12 December 2010

MasterChef Live Australia: Festival of Cooking, Moore Park (10 Dec 2010)

Hordern Pavilion and Royal Hall of Industries
Driver Avenue, Moore Park NSW 2021

MasterChef comes alive

Dates: 10-12 December 2010

The MasterChef Live Festival will be a mixture of outdoor and indoor areas all designed to inspire, educate and entertain visitors about all elements of cooking and ingredients. And all this whilst learning from the professionals.

Thanks to Ashley Gatte from Stellar* for inviting me along to the MasterChef Live Preview Tour at 9.30 am on the first day. It was great to gain access before the public and get a private guided tour of the Festival of Cooking. We were all given a VIP pass ($120) which included premium seating in the theatre and access to the outside Jaguar VIP Lounge which was thankfully air conditioned. A Festival Pass which doesn't include the Theatre Show is $25 unless you're lucky enough to get a free ticket which seemed to be given out at various restaurants around Sydney — possibly those owned by the supporting chefs. The event reminded me of a combination of the outdoor Taste of Sydney combined with the indoor Good Food and Wine Show and some added theatrical live entertainment by the MasterChef judges Gary, George and Matt in the Theatre Show. Passionate fans in the audience wanting to be selected by Matt to come up on stage was like watching The Price Is Right. There's opportunity amongst the stands to meet some of the MasterChef contestants and even get your purchased cookbooks signed by them at the Borders stand.

When I visited on the very hot Friday and Saturday it wasn't particularly crowded which made it easy to talk to stall owners, sample products and glance over some of the cookery classes which are included with the ticket entry. I wish I had more time to sit down at the classes and workshop sessions to hear what the chefs and professionals had to say. I thought there was more than enough stalls to occupy your time for quite a few hours and it was good to see that so many of them were promoting Australian made products and businesses.

Other food blog reviews:

PROS: Entry includes a good variety of cookery classes, Lots of food samples, Fans of MasterChef get to meet the contestants, Less crowded than other food festival events this year
CONS: Weather pending for outside area — Friday was very humid and uncomfortable for both the crowd and stalls, Tickets perhaps expensive unless you're a MasterChef fan, Not many restaurant choices
MUST TRY: Attending more of the cookery classes next year

The public line up before the 10 am gates open on 1st day

MasterChef judges officially open the MasterChef Live

MasterChef contestants welcome the 1st day crowd

Live Theatre Show

Young audience member learning to cook an omelette

The MasterChef Judges
Book signings

Restaurant Row

Din Tai Fung
Pork (3 pieces) and vegetable (3 pieces) dumplings ($8)

Chefs Gallery

Making handmade noodles

Steamed sesame 'piggy face' bun

Pork Belly Roll: Thinly sliced blanched pork belly rolled with carrot, cucumber, topped with a garlic and oil free vinaigrette dressing ($6 for 5 pieces)

Handmade noodle with diced chilli chicken snack size ($8)

Charlie & Co
Hot Dog ($8), Burger ($10)

Mad Mex

Italian Kitchen & Bar

Karides: Shredded pastry wrapped king prawns with walnut and capsicum muhammara ($8)

Kofte: Bultarra Saltbush shoulder and leg of lamb kofte, roasted chickpea humus, tomato and spring garlic ezme ($12)

Borek: Mushroom, kashar cheese and parsley yufka pastry ($5)

Baklava: Duo of traditional Antep bakalva, pistachio and walnut ($5)

Learn from the professionals
Grill A Chef sessions

Junior MasterChef zone — Fun for the whole family

World Foods Cooking School — Brassiere Bread and Herbies Spices

Sunbeam Creative Kitchen

The Baking Zone: For Sweets & Treats — Adriano Zumbo always seems to pull a big crowd of fans

How To? Warren Turnbull from Assiette talking to the crowd

Professional Theatre

BBQ Theatre

Cheeky Food Group

Festival of Cooking stalls
Lush Berries — very tempting delights

Anathoth — one of my favourite jams

Movenpick — Chocolote Mint sample YUMMY!

