Review of the Members BBQ at Manly Dam
BBQ?BBQ! What has a BBQ have to do with a fine confrérie such as La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs?
Well a lot as it turns out and the clue is in two menu sections on the day; ‘From the Wood Fire Grill’ and ‘From the Spit’.
In 1248 Louis IX ordered the establishment of several professional guilds including that of the “ayeurs” or goose roasters. The purpose of this guild was to improve the technical knowledge of its members: apprentices, tradesmen and masters. In 1509 during the reign of Louis XII, the guild’s knowledge was extended to include the preparation of other meats and poultry, including game, and it took the name “Rôtisseurs”.
The antecedents are certainly there but what of the fare presented to the members and friends? How did the InterContinental’s Head of Food and Catering and Chaîne member Tamas Pamer deal with this modern day feast of goose roasters?
It takes imagination to create something impressive out of throwing meat onto hot coals and Tamas’ Wagyu beef with miso, garlic, ginger, pickled daikon radish and Queensland scallop on the shell with grilled pineapple salsa in particular were balanced and full of flavour – they were impressive. The spit roasted birds combined an outside crunchiness with internal moistness and flavour. Perfect.
There were three wines chosen to accompany the feast. The G.H. Mumm Brut Cordon Rouge, Reims, NV, is a good quality Champagne that proved perfect for a lazy day in the sun. The white served on the day was a Craggy Range 2012 Sauvignon Blanc I have to own up and say that I am not a strong fan of antipodean Sauvignon Blanc but in the interests of fair play I tasted the wine. I am, however, a fan of Martinborough wines and this NZ Sauvignon Blanc was well balanced if a little one dimensional for my taste.
I was a bit worried about the Penfolds Cellar Reserve, Adelaide Hills, Pinot Noir 2011, as listed, given that Penfolds does not provide tasting notes for this vintage. In the event we had the 2013. This was a relief. The wine had excellent varietal characteristics, had a good mouthful and displayed an intensity that you would expect from a dry year.
Make no mistake, this was not just a BBQ. Having a well trained and responsive team from the InterContinental on hand was marvellous. It was a treat to be standing in the Australian bush talking to a wine waiter who knew her stuff. It was also a treat to share the Chaîne camaraderie with friends, family and kids.
BBQs need not be about overcooked food with a predominant background of charcoal and Tamas ensured that the food did not fit this mould. Some were saying the food was ‘fantastic’ and out of interest I tried to establish the early meaning of ‘fantastique’. In 14th century France the word meant ‘existing only in imagination’ and when you think about it Tamas created an imaginary ‘table’ of fine food which certainly united us as descendants of those gastronomes and professionals who established the Chaîne in 1950.
This BBQ was an experiment. Would we repeat it. You bet!!!
John D C Studdert
Echanson du Bailliage National d’Australie
To Start With
Slow cooked king salmon, caper berries, saltbush, lime Pommery mustard dressing
Shaved fennel, grilled asparagus, smoked ham hock, French mustard vinegar
Yarra Valley goat cheese, avocado, roasted pumpkin, verjus
Tabbouleh, grilled chicken, lime dressing
Assorted bread and condiments
From the Wood Fire Grill
Wagyu beef, miso, garlic, ginger, pickled daikon radish
Green Prawn, dukka, smoked paprika aioli
Queensland scallop on the shell with grilled pineapple salsa
Oven baked sweet potato, cardamom, garlic
From the Spit
Free range duck, chicken, quail
Assorted homemade dip
For the Kids
Organic chicken sausage from the grill in pretzel bread
Mini chicken burger, pickles, heirloom tomato, beetroot
Vegetable crudités with dips
Make your own Fairy Floss
Chocolate pecan tart
Lemon meringue tart
Fresh seasonal fruit and berries