I've never been a huge fan of Donna Hay, but the prospect of a 3 course dinner with wines and a cooking demo by the gal herself for $60 was too much of a foodie-opp to miss!
Held in the Grand Ballroom at the Shangri-La (ex-ANA), we guess-timated a crowd of about 400 foodies-- although some (like the Lavazza guys on our table) were there as corporate guests with freebie tickets.
With a similar set-up to the Good Food Show Celebrity Theatre, Donna did her stuff on stage whilst two large screens replayed "all the action". Appearing slightly nervous and struggling to talk over a particular table of raucous, giggly, shrieking females (cringe cringe), Donna showed us the light for a successful dinner party in under 45 minutes. At the conclusion of each course demonstration, an army of waitstaff distributed "ones we prepared earlier" to each diner.
Entree Caramelised pear and salad
Main Veal cutlets with tomato pan sauce
Dessert Chocolate dessert cakes
The food was very easy to prepare and probably a little too easy for the gung-ho chef. The entree was definitely the highlight--the roasted walnuts matching really well with the rocket, pear and blue brie. Simple flavours which did work really well together.
The veal was simply seared in the pan and served on a bed of baby spinach leaves with a sauce of sauteed cherry tomatoes. However strangely enough, no-one on any table got any of the accompanying tomato pan sauce (which Donna had explicitly drizzled sexily over her demonstration plate) and our veal was a little tough.
Donna's famous "thumb potatoes" (boiled baby new potatoes imprinted with a thumb mark and then baked at 200C for 20 min for crunchy outside, fluffy insides) were also thumbless and crunchless on our individual plates.
Dessert was extremely rich--a thick gooey mass of warm chocolate pudding. For extreme chocoholics only.
It wasn't pretty
Our wines for the evening were all from Taylors (chardonnay, sav blanc, shiraz and a cab sav) and although we managed to score one lot of refills, the waitstaff confided in us that "we're not really supposed to refill glasses". Indignation and outrage!!!
Our goodie bags included the latest Donna Hay magazine (which we ended up getting autographed), lasagna sheets, coffee, patterned serviettes, pepper sauce, anchovie, cooking chocolate and a bright red spatula. The spatula became an integral part of the rest of our cocktail-drenched evening on a rainy Saturday night but that's a whole other story...
Donna in action
Donna Hay Live is held every September in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
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9/04/2004 11:59:00 a.m.