Eskal Gluten Free Foods — lots of samples to try

HealthyFeast — Lemon meringue is their signature dessert

Lemon bar — this guy seems to be at all the festivals now

King Reef Barramundi by Kailis Bros — very tasty samples

Spring Hill Beef

Sarah Glover — passionate cookie baker

Birch & Waite — yummy whole egg mayonnaise

SAXA — try tomatoes and chocolate with their sea flakes

Cobram Estate — Chilli Blast and Garlic Crush olive oils were nice

Wild Sugar by Skye

Organic Times — Dark chocolate macadamias are so good

Amazonia Acai berry superfood bar

Absolute Organic — yummy chip samples

Timburlaine wines — Certified Organic

Olympus Grove

I'd love one of these commercial blenders from Vitamix although at $1050 it's not cheap. Apparently used by Boost Juice and McDonalds amongst others.

Agapé — Organic Restaurant and Bar

Passage Foods — tasty samples

Rosco Fine Foods — generous sweet samples

Luv-a-Duck — duck fat makes everything tastes so good

Pudding Lane — great tasting Christmas puddings

Saltt Himalayan Sea Salt — very subtle in salty taste

Urban Spirit

Springbok Delights — thought they sold springbok but it's beef

Ashgrove Cheese — try the wild wasbi

Rochester Ginger

Ponto e Fresco — very tasty and interesting flavours

Paradise Beach Purveyors — You can taste the crab in the Chilli Crab Dip

Formaggi Ocello — Cheese!

Duck Creek Macadamias — very yummy

Pure Gelato — the strawberry and mango flavours were very good

ANL — I love this vertical wall garden for growing herbs

Most out of place stall — Neutrogena free sunscreen sample. It still felt a bit sticky and thick to me when I used it on Saturday and not 'clean feel'.

Chillout areas
Jaguar VIP Lounge — air conditioned

Gazebo Wine Garden

MasterChef spotting
Skye Craig from Wild Sugar and Me

MasterChef judge Gary Mehigan and Me

Jimmy Seervai, Alvin Quah and Me

Adam Liaw and Me

Marion Grasby and Me

Courtney Roulston and Me

Blogger spotting

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Kym said...

Did you enjoy the show?

I'm looking forward to reading your next post. :)

Gianna@TheEmptyFridge said...

Such a fun day! we were exhausted by the end of it too!

Lovely seeing you again Simon - Hope to see you again soon.

Gastronomy Gal said...

Looks like a great food spotting day!

A cupcake or two said...

It was such a great day. Wow you covered every part of the event. It was so much fun. Hopefully it's on again next year. Nice to finally meet you Simon.

Kym said...

It sounds like you had so much more fun than me. >=[

Anna Johnston said...

Now that's got to be one of the best photo doco's of the day I've seen. Thanks for sharing Simon. Nice chef & celeb spotting there :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Great coverage and it was good to see you again!

susan said...

what a lot of stalls! I would love to try all of those samples.

Simon Leong said...

hi kym, i did enjoy the show but i was at the front so was close to the action. i think it would be different for all the people at the back of the show.

hi gianna, so much to see and do i probably could have spent the whole day there. see you soon :-)

hi gastronomy gal, plenty of food spotting!

hi a cupcake or two, i tried to cover most of it but i reckon i only actually got about half of it. nice to finally meet you too!

hi kym, you didn't have fun? i thought there was a lot to see and do. i think i exhausted myself though.

hi anna johnston, i try my best. you've got to be quick with the photos of the celebs as they seemed to be dashing all over the place.

hi lorraine, great to see you again too :-)

hi susan, i nearly got sampled out. there was a lot on offer and most of the stall owners were nice to talk to.

Mel said...

wow you did an extensive coverage of the event. nice reading them!

Simon Leong said...

hi mel, a super long review but hopefully i've captured most of what went on :-)

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