08 December 2015

IGA Romeo's Food Hall, MLC Centre, Martin Place, Sydney (7 Dec 2015)

MLC Centre, Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000

Down the IGA food hall

From first impression the new Romeo's Food Hall IGA is looking very impressive and a great addition to the supermarket options in the CBD. There's a few different sections to tempt your wallet like a bakery, deli, cheese and seafood section. Brasserie Bread is also on offer and a dedicated Lindt chocolate section. Located underneath the MLC Centre food court I believe it's where Harvey Norman used to be. I spotted some casual seating which would be handy if you're grabbing something to eat and wanting to avoid trying to find a seat upstairs in the busy food court.

PROS: Lots of fresh produce on offer
CONS: The cheese section is too tempting
MUST TRY: Checking out the salads for lunch
VERDICT: Looking like a handy addition for picking up groceries for city workers

31 August 2015

Chef’s Table with Gary Mehigan and Billie McKay at Good Food & Wine Show 2015, Sydney (9 Aug 2015)

#citibankdine #citivip #goodfoodie

A rewarding experience

Brought to you by Citi Australia

"Our new and exciting Citi Rewards experience is here. Browsing and redeeming from our huge range of reward options has never been easier. Go to citibank.com.au/myrewards"

Thanks to Citi Australia for inviting me to experience the Chef’s Table ($55 VIP ticket) at the Good Food & Wine Show ($32 general admission) with Gary Mehigan. Upon arrival I was pleasantly surprised to also see MasterChef 2015 winner Billie McKay helping out on the Good Food Theatre stage. She was one of my favourites while watching MasterChef and I was very happy to see her win. As a VIP ticket holder I liked how you got to watch the cooking demonstration in the comfort of a table setting while trying the dishes with their matching wines.

To start the Chicken Larb matched with Villa Maria Private Bin Chardonnay was a light and tasty dish with fresh flavours. Next was the Prawn and Fish Coconut Curry with Okra and Cashews matched with Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc. Enjoyable flavours combined with a tasty prawn and nicely cooked piece of fish. I would have been fine if the chilli kick factor was turned up a notch to challenge my taste buds. For dessert the Papaya and Coconut Ice Cream, Sago and Sesame Caramel matched with Private Bin Pinto Gris was a crowd pleaser — more please sir. I think the crowd of free audience seats were a bit jealous when we got to try this yummy Asian inspired dish.

After the event the 50 Chef’s Table VIP ticket holders had the chance to get their photo taken with Gary and Billie which was a great opportunity and experience. Everyone also received a generously filled goodie bag that included Gary's Comfort food cookbook which they could get signed. It was lovely to meet Gary and Billie and be part of the Chef’s Table. A truly rewarding experience thanks to Citi Australia.

06 July 2015

MasterChef Blogger Experience in Melbourne: Sneak peek at ‘The Passion Flower’ dessert challenge by Pastry Chef Darren Purchese and a quick Q&A with MasterChef judge George Calombaris


The passion for perfection

“Believe in your dream, always be true to yourself, and always cook with honesty” — George Calombaris

Brought to you by Nuffnang and MasterChef

So I’ve been watching most of the MasterChef episodes and it looks like the competition is ramping up and the best contestants are starting to shine through as favourites and potential finalists. The standard of many of the contestants at this stage of the competition seems very high compared to previous years, so it’s only fitting the challenges are getting pretty tough too.

‘The Passion Flower’ by Darren Purchese

Here’s a sneak peek at one of the hardest dessert challenges that’s been on MasterChef. Having the opportunity to try this dessert was great as I’d never try and attempt to make something like this myself. There are so many processes and elements to get right. But I’m sure there’ll be techniques that many home cooks will love the challenge of trying out themselves once they watch how it all comes together on MasterChef.

During my visit to the Burch and Purchese sweet studio, Darren was kind enough to share his thoughts about MasterChef:
“I was honoured to be asked back into the MasterChef kitchen to set a pressure test for this season. In my opinion the contestants this year are the highest standard of any other, because of this it is getting harder every year to come up with a new challenging dish. With this in mind I set to work on a dish that would challenge most chefs, a dish so tricky to master that even me and my team were nervous that it might not work! In all, the dish has 12 elements with 31 steps but the biggest challenge is that it has moving parts! I hope you’ll love watching the episode as much as I did to be a part of it.”


Here’s a few of my own questions I had the opportunity to ask MasterChef judge, George Calombaris that I was curious to know.

Q. What's your favourite thing about MasterChef?
A. Integrity, simple people, amazing food, dream big. IT’S JUST SO BEAUTIFUL

Q. Is there anything you wouldn't want to eat on MasterChef?
A. Bad food but we rarely get that.

Q. What advice would you give MasterChef contestants?
A. Believe in your dream, always be true to yourself, and always cook with honesty

Q. What do you think of social media?
A. Love it as long as it’s used with respect and positivity

Q. What do you think of food bloggers?
A. Love them.

Thanks again to Nuffnang and MasterChef for this unique opportunity. It’s not long now before we see who has the skills and passion to be our next MasterChef Australia.

So who’s you’re favourite to win?

Check out my previous blog post of my MasterChef Blogger Experience in Melbourne here: 

Simon Food Favourites Map

View Simon Food Favourites in a larger map Key: BLUE - Location visit and review PINK - Simon Favourites and places offering something special

Small Bars in Sydney map

View Small Bars in Sydney in a larger map