Victor Churchill started the trend - Harris Farm Follows! Colin Fassnidge and Mike McEnearney Are long time addicts of these "Curious cuts" of Meat...
Update on July 4th: Anthony Puharich - the owner of Vic's Meat Marketdid a demo of these "Curious Cuts" at the SMH Growers Market in Pyrmont today, explaining how to use them, cook them and where they were from in the animal. Great tutorial. Here are some photos of this event. He also cooked some braised beef cheeks...Looked delicious
After promoting the "Imperfects Picks" for vegetables, Harris Farm now jumps on the band wagon of "head-to-tail" philosophy started here by Colin Fassnidge, the cheeky - some say feisty - Chef behind the success of 4 Fourteen in Surry Hills and Four in Hand in Paddington. Brisket, hanger, offals including ears & tail - a delicacy in Spain where they are reserved for the winning toreador - which are common in France's butcher shops and beyond, are becoming more popular in Australia, in part because of their cheaper price, but also because of their heightened taste.
Victor Churchill in Woollhara and Vic;s Meat Market at the Sydney Fish Market were also early promoters, as well as Mike McEnearney from Kitchen by Mike and James Viles from Biota Dining.
The good news, for me at least - is that one can now afford a "Bavette à l'échalote" and shared with friends and family a cut of meat which is rare but not dear here. In Europe, it is the opposite as price follows the rule "what is rare is dear", hence veal liver is almost beyond reach, but here it is -still - affordable. So, go and eat your hearty content of "Curious Cuts" or offals or other delicacies.
The new promo for "Curious Cuts" from Harris Farm Markets
And if you want to try my recipe for "Bavette ou Onglet à l'échalote", check my online recipe book!
As a food blogger, it seemed like a "have to go and report" kind of event, if one just looks at the impressive list of Chefs and providers, wineries and entertainers listed on the website. It was great to mingle with a youngish crowd, all obviously here to have a good time, and not worried about spending their well earned cash. And cash, you will need a plenty: before you can even taste anything, you will have to fork at least 60$ for entry for two and two mandatory, non-refundable plastic glasses costing 5$ each. Then you have to buy food and wine and this can easily turn into a 100$ bill or more. The first taste at Taste was quite a bad one, as I could have spent the same money for a proper dinner in some of the featured restaurants...
having said that, we had great fun talking to a few people we know, like Frank Camorra who generously gave us one of his fabulous "brochettes" of lamb, or watching Colin Fassnidge butchering a piglet on stage and having the crowd in hysterics over his constant jokes and finally getting introduced properly to the lovely Kate Gibbs. We loved the brochettes from Frank so much, that we returned to buy some more and try his fabulous ice-cream. We drank a GSM from Tobreck & Vintners and Billi Billi Shiraz from Mont Langi Ghiran, a winery I had discovered at last Designex .
There was great frustration in accessing the restaurants we would have like to taste, due to long queues and time constraints, as each session last really only 4 hours and you may have to wait a good 20mms at each stall. Besides we privileged watching Colin Fassnidge show.
Some of the people we visited
Some of the places we would have liked to try out
And now onto the Colin Fassnidge Show
I don't think I need to present Colin Fassnidge to my Australian readers, but maybe I need to do it for my international readers (yes, all of you over in America, Asia and Europe...).
Dublin born Colin Fassnidge has been Head Chef of The Four in Hand Dining Room since October of 2005. Since starting at The Four in Hand, Colin’s unique style has seen the Four in Hand hold one Chefs Hat for four years and adding the prestigious second hat in 2010.
He has since opened a second restaurant in trendy Surry Hills 4Fourteen with Carla Jones.
Learning very early that he had a passion for cooking, Colin moved to England where he did his apprenticeship at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons under Raymond Blanc in Oxford. Blanc, a self taught Chef instilled in his staff a sense of seasonality and also tasting at every stage, a trait Colin uses in his kitchen today.
With a passion for travelling Colin arrived in Australia in 1999 working at some of Sydney’s most acclaimed Restaurants, including Liam Tomlin’s celebrated institution that was Banc.
Colin’s Nose to Tail philosophy and his diligence for sourcing the best local ingredients has seen him turn the most undesirable off cuts into beautiful, delicious dishes. He is also now a -sometimes controversial - judge on My Kitchen Rules, together with French Chef Manu Feidel and Aussie paleo diet ambassador extraordinaire Peter Evans, " bringing sexy back to TV on My Kitchen Rules". He seems to have a great female following as well, and is a great bloke.
Kate Gibbs is a Sydney-based journalist, food writer and author. She has written two cookbooks and her first non-fiction book will be released in 2015. She has written for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Wall Street Journal, Sunday Style magazine, Sunday Life in The Sun Herald, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Broadsheet Sydney, The London Evening Standard, frankie magazine and Cosmopolitan magazine among others. She also happens to be Margaret Fulton's granddaughter, not a mince feast, as Margaret is a a Scottish-born Australian food and cooking 'guru', writer, journalist, author, and commentator. She was the first of this genre of writers in Australia.
Her early recipes encouraged Australian housewives (!) to alter the Australian staple of "meat and three vegetables" and to be creative with food. She 'discovered' food from exotic places such as Spain, Italy, India and China and as Cookery Editor, 'brought these into Australian homes through her articles in the Woman's Day magazine'. Fulton realised that chefs who did television shows tended to lose their audience. Accordingly, she remained a writer who regularly appeared only as a 'guest' on various TV shows. Her early recipes encouraged Australian housewives to alter the Australian staple of "meat and three vegetables" and to be creative with food. She 'discovered' food from exotic places such as Spain, Italy, India and China and as Cookery Editor, 'brought these into Australian homes through her articles in the Woman's Day magazine'.
A bit of video action - Not for the faint hearted...
As I mentioned yesterday in my article on Colin Fassnidge, I was an early adopter of 4 Fourteen - aptly named after their address at 414 Bourke Street in Surry Hills. These photos were taken on the31 May 2012 at lunch time. Being on my own and the place being almost full, I was offered to sit at the bar which overlooks the kitchen. Couldn't have been happier! I don't normally frequent this type of establishment on my own for lunch on a working day, but I was just across the road visiting clients, and it was still in my birthday week, so that was my excuse! I only had a small plate of a ceviche type of fish, some bread, a glass of wine and a coffee, but it was perfectly satisfying and greatly executed in front of my eyes by a young English chef who was delighted to have a conversation with somebody who cares about the whole business of creating a dish in a perfect manner every time!
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.
A link here for our non-metric readers: