Join Sydney-based Kiwi chef Justin North this September as he hosts the one-night-only KEA event “Tastes of NZ”, featuring a five-course degustation menu using only New Zealand ingredients and matched with the finest Kiwi wines. To be held at Etch Restaurant on Tuesday September 29, “Tastes of NZ” promises to be a night replete with exquisite food.
To find out more contact Madeleine Lethaby, [email protected]
MiNDFOOD catches up with Justin North, the 2009 Chef of the Year, and proprietor and chef at Sydney’s award winning Bécasse restaurant, to discuss his inspiration both in and outside of the kitchen.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
My style is best described as Modern European cuisine. I use excellent produce sourced from local growers and producers and combine it with intelligent, well-tested techniques to get the best results from our ingredients.
What is your signature dish for this season?
Roast rare breed suckling pig with buttered cabbage, truffle potato puree and smoked bacon jus.
What ingredients do you love at the moment and why?
Melanda Park rare breed suckling pig for its amazing depth of flavour and succulent texture.
Noosa Spanner crabs, which have fantastic chunks of amazing sweet meat.
Quince because of its amazing aroma and it’s incredibly versatile.
Who would you most like to cook for and what would you cook to showcase the finest in Australian and New Zealand produce and cuisine?
My best friend Alex Mackay – an amazingly gifted cook, food writer and presenter living in England who knows how to get to the heart of good cooking.
The New Zealand ingredients I would use are: New Zealand Venison, NZ koura, NZ saltwater crayfish, kina and paua.
The Australian ingredients would include: Australian truffles, organic grass fed beef, marron and rare breed pork.
What do you consider the most overrated ingredient or cooking technique? Why?
Cooked imported foie gras lobes. They’re overrated for a thousand reasons, but most importantly because the taste and texture is generally of poor quality.
What is your greatest extravagance in the kitchen?
The amount of staff we employ.
What can you not live without?
In a culinary sense: salt. On a personal level: my awesome young family.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Owning my own restaurants and cafes with my wife, after nine years without any outside investment.
Outside of the kitchen, which talent would you most like to have? Why?
Formula One driver – because I like speed, risk and excitement.
What’s your ideal meal to cook at home on a Sunday?
Braised lamb neck
RECIPE: Braised lamb neck
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours
2 boneless lamb necks
2 sticks celery
1/2 bulb garlic
20 ml cooking oil
4 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
150 ml white wine
2.5 litres Brown Lamb Stock
1 Pre-heat your oven to 110°C.
2 Cut the vegetables to a rough mire poix
3 Heat a large braising pan over a moderate heat add the oil and caramelise the neck all over until well browned. Remove from the pan and set to one side to drain, add the vegetables to the same pan and brown all over. Then add the tomatoes, herbs and white wine to the vegetables and bring to the boil for two minutes.
4 Add the hot stock and lamb, bring to a gentle simmer, skim well, taste and adjust seasoning.
5 Cover with a cartouche, and a lid place in the pre-heated oven to gently braise for 3 hours, turning the lamb every half hour. The lamb should be soft and tender when ready.
6 Remove the necks from the liquor and serve immediately. The braising liquor can then be strained through a fine sieve and reduced rapidly over a high heat to a sauce consistency, to be served with the braise.
7 Serve with potato puree and green beans.