamon and vanilla wine.
The accompanying wines were 1998 Penfolds Bin 389 Cabenret Shiraz and 1998 Bannockburn Shiraz.The Penfolds was favoured by members, drinking very well, good fruit flavour and an elegant wine. The Bannackburn, we were reminded by Ray Kidd, was made in the bushfire year with fruit coming from other areas of Victoria, it was in balance with sweet fruit showing.
Poured at the same time was a 1997 Chateau Nairac Sauternes This was a fine vintage for barsac and the wine was excellent good balance and age, not too sweet with "Barsac mouthfeel" and a 2008 Taylors Qunita de Vargellas Port.
We finished with a coffee from Yirgacheffe with good acid and spicy flavour and for those who wanted a digestive there was a grappa from Italy!
Vice President Keith Steele presented the awards for 2014:
The Chris Alexiou Seafood Trophy, to Bill Alexiou;
The Chef of the Year Award, to Gareth Evans ;
With knife presentations to the other finalists, James Hill and John Rourke.
The other finalist Ted Davis was unable to be with us on the night.
It was well thought out and executed meal, with attractive wines; and a happy group of members and guests.
It was a memorable evening.