It was about this time last week that I walked out of the Brisbane Convention Centre arms laden with goodies (and a seriously full belly to boot) after attending the 13th annual Good Food and Wine Show. A multi-award winning consumer show that hosts celebrity chef events, masterclasses and live cooking demonstrations as well as curated foodie experiences and hundreds of local and international producers who provide a full day of free samples. Needless to say I didn’t need to think twice about purchasing tickets! Having never attended a Good Food and Wine Show before I wasn’t sure what to expect…but it blew whatever that was right out of the water.
Credit: GFW, 2013
Entering into the expo area in the Brisbane Convention Centre was like stepping into Comic-con or Supanova for foodies. Endless rows of exhibits showcasing their crafts and handing out delicious tastings, billowing clouds of steam rising from the stage areas where talented chef’s were cooking up a storm for the masses and zoned experience centres such as Nespresso and YUM Kitchen…it was sensory overload and I was in my element.
Our first port of call was a ticketed demonstration and tasting session over at the LifeStyle FOOD Chef’s Table, where we were lucky enough to be sampling 3 courses made by food-prenueur Matt Stone from Recipes that Rock. At only 26 he is already an Executive Chef at both experimental Greenhouse Perth and the incredible waste-free and entirely sustainable cafe-kitchen concept Silo by Joost down south in Melbourne. Both restaurants focus on experimental and innovative creations with the freshest food and produce, served in friendly, communal environment. Having tried Matt’s food before (you can read about my Silo breakfast experience here or over on the Virgin Australia Travel Inspiration website) I was seriously looking forward to seeing what fabulous fare would be dishing up for us to taste.
Matt’s food philosophy is inspiring – all about pride in provenance, sustainability and using the best, most nutrient rich produce you can (and all of it at that…there was no wastage at this demonstration!). His creations are all about ease-factor, no-fuss and just real, good food. He encouraged gardening and growing your own fruit and veg, even if you just start with a small balcony herb garden and work your way up to tomatoes or citrus, space shouldn’t deter you!
Why go to the supermarket and buy a Californian lemon for $3? That’s just stupid.”
He also prefers using herbs in salads over lettuces due to the nutrition value (root vegetables go deeper into the soil and take on more nutrients whereas growing things hydroponically (although fine in terms of taste) means less of the “good stuff”.
The first course – a Quinoa, Avocado, Radish and Pickled Lemon Salad was on the menu for entree. A ridiculously easy dish (if I can master cooking quinoa properly) that used no-fuss ingredients with minimal prep effort – roughly chopped radishes, slices of avocado gouged out with a spoon, a handful of mint and coriander mixed in with the quinoa and finished with quickly whipped up homemade pickled lemon (mixture of vinegar, sugar, bay leaves and water). Simple and seriously so good. It was a perfect start to the tastings and was matched with a light and clean H&V Eden Valley Pinot Gris which had a lovely subtle hint of sweetness balancing out the flavours of the salad.
The main was a wonderfully sticky Vietnamese Pork with Green Papaya and Mango Salad served with Nahm Jhim sauce (chef’s favourite for its “harmonious balance of sweet, sour and spice“). This dish was actually first conceived when Matt cooked it as a staff meal during his time at Star Anise in Perth [now closed] and it was so good it ended up on the menu. Not surprising as it was a dish filled with big, bold flavours and textures – from the rich syrupy caramelised glaze on the pork belly that just tore away with a swipe of the fork, to the heat from the chillies in the Nahm Jhim sauce drizzled over the light and fruity salad with fresh cucumber, crispy bean shoots and crunchy peanuts. It was a sensory delight complemented by the full bodied Layers Red (a Shiraz/Tempranillo/Grenache blend).
If you can excite the senses more than just the palate, you’re winning”
To finish? A Liquid Centred Choc-Cake served with Custard accompanied by a classic barrel aged smokey-sweet Muscat from Peter Lehman. This dish probably takes that little bit more time and effort so I was thrilled to be on the receiving end! Slicing into the mini version in front of me I watched the middle sink into a soft gooey mixture and heaped it onto my spoon with a smear of the custard. Intense gooey chocolate enveloped my taste buds whilst the outside sponge layer provided just the right amount of cakey-ness. It wasn’t sickly sweet (Matt isn’t a sweet fan and used 72% dark for this recipe) or too heavy (you could also make it without the flour or with buckwheat flour as a substitute) and was a perfect finale to the 3 course tasting menu.
I do know this recipe works without the flour…I stuffed it up one day, forgot the flour. It still tasted good!”
Matt was an absolute delight to watch in the kitchen and made the art of cooking deliciously-simple-but-seriously-impressive-looking food accessible to everyone. I’m certainly excited for whatever Matt has in store next (fermented foods are currently taking his interest…) and think a return visit to Silo will most definitely be in order soon!
Buzzing from the wine and still savouring the flavours of the tasting menu it was time for a meander around the stalls and exhibitors. Somehow we immediately managed to zero in on more alcoholic beverages and sampled Pieroth Wines, guzzled refreshing Sunshack Cider (and walked away with 2 cases full of Apple and Pear & Mango), scored a giant tub of Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter and lingered in front of the Somersby‘s “Refreshment Station” long enough to get a second sample…
Then there was Cheese Alley. Oh. My. Gouda. From Bangalow Cheese, Yarra Valley Dairy and Milawa to the adorably branded Organic Dairy Farmers and Witches Chase there was an endless array of soft, hard, goat and sheep’s cheeses. After making the effort to sample each of them (it was the courteous thing to do, ok?) it was coffee o’clock…and the Nespresso masterclass was on our radar!
A Journey Through Coffee with Nespresso Masterclass took its “students” through the basics of coffee, explaining the roasting and packaging process of their iconic capsules and exploring the different aromatics and flavours in four of their best sellers. We started with the Cosi (an Espresso blend of African and South American Arabica beans) where we picked out refreshing hints of citrus, then tried the intense pure origin Indriya from India blend with its spicy notes, moving onto my personal favourite Arpeggio from the Intenso range (a rich and full bodied roast that tasted wonderful in an Espresso cup with steamed milk) to finally creating a Nespresso Affogato dessert with the subtle Decaffeinato freshly pressed onto creamy vanilla Mövenpick ice-cream. YUM!
One last whip around the produce stallholders meant some final cheeky sampling of curries, meats, vegan delights, Vita-mix creations and new Vai Wai water…until next year GFW!
Did you attend the Good Food and Wine Show this year?