Food Bloggers’ Dinner at Bistro CBD

2 August 2010
by Phuoc

Many of us are normally on the receiving end of the hospitality industry; and due to the hype of Masterchef, a lot more people are now being more obsessed with food, dining out more and being more adventurous with their food. Some contestants have the urge to start up a restaurant but how hard is it really? Well imagine this… Shitty pay to start off with, long hours, working over weekends AND doing it all in a hot kitchen. Doesn’t sound that great ha? Well four Sydney food bloggers got a taste of what it’s like to work in a restaurant for a night and cooked for 70 paying guest.

I was joined by a group of 15 awesome food bloggers cheering on and supporting our fellow comrades back in the kitchen. The dinner was held at Bistro CBD under the watchful eye of head chef Simun Dragicevich. For $60/person, a 5 course meal was prepared with a glass of sparkling wine. Each food blogger was to prepare a course each with Simun preparing the 5th course. There was an introduction for each blogger on the hand out we’ve received on our table.

So we started off with Simun’s Sashimi of kingfish, avocado, wasabi, lime and soft herbs. What a perfect way to start of the evening with something light and refreshing. The kingfish was thinly sliced and silky smooth. With a squeeze of lime it brought the dish together – citrus flavours and fish, you can’t go wrong there. I couldn’t taste the wasabi in this dish but would have preferred just a little more avocado puree.

Fouad
The Kassab tribe is one of two remaining families in the Middle east making traditional shawarmas. As the eldest of 11 brothers, Fouad was to continue the tradition of exceptional kebab making. But Fouad was outcast by his great-grandfather when he tried to use chilli sauce in the experimental kitchen. Put to sea in a small boat, Fouad reached the shores of Western Australia in 2001. He now dreams of building an empire through The Food Blog in the hope fame will reconcile him with his family

Fouad’s contribution to the dinner was ‘Shish Barak’; a Middle Eastern-style dumping. Gyoza wrappers containing a lovely lamb mince and pine nut mixture were deep fried to a crispy delicious morsel. These crispy dumplings were served with a warm lemony yoghurt soup, some cabbage and topped with silvered almonds and pine nuts. A stunner dish to highlight a different aspect of Lebanese cuisine that I’m not familiar with.

Billy
A web designer/photographer by day, Billy Law is also an avid Sydney food blogger. He shares his dining experiences around the world through his food blog A Table for Two. Born and bred in Malaysia, Billy has lived in Australia since 1996. Billy counts himself lucky to have been exposed to many kinds of exotic cuisines. As a passionate food enthusiast, Billy strongly believes we should try everything once.

I do not know how Billy did not make it to the Top 50 of Masterchef. I mean seriously, just look at the dish that he prepared. It is a masterpiece! ‘Pork you!’ features a twiced cook pork belly (braised and pan fried), cooked beetroot cubes, black pudding crumbs and an apple gel. The acidity of the apple gel paired well with the crispy and fatty pork belly. This was the first time I had black pudding and what a way to be introduced to it. The flavour wasn’t too overpowering and having it in crumb form provided an interesting contrast in textures.

Karen
Back in 2008, Karen Low launched her food blog, Citrus and Candy, because she always had more fun talking about food than writing essays on Cicero. Though this self-confessed history nerd will always have a special place for her favourite subject, nothing gets her blood flowing more than the taste of desserts, European cuisines, comfort food and classic home cooking. Today, her blog focuses on cooking and baking.

Before dinner, I speculated what the food bloggers would prepare for us. I thought Karen was going to do a dessert since we have two Dessert Queens in the kitchen (one could only wish for two desserts right?) but I was pleasantly surprised when she prepared a main. Karen prepared braised beef in Pedro Ximénez sherry which was served with califlower puree. Such a great comfort dish for the crappy and wet Sydney weather we’ve been having. The beef was so tender and feel apart easily, and the califlower puree was smooth and creamy. Perfect…

Linda
Drug dealer by day, baker by night… Linda is a busy pharmacist who seeks cooking and baking as stress-relieving outlets. She documents her successes and failures on a food blog called eatshowandtell. Growing up in multicultural south-western Sydney, she developed an appreciation of food from all cultures, especially desserts. This, along with inspiration from pastry chefs Sherry Yard, Katrina Kanetani and Yu-Ching Lee, has led her on a never-ending journey of improving her baking

Linda is an amazing baker. We all knew we were in for a treat but this was beyond what I had imagined. I think everyone was spoilt with her ‘This and that’ dessert extravaganza. This dish showcased a combination of her favourite desserts which arised from the inspiration from her pastry chefs idols. The photos don’t do it any justice at all. The chocolate dessert is a chocolate brownie topped with a chocolate mousse, chocolate ganache and a sprinkle of salt flakes. Served along with the chocolate brownie brulee cake was a smear of rhubarb jam, almond crumble, a scoop of lemon olive oil ice cream and crisp brandy snap. The ice cream had everyone guessing what flavour is was, I swear I thought it tasted a little like ginger. Every component of the dish worked in perfect harmony with one another; the smooth and creamy ice cream and tarty jam offsets the rich and decadent chocolate. I wanted more!

Make-shift lighting from iPad

The lighting was pretty shocking on my end of the table and it seemed like most of the other bloggers were struggling to take pictures as well. One smart man improvised and brought out his iPad to use the backlight as a source of light.

I enjoyed my night and I’m sure that everyone else did as well. I would like to commend the bravery and extreme efforts of these 4 wonderful food bloggers to dish out what they did. You made us all proud. Looking forward to the next food bloggers dinner.

Billy, Fouad, Simun Dragicevich, Linda and Karen

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10 Comments

  1. billy@a table for two

    Aawww.. thank you thank you for such nice words. The ipad lighting is ingenius! LOL. Thank you for coming to the event and support us, very much appreciated and good to hear what people think about our food too.

    I am glad you had a great time.

  2. Jacq

    It was great to catch up with you again and over such delicious food as well! A big congrats to all the bloggers who played chef for the night and thank god for Yas and his iPad!

  3. chocolatesuze

    mmm such a tasty night! was great to catch up with you dude!

  4. Thip

    This is such a cool idea!

  5. Anh

    So fun! I can see you enjoyed the food since our chat on Monday 🙂

  6. OohLookBel

    Very good roundup! I’m kicking myself for missing this landmark event. Love your photos, too; they’re great considering the bad lighting.

  7. Dolly

    THE PORK LOOKS AMAZING

    DROOLS!

  8. Phuoc

    Billy: So.. When’s part 2? 😉

    Jacq & Suze: Always good to catch up with you two.

    Thip: And it was so much fun too!

    Anh: Maybe you should get a bunch of Melb food bloggers together and do this 🙂

    Bel: Thanks! Tickets sold out like hot cakes so I was lucky to be able to score some (Thanks Suze!).

    Dolly: And it tasted amazing too!

  9. FFichiban

    MMmm craving more of their dishes!! They were all awesomess

  10. Trissa

    Lovely review Phuoc! I am definitely going to make it the next time!

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