Saturday, 13 November 2010

Brisbane Good Food and Wine Show 2010 - Friday

The first day of the Brisbane Good Food and Wine Show dawned lovely and sunny. My mother, D and I caught the bus into the Convention Centre so we wouldn't have to worry about parking or a designated driver in case we all wanted to try something a little stronger than usual.

We arrived at around 10 minutes past the opening time and the line was incredible. It stretched all the way down all of the exhibition halls (the entrance was in the middle of Hall 3 and Hall 4, the line was way back to the lobby, if you're curious). Note to self: either get to the show early enough to be at the front of the line or wait another 15 or so minutes before leaving home.

That being said, the line did move quite quickly. It's much less of a chore waiting in a moving line than it is when you are just standing still.

While in the line, D finally capitulated and allowed me to buy a Good Food and Wine Show shopping trolley. I've been wanting a trolley for years but D was (is) firmly of the opinion that they are incredibly daggy. Over the years I have managed to point out any number of young trendsetters with trolleys but he remained unconvinced. Despite his misgivings, D did allow me to buy one. It's black and it is very cool.

We had a collective blond moment at the glass collection point. D and I are not big drinkers, in fact you probably couldn't call me a drinker at all and D doesn't drink wine. I am embarrassed to admit but our wine glass collection at home comes from three years of Food and Wine Show attendance. I actually don't like the glasses themselves, the opening is too small, but they serve their purpose. This year buying a glass was $3. It wasn't until Saturday that one of us went "oh! we should have just bought last year's glasses".

This year the organisers have changed the layout of the floor plan. The Celebrity Theatre and the Wine Theatre were now at opposite ends and there were lots of other little changes. It was surprisingly confusing, but once I got used to it I liked the changes they had made.

Our first stop was the Nespresso stand. I am intrigued by these coffee makers that use capsules. I am probably as far from a coffee connoisseur as you can get. I like my hot drinks to be of the hot chocolate variety and occasionally a mocha if I'm feeling a little flat. Recently I've discovered that my issues with coffee tend to be mainly about the bitterness and I can generally avoid that by taking my coffee very weak. I now don't mind the odd cup of coffee. My workmates at my last job used to laugh at my order - a half strength latte on skim milk - and call it coffee-flavoured water. So as you can see, my endorsement of a fine cup of coffee is probably not one highly sought after.

My mother actually has a Nespresso machine and loves it. At the show, they were demonstrating the machines and how they worked, which was very interesting. I was very impressed with the coffee I tried. I also loved the little Aerochino milk frother. As a hot chocolate drinker I've tried a lot of different ways to froth my milk. I won't list them all, but there are an awful lot of gadgets knocking about my kitchen that purport to make a cafe style froth. They don't. It was good to see what these machines actually do and see the quality of what they put out. A few years ago we bought a Sunbeam espresso machine and the coffee the Nespresso makes puts my efforts to shame.

After our coffee we headed towards one end of the show so we could commence our browsing in an ordered fashion. Like the fabulous food blogger that I am *cough NOT cough*, I forgot to take any photographs until our show started in the Celebrity Theatre.

Manu Fieldel in the Celebrity Theatre

I have to say that even though I wasn't all that impressed with the Celebrity Theatre lineup, I was excited to see Manu. I loved Manu on Ready Steady Cook and he was a substantial reason for me to watch My Kitchen Rules.

The Good Food and Wine Show described Manu's show thus:

Manu Feildel - Spinning Plates
He is the fun, feisty, fancy Frenchman from My Kitchen Rules, now see him juggling his culinary skills with his circus skills. Can Manu manage to spin the dishes in the kitchen at the same time as spinning the plates or will he drop the juggling balls!

I had no idea that he considered joining the circus before becoming a chef. I have no idea what they teach people in circus school, but I was very impressed with his tricks.

I haven't had a lot to do with the French, whether it be the people or the food. I had never really understood why women swooned when they were spoken to in French as they tended to do in books and movies. After listening to Manu for a little bit, I got it. French is a very cool language to listen to.

Today, Manu made a Boudin of Scallops on a bed of Spinach, with Crustacean Bisque and his Mum's Tarte Tatin. (I'm not sure if those links will work as I had to log in to get access to the page. If you are curious and you can't open them, you can sign up for the Good Food Recipe Club here).

For his boudin, Manu showed how adding the salt to the fish/egg white/cream mixture will take a loose mixture totally unsuitable for rolling and tighten it so that the consistency completely changed.

He was very clear and informative in his presenting style, while being incredibly entertaining. Every time he said "Manu's sausage" I giggled. I know that was probably his intention, but still.

