Sunday, May 16, 2010

Alastair McLeod's nuts

Tonight is cold. Today was cold. And I’m still a wee bit sick. You’d hardly expect me to jumping around in excitement would you? BUT…Even with a day of little no sunshine and a cough which threatens to dislodge both my lungs, today was my favourite day in a long while. Why, you ask (ok, so you don’t really care. Humour me, yeah).
Today Darling mother and I, after a night of craftiness with the ever-fabulous Wabi and friends, headed out to a local food and arts festival. We tried jams and jellies, dukkahs and dips, and a rather delish ice-cream (because it’s never too cold for dessert). We ran into Wabi there as well and she tagged along with us, laughing at my childish excitement all the while. You see, as much as I love food - and as much as I adore free stuff - my real purpose for traipsing around in the cold was to see my very favourite chef in the whole world. Alastair McLeod just happened to be cooking at the festival today!
Who? Alastair McLeod is an Irish-Australian chef, probably most famous for his boisterous bouts on the Australian version of Ready Steady Cook. He is also head chef at Brett’s Wharf, touted as Brisbane’s best seafood restaurant and the place on top of my “must visit” restaurant list. He has cooked at a number of five-star restaurants around the world, and even worked at the Michelin-rated Da Giovanni in Torino, Italy.
But that’s not why I love him. His use of new and fun ways to cook - like today’s five-minute berry sorbet, made using dry ice - and his strong belief in continued learning, mean his food is always on the cutting-edge of foodie fashion. He’s also big on growing the next generation of top chefs, actively involving himself in apprentice education. AND (and this is the best bit) he’s a champion of supporting local food and local producers, believing that sourcing food locally cuts down travel, creating fresher, better-tasting food while lowering our carbon footprint at the same time.
Mr McLeod is passionate about his food, the way it is prepared, and the process the produce goes through before getting to him. He’s also passionate about educating others and creating a food experience revolving around the simple joy of the food, not the snobbery and arrogance which seems to have become a part of the whole foodie culture. And he’s wickedly funny to boot, telling jokes about horse’s appendages and offering us a taste of his nuts (wink wink, nudge nudge), throughout his cooking demo.
His comrade in the kitchen today, Matt Golinski, is a champion in his own right. Mr Golinski also supports the Slow Food Movement and actively promotes the consumption of in-season fare (he claims to only eat strawberries when they’re in season in his local area—imagine going more than half a year without a strawberry!). Throw in his cheeky wit (kitchen condoms for your cheese-making?), and he was an adequate competitor in today’s cooking war.
Wanna see some photos?

Alastair getting saucy. 

Matt talking about perfect potato pillows (aka gnochi)
Dry-ice-assisted sorbet in the making
Doing cheffy things
 Serious face during his (impressive) rant about buying local
Mr McLeod's wild Barra with pan-roasted vegetables and caramlised nuts
 Deconstructed cheesecake and berry sorbet (YUM!)


  1. Yum! In more senses that one...

  2. I dreamt about food and Alastair last night.
    We need to go to Brett's Wharf some time.

  3. Your photos of the plates turned out really well. I'd love to go... if someone else were BUYING me dinner. ;)

  4. Yeah, the whole costing money thing poses issue for me too. If only Australian currency was foodlove not dollars, I'd be a gazillionaire...