WA talent and Seafood – Stars of Show
Australian produce, budding chefs and hospitality students were on show at the annual Hospitality Group Training (HGT) Skills Showcase dinner earlier this month.
The event displayed the talent and skills of more than 100 of WA’s hottest young apprentice chefs and hospitality trainees to a 250 + strong crowd of guests made up of industry, government, sponsors and family/friends.
Staged with an Australian theme at the Hyatt Hotel in Perth the audience enjoyed a four-course menu with a combination of Western Australian drinks and were kept entertained throughout the night by MC Christina Morrissey, multi-talented artist James Wilson who brought to life Australian classics and Proof – Perth’s hottest young corporate band.
The youngsters took the audience on a culinary journey highlighting the finest of WA’s native produce with a menu that included an appetiser of smoked WA herring and Shark Bay Cockles served with pickled zucchini and samphire salad, cherry tomatoes and a cucumber dill and an entrée of apple braised Linley Valley Pork cheek served with an apple and munthari berry chutney, yam gratin and broccolini. The main dish was Mahogany Creek squab served with mushroom gnocchi, mountain pepper leaf and carrot puree, green beans and pepperberry jus. Dessert was strawberry gum leaf cake, served with vanilla panna cotta.
CEO of WAFIC John Harrison acknowledged the hard work and creativity from the trainees that had gone on behind the scene, ensuring all guests had a night to remember.
“These young people are to be commended for their enthusiasm, hard work, professionalism and their commitment to ensuring guests were captivated by sensational food.
“WAFIC is very proud to have helped sponsor this evening and I would hope that as these apprentice chefs move forward with their careers they remember that under-utilised and often overlooked fish species, such as Herring, can actually be made into pretty incredible dishes.”
“Events like these go to show what you can do with some imagination and creativity,” John Harrison said.
Madilyne Beekan, who was the young apprentice chef who oversaw the smoked WA herring and Shark Bay cockle appetiser for the night, said the event was her first taste of completing a large function at work.
“The event was not as stressful as I first imaged, but I did fall to the ground in relief after completing the 250 herring and cockle appetiser dishes”, she laughed.
“I have had experience working in the seafood industry and I have always loved seafood growing up.”
“I was ecstatic to have the chance to cook and create a dish with WA seafood and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working alongside mentor chef Josh Veres.”
“I graduate in two weeks and with all of this experience, I am looking forward to my next adventure – hopefully it involves travelling!”
When quizzed about her top tips for cooking the perfect piece of fish, Madi recommended the following:
- Make sure it is fresh seafood;
- Check that there are no scales;
- Fish cooks very quickly. Be sure to pay attention, you don’t want it to dry out; &
- If the fish is spongy when you touch it, it is undercooked. If you touched it and the meat flakes – it is cooked.
Frank Ianni, who supplied the herring for the dinner said that events like this are important to educate the next generation of chefs, hospitality workers and even the public that underutilised fish species were an excellent choice to cook with.