RECIPE: Rack of pork, pickled shiitake mushrooms, sauce of juiced brassica split with seaweed oil and grilled leaves

2018 Appetite for Excellence Awards Young Chef of the Year Winner Max Sharrad from Shobosho in Adelaide shares his take on pork, brassicas and mushrooms

1kg 4 point free range pork rack, at room temperature
1kg Diced unsalted butter, chilled
1L Grapeseed oil
1kg Peeled turnips
1kg Kohlrabi (leaves reserved for grilling)
1kg Broccoli
100g Murray River pink salt
200g 100% blue gum honey
200mL Rice vinegar
100g Shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
1 bunch Thyme
1 bulb Garlic
250g WELPAC brand dried wakame

First combine the honey and vinegar in a pot, adjust with water and salt and boil. Put shiitake mushrooms in a
bowl and pour over liquid. Cover with cling film and allow to steep for 30-45 minutes.

Clean the kohlrabi and turnips and cut into pieces small enough to pass through a juicer. Juice and add straight
into a pot. Bring to a boil and when a raft of vegetable protein forms, pass through an oil filter into a clean
pan. Season with salt and a little of the leftover pickling liquid from the shiitake mushroom.
Finally, add the juice into a thermomix, set the timer and set the temperature to 70°C. On speed 6 slowly add
cold diced butter until an emulsion forms. Check seasoning and set aside, the emulsion will hold until required.

Add the dried wakame and 500mL of grapeseed oil into a thermomix. Blitz for 8 minutes on speed 10 with the
temperature set to 100°C. Pass through an oil filter and set aside until required.

Boil a pot of salted water. Clean the brassica leaves and blanch until the stems are tender. Refresh in iced
water and dry on chux or paper towel. Very lightly salt the leaves and grill over charcoal or in the absence of
charcoal a hot dry pan. Once crispy set aside and brush with a tiny amount of wakame oil.

Preheat an oven to 200°C. Put a large pan on high heat and add grapeseed oil. Season the pork well and add to
the pan. Brown the pork on all sides before adding sprigs of thyme, two crushed garlic cloves and a large nob of
butter. Turn the pan down to medium flame and begin foaming the butter and basting the pork rack over and over
until the entire outside is golden brown. Be sure to keep control of the temperature of the pan and not burn the
butter otherwise the flavour of the pork will be ruined. Once brown check the pork and finish in the oven. Rest
the pork in aluminium foil until carving is required.

Carve the pork, season with a little salt and plate to the top right of centre, rib bone facing 11 o’clock.
Place the shiitake in a mixing bowl and dress with a little of the pickling liquid. On the opposite side of the
plate to the pork, assemble five shiitake per plate in a tight but random fashion. Cover the shiitake with the
grilled brassica leaves. Finally, heat the sauce to around 70°C. Fill four sauce jugs 1/2 the way with hot sauce
and another 1/4 way with wakame oil and swirl just before pouring in the middle of the plate so that tiny beads
of green oil float on the surface of the sauce. The sauce should be poured at the table.

RECIPE: 2018 Perrier Spritz Winner Sebastien Wattel Winter Solstice Spritz

The 2018 Perrier Spritz Sebastien Wattel from Bennelong shares his winning cocktail recipe.

This Spritz is called the Winter Solstice as it represents the turning point where the days begin to be brighter and the count down to summer begins. While the spices celebrate winter flavours the Perrier bubbles hint at the summer that is approaching.

25ml – house made mulled wine syrup
10ml – Pampelle ruby
10ml – Dry curacao
30ml – Perrier
Top with Sparking wine

Glass – wine glass

Garnish – dehydrated orange slice , cassia bark and flammed orange peel (discard)

RECIPE: Glazed Kurobuta pork belly with Lions Mane mushrooms, Turnip Tops & Local kelp

1kg     Skin on, bone out, Kurobuta Pork Belly
100g   Turnip top Koshō
100g   Shio Koji paste
500g   Lions Mane Mushrooms (cygnet Mushrooms)
500g   White Chestnut mushrooms
500g   Local kelp
20ea   Purple turnip
50g     Red elk or Red mustard leaves
20ea   Nasturtium leaves (Empress of India)


900ml Apple juice
300ml vincotto
100ml Tamari soy
20 peppercorns
10 Coriander seeds
5ea Bay leaves
5ea Garlic cloves
25g salt
100g sugar
80ml mirin
60ml Brown rice vinegar


2L Water
85g Rishiri Kombu
30g Dried shitake
20g Bonito flakes
45g  Aged Mirin
50g White soy
200g Butter
50g Kuzu

Combine all ingredients for glaze and bring up to boil. As this is happening remove skin from pork belly. Rub in Shio Koji and a little of the Turnip Koshō. Place into a small baking tray, cover with half the glaze (strained), cover in foil and roast in  oven at 150 degrees for 1 hour.

