Archive for the ‘Food Events’ Category

I watched France take on New Zealand the other day – not on a muddy field but in the elegant surroundings of the French ambassador’s residence in Wellington. Still smarting from the Eden Park loss a few days before, the French pulled out all the stops in the kitchen, pitching Le Cordon Bleu chef Philippe Clergue against our own Martin Bosley.

With a team of helpers in the kitchen the two chefs each prepared five amuse-bouche sized tastes based on New Zealand ingredients. In a nice twist, each one was matched with a wine from the rival country, chosen by Chris Archer of Archer McRae and Alastair Morris of Regional Wines and Spirits.

Le Cordon Bleu event at the French Residency, Thorndon.

The match started with a Dumangin champagne and a Palliser Estate methode traditionelle, the bubbles replacing the rugby match anthems. Similarly, there was no intimidating haka but chef Clergue did manage to gain an early psychological advantage with the impressive height of his hat. Bosley admitted to being completely outclassed on that score.

Chef Martin Bosley

Chef Philippe Clergue














As to the food. The French kicked off by showing us exactly what to do with our greenshell mussels. Clergue presented a crunchy croquette, or ‘cromesquis’, with a velvety sauce that hinted of crustacean. It was matched with a Cambridge Road Arohanui Rose 2009. Bosley retaliated with snapper on cauliflower puree with asparagus and almond caramel, his try was trickier but not as succesful. The wine was a new one on me, a 2009 Picpoul de Pinet from the Languedoc, a lovely match with the fish.

The second round was salmon. Bosley’s was a mini version of his famous cedar planked salmon, served with a chive citrus emulsion and a sprinkling of wasabi flying fish caviar. Texturally brilliant and quite different to Clergue’s rendition. The Frenchman served his salmon raw. It was thinly sliced, silky textured, and it was wrapped around a delicious oyster tartare. Both were superb.

Clergue's Salmon

Bosley's Salmon







Lamb was next. Clergue partered his saddle of lamb with sweetbreads and fondant potatoes. Chef Bosley presented confit lamb loin, topped with fennel pollen and a Jerusalem artichoke crisp. It won my vote for dish of the match. And I’d love to know how he got hold of the pollen – did he shake it off the flowers himself or has he trained a few bees to do the job for him? Either way, you have to admire his commitment.

The beef fillet was too close to call. Bosley’s was a riff on steak béarnaise, topped with a gaufrette potato crisp.  Clergue  partnered his with chestnuts and a hint of juniper in a spiced wine sauce.

Bosley's beef fillet

Clergue's beef fillet












A Dry River Gewurtztraminer was possibly my wine of the night (I gave it 2 ticks so it must have been good) It matched Clergue’s orange crème brulée, which for classic simplicity beat Bosley’s more intriguing dessert – a combination of orange and pickled radish dressed with honey and yoghurt.

Overall winner? Our hosts were too diplomatic to hold a formal vote but I reckon France won by a whisker. Let’s hope they don’t do the same on the field.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts