(C)rave: George Calombaris

4:13:00 PM Jessica Chia 0 Comments

Last Saturday, I got a lucky ticket
to the Ken Arnone & George Calombaris cooking show.
I will divide my review into 2 posts with Chef Calombaris as the starter,
since you're probably more familiar with him than Chef Arnone.
As you know, George Calombaris is
the famous co-judge on Masterchef Australia.
He himself, is preferred to be seen as a chef & restaurateur.
This was what he emphasized at the start of the show.
With The Press Club being the center of his work,
George also owns other restaurants which he manages/co-manages;
Hellenic Republic, P M 24, St Katherine's, and Mama Baba.

Along with Ariki, his pastry chef at The Press Club,
George created 3 dishes;
a salad which represented his Greek background (he's so proud of it!),
an entrée which featured chicken & vegetable
(and literally named after the ingredients),
a dessert which was inspired by a story in Greek mythology.
The presentation of the dishes was beautiful in its simplicity. 
Actually what George made at first was the chocolate mousse,
made from chocolate, cream, & olive oil, and done in just 30 seconds!
Then he asked someone from the back seats to taste it,
a lucky girl came up to the stage and oh boy,
the audience could tell how excited and anxious she was.
Not only she got to taste what George made,
she got George to feed her twice!
Whoever you are, you're so lucky!
For the second spoon, George asked her to close her eyes
and added a little bit of blue cheese to the chocolate mousse.
When she was asked which one was tastier, she opted
for the second spoon & George explained the chemistry behind it.
I'm not sure, but he mentioned something about diacetone.
Greek Salad
George was very excited when he got to talk about his salad.
This dish contains marinated baby tomato,
capsicum terrine, green olive gel, vinegar, olive oil, cucumber yogurt,
feta cream, and black olive sponge, lastly garnished with oregano.
George mentioned many times on the importance of air
as the carrier of flavor, and pointed out the essentiality of flavor particles
and the chemistry behind food & flavor.
Chicken & Vegetable
As simple as its name seemed, I don't think the
whole cooking process would be a simple one.
Looking at the recipe, lots of ingredients that need
to be cooked alone to produce this exquisite dish.
There's this chicken ballontine, fermented black garlic puree,
vegetable pickle, caramelized chicken skin, daikon,
sous vide carrots, and boudin blanc.
The ingredients on this recipe also calls for buttermilk,
which I don't see here in Jakarta.
George suggested to mix milk & yogurt to make one.
I usually blended vinegar into milk to make buttermilk,
will try his tip the next time I bake.
8 Tastes of Chocolate
George started off his attempt in making this dainty dessert
by telling a little bit story of the inspiration; Zeus.
A father of Greek gods & ruler of Olympians he was,
Zeus was also famous for being a casanova,
he had a wife named Hera & several mistresses to count.
This was what George wanted to portray in 8 Tastes of Chocolate.
Zeus was represented with a chocolate crack tuille (according to George,
the chocolate crack shouldn't have those air bubbles, 
the surface should be smooth like a glass),
with chocolate mousse filling all the way to the top.
Zeus was sit on the center, accompanied with other forms of chocolate; 
chunky chocolate clay, dots of milk chocolate caramel sauce
and chocolate liquid sauce, a quenelle of chocolate sorbet,
aerated white chocolate bar (Aero White, anyone?),
bits of hazelnut chocolate cake, Gianduja custard,
salt & vinegar chocolate sticks, and the 24k chocolate!
Lots of chocolate goodness in one plate, yes?

I really really really like to get a taste on (at least!) one of those three.
Unfortunately, only the VIPs entitled to such privilege. :(

Anyway, despite his popularity,
I like that he kept being humble and stay true to his chef identity.
Yes, he's a funny guy, but when he talked about food & cooking,
you can really see that this guy is really passionate 
and wants to convey his passion & knowledge through his cooking.
Hats off, Chef!
Chef George Calombaris & Pastry Chef of The Press Club, Ariki Hamilton
Jakarta Culinary Festival 2012

"Get rid of people in your life who tell you to remove the chicken skin. They are good!
Don't you want to be svelte like George?" - George Calombaris

P. S. Click on the images to enlarge.

0 Thoughtful Comments: