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Life

Food worth fighting for

There were murmurs around the table as the votes were cast. Would it be the first course – dry aged snapper with last season’s birch fermented tomatoes and preserved lemon – a gorgeously light start to the menu?

Or would it be course two – nduja with peas and black olive – the notoriously spicy spreadable salami leaving a hot impression?

Perhaps course three deserved the tick – roast and braised lamb with garlic and Jerusalem artichoke – melt-in-your-mouth morsels with perfectly paired accompaniments?

Or would it be dessert – milk parfait with macadamia, honey and thyme – a delightful finale whose sweetness was tempered by that touch of thyme?

These were the contenders in the 10th annual Hunter Culinary Association Food Fight where four of Australia’s best up-and-coming chefs went head-to-head in the kitchen. The competing chefs were Eilish Maloney (formerly Saint Peter, Paddington), Thomas Boyd (Margan), Troy Crisante (Quay Restaurant) and George Mirosevich (Restaurant Mason) and the judges were the 320 guests.

Kitchen stars

Each of these culinary stars had spent time in the kitchen of legendary chef Brett Graham – a former Novocastrian – at his Michelin-starred restaurant The Ledbury in London, one of the world’s 50 best restaurants.

In between courses, guests were asked to dig deep for an auction of incredible prizes, including a trip to London to spend time with Brett, with proceeds helping to fund a worthy cause.

As HCA Chairman, Gus Maher described, “What’s extra special about this event is that it not only gives chefs a forum to showcase their talents, but the Food Fight auction we hold on the day also raises money for our range of scholarships. The Brett Graham scholarship is one of those, providing a young chef the opportunity to work with Brett Graham at The Ledbury – an incredible experience shared by each of today’s chefs.”

Members and guests proved incredibly generous, for which Gus was extremely grateful, saying, “Once again, we were overwhelmed by the generosity of members and guests at the event which will change the course of an aspiring chef’s career by giving them the opportunity of a lifetime.”

The verdict

With the room well and truly satiated, the chefs were introduced as the votes were counted. It was Eilish behind the snapper, Troy created the njuga course, George made the lamb, while the dessert was Thomas’s handiwork. Each chef was given a raucous reception, but there could only be one winner.

Drum roll, please.

Congratulations Thomas Boyd from Margan for his delectable dessert! 

Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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