All aglow with Orange con­firmed as food­ies’ favourite squeeze

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence - Ju­dith Elen

FOODDe­tec­tive has been on the trail in the west­ern NSW re­gion of Orange, long a vi­brant hub of grow­ers, mak­ers and mix­ers, dur­ing its an­nual food week. She hears that NSW Pri­mary In­dus­tries Min­is­ter Ian Macdon­ald, the lo­cal mem­ber, has a house not far from Fior­ini’s Ris­torante Ital­iano and is at the cen­tre of a fan club for the cot­tage restau­rant at the cor­ner of Canobo­las and Lake Canobo­las roads, a short drive from Orange.

Chefs Pa­trizia Fior­ini and Ma­rina Fedeli — both orig­i­nally from Rome and more re­cently from Syd­ney restau­rants in­clud­ing Cibus in Coogee— serve dishes with so­phis­ti­cated Ital­ian sim­plic­ity in a quirky cot­tage amid pad­docks of black An­gus cows and the oc­ca­sional horse. Their menu fea­tur­ing lo­cal meats and pro­duce is re­in­forced with cheeses from Pae­sanella in Syd­ney and twice-weekly seafood de­liv­er­ies from the Syd­ney Fish Mar­ket. Fior­ini tells De­tec­tive she grows a few things in a kitchen gar­den but has had scant suc­cess with that Ro­man sta­ple, the ar­ti­choke (three in this year’s crop), which she would dearly love to of­fer on the menu. (02) 6365 3863. ■ KIM Cur­rie of Taste Orange tells De­tec­tive that when re­cently asked to name her favourite (ex­cel­lent) restau­rant in town, she couldn’t stop at less than 11. Chef Josie Chap­man at the Old Con­vent cafe at Borenore has a big rep­u­ta­tion (and is open only on Sun­days, 9am-4pm, so book; imag­ine slow-cooked lamb or duck con­fit with beet­root rel­ish and glazed pump­kin on an au­tum­nal af­ter­noon). Top­ping many peo­ple’s lists is an­other Ital­ian kitchen, Lolli Re­dini, headed by non-Ital­ian Si­monn Hawke. De­tec­tive sam­pled Hawke’s arts at Cu­mu­lus Wines’ an­nual food week Bar­rel Hall Din­ner. Pre­par­ing and serv­ing three highly fi­nessed cour­ses for 180 peo­ple, with canapes to start, from a makeshift camp kitchen among the bar­rels, Hawke and her team tri­umphed. www.tas­te­o­r­ange.com.au; www.old­con­vent.com.au; www.lol­lire­dini.com.au.

A SPOT of el­bow-rub­bing on the ta­bles at Cu­mu­lus’s din­ner (its sec­ond year in Orange F.O.O.D. Week; oth­ers are held in Orange Wine Week, the next sched­uled for Oc­to­ber 18) did not de­tract from the ex­cel­lent meal and flow of matched wines, but Cu­mu­lus’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Jef­frey Wilkin­son hates the space mis­cal­cu­la­tion that pro­duced the el­bow-rub­bing and tells De­tec­tive it will not hap­pen again. Names are al­ready be­ing reg­is­tered for the next din­ner. www.cu­mu­luswines.com.au.

ORANGE’S 10-day food week ends to­mor­row; there are ex­hi­bi­tions and tast­ings through­out the week­end and 50 stalls of lo­cal pro­duce at F.O.O.D. Af­fair, a high­light of the week, 10am-4pm, Orange Re­gional Gallery Northcourt, Byng Street. www.or­ange­food­week.com.au. ■ RIS­ING young chef Luke Cros­ton has been cho­sen to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia in the bi­en­nial Bo­cuse d’Or World Cui­sine Con­test next Jan­uary. In 2003, he acted as com­mis to Melbourne’s Press Club chef Ge­orge Calom­baris in his bid for the award. Last year Cros­ton com­peted again, this time in the hot seat and with Vanessa Ma­teus act­ing as his com­mis chef, and came 12th out of 24 coun­tries.

Cros­ton is in train­ing in the kitchens at Melbourne’s Crown Casino un­der lead­ing lights such as Jac­ques Rey­mond, Philippe Mouchel and Alain Fabregues. Wal­ter Wag­ner, ex­ec­u­tive food and bev­er­age man­ager at Crown, is pres­i­dent of Bo­cuse d’Or Aus­tralia and a judge. The com­pe­ti­tion will run in Lyons, France. www.bo­cuse­do­raus­tralia.com. ■ MEAN­WHILE Fraser’s Restau­rant in West Perth is over the moon, es­pe­cially with hos­pi­tal­ity skills in short sup­ply, over a dou­ble win by its 21-year-old (now qual­i­fied) chef Bren­dan Pratt. He has been named as Chal­lenger TAFE’s best over­all ap­pren­tice and best ap­pren­tice chef for 2007, and sets off next month for stints cook­ing at Miche­lin-starred restau­rants in Bri­tain and Europe, in­clud­ing at the Ritz Lon­don. www.fraser­srestau­rant.com.au.

