Every now and again you get the chance to combine seemingly polar passions. A few nights ago I had such an opportunity at the Variety of Young Chefs Dinner. Imagine being wowed by the fantastical gastronomic creations of six of Brisbane’s most up-and-coming chefs while delighting in the Spanish-inflected humour of Miguel Maestre and at the same time being a part of something life-changing.
On August 28, 2014 Variety Children’s Charity, with some incredibly talented and dedicated organisers, put on a dinner hosted by Restaurant Two. The five-course dinner was prepared by the young chefs of some of Brisbane’s top restaurants, including Blackbird Bar & Grill, Bare Bones Society, Public, Restaurant Two, Stokehouse and Gerard’s Bar & Charcuterie. All of this was in support of a 15-year old award-winning gymnast who tragically broke his neck during training earlier this year and is now confined to a wheelchair.
The unrestrained courage of the young man and his family, the generosity of all who supported the event and the boundless talent of some very exciting young chefs made this a night to remember.
Ben Kaye-Smith of Restaurant Two blew us away with his beetroot, dark chocolate and cumin salt. And those walnuts … I’d guess they might have been roasted and smoked over cocoa with a dusting of sugar, but I’d be happy to be corrected. Either way, the balance, creativity and genius of this dish belie Kaye-Smith’s age (18) and put him front and centre of young chefs to watch.
Ollie Hansford of Brisbane’s Stokehouse wrote his menu on the plate. Imagine looking at a Picasso and knowing exactly what he wanted you to experience. This young chef carried beautifully the philosophy of simple food, perfectly prepared and true to origin, to the diner. Every element on the plate – the pork fillet, maple glazed pork cheek, carrot fondant and carrot and lemon myrtle puree with smoked apple – stood out with the very many other heroes of the night.
Variety runs one of these dinners every year and if you haven’t had the joy of attending one yet, I highly recommend you do. It’s worth every cent and if that’s not enough to convince you, being that it’s for a good cause should.
If you’d like to know more about Variety go to http://www.variety.org.au.