For 18 years, it has been a monthly gathering of fabulous producers, dedicated food enthusiasts and celebrity Chefs showing their skills in well orchestrated demos. It has been a great help in my food blogger journey as it has given me casual access to the crème de la crème of famous Chefs from around Australia and sometime from further afield. Some of them have become good friends in the process. Also true of dozen of suppliers whose products I have bought, revised and promote (for free...) because they were outstanding and made with love and dedication.
Jill Duplex and Terry Durak, just landed from Melbourne at the time, started this venture in 1998, as they could not find in Sydney the equivalent of the Melbourne markets (and still can't, as there are no city based permanent daily markets in Sydney...) For many years, Joanna Savill relentlessly organised it, cajoling Chefs into spending their Saturday mornings entertaining and educating a smallish group of dedicated followers. I personally started reporting on these events in 2010. More recently, Joanna was replaced by the flamboyant Myffy Rigby, with the occasional help of the elegant Ardyn Bernoth. I was not going to miss out the last edition yesterday. Here is a series of photos and videos taken before and during the panel which was assembled to discuss the future of the food markets in Sydney. It was an interesting discussion curated by Myffy and Ardyn who gently grilled (!) the panelists: Josephine Perry (missy French) and dad Neil Perry (Rockpool), Jill Duplex (SMH), Ronni Kahn of OzHarvest fame and Somer Sivrioglu of Efendy Balmain and now at Barangaroo.
There were some interesting points raised and some proposals made as well as a quick appearance from Pepe Saya aka Pierre Issa.
The best story , I think, was when Somer recounted a conversation with his Dad about visiting the Growers Market, and his Dad asking "are they any other types of markets?. Precious!
I grew up in a culture and at a time where daily markets were the rule, and Mum was shopping almost daily for fresh food. We would then go to the butcher or the fishmonger, and the boulanger, bien sûr...
There is a petition running to open a permanent market somewhere in the City - Haymarket, Surry Hills and Barangaroo were mentioned. There were some "out of place " comments, I thought about the lockout laws and the cost of labour, but overall, it was all very civilised.
You will hear in one of the videos a talk about "imperfect vegetables and fruits" but nobody mentioned the good work done in that sphere by Harris Farm Markets. Nobody either acknowledged the great work done by Joanna Savill over the years, and she was visiting the market. I thought it would have been polite to invite her even briefly...
The quality of these videos is not perfect, but consider them as a record of an interesting way of sending off this 18 year old institution.
Neil Perry of Rockpool fame talks about imperfect vegetables.
Ronni Khan, the founder of OzHarvest talks about imperfect vegetables and fruits as well as food waste.
Somer Sivrioglu does a demo of how to open a pomegranate with his bare hands and remove the pearls without losing all the precious juice...
Joke of the day: What is stronger than a Turk? Two Turks... Sorry Somer!
Pepe Saya was invited to talk about all things butter and how this market (and Qantas...) helped him growing his business against European Community subsidised Lurpak. Neil Perry also managed to plug a ranting about lock out laws in Sydney, whether or not it was the right audience is debatable, but I like a man with a cause, and in this case two men!
We will miss this view forever...Good bye the SMH Growers Market
Two chefs famous in Sydney and beyond at the opposite ends of the price scale, but both passionate about what they do, preparing honest food with the best ingredients available in Australia, graced us of their presence and showed us a few tricks of their trade over the last two episodes of the SMH Growers Market in Pyrmont. The weather was also at the opposite ends of the scale. It is still winter here!
Neil Perry - Spice Temple - August 2014
I had my first birthday dinner in Australia at Wokpool in 1997, the ancestor of Spice Temple in Victoria Street, Potts Point. The staff was amazed at my children, then aged 5 and 6, devouring this beautiful asian inspired cuisine, a total novelty for them at the time. They have both become experts at the various Asian cuisines available in Sydney and we went to Spice Temple for my daughter's 19th birthday, almost 4 years ago. We had a ball, and a few bowls...lol
Mike McENEARNEY - Kitchen by Mike - Septembre 2014
Away from the luxurious fanciness of Rockpool and al, Kitchen by Mike is a fancy canteen with a menu changing daily and advertised on Facebook. Set in a warehouse in Alexandria, sharing with the homeware king Koskelas, Mike McEnearney serves, often himself, honest and simple food made on the premises. I probably eat there for lunch once a month when visiting clients in the area. I recently had the "moules mariners" with Mike's famous sourdough and Pepe Saya's butter and just last week a gorgeous tajine of lamb, slowly cooked overnight and served with couscous and homemade harissa, a subtle and flavoursome alternative to the usually brutally hot commercial offering. I will be back...
To quote Dan Stock from the Telegraph: Colin Fassnidge, "the rakishly dishevelled Irishman - whose tongue is as sharp as his knives - loves nose-to-tail eating, hard work and home truths"
Well, this morning performance at the Pyrmont Growers Market had all the ingredients above plus the presence of the real man doing what he does best: cooking, talking and telling stories.
In the process of watching cook his own version of "moules marinières", I picked up a few tricks that would certainly enhance my own cooking and discovered the other end of the parsley, as the leafs are only the tip of this particular iceberg. I think the most interesting bit was the addition of grated apple on top of the mussels to bring the flavour of the cider back from being lost in the stock making process.
I usually put white wine in my mussels - call me old fashioned if you like - so I will have to learn how to grate grapes...just kidding. I will have to be adventurous and try to use cider instead!
Colin was just back from Paris and I had followed his travails there via our Facebook connection. It was interesting to get a hint of his slight discomfort with the idiosyncrasies of the French and the Capital...
For those of you who might not be familiar with Colin, he was born in Dublin four decades ago, trained with Raymond Blanc, worked at the long defunct but memorable Banc in Sydney, had a stint at La Grande Bouffe in Rozelle where he met my friend Karl Geissler of Maitre Karl fame and started Four in Hand in Paddington in 2005 and more recently took over the space of Le Pain Quotidien in Surry Hills to open 4 Fourteen - I was one of their very early customers - which has been a resounding success also.
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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