Luke Cros­ton

AN­OTHER young per­former, David Al­li­son, 24, chef de par­tie at Restau­rant Lurleen’s at Sir­romet vine­yards south­east of Bris­bane, has won the com­mis chef com­pe­ti­tion of the Bris­bane arm of La Chaine des Ro­tis­seurs, founded in Paris in 1950. The food as­so­ci­a­tion has 23,000 mem­bers in 80 coun­tries. Al­li­son was ap­pren­tice at Whales Way Restau­rant on North Strad­broke Is­land un­der Andrew Mirosch, now ex­ec­u­tive chef at Lurleen’s. Al­li­son wrote a menu and pre­pared four sets of three cour­ses, with pre­vi­ously un­seen in­gre­di­ents, in four hours. ‘‘ Once I got go­ing ev­ery­thing was fine,’’ he says. Na­tional Je­une Com­mis Chef Ro­tis­seurs will be held in Syd­ney on May 31 and the in­ter­na­tional fi­nals in Paris on Septem­ber 19. Last Septem­ber Lurleen’s won its sixth con­sec­u­tive award for best restau­rant in a win­ery in the Cater­ing Queens­land Host­plus Awards for Ex­cel­lence. www.chaine-des-ro­tis­seurs.net; www.sir­romet.com. ■ PRO­FES­SIONAL wine lovers Heather Al­brecht, Lynette Rae and An­gela Brown are be­hind a unique wine venue to open in The Rocks, Syd­ney, in Au­gust. Wine Odyssey— bar, cel­lar door, self-ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre — will house in­ti­mate lounge and al­fresco ar­eas in a his­toric build­ing, at Ar­gyle and Har­ring­ton streets, show­cas­ing in­de­pen­dent Aussie wine­mak­ers and all with a stylish tapas menu. De­tails as they emerge. ■ SAVOUR New Zealand — mas­ter­classes, din­ners and tast­ings with lo­cal, Aus­tralian and US chefs and wine ex­perts — runs at the Lang­ham Ho­tel, Auck­land, May 1-4. www.savournewzealand.co.nz. ■ THOSE in­trepid Hay Plains women who pro­duced HayFam­i­lyFod­der ( Food De­tec­tive, Septem­ber 1-2, 2007) to raise funds for the lo­cal mo­bile chil­dren’s ser­vice, preschool kinder­garten and School of the Air Par­ents & Cit­i­zens As­so­ci­a­tion re­port that $22,000 has been dis­trib­uted be­tween the three or­gan­i­sa­tions. ■ READ­ING food writ­ers such as Hugh Fearn­ley-Whit­tingstall, An­thony Bour­dain, El­iz­a­beth David, Waverley Root and Jean An­thelme Bril­lat-Savarin, and guided by food jour­nal­ist John New­ton, could set you on the path to writ­ing about food. Syd­ney Writ­ers Cen­tre will run a Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, Syd­ney-ac­cred­ited course, Writ­ing about Food, on three Satur­days, 10am-3pm, start­ing on May 17. www.nswwrit­er­scen­tre.org.au. ■ FIND of the week: Barossa Val­ley Cheese Com­pany’s Wash­ing­ton Washrind ($8.50), an al­lur­ingly smelly Barossa cow’s milk cheese made by Vic­to­ria McClurg, who also pro­duces Pear Spice ($6.50), its per­fect ac­com­pa­ni­ment. From David Jones and other good stores across the states. www.barossacheese.com.au. ■ DE­TEC­TIVE loves: For Mother’s Day on May 11, Cham­pagne Ni­co­las Feuil­latte, cre­ated 30 years ago for yummy mum­mies Lauren Ba­call, Sophia Loren and Jackie Onas­sis. The pale-gold brut re­serve ($64.95, from wine re­tail­ers across the coun­try), is rec­om­mended with lob­ster. www.feuil­latte.com. ■ DE­TEC­TIVE loathes: Fuel-wast­ing restau­rant kitchen prac­tices, such as leav­ing gas jets burn­ing and wa­ter run­ning; equip­ment re­jigs are needed to al­low fast kitchen work with­out such waste.

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