Perth’s gloomy weather didn’t deter the hungry masses from converging on Langley Park for the 3rd annual Taste of Perth festival. I gulped when I saw the line outside the white tents on Sunday, but it moved quickly and soon my senses were on high alert with; the sounds of sizzling barbecues, inviting aromas of assorted dishes, kaleidoscope of colourful cocktails, tantalising tastes of culinary craftsmanship and the slippery feel of plastic cutlery (which didn’t diminish the experience).
The rectangle shape set up was excellent, with plenty of space to manoeuvre through the crowds. Tables, chairs, stools, deckchairs and benches were dotted throughout, as were several bar areas, allowing plenty of opportunity to sit, eat and relax. Trading cash, on entry, for a ‘crown card’ made perfect sense and loaded with our virtual money my daughter and I followed the signs to the plethora of free samples on offer from local artisan stalls.
I tried the only preservative-free, unpasteurised passionfruit cider available in WA, made by Four Brothers Cider which only opened 10 weeks ago. I could definitely taste the sweet nectar of passionfruit and was pleasantly surprised as I am not usually a cider drinker.
My daughter liked the Maille béarnaise mustard, smeared on a bite-sized portion of hot dog from the Maille Mustard Mobile. Other flavours to try were hollandaise, truffle and honey dijon.
We both enjoyed tucking into the bread and Lurpak butter and had to stop reaching for more!
The South Australian oysters from Smokey Bay looked fresh and people enthused about how delicious they were but still it wasn’t enough to entice me.
My son would have loved Pic’s all natural, sugar free, Peanut Butter. Founder Pic Picot, originally made peanut butter out of a cement mixer and roasts Australian peanuts, adding only a pinch of salt.
And my father would have enjoyed tucking into Fehlbergs pickled onions, one of the most successful manufactures of pickled onions in the Australian retail market.
But I preferred to savour the Chapman Grove Sauvignon Blanc, which I think, was a good choice – sweet and refreshing. The privately owned company produce wines from the Margaret River region.
And I did like the stall of rainbow concoctions by WA’s cocktail and catering event specialists, Cocktail Gastronomy.
There were plenty of items for sale including the decadent brownies from Maison Saint Honore, the French Patisserie known for their macarons.
Spicy zulu sauces from Mama Africa, ideal for adding to all meat, fish and vegetable dishes.
Or grass fed Black Angus beef, pasture fed chicken and pork and other free range, all natural, meats direct from the farmer to the butcher at Hampshire on Eighth.
If you booked early you could spend quality time in cooking masterclasses with some of Perth’s most experienced chefs, one of who is Scott Bridger, Head Chef at Bib and Tucker. He took a few minutes out of his hectic schedule to answer a few foodie questions for me.
You’ve travelled extensively so what does Perth offer that is exclusive to our state?
Perth is a very unique state with a temperate climate similar to the Mediterranean. It has some of the best produce in Australia and now with the array of new restaurants, has some fine chefs to go with it.
What was the first dish you ever cooked successfully and your worst failure?
Profiteroles was my first win. Blancmange was my first fail – it resembled something that my two-year-old son would attempt now.
What is your favourite dish to create and why?
Fresh pasta with seafood. It is so satisfying laying flour and eggs out, knowing it’s going to be a great meal.
Do you cook at home or once you leave the restaurant do you prefer to stay out of the kitchen?
Yes, I love to cook at home. I am big into gardening – cooking your own home-grown vegetables and fruits is a great thing.
Which restaurant, chef, experience, country or person has influenced you the most?
Marco Pierre White has always been a huge influence on me. Not so much his cooking style, but his attitude and humble nature. Working and travelling the Mediterranean was a real eye-opener for me with an emphasis on local produce and simplicity.
What do you think has caused the demand for raw and organic meals, and do you think it will continue?
I think parts of it are fads that will die out, but eating and growing organic foods has been practiced for centuries. I believe a lot of allergies and eating disorders have derived from steering away from eating organic.
What does the future hold for Scott Bridger?
Having two young kids has taught me to relax a bit more and enjoy the moment, so hopefully this translates in my food.
Thanks Scott! One of the dishes available at Taste of Perth from Bib and Tucker was Roasted Fremantle Octopus with ink cracker, beetroot skordalia and kohlrabi.
My daughter and I decided to have lunch from Bistro Guillaume. She chose the Rigatoni with Braised Lamb, tomato, olive and parmesan which she devoured and said, “the texture was good with a perfect amount of cheese and sauce, but the portion was way too small”.
The duck from my meal of Leg of Duck Confit with peas, speck and shallot, was a good size and tender, but I found the vegetables to be a little oily.
Some of the other restaurants showcasing their menus, included Silks Chinese restaurant located at Crown, with one of the dishes available being Panseared Beef Medallion with Szechuan sauce.
Another choice from Silks was the Wok fried King Prawns with honeylime glaze and crispy red rice.
Argentinian street food could be sampled from Asado with the dishes to tempt you being; Tripe and House Sausage with frijoles, salsa cayenna and chorizo crumb; Pighead Taco with slaw, chipotle aioli and crackling, and Blackened Chicken grilled on the parilla with chimichuri.
Manuko is a type of firewood found in New Zealand where their chef grew up, and the Manuka Woodfire Kitchen hopes to create a homely vibe with their woodfired oven and open flames. On the menu this weekend was Wood Roasted Chicken with pickled red cabbage and miso sauce.
And Blackened Carrots with feta, coffee, date and dukkah.
and one of WA’s newest beachside restaurants, the Shorehouse, was grilling up some pork belly.
Involved in one of the cooking demonstrations was the chef from Etihad Airways.
And this is what you can expect of their plane food when you fly with them.
My daughter and I traversed a few kilometres while sampling the local wares and what better way to complete the day than relax in comfort.
with an Aperol aperitif?