They came, they saw, they cooked up a storm!
The four eager finalists from Perth and Surrounds, Great Southern, Southern Forrests and the Gascoyne gathered at the Perth Cultural Centre on Monday, WA Day for the Buy West Eat Best’s inaugural WA’s Signature Dish competition.
There was a more than decent crowd in attendance, listening as TV star and cookbook doyenne, Anna Gare and WA food ambassador Don Hancey emceed all the action on the big stage. I actually loved the set up of the stage, dramatically framed with WA fruit and veg, surrounded by small stands with producers from the various regions. Plenty to try and taste!
So the contestants and their mentoring chefs were:
Perth and Surrounds – Rhiannon Birch with Chris Taylor (Frasers Restaurant)
Great Southern – Clare King and Silas Masih (Pepper & Salt Restaurant)
Southern Forrests – Alana Starkie with Sophie Zalokar (chef and food writer)
Gascoyne – Paul Kelly with Peter Manifis (In Contro Restaurant)
Each contestant was given an hour and a half to recreate the dish that had gotten them to the final. The crowd cheered them on as they cooked their hearts out. Anna Gare and Don Hancey kept the crowd well informed about their progress as we heard from both the contestants and the mentor chefs.
It was a flurry of activity and there were some incredible appetising aromas drifting from the stage into the audience and I don’t know about anyone else but it was making me pretty peckish 🙂
The judging panel was made up of Guillaume Brahimi from Bistro Guillaume, Ralf Vogt who is the Executive Chef at Crown Perth and finally Rob Broadfield, the Food Editor for The West Australian.
Talk about pressure for the contestants! After carefully cooking their dishes they presented the finished product to the judges.
The four dishes were:
Rhiannon Birch with ‘Lupin and Za’atar Crumbed Dorper Lamb Cutlets with Moroccan Roast Pumpkin and Lupin Salad’
Clare King with ‘Celebration Fillet Of Beef- Thai Style’ dish
Paul Kelly with ‘Gascoyne Seafood Tasting Plate’
Alana Starkie with ‘Blue Ridge Marron, Pink Lady™ Apple & Avocado Salsa’
It was a big decision for the judges with each dish having its highlight and all showcasing the beautiful produce from their region.
But there could only be one winner on the day and taking out the inaugural WA Signature Dish crown (or plate as it was) was Rhiannon Birch! A big congratulations to her! Rhiannon now enjoys a two night stay at Crown Perth and the opportunity to learn a few tricks of the trade from the ever charming Guillaume Brahimi.
It was an excellent first year for the competition and I will be very interested to see if there are other regions that put their hands up to be involved in 2015. I’m hoping that the WA Signature Dish competition becomes a regular fixture on the WA Day calendar.
If you want to give Rhiannon’s winning dish a go the recipe can be found here https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/food/a/24170305/wa-signature-dish-winner/