End of an era: The Pyrmont Growers Market closes on April 2nd and it is not an April Fool joke...
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
James Viles the youngest Australian Chef to receive two hats for his locavore restaurant Biota Dining in Bowral, in the Southern Highlands of NSW, was the guest of honoour at the SMH Growers Market in Pyrmont for this month. He was there (very...) early to start the fire and slow roast a whole 10kgs pig in time for the first demo at 8.30am. I was not there and almost missed the 10.00am session as I was recovering from two nights of debauchery, including first screening of son Grégoire first film as a director (Summer Nights) and another one as DoP (1919) , part of the Break program of Metroscreen, and family reunion with the Scottish side of the clan...
I made it just in time to catch some leftover bits of this deliciously slow cooked cochon
James Viles explains to us and host PoRkStar Marketing Manager Mitch Edwards how the pig was cooked
James went on to prepare blood sausages - boudin noir - to an attentive but somehow bewildered crowd who were told that they could make this at home... A lot of collateral damage, including the host Mardi Gras outfit, happened, as fresh blood ended up splattered every where on stage and beyond. All this happened as a very cool and collected James was crumbing bread into a bowl, adding various spices and plenty salt, while telling us the story of his (young...) life and the genesis of Biota Dining. I have already reported on this, so I will refer you to my restaurants review page.
Over time, James and myself have built a friendship based on a common passion for local produce and food. He has pushed the "locavore" concept to the hilt, as he grows his own herbs and vegetables on the 4-acre property and sources most other ingredients within a 25kms radius around Bowral. Exception are the selfish he brings from the South Coast and some wines, although most of them are from the region (Centennial Wines and Far Ago Hill, just to name the two I know personally). We have been foraging together and I have been gently threatened with an invitation to go hunting hare together... He is a passionate individual and very hard working Chef, who also treats his personnel very nicely, taking them in turn to such event, like Joel today, his Executive Chef. The boudin noir was absolutely stunning, one of the best I ever tasted, including the divine apple and boudin noir feuilleté at La Tassée in Lyon, a must go to place, and the black pudding experienced in Scotland, another outcome of the Auld Alliance...
Somebody asked about the recipe for boudin blanc instead, and nobody on stage had a real clue, so I was asked to step in...You will find a good recipe by clicking the image above. Let's just say that the blood is replaced by white meat (pork, veal or chicken), the finest result coming from using veal ( not yearling...) and add cream to gel the ingredients together. When well made, this is a delicacy usually enjoyed as a second course (after oysters) for Christmas. It was invented in Champagne. Find the complete story by clicking the image below. A fish version and a specialty of Lyon is called quenelle and is even finer in texture and taste, best if one can find brochet a carnivorous river fish.
I did find the time after tasting the roasted pig to have a quick run through the market andd say hello to my good friends Steph Gourmet Foods, roi du saucisson, the Ocellos and their beautiful cheeses, Grower2u and their fabulous vegetables next to the Leppington Valley Farm who still had beautiful figs, Pepe Saya butter, Gina from Sweetness The Patisserie, Gilles Bonin Monsieur Garlic and in the process met Jenny and Cathy from new stallholders Garlicious Grown, sharing with Gilles and Victoria. I am sure we will see more of these nice ladies and great products.
Next week, we will revisit the EQ (fox Studios) and Riverside Organic Markets, and we are also interviewing James Viles at Biota Dining over tapas tomorrow and Clément Chauvin at Les Bistronomes in Canberra on Tuesday afternoon, and staying for dinner and a review...Busy week!
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
A link here for our non-metric readers:
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Our French Impressions
GPO box 2051
Sydney NSW 2001