IN THE MEDIA: THE Newcastle Herald
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Margan head chef Thomas Boyd's milk parfait with macadamia, honey and thyme won the popular vote at Hunter Culinary Association's annual Food Fight on Monday. 

His cleverly balanced dessert was a hit with the event's 320 guests, giving him the edge over worthy competitors Eilish Maloney (formerly Saint Peter Paddington), Troy Crisante (Quay Restaurant) and George Mirosevich (Restaurant Mason).

In what is essentially a four-course blind tasting judged by the diners themselves, Malone created the first course: dry-aged snapper with last season's birch fermented tomatoes and preserved lemon. Crisante's second course was a flavour-packed nduja with peas and black olive, and the third course by Mirosevich was a roast and braised lamb with garlic and Jerusalem artichoke.

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Gus Maher
Ledbury alumni up the ante at tenth annual Hunter Culinary Association Food Fight

It was a gastronomicbattle to be remembered when four of the country’s best up-and-coming chefs went head-to-head in the kitchen on Monday for the Hunter Culinary Association’s (HCA) annual Food Fight.

 Each had previously shared the honour of cooking beside the legendary Brett Graham at his acclaimed London Michelin-starred restaurant The Ledbury, but there could only be one winner among the alumni and on the day, this year’s title went to Thomas Boyd for his milk parfait, macadamia, honey and thyme dessert.

 The annual Food Fight is the HCA’s signature event and this year’s – the tenth - certainly did not disappoint. It was a clash of champions that saw chefs’ Eilish Maloney (Formerly Saint Peter Paddington), Thomas Boyd (Margan), Troy Crisante (Quay Restaurant) and George Mirosevich (Restaurant Mason) muster their skills in the kitchen in an attempt to woo diners and take home the prestigious honour.

 More than 320 guests were served an incredible four-course lunch at the event, with the chefs pulling out all stops to create a dish of their choice. 

 The first course was created by Eilish, who served dry aged snapper, last season’s birch fermented tomatoes and preserved lemon. Troy’s dish was the second course, a stunning nduja with peas and black olive. The third course created by George was a delicious roast and braised lamb with garlic and Jerusalem artichoke; and dessert was Thomas’s mouth-watering milk parfait, macadamia, honey and thyme.

 HCA Chairman Gus Maher said the standard of the Food Fight was ‘incredible’.

 ‘The quality of the food presented by each of the chefs was impressive,’ he said.

 ‘What’s extra special about this event is that it not only gives chefs a forum to showcase their talents, but the Food Fight auction we hold on the day also raises money for our range of scholarships. The Brett Graham Scholarship is one of those, providing a young chef the opportunity to work with Brett Graham at The Ledbury – an incredible experience shared by each of today’s chefs.’

 ‘Once again, we were overwhelmed by the generosity of members and guests at the event which will change the course of an aspiring chef’s career by giving them the opportunity of a lifetime.

Another winner on the day was renowned Hunter Valley restaurateur Andrew Wright of The Cellar Restaurant and The Wood Restaurant.  Andrew is a passionate advocate for the Hunter culinary industry and was one of the co-founders of the Association. He was recognised and awarded with the highest honour of Outstanding Contribution by an Individual.

Gus Maher
in the media: delicious.
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Food fights are generally to be avoided, but not this one. In fact, discerning diners should be beating down the door for a place at the Hunter Culinary Association’s annual Food Fight and its associated auction.

This year’s event – the tenth – sees four of Australia’s top young chefs go head to head at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley in Pokolbin. Each will prepare one course, with diners voting for their favourite at the conclusion of lunch.

The four chefs – dubbed the ‘Ledbury All-Stars’ for their time cooking under Brett Graham at The Ledbury in London – are Thomas Boyd (Margan), Troy Crisante (Quay), George Mirosevich (Restaurant Mason) and Eilish Maloney (formerly of Saint Peter);

“Each of these talented chefs have trained under the legendary Brett Graham at his acclaimed Michelin-starred restaurant,” says Hunter Culinary Association chairman Gus Maher. “So guests will be dining at an incredibly high standard.”

The Food Fight, and its signature auction, supports the Hunter region’s young chefs by giving them the opportunity to work with Brett in London through the Brett Graham Scholarship, undertaken in conjunction with TAFE NSW, explain Maher.

“What is rewarding is seeing young chefs and scholarship winners coming back to the Hunter,” he continues.

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Gus Maher
10 YEARS OF FOOD FIGHT - THE LEDBURY ALL STARS

What happens when four of this country’s young gun chefs – all of who have cooked alongside Brett Graham at The Ledbury in London – sharpen their knives and go head-to-head in the kitchen?

 The annual Food Fight is the signature event organised by the Hunter Culinary Association (HCA) and is a highly-anticipated occasion on the Hunter’s culinary calendar. This year’s clash promises to be as thrilling as ever, with the chefs working their magic and creating a dish of their choice to take out the prestigious title. Each chef will prepare one lunch course matched with a Hunter Valley wine. Guests will then vote for their preferred dish at the conclusion of lunch.

 The chefs are: Thomas Boyd (Margan); Troy Crisante (Quay Restaurant); George Mirosevich (Restaurant Mason) and Eilish Maloney, formerly of Saint Peter;

 HCA Chairman Gus Maher said the tenth annual Food Fight was set to be an ‘unforgettable gourmet event’, once again hosted by the inimitable duo Colin Fassnidge and Matt Kemp, who are longtime supporters of the Hunter Culinary Association.

‘Each of these talented chefs have trained under the legendary Brett Graham at his acclaimed London Michelin-starred restaurant, so guests will be dining at an incredibly high standard,’ Mr Maher said.

 ‘That is extra special as the Food Fight, and its signature auction supports our region’s young chefs by giving them the opportunity to work with Brett in London through the Brett Graham Scholarship which we undertake in conjunction with TAFE NSW.’

HCA Chairman Gus Maher says the Food Fight has allowed the Brett Graham scholarship to grow, but most notably allow the overall HCA scholarship program to expand benefitting the career development of many young chefs.

‘The key objective of the HCA is to provide scholarship opportunities to develop the careers of young and aspiring chefs and apprentices. 

The Hunter Culinary Association Food Fight lunch attracts large industry support, but is also open for members of the public to attend and immerse themselves in this special food experience.

 

Date: Monday 17 June 2019

Time: 11am

Location: Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, Pokolbin.

Cost: $175 for HCA members, $195 for non-members and $90 for apprentice chefs 

Bookings: mail@hunterculinary.com.au

 

Gus Maher