For the Dashi: Combine bonito flakes, dried shitake and water in a pot and bring up to the boil. Remove from the heat and cool to 80 degrees. Add the kombu and cling film for 30- 45 mins. Remove cling film and taste, season with aged mirin and white soy then strain. Add in the mushrooms and lightly poach for 5 mins then strain and reserve.

In a small bowl combine the Kuzu and a little water to make a paste, whisk into the Dashi just before boiling and cook out till thickened. Strain and remove from the heat.

When the remaining pork glaze is almost at a boil thicken with kuzu and strain then reserve for later.

Clean and cut the turnips, Wrap the mushrooms inside the local kelp with a little butter and check Charcoal BBQ is hot.

Remove pork from the oven and cut into 4 portions remove from cooking liquid and place onto the bbq and start to brush with thicken glaze constantly moving and turning. Add the kelp wrapped mushrooms to the coals and allow the outside kelp to burn. when you are 2 minutes away from platting add the turnips to the thickened dashi and poach for 2 mins.

Platting: Remove pork and mushrooms from the grill, Strain the turnips and reserve on a tray. Brush the bottom side of the pork with the remaining turnip top Koshō and give one last brush of thickened glaze. Place the pork belly down on the plate first followed by the mushrooms down the side, place the turnips on top spooning a little thickened dashi over. Cover with red elk and place nasturtium leaves around



RECIPE: Salt & Pepper Chocolate Cake, Dill & Honey Labneh, Caramel Macadamia Crumb, Rosemary

2018 Appetite for Excellence One-to-Watch Jess McEwan from Hogget Kitchen created a delicious dessert canape for our Awards Evening

1kg Salted Butter
1kg Sugar
1.25kg Dark Chocolate
1kg Almond Meal
30 Egg Yolks
30 Egg Whites
100g Pink Salt
50g Black Cracked Pepper
4 litres Yoghurt (Strained Immediately – 2 Days)
100ml Honey
½ Bunch Fresh Dill
800g Peeled and Raw Macadamias
300g Castor Sugar
Rosemary Flowers (Garnish)

Salt & Pepper Chocolate Cake

Melt the Butter and sugar in a large pot, add the salt and pepper and bring to a light simmer.
Once the sugar has melted, remove from direct heat and add the chocolate and almond meal. Stir immediately until combined.
In a mixer add half the egg white and beat to a medium peak. Meanwhile add the egg yolks to the chocolate mix and stir until the egg yolks have completely been mix in and the mixture is slightly glossy.
Fold the egg whites gently into the chocolate mix.
Beat the remaining egg whites to a medium peak and then fold into the mix.
Line four gastro trays with backing paper and divide the mixture evenly over the four trays. Careful not to lose any air. The mix should only make a 1/3 high of the tray.
Bake in the oven at 170 degrees for approx. 30 mins.
Place in the cool room to cool completely.
Once cooled, using a pastry cutter (1 ½ inch) circles and place on flat tray ready to garnish.

Once the yoghurt has been strained through muslin cloth for two days, remove the whey.
Add the Labneh to a medium bowl.
Finely chop the fresh dill (leave some sprigs for garnish later) , add to the Labneh and gently fold in the honey.
Put mix into a few piping bags for service.


Caramel Macadamia
Lightly roast the raw macadamias until golden, then roughly crush until the size of a pea.
Spray and line a tray with baking paper ready for the nuts are coated.
Pour the sugar and macadamias into a high saucepan at medium heat.
Continually stir the nuts until the sugar begins to melt and turn into a caramel. At this point it’s important to monitor the heat.
Stir the nuts until the sugar starts to crystalize, then eventually the sugar will re-melt and coating the nuts.
When the macadamias have been evenly coated in the remelted sugar, immediately pour and separate the nuts onto the line tray and cool at room temp.
Once the sugar has set and nuts are cool, using a mortar and pestle, gently crush the nuts into a chunky crumb ready for service.

