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Here in Queenstown, NZ there is a hint of spring in the air, the mountains snow is melting away gradually, rivers are running a little faster, blossoms are coming through on the trees in town and the sun is coming out and warming the place up after the chilly winter of the last few months. Ive managed to get up the mountain a few times, sometimes in blizzard conditions but now with the sun shining its time to think about our garden again.
Since leaving Auckland and our roof top garden behind we havent had a chance to get things growing, one due to work and secondly due to weather, since the sun has come out we spent the last few days knocking up a small planter to get things started, and get some things growing. We will be growing the things I cant get from my suppliers such as Anise Hyssop, Lemon balm, many basils, mints, and hopefully if I can find some plants we shall have a patch of Alpine strawberries.
After eating in Curtis Duffy’s 2 Michelin star restaurant in Avenues last year I was inspired by his use of herbs right through his menu from the first course to the last, all amazing matches, this has pushed me in this direction and now things are up and running at the Wakatipu Grill we can march on and implement some great new dishes.
I will also be looking to push through a new herb range of Macaron in the Lake Counter and Deli for Roselle, so there are a few thing to look forward to over the coming weeks on top of the Rugby World Cup which is sure to bring many people to the country over September and October.
With views in the area such as these it doesnt take much to become inspired by nature and get things growing.
Here is my iPad version of my blog , hope you guys enjoy. Both sweetcuisine.org and sweetcuisine.net will continue to run and will be updated shortly .
Thanks for your patience
Ive learnt through my travels that amazing journeys always come to an end, but they often are followed by something else to look forward too. And with that my time at Kermadec is coming into its last few weeks. Ive had an amazing time here from the first day with Ben Bayly (now at the Grove) when we sat looking at a building site which would house our million dollar kitchen discussing what we were going to do with menus, training and how excited we were to be a part of it all.
Giving up a pastry kitchen which in my opinion is the best set up in New Zealand is always a hard choice to make, we had all the 'toys' in which to create desserts that I could have only dreamt of in other kitchens I previously worked in, but at the same time its a pleasure to be handing over my kitchen into the capable hand of my sous chef for the last 2 years Juan Balsani, I have full faith in his ability to continue on and develop his own style which I hope have influenced along the way.
For me its pasture anew, Im off to the South Island to take up the Pastry Chef job at the new Hilton Kawarau Village in Queenstown nestled at the bottom of the Remarkable Mountain Range. Its a new and exciting development in Queenstown which has been a good few years in the building but looks unbelievable when you step through the doors. It will be opening in mid May so we have a lot of work to get through to open up. It will be a great challenge. and hopefully I can squeeze a few days on the mountain to follow my other passion of snowboarding.
Sweet Cuisine as a blog will continue on, it may take a different look, it may not, for me these are a time of change so time will tell. So please be patient if my blog lays quiet for spells. But look forward to posts about the local growers produce and happenings that my new job brings.
Now I wont claim any originality for this dish, I actually ate something very similar with regards to technique and look when I had one of the most inspiring meals of my life at the Two michelin star Avenues by Curtis Duffy in the Penninsula Hotel in Chicago. There I had a Frozen Red and Golden Capsule with Chambord Cream. And of Course the Technique I believe comes from Alex Stupak.
I recreated it with my one being Frozen Strawberry and Vanilla Custard Capsule filled with a Lemon Verbena Cream, a traditional Scottish Shortbread biscuit, Anise Hyssop and fresh strawberries , strawberry meringue.
I store the tubes without the filling, one comes on order and I fill it with the Lemon Verbena Cream, top the tube with some strawberry Gel and place it in the blast freezer at -25c for 10 minutes, The top freezes leaving my centre liquid which means i don't need to have the liquid centre too sweet or with added alcohol.
Here is my take on Brulee, I dont like to play to much with the flavor of them believing that Vanilla is such a good clean flavour, the traditionalist in me coming out there, I bake it in the lid that fits the plate and at the moment it comes along with Blackcurrant sorbet, almond and rhubarb consomme.
I also make a blackcurrant gel that goes in the lid before pouring the brulee mix on.
late summer berries
Here is the next dish I have been working on for a tasting menu of desserts over summer
Strawberry Jelly Veil,
Heilala Vanilla Cheesecake mousse,
This is a dish I have been playing about with, Its a Capsule (ala Stupak) made out of Manuka wood and honey infused milk, filled with a manuka honey liqour liquid centre, and comes with a hazelnut custard(out of sight) Chocolate and berry Crumbs, Berries, Oxalis and hazelnuts. and Ive given the Capsule a wood grain effect.