Oops, it been a while since we have had a chance to update the blog but we are back with a biggie !! Just before we talk Masterclass, a quick summary of where we have been since our last post.
Circa, The Prince, St Kilda : Some small issue like waiting for our booked table and not having certain pre dinner drinks available meant our evening didn’t start on the right foot. Maybe because of this we may have judged the food a little harshly – good without us wanting to come back urgently.
Golden Fields, St Kilda : Check out our previous post but wonderful food again. A spur of the moment visit that certainly had us wanting to come back……urgently.
Ginger Boy, Melbourne : Interesting menu, great tasting food. Highly recommend the red duck leg curry, thai basil, coconut cream and lychee. Good company made for a great experience. Pretty good value too. Some aspects of the service and the fact we felt a little rushed by the staff were the only criticisms.
Our visit to Ginger Boy came about because we were in Melbourne so that we could join the start of the Melbourne Food and Wine Food festival event – Water Masterclass. Strangely for us it meant jumping on a mini bus with 25 other foodies and celebrity food critic, Matt Preston, to head back to the Bellarine Peninsula !
WATER MASTERCLASS, MELBOURNE FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL, 2014
Matt Preston, Photo Bomb
It 8:30am on Saturday and we find ourselves at Southbank in Melbourne sipping sparkling and rifling through our show bags. Our excitement for the day ahead reaches fever pitch when Matt Preston strolls in to act as our guide for the day – a big surprise.
A familiar trip back to Portarlington seems surreal. We are dropped off at the very familiar pier. The familiar mussel boats are there but this time we are to board one of them – a very unfamiliar experience. Especially when we are joined on the boat by England’s Michelin-starred chef, Nathan Outlaw (Restaurant Nathan Outlaw). Nathan has worked with FF1’s favourite chef of all time – Rick Stein, so needless to say I was excited.
The wind picks up as we head out to Sea Bounty’s Mussel farms. We get to see our locally produced mussels up close and learn about how they are grown and harvested. The wind is joined by rain as we head back to the pier and as a result, our cooking demonstration has moved from the end of the pier back to outside our local spanish restaurant. A little disappointing but the changing weather seems to add to our experience.
Soon we are bathed in sunshine for our first masterclass. Nathan shows us how to prepare and smoke mussels and oysters in a bbq and then prepare a wonderful soup. We get to talk to some of our fellow foodies while enjoying our seafood soup with stout and seaweed bread. They are from all around Australia and New Zealand and are surprised to learn we live 1 minute up the road. Too funny.
Matt Preston watches Nathan Outlaw prepare our morning tea
We jump back on the bus and head to Campbell Point House on the banks of Lake Conewarre in Leopold. As we are about to start walking the short distance down the driveway to the house – the sun disappears and the hail begins.
Campbell Point House
We are ushered down the driveway under umbrellas to the house on this amazing property. I wont try to describe the house in my own words – this from their website – “The house alone provides 150 squares of luxurious living space. It includes 5 massive bedrooms, all with ensuites and lounge areas. The house also provides a casual open plan kitchen and lounge room with a conservatory, a den, billiards room, bar, formal dining hall and vast reception areas.” Needless to say it’s extravagant living in an amazing setting ($11m if you’re in the market).
We are handed a martini and ushered through the house down to the beach house on the banks of Lake Conewarre. There we are met by Aaron Turner (Ex Loam) who has prepared a fire in a hole in the sand. We are then treated to a masterclass on smoking King George whiting. The sun had returned as we enjoy our smoked whiting with pickled summer vegetables & oyster cream on the banks of the lake.
Aaron Turner smoking whiting
Back to the house and we find Peter Gilmore (Quay) in the kitchen preparing to give another Masterclass. Getting a little blasé now. Scallops seared in imported anchovy oil with smoked oyster crackling. Yummy.
Peter Gilmore giving a Masterclass in the kitchen of Campbell Point House
After all of this we now to get to dine under the verandah of Campbell Point House, looking out across Lake Conewarre, sitting next to Matt Preston to feast on a 5 course, matched wines lunch prepared by Nathan Outlaw, Aaron Turner and Peter Gilmore ! Not sure if it will ever get much better than that.
This is what we were treated to
Aaron Turner (Snacks) – Salt & vinegar saltbush, smoked butter and seawater cheese
Aaron Turner – Confit chicken, kohl rabi, dried & raw scallops, shiitake. Port Phillip Estate Quartier Arneis 2013, Morning Peninsula Vic
Nathan Outlaw – Mackeral, cucumber, oyster. Levin Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Loire Valley France
Nathan Outlaw – Snapper, mussels, tarragon. Levin Madame L Gamay 2011, Loire Valley France
Peter Gilmore – Jersey cream, salted caramel, prune, milk and sugar crystals. Seppeltsfield Para Ground Tawny, Barossa Valley SA.
All brilliant courses enjoyed in incredible surroundings. We are perhaps a little distracted by who was cooking them and who we were sitting next to during lunch. The final course was taken into the house as a horizontal downpour encroached on our table under the balcony. Strangely all these weather events seemed to have added to the day rather than ruin it.
The only problem with the weather is the fly fishing lesson is cancelled. To be honest, I’m not sure anyone is up for it. Enjoying our tawny ports in the luxury of Campbell Point House, chatting with Matt Preston seems strangely more appealing – even to a fishing addict like FF1.
Our chefs and guide
As the rest of the foodies are driven back to Melbourne we are very thankful for a 20 minute chauffeur driven lift back to Portarlington. We spend the rest of the night talking about all the events of the day and what a great time we had.
What an incredible day for the 2FFs ! I think this will be hard to top. Stay tuned though….we are off to Japan soon so I am sure more food fun is coming.