Inspiration, family and pioneering spirit. These were the recurring themes that punctuated the Glenfiddich Chef Challenge charity degustation dinner.
Centennial Parklands Dining
Framed by the twinkling lights of illuminated trees, the event was held at Centennial Parklands Dining, the venue which hosted the previous year’s Glenfiddich 125 Anniversary Vintage release.
The degustation dinner consisted of six Glenfiddich-infused dishes created by six chefs from around Australia inspired by a pioneering family member and hosted by William Grant & Sons whisky ambassador, Richard Blanchard.
Richard Blanchard (William Grant & Sons)
Glenfiddich is owned and run by William Grant & Sons, Ltd. an independent family-owned UK distiller founded by William Grant in 1886. Today, the company is run by the fifth generation of his family and the single malt brand continues to build upon its coveted reputation of family connections and commitment to the pioneering spirit.
Sarah Bowe (Soldier On)
Tickets to the degustation dinner cost $100 with all proceeds going to Soldier On, a charity which supports Australia’s physically and psychologically wounded Defence Force personnel. The event raised over $9000.
The Chef Challenge consisted of six chefs from NSW, VIC and SA creating a dish using Glenfiddich and matching it with the single malt. Guests at the event were provided with chips with which to cast a vote for the best dish at the end of the night, deciding on who was to be crowned as the inaugural Glenfiddich Pioneer Chef.
L-R: Gwen’s Garden, Kotuku
Arriving at Centennial Parklands Dining, guests were welcomed with Glenfiddich cocktails created by Glenfiddich Pioneers bartenders who were inspired by a family member.
Gwen’s Garden by Daniel Noble of Mojo Record Bar, took his inspiration from his grandmother who not only lived through two world wars but fought for women equality. A raspberry bush grew wild in her garden and the drink is hence made with Glenfidich 12 Year Old, crème de cassis, fresh raspberries topped with ginger beer.
Kotuku by Chanel Liquori of EDV Melbourne paid homage to her Maori-Irish great-great-grandfather who was sent to Parihaka to strengthen the bonds between two Maori tribes and helped lead the people to peace through kindness. Her cocktail was a refreshing mix of made with Glenfiddich 12 YO, passionfruit pulp, chamomile tea topped with Appletiser.
Whisky Cured Salmon with Warm Soda Bread, Avocado Mousse & Mustard Cress
The degustation began with Whisky Cured Salmon with Warm Soda Bread, Avocado Mousse & Mustard Cress paired with Glenfiddich 12YO. The light and delicate flavours of the salmon paired well with the fruity notes of the whisky.
Chef Rob Phillips of Hotel Steyne in Manly (NSW) took inspiration for this dish from his nan who always had a meal on the table that included light and fluffy soda bread and enjoyed a good tipple.
Scallops Cooked in Fire
Next came Scallops Cooked in Fire with Cucumber, Beach Succulents, Cauliflower & Sea Stock with Glenfiddich 12YO. Hints of smoke and sea along with the buttery texture of the scallops and the salty sea stock made for a superb match.
The dish was created by Chef Andrew Douglas from EDV in Melbourne who paid homage not to one family member but to the whole Douglas clan from Inverness in Scotland which had access to quality seafood.
Mallee Smoked Magret de Canard with Blueberry Pickle & Young Leaves
Moments of silence fell upon the dining room when the tantalising smoky aroma wafted across the dining room. For his dish, Chef Andrew Thiele from Treasury on King William in Adelaide was inspired by his grandfather who was a pioneer in farming the Mallee region of South Australia. At the farm, they had a tradition of grilling food over an open fire. His recipe involves smoking duck breast in Mallee wood.
The Mallee Smoked Magret de Canard with Blueberry Pickle & Young Leaves was a delightful dish with pink, tender and sweet duck, smoky notes and salty-bitter elements from the young salad with paired perfectly with the Olorosso sherry notes of Glenfiddich 18yo. The flavour of the smoky duck and the whisky lingered long on the palate.
Scotch & Black Pepper Wagyu Beef with Hot Mustard & Alliums
Next came Scotch & Black Pepper Wagyu Beef with Hot Mustard & Alliums by Chef Victor Liong of Lee Ho Fook in Melbourne paired with Glenfiddich 15yo. Thinly-sliced wagyu beef melted in the mouth and while pepper was dominant on the palate, the fruity notes of the whisky softened the heat. The dish was inspired by his father who not only appreciated whisky but enjoyed pepper and mustard.
12 hr Beef Brisket on Cauliflower Truffle Puree & Smashed Peas
Chef Brenden McConchie of King Street Brewhouse in Sydney was inspired by his nana who pioneered his love of cooking and of whom he holds his fond memories of Sunday roasts. His 12 hr Beef Brisket on Cauliflower Truffle Puree & Smashed Peas is a modern adaptation which paired well with the Glenfiddich 14yo rich oak.
Highland Oat Shortbread with Whisky-infused Prunes & Strawberries Glazed with Glenfiddich Sabayon
Putting a sweet end to the dinner, dessert was Highland Oat Shortbread with Whisky Infused Prunes & Strawberries Glazed with Glenfiddich Sabayon matched with Glenfiddich 21yo.
Chef Kim Shaw from North Sydney Harbourview Hotel in Sydney was inspired by his grandfather who came from Aberdeen in Scotland and fought with the ”Gordon Highlanders” in WWI. Though he had never met him, the dish is in memory of his grandfather.
At the conclusion of the dinner, diners were tasked to vote on their favourite dish at the polling booth,
where each box featured a photo of the chef, his dish and inspiration.
L-R: Rob Phillips(NSW), Andrew Douglas (VIC), Andrew Thiele (SA), Victor Liong (VIC),
Brendan McConchie (NSW), Kim Shaw (NSW)
L-R: Rob Phillips, Hotel Steyne in Manly (Runner Up), Andrew Thiele, Treasury on King William in Adelaide (Winner)
The winner was Andrew Thiele from Treasury on King William in Adelaide with his Mallee Smoked Magret de Canard. He was pronounced as the inaugural Glenfiddich Pioneer Chef and won a trip to Scotland where he will visit the Glenfiddich distillery. Runner up Rob Phillips of Hotel Steyne in Manly was awarded a seat on the 2015 Glenfiddich Jet Ski Safari in the Whitsundays.
L-R: Richard Blanchard (William Grant & Sons), Emma Power (Competition Winner)
Gourmantic ran a family inspiration story and competition which give away a ticket to the dinner as well as a bottle of Glenfiddich 12YO. Emma Power was our winner. We had the pleasure of dining with Emma and raising a few fine drams to a most successful event.
Glenfiddich Excellence 26 YO
All six degustation dishes from the dinner along with twelve pioneering cocktail recipes will feature in a recipe book that consumers will receive when they purchase a bottle of Glenfiddich.
The evening concluded with a special tasting of Glenfiddich Excellence 26 YO which was recently launched in Australia.
Photography © by Kevin Burke for Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved.
The Glenfiddich Chef Challenge Charity Degustation Dinner was held at Centennial Parklands Dining on Monday 1 December 2014.
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