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Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Masterclass and Degustation at Tetsuya's



Meet Judi Adams.

In March of this year, Grab Your Fork ran a competition for one reader to win a Masterclass with Tetsuya Wakuda. Judi was chosen by competition sponsor Electrolux as the lucky winner.

The prize included return flights to Sydney, one night's accommodation and an invitation to attend an exclusive Masterclass at Tetsuya's restaurant. Judi was so excited by the evening, she emailed me a detailed account of the event, unprompted. How was the experience? Read on to find out. Photos have been kindly supplied by fellow competition winner, Kerry, from Eat, Drink + Be Kerry.


24 August
Masterclass and Degustation at Testuya’s

On the 24 August myself and 11 other lucky people attended a masterclass and private degustation at Tetsuya’s courtesy of Electrolux and Tetsuya. Around 12 of these events are held a year, often for charity events, or for clients of Tetsuya and the Electrolux team.

I have had the pleasure of seeing Tetsuya at the industry masterclass held as part of Savour Tasmania in 2009 at Tafe Tasmania- and learnt from that event a unique new way to cook abalone in it’s shell. But that was an auditorium with about 100 hospitality students- this was far more intimate and very special.

Shows such as Masterchef might have brought the concept into our homes in recent years, but nothing beats being there and experiencing this with all your senses.



To have a chance to stand around the granite benches and ask Tetsuya questions on the ingredients he was using and to witness him at work in such close quarters and to sample these dishes as they were prepared was truly a wonderful way to begin the evening.

It was also wonderful to be able to present Tetsuya with some Tasmanian mementos in return as thanks for the opportunity to attend this exclusive masterclass and to acknowledge the time he spent with us on such a personal level. These were some Tasmanian myrtle and huon pine cookery pieces made by my friends in Tasmania who run "Out the Back" at the Salamanca Market. Last year when Tetsuya was here in Tasmania, he bought a truckload of them from their stall so I took him some different shaped ones.

One other guest attending (for the class only) told me that he paid $1300 at a charity event to win the bid and be lucky enough to be able to attend. And he and his guest didn’t get to stay and eat !

So how lucky were us twelve food devotees ?

The Masterclass

Prior to the degustation for the twelve guests and the Electrolux brand marketing team of Richelle and Fiona, we had the honour of a Masterclass with Tetsuya.

Tetsuya demonstrated the passion he has for his kitchen technology- explaining why Electrolux induction plates and appliances feature in his test kitchen. He stressed the importance of humidity controls and the ability to consistently cook at up to 320 degrees, and explained the beauty of the level of control Electrolux technology with induction cooking plates has to offer.

Tetsuya wanted to share with us some simple and quick dishes for us to try at home, what he called quick cheat eats. He wanted us to get a feel for making some dishes that do not require days of work.

He also explained some of his favourite gadgets and stressed the importance of good equipment and great knives especially when preparing foods such as tuna.


Warm tuna salad

The first dish prepared for us to sample was a warm tuna salad. Tetsuya showed us each step from go to whoa - starting with how to cut the tuna into a block, and stressing that it must be left at least 36 hours refrigerated to allow the enzymes to release flavour from the meat. The block of fish is kept in papertowel and then wrapped in glad wrap.

Tetsuya spoke of his personal preference for tuna or ocean trout but explained that for him this is a personal taste thing. He described both these fish as lean meats with a low-fat content.

After slicing the tuna Tetsuya ground black pepper over this, and then mixed mirin and soy sauce in a bowl, with a small amount of caster sugar. He then removed fibre from freshly chopped ginger by using his knife to maserate this. This was added to the mirin soy mix, he sprinkled chopped blackbean over the tuna and finely chopped chilli and spring onions.

Tetsuya also put minced garlic into the sauce and on the fish (he used some oil to make this easier to spread evenly over the fish) and then put orange zest and white pepper over this mix. Then some sesame oil and the mirin mix were spooned over the fish along with a seaweed accompaniment being used on the fish. (Note for kingfish or tuna orange zest works but he said don’t use it for snapper). Salt to taste.

Grape seed oil was then heated to 250 degrees and after baby coriander and dried chilli (Korean and a little like angel hair in texture) the hot grape seed oil was poured over the whole dish.


Fregola

The next dish was from one of Tetsuya’s fave cuisines, Italian. Fregola (which means crumbs in Italian) is a form of pasta. This was precooked – it takes about 7 mins and looks like large cous cous. Tetsuya combined slivered garlic that had been infused in olive oil prior to cooking, finely chopped red onion and basil leaves that were simply torn into the dish. Fresh tomato that had been cooked down with chicken stock was added to the oil . Once the sauce was simmering, the precooked fregola was added in along with spanner crab, then the dish was seasoned and more fresh basil added to serve.


