Thursday, March 24, 2011

Steer Boot Camp - Day 4 "Show Time"

This post is about my fourth day at "Boot Camp" at Steer Bar and Grill in South Yarra. You can read more about how I got the opportunity to work in a commercial kitchen for a week and also about my previous days in the links below.

How I got to work at Steer
Steer Boot Camp - Day 1 "It's All New To Me"
Steer Boot Camp - Day 2 "Food, Lots of Food"
Steer Boot Camp - Day 3 "So That's How You Do It"

Day 4 was all about putting everything that I'd learnt so far into effect and putting on a big show and meal for my friends. I had been organising with Executive Shaun and Consultant Sommerlier Raul all week about a massive dinner party at the Chef's Table for my friends. They gave me full reigns on the condition that I would cook for them. So here is the menu that I came up with

Shared entrees of Steak Tartare, Kingfish Ceviche and Fried Calamari

Churrasco of Steak and Sausages
Sides of chips and salad

Sticky Date Souffle with Dulce de Leche Ice Cream and Sable

What an amazing menu right? Haha cmon, I gotta praise myself. And Raul helped match wines for the meal with a South African white wine and a French red wine.

Firstly, let's start with a shot of me in my nice chef's outfit. I actually quite liked the feel of the chef's white and vertical stripes are always flattering, making me look thinner.

The entrees were a hit with everyone, with most people loving the Fried Calamari the most, but some totally loved the Kingfish Ceviche and a few preferring the Steak Tartare. I actually didn't sit down with my friends to eat, instead running plates and doing simple tasks in the kitchen, but of course I snuck out of the kitchen and talked to them throughout the night. I may also have been drinking on the job.

Mains were the Churrasco as I mentioned earlier. Chef Shaun let me have the honour of carrying out the first trial piece and carving it in front my my friends. Look at this huge chunk of meat, mmmmm, delicious. Once the meat was given the thumbs up, it was brought back into the kitchen and carved onto lots of sharing plates. House made Brazilian sausages were also served with the meal. I only found out later that in all the mad rush, we forgot to serve the chips and salad. There was so much food that no one missed them, but the chips that I had been hand cutting for 3 hours earlier that day wasn't served. I had been bragging about those beautiful chips all day haha.

My dessert idea was utter overkill but I don't care. Those were my favourite elements so why not throw them altogether. The Sticky Date Souffle is so light and fluffy, with a brown sugar syrup and sticky dates mixed through it and within it. Pastry Chef Jane set a new record for herself by plating out 24 souffles all at once. It was with a lot of help from all the chefs in the kitchen, about 5 people doing various tasks. The sables are crispy and full of buttery goodness and then the Dulce de Leche ice cream again, wow. This was loved by all my friends, with quite a few people wanting the Sticky Date Souffle recipe and also to buy the ice cream for takeaway. Unfortunately, the restaurant doesn't do that so you just have to come in and eat it.

To finish off the night, I had made a chocolate cake for my friend Hien's birthday. The idea was great, but the execution, not so great. The chocolate cake recipe was something I've made many times before but due to using a different oven, it came out extremely dry. I'm too embarrassed to show it, but needless to say everyone ate a piece out of courtesy. I also found out that Gem and Tristan from Eat Drink Stagger were in that night too, and as it was Gem's birthday as well, I served her some cake too. Again, they took a courteous bite.

The night went extremely smoothly, thanks to all the team at Steer, from the Chefs Shaun, Richie, Lexie, Bruno, Sarah, Jane, Jeffery, Jaymz and Suresh, to front of house Monolo, Logan, Shaun M, Shaun and Raul. I had a wonderful time cooking for my friends and they all loved the food and the exquisite Chef's Table area.

Finally, as the chefs and I were leaving the restaurant at about 12:30am after some deep and meaningful chats (finishing late, feeling tired and having beers really makes people open up, I won't tell the stories but needless to say I felt a lot closer to the chefs), we bumped into Manu Fiedel. He is extremely funny and I got to chat to him and hear stories of his experiences at Bilson's and My Kitchen Rules. Of course, I got a photo.

Photos in this post taken by my friend Jordan so I can't take credit for them, especially the photo of the churrasco, which I love.

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  1. No wonder the guy at the last picture looks familiar!

  2. Manu!!! Great job cooking for your friends! You look so excited in the picture :) Your menu is ridiculous (ridiculously amazing, that is!). I am beyond impressed. Your friends are very lucky indeed. Oh and I love the sound of the dulce de Leche ice cream.
    Heidi xo

  3. Michelle, yep Manu is becoming more of a celebrity.

    Heidi, I was extremely excited to cook for my friends. I was quite impressed with my own menu, especially to pair the dulce de leche ice cream with the souffle. It was a bonus to meet Manu.

  4. I LOVE ceviche.. hamish did a scallop one as one of our canapes for Christmas. YUM!!

    I was actually thinking of putting the recipe up on the blog sooooooooooon.

  5. Merowyn, ceviche is so tasty as it highlights the flavour of the fish, which I love.