Over four days, the Taste of Sydney Collective celebration will bring together 32 renowned chefs under one roof. Your tastebuds will definitely thank you for going.
ELECTROLUX COLLECTIVE KITCHENS
Well-known chefs hand-picked by award-winning chef, restaurateur, author and curator of the event, Mark Best, will gather under one roof and prepare two bespoke dishes ($12 each) exclusive to Taste of Sydney Collective. That’s 64 unique dishes in total.
Each day, eight different chefs will set up pint-sized versions of their respective restaurants in a custom-made two-storey structure where during each of the six sessions — which run between four and five hours — they’ll be cooking front and centre for all to see.
It’s a veritable window into the inner workings of their sacred kitchens. Watch as acclaimed international, interstate and local chefs such as Skye Gyngell, of London’s Spring Restaurant; Jerry Main, of Melbourne’s Annam; and Sydney’s own Joel Bickford, of Aria, deftly slice, dice and transform humble ingredients into gastronomic gold.
There’ll be six sessions total (Thursday evening, Friday afternoon and evening, Saturday afternoon and evening; and Sunday afternoon) each offering dishes meticulously chosen by Mark to both balance and complement one another.
As for the event itself, Mark says: “Come on an empty stomach and buy a wad of tickets.”
THE TASTE RESIDENCE
In the chronicles of gastronomy, some dishes practically usurp the fame of their creator. Such is the case with the Almond Jelly and Blue Swimmer Crab, a staple on the menu at Mark Best’s three-hatted restaurant, Marque.
Before closing shop after 17 years, guests would travel from near and far to savour this world-famous dish, so fortunately for those who’ve only read of its majesty or are just craving more, he is bringing it back for a unique sit-down dining experience.
Starting with a subtly sweet and elegant Singleton Whiskey cocktail, you’ll then watch as his iconic dish from Marque as well as a creation from his latest endeavour, Bistro by Mark Best, are whipped up.
Guests will receive two tasting plates, along with matching wine, followed by an opportunity to ask questions while sipping on a Singleton Whisky “Lallans Coffee” digestif.
Additionally, Mark has brought in two additional award-winning chefs to present similar sessions: David Thompson will revive a dish from his former restaurant, Nahm, as well as one from his new venue, Aaharn in Hong Kong, while Scott Pickett will prepare one from his previous restaurant Estelle plus one from his current restaurant Matilda 159 Domain in Melbourne.
There’s a unique energy that comes from exploring festivals and discovering that one new product yet to make the market rounds.
It’s even more exhilarating when there are 44 artisans on site, each chosen for their unique offering suited to this foodie event.
Here, at what has affectionately been dubbed The PlayGround, you can listen to the tunes of local DJs while having fun sampling and chatting with producers about such goodies as eclairs from Choux Patisserie; microbrews from Brick Lane Brewing; jalapeño and tequila relish from Drunken Sailor; salts and seasonings from Tasteology; plus lifestyle products including cutting boards from Eco Food Boards and hand-poured Hunter Candles.
CHARITY COLLABORATION WITH R U OK?
Think back to some of your most memorable conversations and odds are pretty good that there’ll be some sort of meal involved.
It’s that connection that chefs Sam Pizone (Dandelion, The Longroom) and Dan Hunter (Brea) are hoping to promote at their pop-up restaurant on Saturday, a charity collaboration between Taste of Sydney Collective and R U OK?
While Dan prepares his BBQ calamari tacos (with lemon Aspen cream, broad bean and hazelnut puree, and coriander) and Sam Pinzone is serving pickled eschalots (as well as a coconut crab salad with Asian herbs, chilli and lime caviar and a sesame rice cracker), they’ll not only be talking about cooking but as R U OK? ambassadors.
The pair will chat about ways in which to encourage people to talk and ask the hard questions of those struggling with life difficulties, specifically for those in the high pressure world of hospitality.
“We can bring people together with food,” Sam says.
“It can help people talk. It can be an icebreaker.” A portion of the proceeds will go to fund R U OK? initiatives.
NELLY ROBINSON, NEL. RESTAURANT
It’s all fun and games for nel.’s executive chef and owner Nelly Robinson. Well, not exactly a game but with just a peek at his culinary pedigree and just one cheeky smile from this gregarious and award-winning chef, you know that he’s somehow capable of producing a plate of playfulness.
For Taste of Sydney, he has created an interactive dish that will challenge diners to a truffle hunt.
Served in a simple white bowl, you’ll need to sift through the edible “soil” — truffle brioche, to uncover two round balls of Montgomery cheese, onion, potato, chive and truffle paste.
As a second dish, he’ll have one inspired by the curries of London but suited to warm weather of Australia — marinated sashimi, sitting on smoked yoghurt with cumin and cucumber with crumbed prawn and lobster shells on the side then topped with pickled cucumber. Smiles all around.
Renowned for his respect of uncommon Australian ingredients, Aria’s head chef, Joel Bickford lets the seasons prevail in his cooking with a less is more approach.
For Joel’s contribution to the Collective Kitchens, he notes: “I think this dish is beautifully simple and quite complex at once. Great depth of flavour and balance, but the inspiration is the amazing local snapper, that is the real star of the show.”
For such big events, of which this will be his third time at Taste of Sydney event, the dish needs to have a vast appeal.
“It has elements of Asian and French cookery but showcasing some great Australian produce in local fish and mushrooms,” he says.
As the weather gets hotter, the cocktails get cooler. But this summer why not swap that simple G&T for something different. To mix things up a bit, head to one of Tanqueray’s masterclasses, where brand ambassador Krystal Hart will show you how to make two drinks: Tanqueray No. Ten Elderflower Collins or a Tanqueray Sevilla Spritz. ($12)
For decades Hotel Centennial has been a stalwart of not only Woollahra but also Sydney’s dining scene, and for just as long, there’s always been some sort of waffle on the menu.
“There’d be a revolt if we took it off,” Hotel Centennial and The Paddington’s executive chef Ben Greeno says.
So as a nod to both the city and the seaside location, Ben has created the savoury Octopus Waffle with chopped-up Freemantle octopus, nori and Benito flakes.
Bringing a bit of Indian street food by way of San Francisco and Melbourne, Jessi Singh, who just recently opened Don’t Tell Aunty in Surry Hills, will be sharing some of his favourite childhood dishes with elements inspired by both his travels and his new home here in Sydney.
He’ll be preparing his Samosa Burger, a spicy vegetarian samosa, tomato and lettuce inside a sweet brioche bun with a side of “Curry Chips’ as well as the Nachos From the Motherland — plain flour chips, chickpea and cumin salsa and a minty yoghurt and tamarind sauce.
It was a change in in circumstances that set Jen Maronese on the path of marshmallow madness. She’d been researching food business ideas and realised how versatile marshmallows could be plus “homemade marshmallows taste so much better than store-bought”.
She started customising ones as wedding favours and will be introducing her creations, such as the mint chocolate chip; strawberries and cream; plus her Mug Melts, which are marshmallow hot chocolate toppers, in The PlayGround at the event.
Friday, 12-4pm, 5.30-10pm
Saturday, 12-4pm, 5.30-10pm
Taste Pass ($17) — entry and tumbler
Tanqueray Ticket ($25) entry, tumbler and Tanqueray cocktail
Diner Club VIP Ticket ($30) — entry, tumbler, VIP lounge, complimentary drink, two dish vouchers (valued at $24)
Drink & Dine Pass ($53.03) — entry, Taste tumbler, two (dishes from any restaurant), one drink of beer or wine from producer
The Residence Pass ($130.03) — entry, Taste Tumbler, two dishes, one drink, fine dining experience