Rosemary flowers
Clean the rosemary flowers and place on a lightly sprayed cold chux or paper towel ready for service.

To assemble
Snip the Labneh piping bag end to aprox 0.8cm.
Pipe directly onto the chocolate cake rounds, making sure the ratio of Labneh to cake is more.
Be generous with the caramel macadamias on top
Garnish with a few rosemary flowers and a sprig of dill
Then gently transfer to serving tray

RECIPE: Ora King Salmon sashimi with seaweed and pickled karkalla

2018 Young Chef Finalist Georgia Doherty from Qualia, QLD created this delicious creation using Ora King Salmon for our Awards Evening in August

Black Vinegar Gel
300ml shao xing
400ml soy sauce
600ml black vinegar
600g dark Palm sugar (gula Melaka)
400g grapeseed oil
23g agar

Combine all ingredients except agar in pot. Let sugar dissolve
Add agar, bring to the boil and simmer for a minute
Set in gastro, oil will split out
Blend in thermomix and the oil will emulsify itself back into the gel
Pack into bottles or piping bags for service

Seaweed Salsa Verde
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch chives
4 lemon zest
8 nori sheets
lemon juice
olive oil

Chop parsley and chives
Zest lemons
Lightly torch nori to dry out and crush into small pieces
Mix all herbs, lemon zest and nori with olive oil
Season with lemon juice and salt
Keep to consistency of a salsa verde, this is a dressing/coating for the salmon

Puffed Wild Rice
Black wild rice
3L veg oil

Heat oil until smoking
Lace small amounts of black rice in a small chinois at a time
Cool rice and lightly blitz to form a chunky crumb

Salmon sashimi
Ora King salmon

Fillet salmon, pin bone and take the skin off
Divide the side down the middle and cut sashimi slices around 3mm thick

Pickled karkalla
900ml water
600ml rice wine vinegar
300g sugar

Boil pickle and cool
Pour cooled pickle onto pickled karkalla and store in fridge. To be done 6-8 hours before serving


RECIPE: Oxtail, Popcorn, Pyengana Cheddar, Pickles, Lime

2018 Finalist Rhys Connell created this delicious canape for the 2018 Appetite for Excellence Awards Evening

7kg Oxtail
5 x Carrots
4 x Stalks of Celery
2 x Heads of Garlic
1 x Bunch of Thyme
5 x Fresh Bay leaves
15g Back Peppercorns
4 x Star anise
8 x pieces of Clove
2 x Sticks of 15cm Kombu
750g Madeira
800g Soy
500g Mirin
250g Shrio Dashi
10 x Ears of Corn
8 x Limes
8g Kuzu Starch
6 x leaves of Gold Gelatin
200g Butter
3 x Jars of McClure’s Spicy whole pickles
1.2 kg Pyengana Cheddar Cheese
1.2 kg Popcorn
1.2 kg Rye Crumbs
800g Cornstarch
400g Finley ground Polenta

For the Oxtail

Coat Oxtail in ground white pepper, and using a little oil, brown in a large stockpot in batches. Once completed, tip excess oil out of pan and wipe, deglaze the pot with Madeira but don’t reduce. Add to the pot the oxtail along with 10L of water, Peeled whole carrots, whole celery, halved garlic, peppercorns, star anise, cloves, kombu thyme and bay leaves, soy, mirin and shiro dashi. If the liquid does not cover the oxtail, top up with water. Braise until tender and meat is falling off the bone around 4 hours. Once cool enough to the touch pick meat from bones making sure to separate the cartilage and small bones in the process. Run a knife through the meat to cop finely. In a large mixing bowl, mix meat and about a cup of the braising liquid together and using your hands mush meat up making a firm mix. Place enough meat mix into a cryovac bags and press flat to make a sheet of meat mix about 75mm high. Sous-vide and seal. Using a rolling pin, roll bags evenly and flat. Chill mix for around an hour. You will need to keep the mix cold while you work from here. Cut mix out of bags but keep in flat sheets. Cut fingers 800mm in length x 75mm x 75mm of the cold oxtail mix and freeze on a tray.