Rolling Manu's sausage

These chefs are very difficult to take photos of. They are always bouncing and moving around. You need to snap them when they are concentrating on something so they are still. I tried to get around this by taking photos of the screen, but for some reason the pictures of the screen are terrible. I'm sorry, but they are all I have!!

Manu's finished sausage

This year the tasters weren't as rigidly selected as last year. They did have a table set and the chefs did call people to sit up on stage, but there were also people sitting at a bar and people who ran up from the audience. I liked the variety much better than last year, although by the end of the weekend Mum was getting frustrated as she felt that there were certain parts of the audience that were continually being overlooked. She was right, there were definitely overlooked areas in the shows we went to, but we don't know what happened at the other shows. There are so many people that they need to take into account, maybe a lucky draw prize based on ticket numbers? It seems to be a little bit more fair than the person who yells the loudest or jumps the highest over the furniture.

Between his recipes, Manu entertained us with more circus tricks. He also had his son Jonti come up and show us some simple tricks. He's a little cutie.

I can't remember what he was saying here, but I still like the photo

The second recipe was Manu's mother's Tarte Tatin. Mum and I both love apple pies and crumbles and we both really want to try to make this at home.

Manu says that the tricky part of this recipe is getting the tarte tatin out of the saucepan. He demonstrated the recommended method.

Here he is telling the audience how embarrassing it would be if the tarte tatin didn't come out clean. He also peeked under the pan.

Ta-dah! Success.

Manu also showed off his juggling skills. He wanted apples, but there weren't any spare and he had to make do with lemons. A little bit later someone brought out some spare apples and he started juggling again, this time taking a bite of an apple each time it passed his hands. It was very cool.

I loved Manu's show. He was so funny and likeable. He was a little bit naughty, but he knew where to draw the line. If we had time, I would have liked to go back and see him a second time.

Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris in the Celebrity Theatre

George and Gary were the only show that we didn't book tickets for, so we made sure to visit the box office in the show early. We were lucky and got seats in row X, but it wasn't much longer after we got our tickets that they marked the show as being sold out. It seemed much busier on Friday this year than it was on Friday last year.

Gary and George's show was called Your Place or Mine after their recently released cookbook collaboration.

Gary Mehigan & George Calombaris - Your Place or Mine
Gary & George have been friends for years, they love food in all its glory, can spin a yarn with the best of them and have a quirky sense of humour that has made this pair great entertainers. Join G & G for a slice of the good life and more than a few good stories. Be the first to experience their stunning new book "Your Place or Mine" when the boys cook up a storm.

George cooked two recipes and I can only remember Gary making one, although it did seem that Gary did most of the talking. I was impressed with the rapport between the two last year and that again came across this year. It was really lovely to watch.

George and Gary talked about Matt Moran joining the Masterchef lineup next year and how they have asked Matt M to put on five or ten kilos so the rest of them didn't look bad on TV. Gary says that he knows he is a little round, but he can't turn side on in the mirror because then he sees how round he is (see above).

Gary went on to talk about Matt Preston and how much longer he spends in the makeup chair before takes. He says that Matt always does a little hair flip just before the camera starts rolling and then did a hilarious imitation while George looked on impassively.

Oh, right, the food.

Gary made Prawn Mousse Ravioli and George Prawns baked in Hummus with Toasted Almonds and Beetroot and Feta Dip. If anyone can tell me if Gary made a second dish, that would be great!

Gary said that the assistant chefs at the show did a fantastic job and they made sure that the chefs knew what was going on, even to the point of leaving them little notes. This one reads "pasta in here".

I love these four pictures of George and Gary working together. They were plating Gary's ravioli. The camaraderie between the two was evident. They were so cute.

After George and Gary's show Mum and I visited the Show Book Shop because Mum wanted to get a signed book but didn't want to buy a book if it wasn't any good. We had a quick flick through Your Place or Mine and we were both really impressed. Mum bought a copy and I had to buy one too, it was that cool. We got them signed by George and Gary and as an added bonus we saw Skye Craig of Wild Sugar and Masterchef fame.

Meeting Skye was a big deal for me, because she was the catalyst that started me on my weight loss and healthy eating journey. I had to tell her just how much of a change she made in my life and how grateful I was. Skye mentioned that once she had started to establish herself with distributors etc she was going to start coming back to the markets once a month. Yay! I can't wait. I hope she can.

One consequence of our healthy eating lifestyle change is that D and I can't eat nearly as much as we used to and the show was quite a shock to our system. When you add that to tasting a lot more alcohol than I normally drink, and it was a lot of different alcohols too, I was quite ill on Friday night. It was early to bed that night to get ready for Saturday!

I really do apologise for my substandard photos and the complete lack of photos of the stallholders and their wonderful products. I promise to do better next time! That being said, you should also head on over to Cooking For My Love where JanJan has some beautiful shots.

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