Five Sydney Italian Chefs

Rebecca Varidel
30th Apr 2016

They came together over Italian tomatoes. Five of the best Italian Chefs in Sydney created five sensational courses for the Oro Rosso Luncheon this week at Osteria Balla at The Star.

Francesco Spataro of Aperitvo
Sicilian Pizzette
Pizzette Rositcceria Sicilian

Eugenio Maiale of A Tavola and Besser
Burrata With Cherry Tomato
Burrata con pomodorini

Giovanni Pilu of Pilu at Freshwater
Pecorino Tortellini, Tomato Broth and Bottarga
Tortellini di pecorino in brodo di pomodoro con bottarga

Gabriele Taddeucci of Osteria Balla Manfredi
Steamed Mulloway With Spicy Lucariello Tomato
Ombrina al vapore con pomodorino giallo picante

Danny Russo of Russonlini
Tomato Cannoli With Saffron Crème e Fiordilatte gelato
Cannoli do pomodor creama allo zaffreno e fiordilatte

With all this constant talk of seasonal food I was surprised that the tomato lunch would be held in autumn. Giovanni Pilu kindly enlightened me. Late summer early autumn and this warm weather is the perfect time for tomatoes. It is nearing the end of the season. And it is when tomatoes are at their best, he said. His own sensational dish of the luncheon sang with the freshness of the tomato brodo, the tomato water made by hanging tomatoes over night in a cloth and collecting the dripping juices underneath. The fresh pasta in his course was incredible and must have been made so fresh that morning then lightly dipped to warm it through. The tiny fine flakes of local dried fish not as pungent as its Sicilian counterpart was the perfect counterpoint.

In celebration of the authentic flavours of Italian cuisine, the Italian Trade Agency collaborated with The Council of Italian Restaurants in Australia (CIRA) to showcase the precious Italian preserved tomato in this splendid lunch. That tortellini dish was just one beauty of the day.

The rest of the dishes also showcased the produce. As Eugenio Maiale explained he just added salt to the burrata and imported Italian semi-dried tomatoes. Taddeucci's 'curry' sauce was spicy and sweet with yellow tomatoes, the fish firm and full and moist. But the surprise of the day had to be dessert. Russo created a dream of tomato cannoli. The saffron of the cream a divine flavour match with the tomato. The silken fior di latte gelato completing the sweet mix.

Beverages served during the lunch started with welcome cocktails of Tomato Negroni on arrival. During lunch the accompanying choices of wines were Casa Coste Piane Natural Prosecco, FIlippi Castelcerino Soave (organic) and Terre Nere Etna Rossa Nerello Mascelese (organic) with Italian still and sparkling waters.

“Australia is a country that is renowned for its rich and diverse food culture”, says Antonietta Baccanari, Italian Trade Commissioner, and “we are really excited to host this special event and to bring together five of Australia’s most respected Italian chefs for what is set to be an informative and culinary experience. Preserved tomatoes form the base of many of the worlds most well-loved and popular dishes and this event will be a creative showcase of how the tomatoes can be used in cooking.”

Pomodoro. Doesn't tomato sound even better in Italian?