Rhodes to renown

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence - Ju­dith Elen

FOODDe­tec­tive has been off on a for­eign mis­sion that took her to the United Arab Emi­rates city of Dubai, where she learned that Miche­lin-starred Brit chef Gary Rhodes had re­cently been in town. To much fan­fare, Rhodes is tak­ing over the kitchens at Mez­za­nine, the very classy restau­rant on the mez­za­nine level at Grosvenor House, West Ma­rina Beach, where the decor mixes neo-baroque with mod­ern splash. The cui­sine, too, aims at tra­di­tion with mod­ern over­tones, which is why they’ve net­ted Rhodes, per­haps trig­ger­ing a touch of su­perchef ri­valry with fel­low Miche­lin-dec­o­rated Bri­tish chef Gor­don Ram­say, who con­trols the kitchens at Hil­ton Dubai Creek’s Verre restau­rant. Set­ting the scene, Rhodes told Time­Out­Dubai , in lan­guage more familiar from his old spar­ring part­ner, ‘‘ that cheeky bas­tard’’ Ram­say had stolen his anal­ogy about con­sul­tant chefs and Ar­mani suits (that the mas­ter clothes de­signer is not the hands-on cre­ator of each of his suits). De­tec­tive thinks there’s some­thing odd about dish­ing up bread and but­ter pud­ding, which Rhodes plans to put on the menu among other Bri­tish clas­sics, in the mid­dle of the desert (in­Rhodes into Dubai), but the place is, af­ter all, lib­er­ally dosed with fan­tasy. Rhodes has a five-year con­tract and plans to visit this con­sumers’ oa­sis at least twice a year. www.grosvenor­house-dubai.com.

WITH Nobu Mat­suhisa’s latest global link in Melbourne, the phe­nom­e­non of the chef with­out fron­tiers is also mak­ing in­roads at home. A few Aussie chefs, such as Neil Perry and Luke Man­gan, are as­pir­ing CWFs, but gen­er­ally our kitchen stars are proud to be lo­cal — whether their spe­cial­i­ties are Mid­dle East­ern, Thai or Ital­ian — un­der­stand­ing our re­gional pro­duce and know­ing about sea­sons and sources, al­ways a good thing.

MORE global moves: Van­u­atu is stag­ing the re­gion’s first in­ter­na­tional barista com­pe­ti­tion on Oc­to­ber 19-20, as part of the repub­lic’s an­nual Salon Culi­naire, which cul­mi­nates in a grand gourmet din­ner at Le Lagon Re­sort Van­u­atu. Prizes for the baris­tas are a beau­ti­ful blend. Visit­ing espres­soistes will be el­i­gi­ble to win a re­turn trip to Tanna Is­land’s west coast cof­fee plan­ta­tions, plus a visit to Mt Ya­sur, the world’s most ac­ces­si­ble ac­tive vol­cano, while lo­cal en­trants have the chance to win a re­turn trip to the cos­mopoli­tan cof­fee shops of Syd­ney. En­tries close on Oc­to­ber 14 and the lo­cal tourism in­dus­try is cook­ing up some great travel pack­ages for the oc­ca­sion. www.baris­ta­van­u­atu.com.

FRANK Camorra, chef at Melbourne’s MoVida Bar de Tapas Y Vino (a favourite of De­tec­tive ), has writ­ten a book with food writer Richard Cor­nish, ap­pro­pri­ately called MoVida . The team held a launch party at Jared Inger­soll’s Danks Street De­pot in Syd­ney this week, with Camorra in the kitchen. One pre­viewed recipe is for mar­i­nated olives, some­thing that will in­ter­est any­one who has vis­ited a Span­ish or Ital­ian green­gro­cer and not known how to approach those hard lit­tle fruit fresh from the tree. The book blends recipes with food his­tory and will be on sale in Novem­ber. www.mur­dochbooks.com.au.

SPICE boys Serge Dansereau, chef at Syd­ney’s The Bathers’ Pavil­ion, and Ian Hem­phill, ex­pert guid­ing force of Syd­ney in­sti­tu­tion Her­bie’s Spices, are draw­ing up a spe­cial herbs and spices menu for a din­ner that aims to ed­u­cate the palate and chal­lenge the senses of din­ers. Par­tic­i­pants will savour the aro­mas and learn about the taste, smell and feel of the dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties the duo is care­fully se­lect­ing for the meal. And the dishes will re­tain Dansereau’s sig­na­ture style, the team says. At The Bathers’ Pavil­ion, 7pm, Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 26; $125 for a three-course meal, with match­ing wines. Book­ings: (02) 9969 5050. www.batherspavil­ion.com.au; www.her­bies.com.au.

De­tec­tive loves: The Olive Grove, McLaren Vale’s tra­di­tional kala­mata olives, vac­uum-packed for per­fect pic­nics; hand-picked and chem­i­cal free. From 150g ($4.95) to 10kg. www.olive­groves.com.au.

De­tec­tive loathes: Air­line bread, which still of­ten tastes like card­board and is fre­quently stone cold, just when air­lines are start­ing to serve food that comes with nice sauces and de­cent olive oil that needs mop­ping up.

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