Saturday night had Sydney-siders braving the unpredictable wind and pelting rain for the annual Variety night of nights. Arriving at Locomotive Street, Australian Technology Park glamourous guests were warmed by a red carpet flanked by industrial troughs of majestic flames.
Arrival drinks included Richmond Sparkling Chardonnary Pinot Noir from Calabria Family Wines and canapes from raw vegan Chef Maz Valgorza. Yet before we get onto the menu, we need to introduce the most important guest of all.
Six-year-old Samuel Hevron attended the dinner with his mum, Natalie. Samuel is just one of the thousands of children and families who benefit from Variety’s support each year. Samuel has Down Syndrome, congenital heart disease and global developmental delay. Variety granted Samuel a stroller with a stair-climber attachment, allowing Samuel’s family to negotiate the two flights of stairs in their apartment building and assisting them to do everyday activities with greater ease.
At the event, rows of round tables were resplendent with white cloths and herb garden centre pieces, the long space was divided with shimmering transparent curtaining so that the black tie dinner guests were entertained by more than the proceedings on stage and could see into the kitchen. Entrees and mains were alternate platings from celebrity chefs from rival cities Sydney and Melbourne. And yes, Melbourne Chef Telina Menzies couldn't help herself. Sydney lock out just had to be mentioned.
Chef Telina Menzie - Publican Group Australia Melbourne
Salmon pastrami and all things beetroot
Chef Justin North - Hotel Centennial
Sustainable, local caught yellow fin tuna; served with a lovely fresh wintery citrus salad wit a touch of ginger & miso.
Chef Adrian Richardson - La Luna Melbourne
Victorian lamb, braised shallots, garlice, spinach & a pinto glaze
Chef Michael Moore - O Bar & Dining
Seared rare beef fillet with salted black barley, mustard eggplant and shisho leaves
This exquisite dessert is one of the finest example from a pastry kitchen that we have seen for some time. Although reminiscent of the flavours of the branded sweet Cherry Ripe, Ralley's creation drew upon the finest ingredients (including our favourite French chocolate) Valhrona. The complexity of this fine chocolate brings dried apricot and black tea notes yet was delicately lightened in its mousse form.
Chef John Ralley - Textbook Patisserie
Cherry Ripe: Valhrona Macaé 62% chocolate mousse cherry compote and mousseline, coconut merinage and tempered chocolate
The feast continued with toasting marshmallows and more.
Wines were matched throughout the evening from good friend and Riverina wine sponsors Calabria Family Wines who added to the fun with a wine options game during the evening. (I got the year wrong but I was last 'man' standing from our table!)
The kitchen was ably organised and the celebrity chefs supported by event specialist Bayleaf Catering and with front of house specialist Clifford Wallace Agency ensuring that the successful night ran smooth as silk. All in all the sumptous and elegant dinner was amazingly of the highest restaurant quality for food and service particulary for such a large event.
Variety supporters not only indulge in this gourmet feast but were entertained throughout the evening with life performances on the stage hosted by our good friend MasterChef alumni Adam Liaw and Today Show News Presenter Sylvia Jefferies starting with Nulawala Mt Druitt Indigenous Choir recipients of a Variety scholarship, chefs interactive demos of their dishes, and finishing the special night with a fabulous session by Australian rock legend, ARIA Hall Of Fame singer songwriter Richard Clapton.
Most importantly the evening helped raise much needed funds for Variety – the Children’s Charity to help kids who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs. You can help too.
Donate to Variety at variety.org.au