In June, Tommy Prosser from Single Origin Roasters and myself teamed up to host the Sydney Pastry Club’s mid-year catch up, which explored coffee and its potential in patisserie.
The Sydney Pastry Chefs club is focused on advancing the industry, developing new trends and ideas using a broad knowledge base that the leading pastry chefs in Sydney have acquired in their unique careers. It’s a culture of sharing and, as always, we learnt a lot!
One of the ways we showcase our ideas is by meeting and hosting events at different venues around the city. There have been some pretty spectacular Sydney Pastry Club meetings by other chefs and, when it was my turn, I really wanted to showcase my core values, as well as the foundations I built my business on, such as culinary education, innovative savoury food and fine patisserie.
These days, I’m cooking a lot with my best friend and love of my life Tommy Prosser. Of English origins, he learnt his trade at culinary school Sussex Downs College, where he competed in national junior and senior competitions before going to work at the Michelin-star country house-hotel Gravetye Manor and the three-Michelin star Waterside Inn. Since settling in Sydney, Tommy enjoys the amazing produce he features in his Surry Hills business, where he is head chef.
We thought it was only fitting that, as the event was held at one of the country’s premier coffee roasting establishments, that we included a mini coffee education/cupping lead by the coffee queen and green bean buyer Wendy De Jong. She was fascinating in the way she demonstrated the set-up and the exact timing and tasting (slurping) technique.
There is even a specially-designed cupping spoon for coffee connoisseurs – who would have known? Wendy also featured the exciting and rare cascara tea made from the dried out coffee berry that encases the bean. The pastry chefs were suitably impressed with its potential to be utilised in patisserie. Better still, no one else had heard of it before.
Coffee has a multitude of flavour profiles that can be present in blends or single origin coffees, and so it was natural to include an educational element to raise awareness of this special ingredient and to open more doors to the potential of pairing it with food.
In addition to the cupping demonstration, Tommy and I cooked up a feast. The set up was a large communal table to make family-style atmosphere. We presented multiple courses al a menu degustation, as we both have heavy family and fine dining influences. Here’s the menu:
• “Bat outta hell” meatloaf sandwich on toastedbrioche with brown butter hollandaise chilli salsa and spiced carrot slaw.
• Black pudding, creamed corn and chill relish “en croute” – a cheeky little breakfast taster of the big black pudding that has enough to wake you up for the day or cure the biggest of hangovers.
• Tommy’s signature sous vide salmon, salmon “crackling”, beetroot herb and pear salad, egg with sweet horseradish dressing and beetroot purée. We brine the salmon overnight before, cooking it gently to set the proteins.
• The “truck driver reviver” coffee-braised beefshort rib on a toasted brioche bun with pickled red cabbage melted cheddar and chipotle aioli.
• “Rocky flower” 62 per cent Dark Felchlin chocolate cup, hidden pate de fruits strawberry and raspberry, cinnamon and vanilla marshmallow and Turkish Delight on top
• “Pink lady buttery apple tart”, which is a labourof love.
• Chocolate and hazelnut “Tommy and Jess kisses”, inspired by Hershey’s Kisses. This was a sweet ending note to a great catch up.
It was a pleasure to finally have the opportunity to host the event and share something special with my fellow pastry chefs.
Tommy and I have this amazing chemistry in life that comes out whenever we interact, it was lovely that it translated into the event and also in writing this article together as a team.