Food glorious food- the Food Service Australia event celebrated all of that and more. In 2016, this trade show was held in Sydney at the Royal Hall of Industries and the Hordern Pavilion from May 22-24. It was specifically targeted at professionals from the food, beverage and hospitality industries and drew together an impressive line-up of events, presentations, masterclasses and over 200 exhibitors.
The inaugural National Restaurant Conference was also a big drawcard where 4Fourteen’s Colin Fassnidge, Catalina’s Judy and James McMahon, Gault & Millau’s Mark Dorrell and others came together with other industry luminaries to discuss important topics like: social media, pricing, tourism, global food trends, technological developments and food allergies. Fassnidge was a very interesting speaker in particular, he joked that he once used a producer that was so good at tracing the origins of a pig he could tell you its name. He also described how his chefs cook regular meals for the homeless and that this has helped to reduce food waste in his restaurant’s kitchen.
The Café School was another important spot where people could learn about coffee, sandwiches, burgers, wraps and gelato. Emily Oak of Sensory Lab was one of the speakers. She has over 20 years experience (or the equivalent of around 1 million coffees) and she did a very informative talk about coffee that included the following points:
- Coffee is the seed of a coffee tree meaning it’s a fresh product that is best consumed within one month of purchase.
- The coffee, machine, milk and barista all matter in order to make a good coffee.
- Coffees are not hard to make but they are difficult to make well.
- Bitter coffees are often the result of a dirty machine, not the barista.
- You should learn as much as you can and practice as much as possible.
- Milk has an optimal temperature of 55-58 degrees Celsius. The texture and temperature need to be correct for the latte art to work.
- You need to tamper firmly and consistently in order to avoid channeling.
Food Service Australia also played host to the Unilever Food Solutions’ Chef of the Year. The competition attracted over 150 applicants where a total of 32 chefs competed in heats over the course of the three day event. The entrants had one hour to produce their best dish from a black box of ingredients and were judged by John McFadden (Pittwater RSL), Karen Doyle (Le Cordon Bleu), Sam Burke (Meat & Livestock Australia), Philippe Mouchel (President, Bocuse d’Or Australia), Mark Baylis (Unilever Food Solutions) and Gary Farrell (Competition Director). The competition was fierce and the title was won by Matt Weller of the Royal Canberra Golf Club.
The World’s Greatest Pie competition had entrants supply one pie to judge hot, one to judge cold and one to be judged the next day. Victoria’s Kaa Pies made history by being the first non-meat pie to win in the history of the competition. They took out the main title with their vegan pie, a Thai vegetable curry one and also amassed a total of four other medals for their tasty creations.
The exhibitors were all extremely knowledgeable and passionate about their food. This was particularly evident when we chatted to La Coppola chef, Steven Scopelliti at the Good Lady Imports equipment stand. Steven whipped us up a fresh margherita pizza that was so fresh and tasty. He told us that the secret to his pizzas was that he uses a wood fire oven to “barbeque” the dough but in the chain stores like Dominos they “fry” the base because they use deep dishes that require a lot of oil to stop the pizza from sticking.
Some other highlights from the exhibitors included:
- Whisk & Pin: a Blue Mountains-based business where they create innovative and original products like cookies, muesli, baking mix, chocolate and conserves from premium Australian produce. Their white chocolate dessert road (a twist on Rocky road) was heavenly.
- Chocolate 5018- award-winning chocolate creations that see exquisite ingredients like freeze-dried nuts, spices, edible flowers and gold mixed with fine Belgian couverture.
- The Fudge Man: offers up 25 different flavours of gourmet fudge including some varieties that are free of sugar, gluten and preservatives.
- Groenz: a leading manufacturer of condiments in New Zealand and Australia, their mustards, sauces and salsas offer an extra punch and compliment for any food.
- Bakers & Co and Bakery Fresh: a Melbourne-based company offering tasty breads, pizza bases and cookies.
The Food Service Australia 2016 event was another successful show drawing together a diverse range of professionals to talk about all things food, beverage and service. The show had been a very informative one where people could learn lots of handy tips, tricks and titbits from people in the know, which they could then take away to enrich their businesses and lives. Bon appetit!
Originally published on 18 June 2016 at the following website: http://www.theaustraliatimes.com/magazine/gourmet/issue/406/#23
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