As a young aspiring apprentice, you can imagine how many chefs I would like to meet and the number of restaurants where I would like to dine. Last Wednesday night I ticked the top of my bucket list. An evening with Shannon Bennett was well and truly beyond my expectations!
It was the launch of his new travel cookbook, “Cooking All Over The World”. His book incorporates recipes inspired by his visit to 19 cities in 70 days. The idea was to promote the Miele Generation 6000 oven and to showcase modern Australian cuisine.
From the top level of the Bennelong with a backdrop of Sydney Harbour at twilight was the perfect setting. Beautiful white flowers surrounded by glowing fairy lights decorated tables. Glasses of Whisky Sour and Champagne were being served whilst we admired the collection of Shannon’s cookware amid the national flags of the countries visited.
At our table each chair held bright red goodie bags containing his cookbook, white linen napkin and the menu. As Shannon Bennet is the ambassador of Miele, the dining room was themed red, white and black. The menu was a map which showcased the origin of the food. We were treated to a three course meal with matching wines.
Staff practically outnumbered the guests so the service was flawless. We couldn’t get enough of crunchy white dinner rolls accompanied with a bucket of Echire butter. I seriously need to get my hands on some of this butter as soon as possible!
Toronto musk ox tartare spread on potato chips with a slice of pickle was a delicious snack along with bite sized boats of lettuce carrying Byron Bay raw tuna.
Gorgeous stripe swirled plates featured slow-cooked wild salmon originating from Seattle with apple and spanner crab. Fish flaking off the fork along with sweet crabmeat and fresh sour notes made this entrée simply perfect.
The main of Auckland lamb with thyme and lemon was colourful and intriguing. A tube of tuna rolled in cabbage was an unusual accompaniment however it complimented the dish well.
Guests helped themselves to a range of petit fours while Shannon Bennet mingled amongst the crowd.
It was such a thrill to meet such a charming, extremely modest and down to earth guy. His philosophy that, “If you don’t know the name of the producer, then you can’t serve it”, is something all chefs should strive for!