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Interview with Adam Liaw + Melbourne’s Good Food & Wine Show

Submitted by Adrian on June 5, 2011 – 11:06 am37 Comments

This week, from June 3 -5, Melbourne opens its mouth for three days of feasting during the Good Food and Wine Show. We are the first of the big five cities to play host with the show hitting Sydney on July 1. For all you chef groupies, the show gives you the chance to see some of your favourite chefs in their element from Poh Ling Yeow, Manu Feildel Adam Liaw, Matt Moran, George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan- all cooking it up for you fine people.

For all the avid foodies out there, rest assured that there are plenty of cheeses, wines, fine chocolates, produce from the Barossa Valley and a plethora of other delectables to digest over the weekend- you can see the list of exhibitors here of you choose map out your eating itinerary. Tick. I’m sure I’m not the only one who does that…well, I hope not.

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I was invited along to cover the Malaysia Kitchen stand where Adam Liaw, LaksaMe, Laksa King, my fav Monk + Me and ChilliPadi was workin the wok. The stand was part of a campaign to help spread the word about how amazing Malaysian cuisine is and rightly so. You may have seen my rants about my quest to find the best Laksa in Melbourne that I’m still undertaking. I will never give up, never!

A Chat with Adam Liaw

A lawyer of six years based in Japan turned MasterChef winner in 2010 and author of a new cookbook Two Asian Kitchens, Adam Liaw is also set to open an Izakaya inspired eatery in Sydney. Indeed, a man who has worn many shoes.

But rather than beating the drum of a courtroom battle, his heart has always been beating in the one place he calls home- the kitchen.

In amongst all the buzz at the GFWS, I had a quick moment to chat with the funny and charismatic chap. I had three burning questions that I’ve been wanting to ask . Check out the quick interview after the drop:

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What would you consider to be the most underrated ingredient?

Brussel Sprouts. :O

They’re awesome. With Brussel Sprouts, they’re very bitter in the centre and many tend to just boil or steam them. But if you cut them in half, caramelise them, add a little water in the pan and slowly cook them off- all the bitterness leaches out of the centre and is released.

I spoke about his amazing Triple Cooked Korean Chicken which led me to the next question: What was one dish you wanted to do, but didn’t get to cook on MasterChef?

Roasted Corn Soup that I had plans to cook. You know, you go into these challenges, and you think, is this going to the day when I make my corn soup with prawns but the right opportunity just never came up.

Are there any plans to open up a similar Izakaya style restaurant in Melbourne ?

No serious plans as yet, but hopefully I’ll have one in the future. Would love to but let’s try and get the one open first. :)

Cap Off

Despite the many of us who dislike brussel sprouts – memories of it being force fed by my mum may be the reason- but Adam’s intriguing take on cooking them has actually tempted me to give them a second chance. You can tell from the last question I was hinting at a restaurant in Melbourne but I’m sure the manic preparations of opening the Sydney restaurant is his main priority right now.

Thanks again Adam for putting aside some time to talk about all things food- it was a real blast chatting with you. I promise to give brussel sprouts another go. Check out Adam’s kick ass blog at http://adamliaw.com/

Some handy tips from Adam:

1. Use the back of the knife for peeling ginger – one technique I actually used today when I was making Chicken Tinola this morning!

2. To properly season a wok, rub oil around the wok and heat on high for 10-15 minutes. Best oil for seasoning is Linseed Oil.

adam liaw interview 1

DSC08784Adam’s cookbook: TwoAsian Kitchens out NOW!!

Malaysia Kitchen Coverage

I took a day off work to cover Friday’s event to first and foremost, avoid the weekend crowds homeboy! Also spotted were fellow eaters Kim and April.

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Curry Laksa

The demonstrations kicked off with Adam Liaw cooking up Ayam Kapitan and Seafood Char Kway Teow.

Adam showcased his version of Ayam Kapitan and tells us that true Nyonya cooking is about fresh ingredients. As soon as the ingredients hit the burner, I could smell the distinct aromas of tumeric, galangal, ginger, lemongrass and garlic. Despite not being Malaysian myself, it’s amazing to find so many similarities in ingredients between Filipino dishes and those of our surrounding neighbours. Just being at the stand reminded me of my mum’s cooking when growing up to this very day.

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“Asian food, generally, is not made by chefs, it’s made by people at home. It’s a real home style peasant style cuisine and yet, we feel at home, in a Western style society, more comfortable making a Michelin star inspired dish as opposed to a simple peasant Malaysian dish.” Adam Liaw

The chicken was on point- and had a lovely edge of smokiness.

The Seafood Char Kway Teow. Best oil to use for this dish is Peanut Oil. I still recall a friend in high school would always bring tasty dishes for lunch, one of them being Char Kway Teow. Fortunately, on occasion, we would swap lunches.

Due to the incorrect ingredients provided such as the thin rice noodles usually reserved for Pad Thai and prawns that were already precooked, Adam wasn’t overly impressed with the version he made. Nonetheless, he powered on through did the best with what he had and managed to put on a fantastic show with an abundance of charisma and knowledge around Nyonya cuisine. The audience interacted really well with Adam and got a chance to see his funny side. We also gained a few handy tips along the way.

