There is no doubt that all things food are in vogue. More than 3.7 million Australians tuned in to watch Central Coast mother Julie Goodwin take out the title of Australia’s first ever Masterchef in July.
Masterchef judge and popular chef, George Calombaris says that the upcoming Taste of Melbourne festival will be a chance for food lovers to experience 16 Melbourne restaurants under one roof, and in the process try lots of beautiful dishes.
It comes as no surprise that Calombaris is one of the 16 chefs who will be showing off their three signature dishes.
“I’m not into signatures but what makes a good dish is sourcing the best, freshest ingredients.
For me the pinnacle of any great chef is to understand the produce and to keep it in the best form possible.”
The Press Club’s signature dish of Spring Bay half-shell scallops with tarama is one that reflects Calombaris’s philosophy.
“I visited the Spring Bay farm in Tasmania and was able to see how the scallops were harvested. They are in season and very tasty, and the white tarama paste from Greece is a great product,” he says.
Calombaris’s souvlaki creation is different to the typical Australians souvlaki made with lettuce and tzatziki. Instead the pita is filled with lamb, mustard, onion, parsley and chips.
“It is like the souvlaki that you buy in Kolonaki, Athens in the early hours of the morning.”
The tender lamb entree was so popular at last year’s Taste of Melbourne that it was named as the best dish.
Also from the Hellenic Republic is Calombaris’s final signature dish: saganaki with peppered figs.
“I love fried cheese and the peppered figs are so tasty. It is sweet, salty, and peppery all in one,” he says.
Calombaris says that he hopes his dishes inspire both customers and staff.
“What I put on a plate is a representation of who I am as a person. If I can be an ambassador for kids to eat and cook with fresh food my job is done.”
The Taste of Melbourne will run from August 27th to the 30th at the Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton Gardens. See www.tastefestivals.com.au for further information.