Snapshot: Omnivore

Monday, 6 October 2014

That ominous looking, zig-zag for a sign is the logo for the Omnivore World Tour, a 'little' known festival around these parts. Coinciding with the Labour Day long weekend and the start of Good Food Month, Omnivore is all about celebrating the up-and-coming culinary talents of the world. With a series of masterclasses and pop-up dinners over the weekend; the air abuzz with a youthful energy and excitement. This year (the second year the Omnivore tour has come to Sydney), the festival descended on the Australian National Maritime Museum for some harbour-side capers, a nifty concept unto itself.

O-MNIV-ore, or something...

Tonight's feast was hosted by chefs Pierre Sang Boyer, of Pierre Sang in Oberkampf (Paris) as well as our own Hamish Ingham of Bar H (Sydney) (another restaurant I still haven't visited yet!!!). Both like to work with Asian flavours in a rather modern way, delivering refined and innovative dishes. Pierre Sang launched himself into the spotlight after being named finalist in Top Chef 2011, France. Now, in 2014 he has two restaurants in Paris which are consistently booked out. Yet again, the great table tussle continues #firstworldproblems. Luckily this time, Pierre Sang has come to us!

You've got to love a long table and male models for waiters (pretty much)...can't complain!

Hamish Ingham, a local Sydney chef carved a name for himself at Bar H Dining, a dinky corner eatery in Surry Hills serving Chinese inspired food. With various appearances on Masterchef and a Good Food Guide chef's hat in the arsenal, Ingham is a worthy contender in this pop-up duo. This is the Eurasian dream team on paper but shall we move on to the food? The dinner consisted of five courses with matched wines, with a focus on locally sourced Australian ingredients (but of course)!

Sashimi of snapper with wasabi snow, okahjiki and shiso. My favourite dish of the night, already. We peaked pretty early here, but Ingham's combination of everything in the dish was an instant winner. A few strands of samphire, the hint of wasabi powder and the freshness of the fish - all gone in an instant!

Spinach and oyster, pomegranate. A rather curious dish for me by Boyer, a prawn cracker (not quite crispy enough) sits perched amongst diced fresh oyster and a bundle of vegetables (par cooked, slightly too textural haha) without much of a sauce. The oyster and the roe could just be there alone and I'd be happy!

Tuna andouille, bearnaise sauce. A rich sauce for a very rich and oily fish. This dish is a staple of Boyer's, a signature on the menu of In Oberkampf. The tuna itself was incredible, the grilled onion and radish just accessory

Rangers Valley wagyu rump cap shiro miso, sichuan beetroot. Ingham experiments a little by using a lesser known cut of wagyu which has been slow cooked. Perhaps more chewy than most are used to, I found the meat still be nice and tender and the sauce had a lovely depth of flavour. The spiced beets were a nice accompaniment

In the spotlight, the frantic assembly line for the dessert course. All done outside on a makeshift 'pass'

Rose geranium pavlova, yuzu curd, muntrie jam and dried strawberries. That oozy curd, I could just bottle that up and bundle it home. The meringue unfortunately was rather chewy at the bottom, possibly an issue with pre-cooking them offsite. For balance and lightness, I thought maybe a bit more whipped cream might have helped. The coriander added a nice, tangy touch to what would otherwise be a very sweet dessert

A quick Q&A with Luc Dubanchet (creator of Omnivore) and the crew, many of whom had flown in from France especially for the Omnivore program. Read: junket!

With Omnivore gracing our shores once again, here's hoping they make the trip Down Under for many years to come. It seems the Omnivore movement has been gaining some momentum and this dinner was a testament to that fact. You can catch some more glimpses from the night with the official coverage over hereAt its heart, Omnivore helps to connect young chefs from around the world, promoting a strong spirit of collaboration. The best thing about these events are that they are a golden opportunity for some of the young guns to establish themselves. Even one of Boyer's youngest sous chefs (at just 19) was mucking in. This is what Omnivore is all about...the future is here!

Adios to another great evening!

Thanks for reading!


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