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Chef Stars of America 2010 Cocktail Launch feat. Matt Preston, Nobu Matsuhisa & more

Submitted by Adrian on March 22, 2010 – 10:01 am27 Comments

Thanks to B and Walter Wagner, Crown’s Executive GM of Food and Beverage, I was lucky to score an invite to the Stars of America 2010 launch cocktail party at Breezes last Tuesday, 16 March.

To coincide with The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Crown has happily opened its arms to five of America’s most awarded and renowned chefs for the ‘Stars’ culinary program. The series was created to enable a showcase of world renowned chefs from three distinct culinary regions.

From March 16 – 23, diners will be treated to a special feature menu presented by various Michelin Star awarded Chefs, making their way down from their hometown restaurants into Crown’s premium eateries.

DSC02201Fresh Cappelini with lobster, Josiah Citrin

DSC02199Happy snaps with Cravat-a-Licious Matt Preston, who I met at last year’s DON event. Great to see you again Matt!

Being the first time at Breezes, I was quite impressed at the surroundings. Here you’ll find a sun drenched outdoor deck fitted with a bar overlooking the Yarra River and is located next to an indoor swimming pool. How convenient?

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DSC02186Jazz band

Who are the Chefs and what was the food like?

Nobu Matsuhisa will be slicing up his famous sashimi at of course, Nobu. Where else?! Owner of acclaimed restaurants Nobu, Matsuhisa and Ubon, he has gone from working in Peru, where he developed his signature style, to Alaska where unfortunately his restaurant burnt down, to the success of Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills and finally exploding with Nobu- partnering up with Robert De Niro and Drew Nieporent. Along the way, he has also appeared in movies such as Austin Powers Goldmember and Memoirs of a Geisha. Can you tell I’m a huge fan?

DSC02168Trying me best to keep my composure

Nobu Matsuhisa Showcase

Crispy Pork Belly

My Pork Radar immediately fixated upon Nobu’s station. And what an impressive sight it was. I was lucky enough to catch some food talk  with this legendary chef. Despite his popularity and global empire I might add, I would describe him to be very personable and humble- even asking about my blog and suggested I try his Crispy Pork Belly. Of course, it would have been rude of me not to eat several servings. I ate 7. No regrets here as it was perfectly juicy with the ever so delicately thin layer of crispy skin soaked in a light sweet sauce.

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Sashimi Tacos with Tomato Salsa

Now this is what I call an innovative and successful combination. The tomato juices spilling onto my suit, I quickly succumbed to the airy wafer like taco shell with freshly cut cubed sashimi. So good. Servings had? 5. Funnily, I though it it resembled a cross between those old platter snack shells that was a hit in the 90’s and chicharon (deep fried pork rind and belly).

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Josiah Citrin from Melisse in Santa Monica, California has been named Zagat’s number one rated restaurant in Los Angeles for the past six years. Josiah, known for his French inspired dishes and a two star Michelin Chef, will be cooking up a storm at Brasserie by Philippe Mouchel.

Josiah Citrin Showcase

Fresh Cappelini with lobster

I was watching this spectacular morsel being prepared like as if I was watching a bomb being deactivated. It was definitely food porn at its best. I think I needed a cigarette after my first spoonful. Servings had? 4. Was not enough, but I didn’t want to look like the pig of the party. I have ‘some’ if not just a little integrity. The silky Cappelini slid down my throat with ease as my buds feasted on the delectable foam.

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Nancy Silverton, a Cordon Bleu-trained and Michelin star recipient from award winning Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria, Los Angeles will be teasing our taste buds at JJ’s Bar and Grill. Nancy, known for her artesian bread making and brand La Brea, is also a pastry chef and Italian cheese lover. Oh, I could have talked all day about cheese.

Nancy Silverton Showcase

Arancini Alla Bolognese

Surprisingly light and airingly fluffy, this well seasoned fried rice ball was a great starter to the evening as I tried to line my stomach before I had too much wine. Too late! I’m a pretty cheap drunk on an empty tummy which makes me a very bad choice as the designated driver.

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Baby Lamb Chops Scottadita

Now, if there was a time for video, this would’ve been the moment. Like a flock of seagulls, there was a group of attendees waiting for these babies to come out. As soon as the waitress had brought out the long awaited serving of these tender ‘must eat it to the bone’ chops, it was all gone before I could even take a decent shot at the plate.

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Having a camera in hand definitely made it difficult for me to eat.

Chicken Liver Alla Toscana with Caprese Lemon and Parsely

Being an avid fan of chicken liver, I enjoyed this with my eyes closed. Served on crisp delights, it was refreshingly tangy complimented by the lemon and parsley- a great addition taking the already tasty liver to the next level.

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April Bloomfield who comes to us from The Spotted Pig, New York (I admittedly have had their site bookmarked as a favourite!), is a Michelin Star awarded Chef for five consecutive years guest starring at Breezes. April is known for her signature burger and is featured on New York Magazine’s coveted burger register. It was nice to meet a fellow burger addict.

April Bloomfield Showcase

Sweet Corn Soup with Mushroom Garnish

I returned to April’s station many times throughout the night. Speaking to some of the other guests, this was definitely one of the night’s favourites. Accustomed to the Asian sweet corn soups, it was definitely a much richer, thicker and creamier version. Servings had? 8 or could it be 9? Hell, I could have had more.

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Yellowtail Kingfish Sashimi

I was interested to taste this as Nobu was also serving sashimi nearby. A sweet and delicate texture,  complimented by the light dressing. The  crunchy leaves was strange but interesting. Not pictured here, but there were also other varieties served with a brown set of tiny leaves.

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David Kinch from Manresa which was named as one of the Top 40 restaurants in the US will be guest chef at Number 8. David is known for his unique blend of inventive Californian cuisine- inspired by both French and Catalian cooking.

David Kinch Showcase

Sweet Corn Cromesquis

Think perfectly deep fried golden crumbed croquettes filled with warm, not hot, corn soup with the sweet kernels bursting in your mouth like water bombs on a summer’s day. How many did I have? 8.

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The Cap Off

On a serious note, it was such an honor meeting and talking food with such culinary talents. There were more selections devoured, but unfortunately, by this time my camera was out of memory! I hope to travel soon to the US and eat my way through each one of the featured restaurants. Now added to ‘the before I die’ list! Anyone want to sponsor me?

Whilst the chef stars are still in Melbourne, I’d highly recommend checking out the following events:

David Kinch | Restaurant: Number 8 restaurant and wine bar
Exclusive feature menus: 16 – 23 March 2010
Wine Dinner: 18 March 2010
Price: $190.00 per person

Nancy Silverton | JJ’s Bar and Grill
Exclusive feature menus: 16 – 23 March 2010
Wine Dinner: 22 March 2010
Price: $160.00 per person

Josiah Citrin | the brasserie by Philippe Mouchel
Exclusive feature menus: 16 – 23 March 2010
Wine Dinner: 21 March 2010
Price: $190.00 per person

April Bloomfield | Breezes
Exclusive feature menus: 16 – 23 March 2010
Wine Dinner: 21 March 2010
Price: $140.00 per person

Nobu Matsuhisa | Nobu
Exclusive feature menus: 16 – 23 March 2010
Wine Dinner: 19 March 2010

Food Rehab attended the Stars of America 2010 Cocktail Launch courtesy of Crown. Thanks! :)

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