Hobart Fine Food Awards 2018

I was approached earlier this year  to be the Chief Judge at the Hobart Fine Food Awards. I was not quite sure what I was in for but I am always up for a new challenge. Lucky for me it turned out to be a brilliant week! 2018 was the 22nd year of the awards and it was amazing  to see the workings of a mostly volunteer organisation, put together such a large event in  such a professional way. It was a pleasure to be a part of it. The awards are organised by a committee comprising; chairman Annette Emmett, no relation by the way,  Henry Burbury, who was a founding committee member and who had the monstrous job of running the pantry, Barry Stubbs, the chief Steward, and several dedicated committee members. Nearly 1200 products were entered, catalogued, stored, judged and then rated by a team of industry professionals.

I would (and will be) encouraging every small producer to enter. Yes, winning medals for your products is always great for business but also the feedback you can gain from the judges is excellent, they all want your product to reach gold medal standard. The calibre of the judges was outstanding: local business owners and bakers, Tafe teachers and chefs and CWA ladies, retired home ec teachers and  cheese experts, international olive oil judges, tea judges and others many of which were flown in from the mainland.

Over the 4 days nearly 1200 products were judged. The standard was very high, very inspiring. Each category had 2-3 judges and one or 2 stewards, so 30-50 people were there each day judging to a strict criteria. Then on the final day the judging of the overall winner of the awards and a trophy presentation lunch was held.

On  Sunday the The champion of each category was put back out on display for 5 judges including the committee chair Annette and myself to choose an overall champion. It was a hard decision between all those brilliant products including perfect honey, faultless olive oil, the best cheeses, delicious salmon, innovative kangaroo salami, beautiful preserves and more. We then left the 17 category champions and reserve champions on display for all the guests at lunch to try. This was a last minute but great decision, so I have put “styling the champion table” on my to-do list for next year. It was brilliant to see Tasmanian products doing so well and I heard first hand from international judges how impressed they were with the local produce and created products.

 

 

IMG_3780IMG_3781IMG_3782IMG_3783IMG_3784IMG_3785IMG_3789IMG_3790IMG_3794

I need a few months off tasting food but I am looking forward to the 2019 Awards!

Seafood Cooking Workshops

July 2018

I hosted another workshop today, this was seafood cooking. We cooked and discussed all types of  Seafood for the home kitchen for weeknight meals and special occasions. It was a busy day but I wanted to cover lots of different seafood that we have access to in Tasmania, to encourage my guests to eat more seafood and be confident cooking and preparing it. I was pretty thrilled that 2 of the guest today were repeat workshop customers, (this is my third workshop) and 2 re-booked before leaving!!

We shucked Oysters and served them with a tangy shallot dressing and  cooked them with salt and szechwan pepper. We cooked mussels and made handmade fettucchinie. We filleted a fish made a stock and seafood chowder. We made a few easy pantry staple salmon meals, caper tart with onion jam and cold smoked salmon, a apple cider slaw with hot smoked salmon and salmon mince koftas served with tatzaki. We baked a whole fish dressed it in lemon and oregano  to serve with smashed potatoes and skordallia. Scallops were wrapped in bacon and served with spicy tomato sauce. We baked octopus and pickled octopus, crusted fish and a made a hot smoked salmon dip and served it with my homemade sour dough and olive oil. The attendees were quite happy for the opportunity to taste what we learnt! All the recipes are from my books.

Game cooking in October with a one spot available  Book a spot here

September 22nd 2018

We shucked and cooked oysters in salt and pepper, and served some of the freshly shucked oysters natural with a Asian dipping sauce. We cleaned octopus and baked it in olive oil. I had prepared some octopus with my greek pickle style to taste as well. We filleted a fish and made a stock from the bone for the base of a Moroccan fish stew. We then baked the fillets with a gremolata crust. We split scallops and made some pasta to serve them with cooked in olive oil and garlic. And we made a simple hot smoked salmon and veg slaw. It was a great day!