For Corn and Lime

Cut the Kernels from the corn and blend to make a corn juice, pass through muslin cloth for a fine bright yellow juice. Soak gelatin leaves and hydrate kuzu Starch. Place the corn juice in a pan and gently heat while stirring with a spatula, watch as the juice begins to thicken and stop from catching on the bottom of the pan, when you have the texture of thick cream, mount the butter into the corn puree, add kuzu starch and cook for a further 2 minutes while still stirring. To finish add in gelatin and mix till melted. Cool over ice bath. Once cool whisk to a smooth puree and pass to remove any lumps, season with lime zest, and salt. Add just a little limejuice, to have a sauce similar in texture and flavor as aioli.


Popcorn Crumb

Cut the crust off of the rye bread and slice thinly, dry in a dehydrator overnight. Once dry, blend to a fine crumb. Blend the popcorn to a similar texture. Reserve


To Crumb Oxtail

Make a slurry of cornstarch and finely ground polenta, crumb fingers of oxtail in popcorn crumbs.


Deep fry Fingers of Oxtail in oil at 180c until crisp and brown, making sure the meat is warm in the center.

Pipe corn mix on top of the fingers and place a little of the finely dice pickles on top, shave Pynegana Cheddar over the top and serve.

Recipe: BBQ Asparagus, bone marrow, marmalade, eggs & macadamia

Simon Tarlington @ Highline Restaurant

This recipe utilises farm produce and some of Australia’s most unique produce. One of my favourite times of the year is when the very short season of Victorian asparagus starts and we only keep it on the menu while it is at its peak. The recipe also uses citrus from  our orchard that is too sour to serve as a fresh product.


Ingredients – serves 6

You’ll need to start this recipe at least 1 – 2 days in advance

For the Asparagus

  • 24 pieces fresh asparagus
  • 3 beef bone marrow bones split by your butcher
  • 200g cherry wood chips
  • 200g salt
  • 2L cold water
  • Wood BBQ and red gum


Add salt to the water and soak bone marrow in the fridge for 24 hours. After 24 hours remove the bone marrow, pat dry with paper towel and smoke at 65 degrees calices for 15 min. Once smoked transfer back to the fridge and allow to cool. When the marrow is cold remove from the bone and roll together in cling film to resemble the shape of a sausage, then freeze in the freezer. Remove the woody end of the asparagus and all the leaves growing along the side of the spears. Once the marrow is frozen grate over the asparagus using a micro plane, then BBQ over the red gum.


For the Marmalade

  • 4 limes
  • 3 lemons
  • 8 Oranges
  • 6 mandarins
  • 120g Sugar
  • 40ml Water
  • 2g Pectin


Using zester, zest the lemons, limes and oranges being careful not to get too much pift. Place zest in a pot of cold water and bring to the boil and then strain, add cold water and repeat this same process 3 times. Leave the zest to the side.

Peel and then segment the citrus fruit over a bowl so that you capture all the juice. Squeeze the leftover core of the citrus to collect us much juice as possible, set aside. Mix 30g of sugar with pectin and pass through a fine sieve to break up any lumps. Place the remaining Sugar, Water and citrus in its juice in a pot and warm to 60 degrees then add sugar and pectin mix.  Bring up to boil, and add zest. Cook out on a low heat until reduced to jam consistency. Keep in preserving jars.


For the Egg Puree

  • 5 eggs
  • Salt to taste


Cook eggs in a water bath at 65 degrees calices for 2 hours. After 2 hours crack the eggs into bowl and remove the yolks. Season the yolks and then push through a fine sieve.


For the Egg Emulation

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 200ml melted burnt butter
  • 1 lemon
  • Cream gun and 2 cream charges
  • Salt to taste


Add eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest and juice to a metal bowl. Season with salt and whisk till light and fluffy over a pot of boiling water. When light and fluffy whisk burnt butter into eggs in 4 stages making sure you don’t add the butter to fast or it won’t hold together and separate. Once all combined add to the cream gun and charge with 2 charges, shake 15 times before serving.


For the Macadamia nuts

  • 10 Macadamia nuts


Toast macadamia nuts in oven at 160 degrees calices till golden brown, this will take about 8-10min. Allow to cool then shave fine on mandolin.


For serving

In the restaurant we season with fermented mushroom powder just before leaving the kitchen. We also add fresh golden trout roe and salad burnet leaves.









