The Great Chefs Series

This year, the clever folks at TasTafe in Launceston came up with a cunning plan. They created a program of events called The Great Chef Series. They invited highly successful chefs- Jacques Reymond, Mark Best, Donovan Cooke, Tetsuya Wakuda and Dan Hong to spend time in Launceston teaching commercial cookery students and producing degustation dinners for paying diners. Of course the meals showcased the best Tasmanian produce. The initiative ticked many boxes- training and inspiring the hospitality staff of tomorrow; promoting Tasmania as a tourism and food destination; using local produce; bringing chefs and producers together.

Moores Hill had the opportunity to be the wine partner for the dinner cooked by the students and Dan Hong. We were excited. We knew that Dan Hong made some pretty funky Asian food at his popularSydney restaurants, Ms. G's and Mr Wong. We’d seen #shelfie, his edgy food show on ABC Iview (the cheeseburger pasta bake is a favourite in our house).

As a wine producer, wine dinners are one of the most fun things we do. You turn up, there’s a bunch of people who are really keen on food and wine. Someone else is doing the cooking and has thought carefully about the flavours in the dishes. It is a great opportunity to show off your wines with food. When the matches work, the food and wine are elevated and taste better than they ever did on their own. You get to chat about your wines and everyone has a good time.

But there was more to it than that. At our cellar door we talk to tourists every day and it is very obvious from the questions they ask and the travel plans they share with us that food and wine related experiences are a very important part of their visit to Tasmania. They know that the best quality seafood, meat and dairy products are grown here.  They want to taste great produce and they are happy to pay good money for it. We think any program that builds capacity in our community to cater to this opportunity should be supported and applauded.

We want to see students developing the skills, experience, knowledge and most importantly, the confidence to build careers in the hospitality and tourism sector. We want them to go on and start their own food vans; create food products; pop up restaurants and cafes. There is a huge opportunity, especially in Northern Tasmania to grow our reputation as a food and wine destination. Building human capacity in the agri-tourism, food production, tourism and hospitality will undoubtedly create jobs and lift our economy.

This turned out to be a wine dinner on steroids. The menu featured sashimi, abalone, pork belly, crayfish and…wallaby tail, beef shortribs and lamb ribs. All Tasmanian produce. The flavours and textures were thrilling. Diners wanted to lick their plates. We were so happy to see the food worked so well with our wines.

There was a big crowd- 140 people, including the Chinese Consul General visiting from Sydney. Dan Hong praised the students in the kitchen for their prep work. The front of house students were a delight, working so hard to ensure everything ran smoothly. It was a great night that we stoked to be a part of. It is something that we will remember for a long time and I’m sure the positive effects will be felt in the community well into the future.

The Menu

September 30, 2016

Sashimi of Tasmanian Stripey Trumpeter with fresh wasabi, white soy dressing and fresh Tasmanian Wakame - Moores Hill Sparkling Blanc de blancs

Chilled Somen noodle salad of Tasmanian abalone, cucumber, leeks and Ocean trout roe – Moores Hill 2015 Riesling

Strange Flavour Pork belly, Sichuan chilli oil and sesame sauce – Moores Hill 2016 Pinot Gris

Steamed Tasmanian Crayfish with Blackbean, Chilli and Garlic – Moores Hill 2015 Chardonnay

Sweet and sour wallaby tail

Charcoal roasted Cape Grim Shortrib “Shandong style”

Salt and pepper Flinders Island Lamb ribs with fennel and Cumin Salt

Steamed local greens, garlic oil, oyster sauce

– Moores Hill 2015 Pinot Noir / Moores Hill 2015 Cabernet Merlot

 Local Sheeps milk yoghurt sorbet with jasmine tea jelly and strawberries - Moores Hill 2015 CGR Late Harvest Riesling