Our starring role confirmed in the glitzy US movie capital
AUSTRALIA is top of the menu in Los Angeles just now. G’Day USA: Australia Week (January 17-26, a super-sized week of 10 days, and linked to a wider month-long promotion) was originally a spark in the eye of John Olsen, our consul-general in New York, Ian Parmenter tells Food Detective.
Director of South Australia’s biennial food fest Tasting Australia, Parmenter has been involved with G’Day USA for the past four years.
Speaking from the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, where he and leading Australian food and wine man Peter Howard are organising the catering for a plethora of G’Day USA events, Parmenter tells Detective the consul-general loves Tasting Australia and thought we should be doing something similar in LA. Since then the show has grown like Topsy. Last year it spread to New York, and is probably the US’s largest annual foreign promotion. Organised and supported by federal and state government bodies and more than 40 sponsors, it embraces such elements as tourism and fashion as well as food and wine.
By the time you read this, Parmenter and Howard will have hovered over the hotplates for an after-party buffet for hundreds of guests at a film night at Paramount Studios. When Detective chats with Parmenter before the event, the pair are on an adrenalin high, planning Thai-style prawn salads and Queensland organic beef dishes, working in a kitchen in LA’s Little Ethiopia and hoping that all the fresh produce arrives safely.
All meats, fish and seafood for the events are being flown in from Australia. Which brings me to Richard Adlem, a fresh food supplier via his New Zealand-based company Lee Fish. Adlem ‘‘ deserves a medal’’, Parmenter says. He supplies Aussie seafood to restaurants across the US, and is flying in barramundi, ocean trout, Balmain bugs, Tassie tuna and more, all on Qantas. With fresh supplies due to arrive the day before they’re served, Parmenter agrees with Detective that it’s a little nerveracking, but Adlem is his hero and Parmenter is his usual up-beat self. None of the seafood, he says, is frozen, and it’s a big hit in the US. There will also be ‘‘ terrific lamb from WA’’ and ‘‘ wonderful’’ OBE organic beef from Queensland.
Rockpool’s Neil Perry is cooking with renowned Hollywood chef Wolfgang Puck at a black-tie dinner for about 1400 tonight at the Hollywood & Highland Ballroom in LA, and on Australia Day the Australia.com Gala Dinner will see Perry and Luke Mangan labouring over dishes for 1000 guests at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Vue de Monde’s Shannon Bennett will also be cooking at events in New York.
G’DAY USA is linked with a monthlong US supermarket promotion. New York’s fine food purveyor Citarella is highlighting our products in its seven stores across Manhattan and the Hamptons. And San Diego’s three-day Winter Fancy Food Show, which ran this week and was linked with G’Day USA, featured more than 100 products from across the country in an extensive Austrade pavilion. www.australia-week.com.
in far north Queensland last year ( Food Detective, November 10-11), has set up for himself with partner and frontof-house face Reina Torcasio on the strip at Port Douglas (he will still be consulting at Julaymba).
Harrison’s Restaurant and Bar, at 41 Macrossan St, opened just before Christmas and is formally launching itself with a six-course degustation dinner next Thursday and an
SHOOTING star Spencer Patrick, the UK-trained, Michelin-starred chef who joined Julaymba Restaurant at Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa opening party on January 29. Torcasio’s brother Matt Torcasio, who recently refined the cocktail menu at Fog Restaurant and Bar in Melbourne, is also on the team. Try one of his lychee and ginger martinis. (07) 4099 6364.
BRUNO Loubet, neighbouring Michelin-starred chef at Baguette in Brisbane’s Ascot (Queensland is awash with them; there’s also Meyjitte Boughenout at Absynthe on the Gold Coast), has come up with an enticing idea for Monday to Thursday evenings this month and next. He is creating themed dinners — French, Spanish and Moroccan— with three courses, served on shared platters a la French
Bruno Loubet family style, for $36 a person. Next it’s Moroccan, from January 21 to 24. There’s a night off for Valentine’s Day, February 14, when rustic turns romantic. www.baguette.com.au.
THE fabulously talented Sean Connolly is back at the hotplates on Tuesday, when Astral reopens at Sydney’s Crown Casino with a scintillating new menu. www.australrestaurant.com.au.
GET ready for Yarra Valley, Victoria’s Grape Grazing Festival, which starts February 9. www.grapegrazing.com.au.
ZEMA Estate in South Australia’s Coonawarra is offering cooling Everest gelati alongside its wine tastings at the cellar door throughout January. And there’s a Clooney and Cluny Movie Night coming up at the Estate Winery: George Clooney in the Coen Brothers classicO Brother,Whereart Thou? and Zema’s Cluny blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec and cabernet franc. February 2 from 8.30pm, $10 a person includes complimentary popcorn; wine and refreshments for sale. www.zema.com.au.
Find of the week: The tiny (10.5cm x 15cm) gem DrinkingYour OwnWords:ThePsychologyofWine by Evan and Brian Mitchell (Inmediasrespress, $14.95). Meditations on wine, how it’s talked about, thought about and drunk. The authors, both psychologists, one also a sommelier, have a website on food, wine and philosophy. www.thesecretworldof.com.
DETECTIVE loves: LifeStyle Food Channel’s SignatureDish. Three top Brisbane chefs share their secrets in the premiere on Thursday at 9pm.
DETECTIVE loathes: The ultimate absurdity: individual labels on fruit.