One evening while hosting a dinner party at home, a friend suggested we all take part in the “One Ingredient” event to go and cook with Master chef, Matt Manning, who trained under Gordon Ramsay. Since then he has excelled in the art of cuisine.
So what is the One Ingredient that makes a chef different? In my opinion it’s creativity, innovation, produce and the end result – quality. Matt has come up with a very interesting concept – he uses the same ingredient throughout a five-course meal. I was totally in the dark about how he was going to pull this all off, while also literally in the dark – excuse the pun – thanks to Eskom! Cooking by candlelight for approximately the first two hours was a TIA (this is Africa) experience. But nothing was going to spoil our supper club on the 7th floor of the Innovation centre in Observatory!
We were greeted by Chef Manning and our Sommelier, Rudi, from Mooiplaas wine Estate with a glass of Duel Brut and bite-size Canapés – home-made BBQ beans, crispy bacon, fried quails egg on toasted brioche.
To get our taste buds going, Matt gave us a delicious Amuse Bouche – pea and bacon soup with black pepper grissini and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
Then it was off to the demo room where Matt effortlessly went about creating our BLT starter – poached marinated quail, baby gem hearts, semi dried rosa tomatoes, herb cured streaky bacon, truffled egg mouseline, parmesan and garlic croutons. We then followed his lead by replicating this dish for our own starter – beautifully accompanied by a red 2013 Pinotage.
The main course was titled “a pig’s Christmas Dinner”. Twelve hour braised pork belly, pulled pork neck, sous vide loin, pan roasted sprouts with bacon and chestnuts, pickled baby carrots, smoked mash and crackling. By then we were having a merry time in the kitchen and at the dinner table.
Finally, for the cherry on the top – although not quite a cherry per se – it was a superb hot chocolate fondant, candied bacon and peanut butter bon bons, blueberry marshmallow and hazelnut meringue.
I will now be on a serious diet before going into the rest of the Christmas season, until then….