It’s the annual city versus country clash the foodies look forward to so much.
Four of Australia’s most respected chefs will step into the spotlight for the ninth annual Hunter Culinary Association (HCA) Food Fight.
The temperature will be hot in the Crowne Plaza kitchen as the country team of Frank Fawkner (EXP Restaurant) and Hamish Watt (Crowne Plaze) square off against the acclaimed Sydney team of Joel Bickford of Aria Restaurant, and Mitch Orr from ACME.
The challenge: to put a delicious twist on a classic dish. Each chef will prepare one lunch course – their own interpretation of a class dish or flavour combination.
Every course will be matched with a Hunter Valley wine. If that’s not enough, guests also act as the judges and will vote for the dish they preferred at the conclusion of lunch.
HCA Deputy Chair Lisa Margan says this year’s chef challenge sets the scene for a meal of gastronomic delights.
“So much of our modern cuisine stems from the classics – the tried and true dishes people love year after year and passed down through families and generations,” Ms Margan said.
“The Hunter Valley is the birthplace of the Australian wine industry so it’s the perfect setting for a contest that marries the old and the new.
“And when we have four chefs of this calibre – and make no mistake, they’re all top shelf – given free rein, you just know the results are going to be incredible.”
In addition to being a wonderful gastronomic experience, the Food Fight event also raises money for the Brett Graham Scholarship through a charity auction.
The scholarship program is one of several offered by HCA and helps support the region’s young chefs by offering them the opportunity to work with Brett Graham at his acclaimed London Michelin starred restaurant, The Ledbury.
HCA Chairman Gus Maher says the Food Fight has allowed the scholarship to grow from covering just the cost of a recipient’s flight to an additional $10,000 prize, which can make a huge difference to a young chef’s career development.
The food fight will take place on Monday, June 18.
The stoush has always attracted some great chefs including Colin Fassnidge, Matt Kemp and Justin North in previous years.