Monday, 9 March 2009

Taste of Huon 2009, Day 2

Well – the two day Taste of Huon celebrations have now finished, and with it, the Iron Chef cook-offs, which Rita was asked to be one of the 6 judges in. The other 5 judges were:
Judith Sweet (cookery writer for The Mercury), Elaine Reeves (food writer at The Mercury), Frank Demarte (DS Trading), Matthew Evans (food reviewer and critic) and Graham Taute (Executive Chef, Wrest Point).

The mastermind behind this Iron Chef-style cook-off for Apprentice Chefs was Paul Cullen, who did an amazing job compering the whole thing, and managing to keep up the commentary to cover the full hour each ‘round’ took to complete. Mel from Drysdale North also was superb as the Skills Institute/Polytechnic representative present on the day as well.

The first round yesterday was between two first year apprentice chefs, one from the north and one from the south. The second round was two second year apprentices (one north and one south), then today’s round was between two third year apprentices (once again, one north and one south). They were judged on many things, including knife skills, originality, presentation, and the taste and flavour of their food.

Overall, I think they all did well. I think it was extremely game of them to voluntarily stand up in front of a crowd of people, not to mention six judges hovering over them, and cook a main course in the one hour they were allocated, using the box of local Huon ingredients they were provided with.

To me, the Taste of Huon is developing into a celebration of fine food eclipsing Taste of Tasmania. The country-ness of it does the trick for me. I like the fact that it’s held outside in the open, and in the Huon. As a little girl, I used to love the Huon Valley Apple Festivals of old, and I love to see how this funny little old festival has been superseded by Taste of Huon. But – the weather MUST cooperate. This year’s weather was perfect, but a few years ago I went in 30 degree heat which was unbearable, and I swore I’d never go again.

There was a great selection and variety of food available from all stalls, and the interest in the Food Theatre activities astounded me. It would appear there are many people who enjoy watching food being prepared, and wine being tasted.

Sean Dunn (from Bok’s Bacon) was also there entertaining the crowds with salmon cooking demos in between the cookery contests, which proved extremely popular.

All in all, a good, fun two days, and I hope all who journeyed to the Huon for their own Taste of Huon enjoyed the day/s.
Posted on by Rita


steve said...

Glad you had a great time there Rita, are you giving it a thumbs up thoough? How does it compere to The Taste?
What were the busiest stalls? Please dont tell me it was for fish & chips!
It is interesting that people are drawn to watching food being prepared & it seems that this is a clear winner of an idea for the taste of the Huon comittee.
Were there any food stalls selling fresh fruit & vege from the area? Was anyone selling bread, apple pies, meat etc?
I would like to see a section that encourages locals to submit their best relishes, jams or sponges like the Huon Show does.
Just my thoughts.

Rita said...

Hey Steve
In my opinion it compares well to Taste of Tas. Many, maybe most, of the stalls there at ToH are regulars at ToT, so there wasn't too much difference between ToH and ToT, but yes, there was a Duggans apple stall, local handcrafts, plants, jams etc which gave it more of a Huon-type flavour, but I agree with you that more of a CWA-appeal would have added that certain Huon flavour which I myself would have liked even more.
No the busiest stalls weren't the fish and chips! As I was otherwise occupied over the really busy eating times, I didn't get to see where the longest queues were, but from when I did my circuit of the stalls yesterday prior to the judging, the busiest stall by far was the Jasper coffee stall! What does that tell you about todays humans and their coffees?

No one was selling fresh local bread, or veges that I saw, but I stand corrected on that. I would have liked that to have happened too, as I was returning home to cook up a few dishes for my week ahead's night time dining, and was hoping to collect some local goodies there for same.

Is there a place for both Huon Show and ToH, or should they be rolled into one? Who knows. I myself would prefer it. You DO need a point of difference between this festival and others, or else it becomes all very ho-hum for us punters.

The Bream Creek Show, Cygnet Folk Festival, Middleton Show and Deloraine Craft Show have managed to gain their own identity. Huon should be able to do the same.

All in all I myself give it the thumbs-up. I have spoken to a few who went there, found it boring and left after an hour. If it wasn't for the judging, I myself would have chosen not to go, as I admit to rationing these events for myself. As always, I believe beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you are a regular at these events, you will rapidly find them all to be boring and predictable. It IS a small island. We DO only have a relatively small amount of food vans and people prepared to expend the required amount of time, money and effort to staff these food vans at all such occasions. If you've already been to Taste of Tas, and a few other festivities over the summer, you'll know what to expect. The Food Theatre at ToH 09 added that extra bit which the other festivals haven't possessed till now, and I heartily encourage the committee to work on, and build on, that aspect for 2010.

hrv said...

Went on Sunday Steve and the F&C was the busiest that day that I saw. Had great goat sausage from Rivendale and som nice mussels, but it did dissapoint a little with not much appearing to come or be made directly in the Huon Valley. Perhaps it should be renamed the Taste otf the South, as there was good representation from the Bruny and Channel regions.

Overall not too bad and it far outstips the ToT for intergrity and originality.

Anonymous said...

Nice food but nothing to do. We'd hoped to get some fresh produce but had to make do with jam. And your cook-off must've been good.. we couldn't get a look in!

earmuffs said...

Seriously lets get 'our' Leo Schofield involved before the Taste of Tasmania committee finally wake up to his untapped resource, its inevitable that his expertise will eventually get called upon sooner or later so why not get in first.
Next, thank all the current committee for their past involvement & gently wrestle the reigns of control from their small pictured outlook & into some fresh & forward thinking go-getters with a more dynamic & invigorated outlook.
Write a Taste of the Huon Charter that clearly outlines the thrust of exactly what the taste is all about, that produce must come from the area could good be a starting point....Doh!
Finally , the event atrract about 20 thousand people I am told. Surely this could attract some sort of gov sponsorship to give it the kick along that it clwealt deserves-If Mona Foma can get a huge gov funded incentive it without a demonstrated track-record, then surely this event deserves similar consideration given its consistant nature of attendence?
Just my thoughts.

No red for me said...

I again went to the Taste of the Huon expecting much and coming away a little disapointed. I dont go there for fish and chips from bellerive I would love to see more"local" produce and food from down this way. Last year we asked a stall what was local and they said the onions were from the huon,,,I think thats just a joke. We have beautiful fresh produce this time of year lets get some more 'food" people into it.Even if someone had a stall selling fresh berry/fruit muffins(which are all in season at the right time for this kind of thing)Dont get me wrong I like it its affordable(to get in)with great atmosphere. I must say though I had an empanada and it was the most tasteless thing I have eaten(or half eaten as the case was)in a long time.Come on all the foodies out there get togther and put some "real" food in there for all those hobartians and tourists to have a REAL taste of the Houn