On a restaurant with wings, the menu’s anything but plane
MATT Moran, chef at Sydney’s Aria Restaurant, will be flying high in the galley on Singapore Airlines’ inaugural super-jumbo Airbus A380 Singapore-Sydney flight on Thursday, to hover over his kitchen creations.
Moran is one of the airline’s panel of food consultants and, with Singapore chef Sam Leong, has created the menus for this unusual fundraiser. The airline has auctioned tickets for the first flight on eBay, earning about $S2 million ($1.53 million), which will be split three ways between Singapore’s Community Chest charities, Sydney’s children’s hospitals at Randwick and Westmead, and Medecins Sans Frontieres. FoodDetective last week visited the dining room at Caterair Airport Services near Sydney airport to taste dishes planned for the flight, many of which will be served on the new service (from October 28).
Detective can testify that the A380 will have super food, such as Moran’s tomato consomme with lobster medallion; many of his dishes are sourced from Aria’s archives. The new business class will be similar to first on normal flights, with caviar on the menu.
The logistics of it all are fascinating. Hermann Freidanck, the airline’s Singaporebased food and beverage manager, says catering for the A380 is like doing ‘‘ four weddings, a conference and a state banquet’’, all at the same venue.
Detective has picked up some interesting pointers about airline food. Moran says baked eggs work better than scrambled or omelettes. Everything must be spicier than normal because the dry air on board affects the tastebuds. And bread dries out faster. www.singaporeair.com.au.
TAPAS star Frank Camorra of Melbourne’s MoVida will transport his expertise to Brisbane’s Depot Emporium, where he’s been tapas consultant for the past 18 months, for the state launch of his book MoVida:SpanishCulinaryAdventures. Camorra will prepare four dishes from the book, matched with Spanish wines; $75 covers four courses and wine, October 29. (07) 3666 0188; www.thedepot.com.au.
TAYLORS Wines, still family-owned after three decades in South Australia’s Clare Valley, has been awarded best international red blend at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London for its Eighty Acres 2005 Cabernet Shiraz Merlot. Managing director Mitchell Taylor says it’s down to skilled players, teamwork, passion, vision and good soil. www.taylorswines.com.au.
THE mid-north coast of NSW is well and truly on the front burner for food lovers, with wineries, cheese-makers, coffee roasters. Port Macquarie’s Tastings of the Hastings is in its third year; hitherto a one-day fete, it now runs for 10 days, ending October 28. Dinners, demonstrations at The Company Farm (fresh produce supplier to Sydney restaurant Sailor’s Thai), bush-tucker rainforest tours with an Aboriginal elder, and a 60-stall farmers’ market (October 28, 8am-2pm). (02) 6581 8633; www.portmacquarie info.com.au.
ORANGE Wine Week, in the central NSW foodie town, also got under way yesterday. Seventy events over the next nine days (it’s a long week) include dinners and tastings, and culminate in a grand finale of food and wine stalls at the Orange Botanic Gardens (October 28, 11am-4pm). (02) 6360 1990; www.tasteorange. com.au. ■ CHEF Grant Schooling, from Kurrajong Restaurant at Adelaide’s Chifley Hotel, pitting his culinary imagination against 150 international contenders in Beijing recently, won the gold medal at the World Mushroom Cooking Competition. It’s our third consecutive win and the Australian Mushroom Growers’ annual Mushroom Mania competition, held in restaurants and clubs across Australia, has furnished the Beijing winners (www.mushroommania. com.au). Schooling flew the flag in China; one of his winning dishes was chicken breast stuffed with shiitake mushrooms, Tasmanian brie and Australian walnuts, served with lemon vincotto and a glass of d’Arenberg The Olive Grove Chardonnay from McLaren Vale in South Australia.
AT the recent launch of Pauline Nguyen’s SecretsoftheRedLantern at her family’s restaurant in Sydney’s Surry Hills ( Red Lantern), Danks Street Depot chef Jared Ingersoll let Detective in on his plan to create an inner-city vegie patch. It involves a Water Board property in Surry Hills and a lot of cardboard packing to create the equivalent of deep beds, with soil added for an organic base. It all hinges on the landholders. Ingersoll could start an innercity trend for kitchen-garden allotments on abandoned land.
At the launch, Murdoch Books publisher Kay Scarlett, the other woman behind SecretsoftheRedLantern, told Detective about one criterion for selecting food books for publication: they must be able to stand alone, without the support of the chef’s restaurant. Nguyen’s book is two in one: prized family recipes, plus the story of the family’s flight from war-torn Vietnam.
HOMESICK in Helsinki? A group of Australians and New Zealanders last year opened the Aussie Bar, which serves Aussie and Kiwi beers. There’s also meat pies, music, dancing and live sports on big screens. You have been warned. Salomonkatu 5, Kamppi, Helsinki. www.aussiebar.net. ■ FIND of the week: Who ever thought teabags could be elegant? Simon Johnson’s new selection (Grand Yunnan, Earl Grey infused with bergamot, Tropical Blend Green with petals and pineapple. . .) come in shiny, hand-stitched, biodegradable fabric bags, with the generous serve of whole-leaf tea visible. $14.95 a 15-bag packet. www.simonjohnson.com. ■ DETECTIVE loves: Moet & Chandon’s stylish presence at David Jones food hall oyster bars in Bourke Street, Melbourne, and Market Street, Sydney. Following a style set at London’s Selfridges and at New York fashion weeks, M&C’s customised bars serve Brut Imperial, Rose Imperial, Nectar Imperial and Grand Vintage 2000, with matched tasting plates. Until November 10. ■ DETECTIVE loathes: Cafes serving teapots with bags (often just one); professional kitchens can surely cope with loose leaves.
On air: Matt Moran