Recipe: Wallis Lake Bonito in warm pickle of tarragon and garlic

A highlight of the national finalists produce tour through NSW this year was having the opportunity to cook for the fisher community of Wallis Lake at a pop up restaurant at the Forster Tuncurry race track. The young chefs chose from that morning’s catch thanks to the Wallis Lake Fisherman’s Co-Op. Below is the recipe for the Wallis Lake Bonito the team of young chef Zack Furst; young waiter Morgan Golledge & young restaurateur Dave Parker put together for the dinner. Morgan recommends matching, ‘I would go an Italian white blend like Occhipinti Bianco. Something with texture but still great acidity and slight oxidative nuttiness. If you can get your hands on that it’s a winner otherwise Brash Higgins Zibbibo or anything premium with skin contact, depth and driving acid’.

Ingredients – serves 4

1 x whole bonito – you can ask your fish monger to gut & scale if you prefer

1 x cucumber

100g shallots

1 bunch tarragon

2 x garlic cloves

50mls olive oil

200ml sweet chardonnay vinegar

Pinch  sugar

Flaked salt to taste


For the Bonito

* Wash and gut bonito
* Fillet bonito, then remove ribs and then slice down the spine separating the top fillet and belly.
* Finally carve out the pin bones wipe dry and sit in a stainless steel deep tray.

For the Finishing Salad

* With 50g shallots slice super fine and place in steel bowl.
* Then julienne the cucumber
* Fold through shallots and dress with a small amount of olive oil and salt

For the warm pickle

* Slice 50g of the shallots and the 2 garlic cloves thinly,
* Place in a medium size pot and cover with sweet Chardonnay vinegar and 100mls of water.
* Bring to a slow simmer, add tarragon, olive oil and allow to steep for 45 minutes.
* Season with salt and a small amount of sugar.

To finish

* Bring the warm pickle to a simmer then pour over bonito.
* Allow the bonito to steep for 20 minutes.
* Remove fillets onto paper towel.
* Finally place fillets neatly in the centre of desired dish
* Then cover fish in the fresh  finishing salad
* Add some flaked salt and serve with lemon slices.

The Classic Martinez with Sonia Bandera

Sonia Bandera was our young waiter of the year in 2013. Here she shares top trends for 2017 and her go to classic cocktail recipe The Martinez..

What do you see trending in Melbourne right now?

The trend of people making Australian Vermouths, Bitters etc is really starting to take off and we’re seeing better quality products. There’s also more of an openness from the general public to try alternatives to the brands of Campari and Aperol and other big names like them. As the public becomes more informed and more open, the market for these things is opening up. I’m a huge fan of Contratto Bitter and Aperitif as substitutes for Campari and Aperol as well as their White Vermouth. I also love that the Australian counterparts are embracing our native ingredients. There is so much to be utilised and appreciated here.

What’s exciting you about 2017?

I think that I’m excited about the same thing everyone is – Melbourne playing host to The Worlds 50 Best! We’re going to have all the leading Professionals in our industry coming to our shores and I’m excited to show them just how rich our Food and Drink culture is. I’m hoping we are able to showcase the things that are native to Australia and also our multiculturalism. Hopefully this also includes us embracing and showcasing our Indigenous culture, which shamefully, we don’t do enough.

What do you see as the next big thing in 2017?

I think we’re going to see the emergence (or re-emergence) of the proper late-night eatery. As Melbourne moves to be a 24 hour city, we’re already seeing more venues do one off late nights or venues such as Kirk’s with their new site. Hospitality staff may rejoice at the prospect of something other than Ling Nam to eat after work!

What are you ‘crushing on’ this week?

I’m a big fan of a good cocktail. I owe most of what I know to the patient and talented people at The Black Pearl. I have been known to sit and pick their brains and ask lots of questions. To their credit, they’re free with their knowledge and make an amazing drink. I have a few standards that I fall back on but the one that tops the list and that I’m really loving again this week, and to take us back to Vermouths and such, is the Martinez. I love a good classic and the guys down at the Pearl make a mean one with Ransom Barrel aged Gin. I like mine Vermouth heavy but you can play around with the specs depending on your tastes.

#AppetiteAlumni applications are now open until 03 April 2017. See why you should consider entering!

My preferred recipe for this Grandfather to the Martini is…

50mls Sweet Vermouth

25mls Old Tom Gin (I like Ransom Barrel Aged personally)

1 barspoon Luxardo Maraschino

Dash of Orange Bitters (technically Boker or Jerry Thomas but doesn’t have to be)

Stir down and serve straight up in a Coupette or Martini Glass.

Lemon garnish (traditionally a lemon triangle but a twist does fine as well).


© 2016 Alyson Thomas/Drywell Art, available at