Charity can be delicious

Did you see this?

The Kony 2012 campaign got me thinking about the small and sometimes ridiculous things we do in order to try and solve rather earnest global problems. Generally, eating delicious meals as an attempt at saving the world is about as effective as retweeting Stephen Fry when he heckles a homophobe, or petitioning Gina Rinehart to stop messing with our media.

Fortunately, I found an exception: eating delicious food when raising money for a charity. Eight of Brissie’s best chefs are giving up their time on June 16 to put on a 4-course dinner  where the profits go to Variety, a charity that helps families take care of desparately sick kids with unusual maladies. When I say top chefs, I do mean it too – a number of these guys won awards in the recent Good Food Guide Awards. As a bonus, Peter Marchant will be selecting wines and generally truffling around in his charismatic way.

I got a chance to preview this dinner today; whether you’re feeling like eating charitably with all eight of these gurus or just checking out individual chefs down the track, this article will help give a sense of what you can expect from each of these elites.


Hajime Horiguchi – Wasabi Noosa – Sugi smoked ocean trout, micro herbs, umeboshi dressing and Tasmanian Wasabi

Jeremy Clark – Hilton Brisbane – Sous vide spanner crab, fennel and citrus salad

Surprisingly the generous array of entrees were a bit more Delta Goodrem than Jimi Hendrix – not the standard you’d expect from the rockstar lineup. Admittedly, they were pretty hungover and cooking for a pack of media hacks for free, so I’m prepared to give the benefit of the doubt on these dishes. I do things badly while hungover all the time, and these dishes weren’t even bad, just a few steps short of elite.

Paul McGivern – The Jetty South Bank – Ballotine of Rannoch farm quail, poached grapes, parsnip puree

Kym Machin – Spring – Chawanmushi (Noosa spanner crab, kingfish, flying fish roe and quinoa)


The mains stepped up the game nicely. Tony Kelly provided a memorable take on roast pork – that there is a crispy pig’s tail.

Tony Kelly – Stokehouse Brisbane – Twice cooked pork, crispy pig’s tail, smoked potato puree, apple jam, sauce charcuterie

The beef main was a beautiful cut and perfectly tender; you can see why Adrian is an advocate of sustainable beef from healthy, happy cattle. My philistine palate didn’t need the salsa but it did give a bit of texture and depth to the dish.

Adrian Richardson – La Luna Bistro, Melbourne – Grassfeed rib of beef, braised, corn, avocado, tomato salsa


These dishes were as delectable as they look. This was a highlight, although that might reflect the timing of the tasting (roughly noon, and on scant breakfast for me). In addition to tasting good, the chef himself (Alistair Mcleod) is quite a character, injecting all kinds of loudness and mirth to the experience. It excites me to think that the kitchen will have microphones in it… if there’s going to be fireworks in the kitchen, it’ll be this guy that delivers.

Alastair McLeod – Tank Restaurant and Brett’s Wharf – Bundaberg strawberry Cranachan, yoghurt Chantilly, bushmills

The brownie was a nice finisher; David Pugh is as earnest about chocolate as he is about charity. The use of citrus to balance the rich brownies was superb.

David Pugh – Restaurant Two – Chocolate and beetroot brownie, pear sorbet, licorice cocoa crumb, ganache

Having sampled the range and felt the ‘vibe’ of the chefs and their meals, I get the feeling this would be a very enjoyable night out, and a fun way of giving to the needy.  Of course, if you can’t stump up the $225 by June 16th, you could always, well, ‘like’ this blog instead.


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