Justin North’s hard-earned reputation as one of Australia’s best young chefs may have a lot to do with his surname – he just keeps on heading in new compass directions. He makes unexpected U-Turns, reverse parks and then suddenly steps on the accelerator leaving your heart in your stomach – literally. He does suspense better than Hitchcock.
Yesterday, during the Winter Forum of his now highly-anticipated ‘Producer’s Lunch’ at his Becasse restaurant, he showcased his growing passion for sustainable produce and the army of devoted farmers and growers who bring that food from their farmgate to our fork.
Producers featured included Kinkawooka seafood from Port Lincoln, Cornucopia poultry, Lakes Folly Chardonnay from the Hunter Valley and Redoak Organic Pale Ale – a microbrewery just up the road on Clarence St in Sydney.
There were some exquisite matchings – the coffin bay oysters with the 2007 Lakes Folly Chardonnay, the roast duck breast with a spiced ale jus and the salted caramel in the chocolate dessert with a nip of Hennessy XO Cognac. Lakes Folly’s reputation is immense and sampling their ’07 chardonnay was a highlight. The other unusual discovery was how drinkable the Redoak pale ale was with food.
Best of all, seated at our table was a wonderful selection of foodies and producers – Sandra and Rodney Kempe from Lakes Folly winery, food journalists Lisa and Myffy and Mr So-You-Think-You-Can-Dance Andrew Cam who elicited as many shrieks of delight as the food did!
Here’s what we ate…..
Canapes: Coffin Bay Pacific oyster, sable of goats cheese, compressed melon with local proscuitto, Woodbridge smoked trout
Entree: Raviolo of scallops and prawns, shellfish vinaigrette and prawn bisque
Main: Roast duck breast and ballotine of leg with pumpkin and mandarin puree, candied ginger and spiced ale jus
This was an exquisite dish of delicately balanced flavours, set off by the spicy notes in the beer
Redoak organic pale ale
Dessert: Coffee mousse, salted caramel, chestnut Mont Blanc, chocolatte Cognac sorbet, spiced chocolate mousseline, honeycomb and cocoa dentelle with a Single Origin ‘Bundja’ coffee
MC Simon Marnie and Justin North through a glass of Hennessy XO Cognac