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Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Taste for Change: OIYP Gala Dinner

Taste for ChangeThere's nothing like eating good food and feeling good about it. That's the feeling we got at last week's A Taste for Change, a charity gala dinner supporting the Oxfam International Youth Parliament (OIYP).

400 guests dined on six courses of dishes, prepared by hatted Sydney chefs, and matched with both wines and beers. There was entertainment by Rai Thistlethwayte and Phil Stack from Thirsty Merc, charity auctions, guest speakers and a gift bag of sponsor goodies for each guest to take home.

Our table was overflowing with wine glasses and polished silvery cutlery, and although I bemoaned the lack of light to take decent photos, I was impressed with the herculean effort involved in bringing together five "celebrity" chefs into the one kitchen. The lights did get turned up slightly at one point... you can easily tell when this happened just by looking at the photos!

Cured venison
First Entree
Salt-cured topside of Mandagery Creeky venison with

celeriac remoulade, truffled cream vinaigrette and pomme allumette
by Matthew Kemp, Restaurant Balzac

Wine: Framingham Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004
Beer: Montheith's Celtic Red Beer

Pea soup
Pea soup
by John Tufegdzic, Altitude, Shangri-La

(last minute replacement dish when Peter Es, Rydges Jamison, had to unfortunately cancel. He was otherwise due to create an amuse bouche of tomato jelly with roasted beetroot, horseradish foam and parmesan biscuit)

Wine: Bay of Fires 'Tigress' Tasmania Rose 2005
Beer: Monteith's Pilsner Beer

Second entree
Seared kingfish with smoked tomato fondant,

sauce soubise and crisp leek
by John Tufegdzic, Altitude, Shangri-La

Wine: Yarra Burn Valley Viognier 2006 (chilled)
Beer: Monteith's Golden Lager

Risotta alla Milanese - saffron risotto with
bone marrow and parmesan
by Darren Simpson, La Sala

Wine: Yarra Burn Valley Chardonnay 2004
Beer: Monteith's Golden Lager

Main Course
Warm galantine of quail, sauteed potato gnocchi
with Chinese roast duck, soy and lemon thyme infused buerre blanc
by Dietmar Sawyere, Forty One

Wine: Wyndham Estate Reserve Shiraz 2003
Beer: Monteith's Radler Bier

Goats curd cheesecake with organic blueberries
by Peter Evans, Hugo's

Liquer: Kahlua liquer over ice
Beer: Monteith's Black Beer

My personal highlight was easily the salt-cured venison which was soft but meaty, salty but tasty. The pea soup was also a clear hit with the assembled crowd. Everyone expected something thick and gritty, but it was more like a pea cappucino with its light airiness, and it possessed a surprising throat-warming kick with more than a hint of spicy cayenne pepper.

An entertaining evening for a very good cause.

The sixth annual TASTE gala dinner was held on Tuesday 4 April 2006 at the Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney. Discussions are currently underway to extend this event to Melbourne in the near future.

Related sites:
Oxfam International Youth Parliament
Oxfam Australia
Make Poverty History
10 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (AugustusGloop) on 4/08/2006 11:38:00 pm


  • At 4/09/2006 2:39 am, Blogger Ms One Boobie said…

    Wow..!! i would have loved it..!! unfortunately, for me.. my spouse may not enjoy it ..! bummer eh..??

  • At 4/09/2006 7:57 am, Blogger tytty said…

    what was the donation for all that yummy looking food?

  • At 4/09/2006 10:15 am, Blogger PiCkLeS said…

    OOo i was reading about this event in the paper and they had a profile of all the chefs that would be there. Would have been a nice experience.

  • At 4/09/2006 10:20 am, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi MamaBok - That's when you leave them at home and go with a friend instead! =P It's for charity, you see? =)

    Hi Tian - Tickets were $175 with $150 going straight to Oxfam.

    Hi Pickles - The event was sold out which was good news for Oxfam! The chefs all came out of the kitchen at the end of the evening for a bow and plenty of well-deserved applause.

  • At 4/09/2006 8:14 pm, Blogger Rachel said…

    wow what a great idea ! You really are in the know about events in Sydney AG !! I'm glad that a good time was had by all with a great purpose behind it.

  • At 4/10/2006 11:00 am, Blogger Julia said…

    That sounds absolutely fantastic. I love the sound of risotto with bone marrow and parmessan, mmm...

  • At 4/10/2006 7:21 pm, Blogger Georgia said…

    I am very jealous - my husband works for Oxfam and I really wanted to go but was away when it was on. Thank you for advertising this great event - it is such a good cause and such a yummy way to support it!

  • At 4/10/2006 8:24 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Rachel - There's always stuff going on in Sydney. And I have A to thank for being my dining partner for the evening!

    Hi Julia - I was looking forward to the risotto all night but alas, I couldn't taste much bone marrow or saffron. Risotto is a hard dish to pre-cook though and I can imagine the nightmare of cooking enough for 400!

    Hi Georgia - Oxfam do some great things. And hey, if I had to eat good food to support it, then I'm all in for that! =)

  • At 4/20/2006 12:09 pm, Blogger OxfamLena said…

    Hi! I'm the event coordinator of TASTE 2006. I just wanted to thank you for promoting and talking about our event. It's people like yourselves that really generate interest for the event, and I thank you for coming along and promoting the event. It was a huge success raising $70,000 for the OIYP program. We'd love to see you all at next year's TASTE- it will only get bigger and better!! Many thanks again. Lena

  • At 4/22/2006 11:13 am, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    OxfamLena - Thanks for your efforts in event coordination. I'm sure there was plenty of it behind-the-scenes. A worthy cause.


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