Dishes that may be unusual but pack a punch will be on the menu for a seven-course degustation dinner led by renowned chef Mark Best.
The next event in the Great Chefs Series will be held in Launceston on Friday and Drysdale students were busy preparing the dishes on Wednesday.
Best said the menu would feature local produce but also some of his signature dishes, such as the parsnip ‘Cornetto’ and it would take two days to prepare ahead of the event.
He said he would describe himself as a contemporary Australian chef.
“I cook with the bounty of Australia,” he said.
“I have worked in the industry for so long that I have developed a style where I always try unusual combinations,” he said.
One of those unusual combinations is salmon and Tasmanian pepperberry.
“It isn’t a combination that you would naturally think of, but the pepperberry gives it [the salmon] this gorgeous colour and sweetness,” Best said.
Best focuses on local produce that changes with each region, so menus change depending on locale and seasonality.
He said he wanted to show the students, particularly the international students, the subtle differences between products in regional locations.
This week's event will be the second time Best has appeared in the Great Chefs Series in Launceston.
He said he loved coming to the North.
“It’s such a lovely city, I love Launceston. It’s relatively untouched in a way, but absolutely beautiful, even just the architecture,” he said.
Best’s journey to becoming a chef was a winding one. He started out working as an electrician in Western Australia before starting his culinary career at age 25.
In 1995, Best won the annual award for Sydney’s best young chef, the Josephine Pignolet award, and opened his first restaurant, Peninsula Bistro, in Balmain.
He said participating in the Great Chefs Series was his way of giving back to vocational education.
“The VET sector has stood me in good stead twice, so I think it’s important to give back,” he said.
The Great Chefs Series is vital for those training to become chefs because it allows students a glimpse into what the industry is like, Best said.
He said hands-on experience was important, particularly in an era of chef shortages.
“The cooking industry is experiencing exponential growth and, in a way, the training industry hasn’t been able to keep up,” he said.
Best operates Bistro by Mark Best on the luxury cruise liner Gentling Dream and is part of the global ambassador family.
- The Great Chefs Series event with Mark Best will be held on July 6 at Josef Chromy Wines, Relbia, from 6.30pm. Tickets cost $165 per person and are available via Eventbrite.