To commemorate the successes of Asian immigrants in South Australia (and vice versa) and to highlight the cultural and economic connections between the two regions, Asia In SA came into fruition by Susan Lee, inspired by the recent appointment of the 35th Governor of South Australia, His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le. Brought together by a network of Asian and South Australian individuals across varied professions, Asia In SA recently held its inaugural charity gala dinner at the Intercontinental Hotel on August 8th, pulling off an extravaganza of artistic performances, humanitarian aid, and of course, a stellar menu from 8 world class chefs. While celebrating the ties between SA and Asia, the gala will also put proceeds towards organisations Opportunity International and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). The former alleviating impoverished individuals all over the globe through micro financing and financial training while the latter focuses on research and innovation for medical advancement.
Goodwill and diplomacy aside, the chefs behind the event cooked up a storm. With the involvement of 8 celebrity chefs from the Australasian region – including two of our own – an 8-course dinner is provided for dinner attendees. From what we sampled at the VIP tasting for the big event, it proved to be a stunning showcase of what these talented chefs had to offer, all on a volunteer basis.
Here’s a highlight of the featured 8 courses, each one paired with a pre-selected South Australian wine. The guests were certainly spoiled.
Arrival canapes: Blue swimmer crab with shiro popcorn & cured duck breast with beetroot jelly and freeze dried raspberry
Matched with Wolf Bliss Gold Label Pinot Noir Chardonnay
The blue swimmer crab and popcorn was such a unique yet delightful combination with the sweet miso flavour coming through. Definitely a play on textures. While I didn’t get to sneak a spoonful of the duck breast, Dee noted how delicious it was.
Grandvewe sheep milk chevre cheese & organic quinoa salad with yuzu & miso dressing
Matched with Patritti Jimmy’s Hat Savagnin Semillon Vermentino
This colourful and meticulously put together dish made for a gorgeous cold entree. Tart, but refreshing from the yuzu fruit. Sweet, yet mild from the creamy chevre cheese. So brilliant.
Roast Petuna ocean trout, warm pickled carrot, kale crisp, beetroot, fennel pollen cream
Matched with Coriole the Optimist Reserve Chenin Blanc
This second entree really kicked off the warm plates. The ocean trout fell apart with ease in my mouth. The smooth fennel and beetroot creams gave it a hint of smooth sweetness and the salty kale crisps paired beautifully with the fish.
Lobster medallion with Sichuan hollandaise, peas, Jerusalem artichoke in a chilli Xiaoshing broth
Matched with Bird in Hand Nest Egg Chardonnay
This stunner of an entree consisted of generous, juicy chunks of sweet lobster in a salty Xiaoshing broth. Every facet of the dish was packed with flavour, from the creamy hollandaise to the rice wine broth. The artichoke gave each spoonful a nice bite and the peas toned it all down.
Chef Jeffrey Tan putting on the final touches of his dish
Frozen kangaroo fillet, Nashi pear, yuzu avocado puree, and dehydrated cranberries
Matched with Patritti Section 181 Grenache
Entree number 4 was a lively palate cleansing dish. Cold paper thin slices of kangaroo brightened up by tangy cranberry and refreshing pear. The citrus-y yuzu popped up again, this time in an avocado puree.
Slow cooked whole abalone, salt water duck & duck liver
Matched with Abels Tempest Tasmania Pinot Noir
Tender yet firm abalone with salty duck made this an exceptional combination of shellfish and fowl.
Black pepper premium Cape Grim beef
Matched with Coriole Lloyd Reserve Shiraz 2008
This second main was a tribute to the very familiar beef and black pepper combo in Chinese dishes and it didn’t disappoint. Generous chilli and black pepper sauce poured over a cut of tender beef. This one disappeared in no time!
Grand Cru 64% dark chocolate texture, raspberry, sichuan pepper & vanilla
Matched with Penfolds Father 10 Year Old Grand Tawny
A generous slab of rich and smooth dark chocolate finished the tasting off on the perfect note. Just the right amount of dark cocoa allowed for a balance of sweet and bitter. Dip it in the fresh and pungent raspberry compote and you’ve got all the right flavours for a decadent end to the night.
Chefs from left: Executive chef InterContinental Adelaide Tony Hart, Executive chef Alvin Leung (3 Michelin star Hong Kong restaurant Bo Innovation), Executive pastry chef Pierrick Boyer, Chef De Cuisine Jeffrey Tan, Executive chef Mark Normoyle (IronChef Australia), Executive chef Adam D’Sylva (Coda and Tonka), Executive chef Ikuei Arakane, and South Australia’s chef Cheong Liew
It was clear that each dish was well thought out and crafted, bringing together Asian and Australian ingredients that were not only a delight to the eyes, but were each an explosion of flavour and freshness. All put together, it was a palatable display of a fusion of Western and Oriental flavours. And accordingly, these chefs pulled that off seamlessly, even with 8 of them in the kitchen!
On the basis of the menu alone, Austral-Asian ties is something worth celebrating. 😛 Not sure what the line up of chefs and courses will be next year, but the dishes were brilliantly executed, making next year’s event very promising.
$2000 per table of 10 with all tables booked out within 48 hours for this years event. Keep your eyes peeled for 2016!
[dbites was invited as guests to the Asia In SA 2015 press conference and VIP tasting]