One of the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre’s exhibition halls was transformed into a massive kitchen for more than a dozen of the world’s top chefs this month as the venue staged the World Chef Showcase.
A feature of Crave Sydney International Food Festival, the two-day showcase attracted hundreds of foodies, all keen to learn from the culinary masters and sample their fare.
The chefs, including Italy’s No. 1 restaurateur Massimo Bottura, Spain’s Jordi Roca and Italy’s famous pizza chef Gabriele Bonci, cooked a range of dishes for their fans, assisted by a team of 12 chefs from the Centre and 16 volunteer chefs.
With two showcase sessions running concurrently in the Centre throughout the weekend, no less than 14 cooking stations were created in the Exhibition Centre hall to allow the visiting chefs and their teams to prepare food for their sessions, as well as two lunches for 150 people.
In all, more than 2500 dishes were served over the weekend to an appreciative audience.
The Centre also staged a welcome cocktail party for the showcase chefs and many other famous culinary faces including Italian Antonio Carluccio and Australian Maggie Beer.
The Centre’s Director of Food and Beverage Simon Lomas said the showcase was a significant logistical exercise with every chef requiring specific food items for their dishes.
Whilst the Centre had many ingredients to hand, others had to be sourced. Unusual items included local chef Alessandro Pavoni’s Parmesan Vacche Rosse – a cheese made from the milk of red cows – and hay, used by English chef Jason Atherton for his full English Breakfast
“It was a great experience to be working with such different chefs and cooking such different dishes,” Mr Lomas said.
“From our purchasing department down to our chefs and waitstaff, we all had to think outside the square and be spontaneous, flexible and accommodating.”
Crave Festival Director Joanna Savill said the event was an amazing feat.
“Everyone from the chefs to the attendees was really impressed with the Centre’s attention to detail and the care that was taken in ensuring that the World Chef Showcase was the premium experience it was designed to be. We were thrilled with the results,” Ms Savill said.