Never Too Many Chefs
STORY BY RICHARD CORNISH
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANNY WOOTTON
Two months ago some of the most talented chefs in the region gathered under an old oak tree. They were there to work together on a menu on one of the toughest gigs in the state. They had to work out how to feed 150 people, dining in the open, serving them food that would represent the calibre of the produce grown in the region. Not only that but the chefs had to create dishes that would reflect their own high standards. The event is the Regional World’s Longest Lunch – Daylesford, part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. This sees several thousand people taking their seats at 25 different locations around the state at exactly 12pm on Friday March 16.
The location for the Daylesford lunch is Oak and Monkey Puzzle at Spargo Creek on the Daylesford-Ballan Road where the house and gardens date back to the gold rush days. Owner and landscape architect Natasha Morgan says, “It was inspirational to see those chefs working together on nutting out the ideal menu that could be delivered to the highest standards,” she explains. “There was not one skerrick of ego. Just a lot of determination to get great local produce, with matching local wines and drinks, on the table within budget.”
Budget is essential for this dinner. Profits are going to a new fund that will help create aspirational experiences for local school children. Experiences from exposure to different vocations to arts experiences.
The lunch itself is being held on a series of long tables that are placed in the gardens of Oak and Monkey Puzzle. The backdrop is century old oaks and rugged bushland beyond. Natasha is remaining tight lipped about the details of the menu but we have been able to find out some snippets about what each chef is cooking and with what wines they are serving it. First up is English born and trained chef Peter Knibb from Sault served with a cocktail from The Tea Caravan. Entrees are the responsibility of Japanese born chef Kazuki Tsuya building on his relationship with Tuki Trout Farm and, judging by his previous form, it is most likely he will be serving a cured trout dish. This will be matched with a wine from Passing Clouds in Musk.
Main course goes all porky with a nose to tail dish of Jonai Farms pork cooked by Bistro Terroir’s Matt Carnell. This dish will be paired with wines from Latta Vino. Heading towards the sweet end of the meal there is talk of an Adsum Farmhouse rhubarb dish prepared by Caliopi Buck from Frank and Connie’s Kitchen.
Confirmed for petite fours is Chris Edward from Peddling Pastries and French nougat by Annie Smithers, the woman behind the pans at Du Fermier, Trentham. There are also drinks from Daylesford Hepburn Mineral Water and The Fermentary as well as beer and cider for sale at the bar from Daylesford Brewery and Daylesford Cidery.
“The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival set the theme this year as ‘community’,” says Natasha. “Everyone has donated their time. So I think anyone who comes to the lunch on March 16 will experience just that. A real sense of community.”
Regional World’s Longest Lunches are also being held in Central Victoria at
Macedon, Newlyn, Ballarat and Bendigo.
For bookings go to melbournefoodandwine.com.au