It was gloves off and a cook-off like no other at the annual Hunter Culinary Association (HCA) Food Fight that took place on Tuesday 6 June. Four chefs, each at the top of their game, took to the kitchen to prepare the most popular course of the day and be crowned ‘2017 Top Gun’.
More than 350 guests enjoyed the fruits of their labour while digging deep to raise more than $30,000 to support industry scholarship funds and food rescue charity, OzHarvest.
Hosted by two of Australia’s leading chefs and long-time supporters of the event, Colin Fassnidge of 4Fourteen and My Kitchen Rules and Matt Kemp of Q Station in Manly, this year’s change in format brought a new element to the highly-anticipated clash, with chefs going head to head to bring their all to the table.
Given the incredible standard of each dish, it was a closely contested fight, but there had to be a winner, and in the end, it was taken out by Gareth Williams, whose dessert wowed the diners and saw him pronounced the 2017 Food Fight’s Top Gun.
The incredible meal began with a paperbark smoked salmon served with house sour cream, cucumber and rye created by Muse Kitchen head chef Sean Townsend. It was followed by a course from Rob Kabboord – chef de cuisine at Quay Restaurant – who delighted guests with a cauliflower, kohlrabi, seaweed, umami broth. Next up was pork neck with molasses, turnips and black garlic from Sixpenny sous chef Aaron Ward.
And last – but certainly not least – was a jasmine rice pudding with rhubarb, pomegranate, goat’s curd sorbet and pain d’epice from head pastry chef at Restaurant Mason, Gareth Williams.
But Gareth was not the only winner on the day, with Troy Rhoades-Brown of Muse Restaurant and Muse Kitchen also being named this year’s Industry Person of Excellence.