A fantastic review put together by @graeme .... I'm hungry now
The ORFFA chef preliminary finals
A four course cook off with the semi-final chefs paired off to present comparative offerings for each of the four courses. The winners proceed to the big dance and a place in immortality on the honours board maintained by @anthak . The evening also acted as a surrogate Fellowship event. The menu:
Entrée - Birdsville Battlers vs Nowhere Else Wanderers
Fish - Gariwerd Cockatoos vs Wagga Wagga Wombats
Main – Foul Bay Chickens vs Waikickamoocow Incorrigibles
Dessert – Cradle Mountain Devils vs Venus Bay Vultures
There was an air of expectations as the diners gathered to critique the offerings from those fortunate enough to be tasked with entertaining the group. The first amuse-bouche was a light as nuffing fricassee of ugly fruit and island kangaroo packed together and served on a dark and dank Bangkok sauce. This was followed by extracts from the carcasses of codpieces and grasshoppers served with a lilac sauce on misfiting plates. Despite these being complimentary offerings, served with a delightful Beaumet Rose NV Champagne, some of those assembled found the offerings unappealing. There is no accounting for taste; perhaps the partygoers were too salty for the food?
To start, the entrées created by a long serving battler, and a recently arrived nomad. Would there be a gypsy sauce from the debutant? What drugs would JC introduce to his cookery? Both chefs were chose variations on outback tucker, both classic and new age sustainable offerings. @JC went for the Hunter (104) look with a Treloar (116) and Witts (119) sauce. Sadly, it lacked substance and quantity – it was all a bit meh. One had to ask “is this all there is?” @DaveH 's classic “Your grille to our grill” was a clear winner. The scavenged medley of Lyons (141), Brown (136), and Walters (124) was beautifully presented. With a side of ruck sauce it would have earned applause. Overall, the dish more than compensated for the unpalatable DBJ (7) offering. Albeit, that was not the lowest score of this match
Wine pairing: Giant Steps Nocton Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018
Next, the fish course; it was rather fitting that one chef was bedecked in garish, exotic plumage while the other favoured greys, browns and blacks; quite the contrast. Yet, both presented fresh seafood of a high standard, albeit some were deterred by @Lenny120 's decision to chop the “barramundi” into cubes and serve it on fresh grass. The H-factor of Ants’ stock of Houli (145), Hanley (119), and Hurn (105) allowed a creative use of Wingard (112). The parting shot of Sandilands (106) finished the dish off nicely. However, the cookery did lack depth of flavour outside the key ingredients. Lenny, worked from a base of Ed Curnow (125), Langdon (117), Shiel (116), Brodie Smith (106), Swallow (101), and Barrass (100) to give good substance, but there was an absence of depth and vibrancy of flavour which the auctioned items might have added. One was left wondering if it really was barramundi. The voting was close; but the cockies with just a little more depth squawked through to the petit final.
Wine pairing: D’Arenberg The Money Spider Roussanne 2012
Some of the guests were slightly surprised by @ChiefRussell 's choice of main course; an assembly of raw and cooked cow is not to everyone’s taste. @graeme 's concept was a bit more conventional - slow cooked chook curry served with a garnish of forget me nots. However, ChefRussell showed why his establishment holds two coveted Michelin stars by posting a 1505. The depth of flavour provided by Goldy (176), Danger (146), Cunnington (129), Ziebell (125), Murphy (122) and Saad (117) meant he could sleep well on Saturday night and have a relaxed Sunday. Pleasingly, he served up a Roughy (103) sauce to balance the whole offering. The cows on the other hand were burnt by the chicken curry and forgot the garnish. Dunkley (169), Prestia (124), Newman (117), McGovern (102), Fyfe (101), and Robbo (99) were excellent in the heat of the kitchen, but they were let down by the preparation staff.
Wine pairing: Duke’s Vineyard Magpie Hill Reserve Riesling 2017
And so, to the dessert which so can be a let down after such a majestic main course. @dmandrews was slightly miffed at not being able to present his famed devilled kidneys, but very relieved that @Fitzy could not work two day old vulture carcasses into a sweet: so were the assembled diners. Dean attempted a sensation of rowan(Marshall)berries(106) and Steele (101) with a Rich (104) sauce. To this was added a hint of Zorko (104). Sadly, the rest of the cookery was a little flat and undistinguished – and the promised English custard was absent. What promised to be a strong showing has fizzled out in the last weeks. Fitzy, on the other hand, went retro; how does one so young know the joys of a sublime desert. No wonder, with a 1510, that the vulture’s kitchen also has two Michelin stars. Big Stef Marten (129), Missy Higgins (121), and Simpson (104) turned back the clock and produced the base for a glorious cheesecake to which Gaff (124), Greene (115), J Howe (115), Houston (105), Fiorini (102), and Parker (99) added substance and piquancy. But it was the mouth-watering Yeo (141) sorbet that set off the plate – somehow redolent of the natty red neckerchief in Fitzy’s avatar.
Wine pairing: Noble One Botrytis Semillon 2008
To finish the evening the loyalty toast – 21 voices in unison offered up a rousing “Get stuffed @Bandit .” 21 voices you ask? Yes, there were the other seventeen members of ORFFA plus our patron (@walesy ), a former member of the Association who gate crashed (onya @melbandy ), one who claimed “spousal status”, plus @HeavyMen - our very own official instagram influencer.