Thomas Boyd, head chef at Margan Restaurant, has been crowned champion at this year’s Hunter Culinary Association Food Fight. The four contestants cooked for over 300 Hunter food lovers and hospitality professionals. Boyd’s beautiful dessert of Milk Parfait, honey, macadamia and thyme was an exercise in restraint and balance.
All competitors had earned their stripes under former Newcastle chef Brett Graham, who runs two Michelin starred The Ledbury in London, which has been rated one of the world’s top 50 restaurants. He continues to foster our local chef talent through the Brett Graham Scholarship, which has seen two of our now chef hat awarded restauranteurs, Troy Rhoades-Brown of Muse and Chris Thornton of Restaurant Mason win in past.
Other courses showcased the chefs individualised technique, such as Saint Peter chef Eilish Maloney’s delicate Dry Aged Snapper, Birch fermented Tomatoes and preserved lemon. George Milosevich of Restaurant Mason gave us deep French flavour in his Roast and Braised Lamb with Jerusalem Artichoke and Garlic with a perfect Jus. Troy Crisante, co-head chef of Quay went for punchy, spicy flavours with his combination of Nduja, fresh peas and black olive. All excellent dishes and matched with some excellent wines from the Hunter region.
Hosts Colin Fassnidge and Matthew Kemp kept the proceedings light with some excellently placed sledging of one another, the chefs and some of the audience with trademark dry humour and energy. The Most Outstanding Contribution award went to Andy Wright of The Cellar restaurant. The heats of the Brett Graham scholarship awards begin in October at Hamilton TAFE.