Scampi

Finally Tetsuya showed us how to make scampi on garlic puree - he explained that the puree leaves the taste without the garlic flavour remaining on the palate. The puree was made by cooking the garlic via blanching, then it is covered in milk and cooked til tender, before pureeing this in a food processor. Tetsuya says this can be done ahead and even frozen.

The scampi were cooked over medium heat piror to being placed over the garlic puree with roasted capsicum placed over the top as a garnish along with parsley and finely chopped lime peel.

As these dishes were created we all got the pleasure of tasting the dishes straight from the master’s hand. It was indeed a wonderful experience to stand in the kitchen (and yes it looks just like on the Electrolux site and easily fits 14 people around the outskirts) and lean against the marble while Tetsuya cooks right in front of you.

This was a real feast for the senses, as we were standing around the bench while Tetsuya chopped ingredients such as chillis and lime, we could smell the flavours and our tastebuds were teased with these delicious offerings– but wait, there was more to come- we had another 8 savoury and 4 sweets followed by petit fours to come after the masterclass finished.

The Degustation

The Drinks
NV Bollinger Special Cuvee (France)
Tamanohikari Sake Junmai Ginjo Kyoto (Japan)
2003 Tyrell’s Vat 1 Semillon (Hunter Valley NSW)
2009 Massena The Surly Muse Viognier (Barossa SA)
2009 Mountadam Pinos Gris (Eden Valley SA)
2008 Mencia Patalos, Descendienbtes De J Palcios (Bierzo Spain)
2008 Felton Road Pinot Noir bottled for Tetsuya (Central Otago NZ)
2005 Mount Pleasant Maurice O’Shea Shiraz (Hunter Valley NSW)
2007 Heggies Botrytis Riesling (Eden Valley SA)
Seppeltsfield Cellar no 6 Tokay (Rutherglen SA)

The Food
Warm chestnut soup which had a wicked smoked cream flavour

NZ scampi tails with curd and scampi jus

Confit Petuna ocean trout with konbu celery and apple – the signature dish !

Fillet of barramundi with grilled artichoke and garlic puree


Braised ox tail with sea cucumber and yuzu


Slow roasted breast of duck with leek and sansho


De-boned rack of lamb with heirloom carrots


Pear sorbet and bread and butter pudding

These two dishes complemented each other- and believe me this was the best bread and butter pudding- like a layer of custard and had a lovely cinnamon flavour- no English stodge here - it was light and seduced even me – and I am not even a big dessert girl!


Nyoho strawberries with candied pistachio and enriched cream

The cream had a balsamic addition and the strawberries are a local grown variety -- gorgeous little red orbs of perfection.


Chocolate Pave with cream cheese ice cream and cinnamon twigs

Green tea with macarons

There were many highlights during this wonderful meal enhanced beautifully by the wonderful service the delightful Fleur and her team provided. Her role was to educate us on the food we were eating, including explaining each dish and the ingredients, and the wine it was matched with. And there were some interesting touches which were pointed out to us, such as the smear of spinach cholorophyl and the unique flavours involved in the signature dish of crusted ocean trout. Then there were all the delights to the taste buds, and not just the food- I was amazed at the wonderful nashi pear flavour that the sake had and the way it balanced beautifully with the chestnut soup with its smoky intensity.

The menu speaks for itself, and of course I appear to be the only person there who did not have a camera out to take thousands of shots and tweet them or text them to my friends and fellow bloggers. It sure was interesting to be in a room with people who wanted to photograph the food first, and smell and taste second ! Luckily Kerry from the blog site Eat,drink+be Kerry was just one of the guests and she shared her wonderful set of shots with me!

Were we really there for six hours ? The time flew ! Oh and the best tip we had all night, should reading this inspire you to go to Tetsuya’s and have a wonderful dining experience of your own. Don’t be tempted to have too many of the lovely Italian or sour dough rolls on offer – whilst delicious and offered frequently, and so tempting when spread with the lightly whipped truffle butter, there is too much on offer you would rather fill up on than bread! Unless it’s bread and butter pudding that is!

- Judi Adams

Images by Eat,drink+be Kerry


Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Grab Your Fork attends a Masterclass with Tetsuya Wakuda

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 9/18/2010 12:55:00 am


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