2012 Middle Eastern Chef Showcase

It is always a humbling experience when I get the chance to cook with Greg Malouf. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, if it wasn’t for Greg, young chefs like me wouldn’t have the chance to do what we do.

After spending so much time on the road lately it was really good to get back in the kitchen and roll my sleeves up. I haven’t seen Manu or Greg for ages, so to be all in the same kitchen doing what we love was just what I needed on my return to Australia.

Last year’s event still holds so many great memories, I was really looking forward to being involved again this year.

Foie gras is one of my weaknesses. I have really been trying to be a good boy lately and watch how much fat I have been eating, but when Manu made a stuffing of white fig and foie gras for his quail I couldn’t help myself, continually stealing all the big chunks when he had his back turned. I was in heaven! I paid for it later when I jumped on the scales…..

Greg, as always, cooked some really beautiful dishes, lamb shoulder on smouldering hay, pressed chicken in saaj bread and a lovely eggplant meza. Oh yeah and before I forget, a huge congratulations to Greg for receiving his first Michelin star for his new home in London at Petersham Nurseries Cafe. An amazing achievement.

The Khouzame family always know how to through a bash and this one was no exception. All the bells and whistles, black tie event at the hottest address in Sydney; The Ivy Ballroom. A 350 strong guest list with a little sprinkle of VIP guests to make it all that much more special. My good friend Catriona Rowntree as emcee and a lineup off some off the most respected and admired Lebanese performers and personalities, it was always going to be an amazing night.

But to be honest I really didn’t get much of a chance to spend much time in the ballroom as we were all “heads down bums up” in the kitchen getting dinner prepared. And having a heap of fun along the way!

This is definitely an event I am proud of being a part of. It was very humbling to be invited for the first time in 2011, and to be invited back for a second year means the world to me.

Thank you to everyone who was involved; all the chefs, The Ivy staff and of course Najee and Priscilla Khouzame for all of the amazing work and dedication to showing Australian the best of Lebanon.

Also a quick thank you to all the people who took the time to come up and say hello during and after the event. Your words were truly heartfelt. Thank you.

See all the photos from the evening on Facebook.

I hope to do it all again next year!

Photo courtesy of George Khouzame from the 2011 event. Photographer Allan Whitbread.