Next up, restaurant Chai Eat Like Malaysian served up their take on Beef Rendang. Although at times perceived and categorised as a curry, I consider rendang to be a stew. It’s slow cooked until the meat becomes tender and absorbs all the coconut milk and spices. You can shortcut the cooking process by precooking the beef and then adding the sauce afterwards but the authentic way to cooking this can take several hours – but it’s worth it. Serve it with fresh steamed rice and you have yourself some comfort food right there.

Allen Woo of LaksaMe took the stage to do a delicious rendition of a Laksa and Chicken Rojak. Unfortunately, due to my schedule on the day, I missed out on Chilli Padi’s demonstration. Just recently though, I had attended a Rotifest at Chilli Padi Mamak in Kensington, so I can attest to the fact that they do a mean roti and ice kachang!

DSC08889DSC08891Chicken Rojak

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There are 4 types of Malaysian Cuisine

1. Indian-malay

2. Chinese -malay

3. Malay-malay

4. Peranakan-malay: Also known as Nyonyas (female) and Babas (male) food, the Peranakans are the children. The Peranakan people are the descendants of the Chinese traders.

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An insight to the Good Food & Wine Show with Poh Ling Yeow and James Lang

This was my first time attending the Good Food & Wine Show so in my excitement, I was like a kid on a sugar high running around the place in sweats. I was also happy to be invited along to join my fellow bloggers in a preview into the Good Food & Wine Show presented by Poh Ling Yeow and Exibit Director, James Lang.

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The first time I met the always upbeat Poh, was at her Desert Island Flicks tribute earlier this year and I was super excited about meeting her again. Totally diggin the quirky outfit.

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James and Poh took us kiddies through the various highlights and new additions to this year’s show that included:

- New restaurant based on recipes based on Poh Ling Yeow and Adam Liaw’s cooking.This is good news as I’m sure many were a little tired of the limited choice of dim sims, chips and burgers from the previous years. It also encourages show goers to stay longer.

- Last year, the costs to run the show cost a mega 28 million dollars but it’s all about making the show enjoyable and educational.

- A number of cooking schools, Coopers Beers Garden for the first time

Poh also gave us some insight into her upcoming shows- with a real focus on our regional areas, travels to Singapore and Thailand and how she is about to launch into writing as well. Very excited indeed!

After the briefing, we had the opportunity to see the cheekey duo George Colambaris and Gary Mehigan do their thaang in the Celebrity Theater. Due to prior engagements, I had to leave so no photos- sorry! I’m sure my fellow foodies will post some.

Also spotted were Sammy and Bella, winners of My Kitchen Rules. Stationed at the Barilla stage, they spoke about their upcoming cookbook (released next year) and their food blog.

sammy and bella

To make the most of the show, I’d suggest seeing the various demonstrations where you can sample some of the best dishes from our country’s best chefs.

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The stalls

The best thing about going to the show is the sampling. When I’m out grocery shopping, I often wish I could take a nibble at the items I’m most interested in without having to blame the nearest kid when I happen to open a jar of Jam “That kid did it!” LOL

I didn’t manage to taste absolutely everything, *GASP* but I did hit up some incredibly tasty items as shown below.

My favourite stall was a real surprise. Gu Puds are in fact, quality cheesecakes, soufflés, ganache,  melting middles, tortes, brownies and mousses available at the supermarket in cute little packages. The ganache and the cheesecake had the X Factor. A little hesitant at first on the ganache but thank fully, it wasn’t overly rich. Moreish indeed. AAAH!

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Thomas Chipman. Someone say chips? We left with several packets of these gems- beetroot being my fav.

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Ritter Sport, a German chocolate, is incrediblely creamy. The poor stall holder had to witness my shameless tasting session as I succumbed to all the various flavours.

DSC08855Ritter chocolate Come to papa

The Ford Focus vegetable wall looked amazing. Layers upon layers of capsicum, eggplant and other varieties was just awe-inspiring. This is what I call food art!

By the way, my fellow bloggers, if you want to score yourself a Ford Focus, enter the carsales.com.au competition now!

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More wall art! Reminds me of Cookie the beagle eating everything I accidentally drop on the floor…

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Giant letters made out of chocolate and sprinkles..need I say more?! Unfortunately,m they ran out of a few letters so I couldn’t get my whole name. LOL

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Zee Details

Where: Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre, Melbourne – next to Crown

When: NOW! June 3 – 5. Sat 10- 6, Sun 10-5

For cookbook signings with your favourite cook, check out the schedule here

What are you waiting for? Get down to the Good Food & Wine Show!

Food Rehab attended thanks to Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide and the Good Food & Wine Show

If you’re not already signed up for updates from Food Rehab, get on the list and I’ll do my best to keep us learning about none-other than glorious, GLORIOUS food! Also, follow me on Facebook (NEW!) or Twitter if you have either of those addictive things.

Keep eating,

Adrian

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