It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years since the first season of MasterChef came out in 2009. Back then, I thought being a foodie meant you had to be a bit posh, eat raw steak and know thirty adjectives for a sip of wine. Turns out, being a foodie is so much more: It’s about exploring the entire sensory experience of eating, understanding how different cooking methods and flavour combos change the chemistry of food, appreciating the fine artistry of constructing a pretty dish, or knowing the history of a meal from farm to plate. Turns out many of us have a little foodie inside waiting to bust out.
Now that MasterChef has rounded up for 2016, you might be feeling a bit forlorn. Where can I get my foodie fix now? You might be looking at your Instagram feed thinking: Meh, seen it all before. There’s food porn-ogling, and then there’s the real thing. Don’t worry, Gary Mehigan and Matt Moran are presenting their annual “Good Food and Wine Show” at Sydney Olympic Park on 5-7th August. The event will be chock full of cooking demonstrations, master classes, and of course plenty of delicious food.
Last week, we at The 5 to 9 Life were very, very lucky to be invited to a tasty little preview at an exclusive tasting event in Leichhardt. As I arrive, I try to play it cool, even though I’m squealing on the inside. I do a little scan of the room: A table full of freshly bottled tomato sauces, piles of cheese wheels, a caviar and frois gras corner, a long dish of smoked salmon, and wine specialists at the ready. It’s going to be a great day.
As I move from stall to stall, it’s hard not to marvel at how the food industry has truly unleashed in Australia. Foodies aren’t just passionate about their craft, they’re highly creative and experimental, and willing to tinker and taste anything in the hope to uncover something delicious and new. Think fois gras is just about ducks? Try the Wild Boar pate. Give caviar a bit of a twist and try Lobster eggs instead. Pay attention to how the flavour of cheese tastes when aged for two, six, or twenty-four months. Foodies love the nuances that creative twists like this can create.
Next up is the cooking demonstration by MasterChef’s Gary Mehigan. On the table, he shows us how to skin, trim and bone a whole trout, and how to smoke it using flavoured woodchips and aniseed. Someone from the crowd asks the brave question that we’re all wrestling with: How can you tell a piece of fish is cooked? We all figure it’s something probably a little magical, a little chef’s intuition. It’s when you can feel the fibres of the meat juuuust about to come apart. He tells us that he’s just taught his daughter to use a digital thermometer, so she nails her medium rare steaks every time.
After Gary whet’s our appetites, Matt Moran has prepared us a three-course meal. For a moment I worry I’ve made a rookie mistake, having sampled way too much of the cheese. The first course is Crispy Fried Chicken with Harissa Mayonnaise. It’s a tangy twist on your typical southern style recipe with a limey coleslaw on the side.
Devoured. Then comes the Moran Family Lamb, slow cooked for six hours with a Hummus and Tomato Salad with Mint Salsa. Exquisite. Finally, the Flourless Orange Cake with sticky, heavenly orange syrup. I lick my plate clean, but in a classy way. Maybe.
Good Food & Wine Show, Exclusive Tasting Event
27 July 2016