MOST chefs are too busy in their own kitchens to catch up with peers over lunch.
But Vital Ingredients, an initiative launched last year by Meat and Livestock Australia in conjunction with industry players, is providing a forum for chefs to come together for an informal lunch with a bit of sponsor education thrown in.
The first Vital Ingredients event for 2004 was held at Must Winebar last week. Must Winebar exec chef Russell Blaikie cooked up a variety of meat-based dishes, including goat, for about 30 of his industry colleagues.
According to MLA business development manager WA, Roy Manning, the events are not about selling produce but providing a networking opportunity for chefs.
“It’s not about selling product because the next one we are doing will be a seafood lunch,” he said.
“The message we got was that there was no network for the industry, so we spoke to people like Gibson and Patterson about putting a club together and we came up with Vital Ingredients.”
Chefs attending 2004’s first event included C Restaurant head chef Darren King, Belgian Beer Café head chef Alan Spagnolo and his sous chef Dean Stevens, and Seaduce Seafood Restaurant head chef Peter Manifis.
Vital Ingredients meets about four times a year and there are overseas trips planned too – the next one scheduled is to be held in Singapore and Hong Kong in April.
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Many in the hospitality industry understand the difficulties associated with developing and operating a restaurant. Channel Seven’s My Restaurant Rules reality TV show is doing a good job of proving that point.
Perth’s restaurateur wannabes Ash Huish and Amanda Thomas are finding out that it’s a time consuming and expensive business. They’ve put the call out to Perth businesses to help them find bargain-priced equipment from lighting to pots and pans and a pizza oven. The pair can’t accept freebies so it’s a matter of them finding the best deal they can.
So far they’ve had $70,000 to set up the Northbridge restaurant. The pair is close to making a decision on who will head up the kitchen.
Ms Thomas said they received 30 to 40 applications for the head chef’s job with about a handful of suitably qualified chefs among those.
Andrew Mann, who left Oceanus a few weeks ago, is one of the applicants hoping to win a spot. Mr Mann is an award-winning chef who left Oceanus in City Beach a few weeks ago to take a well-earned break. He is now looking for new pastures.
Will Mr Mann be Perth’s next celebrity chef? He’s up against some good competition, according to Ms Thomas, and we’ll all know at some stage next week.
The My Restaurant Rules restaurant site is located at 19 Lake Street Northbridge.
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