Food and Drink
Posted by Alana Aphoy
12. Jun, 2012
This Thursday sees Melbourne hosting the Starlight’s Five Chefs Dinner, a cracker of an event where five leading local chefs donate their time to prepare a signature dish, matched with wines, for a good cause (and feed). It’s sort of like The Avengers, but edible and real. The annual dinner raises money for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, a charity which provides support programs for children in hospitals around the country.
This year the participating chefs are Michael Lambie (The Smith), Philippe Mouchel (P M 24), Mark Best (Pei Modern), Nicky Riemer (Union Dining) and Darren Purchese (Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio). Ahead of the gala dinner we caught up with Nicky Riemer to find out what we can expect.
MILK BAR: Why did you want to be a part of the Chefs Dinner?
NICKY RIEMER: Union Dining is a small business and we’re fortunate enough to have had a lot of support over our first year (we turned one in May!) I think it’s really important to give something back to the general community and taking part in the Starlight Children’s Foundation gave me a chance to do that.
MB: Why does the dinner attracts so many high-profile chefs?
NR: The Starlight Five Chefs Dinner has certainly become something of a “feather in your cap” as a chef. It’s a terrific event that brings people together to raise money for a very worthy charity and I think it’s something all good chefs want to be a part of.
I remember seeing some amazing chefs being involved over the years and wondered how I could help. I hope that by being involved more people become aware of the foundation and the work they do.
MB: What’s it like sharing a kitchen with the other chefs?
NR: It’s always a team effort – we’re all wanting to present the best possible experience so we help out where needed. It’s a great opportunity to see what the other chefs are presenting, while by our sides the team at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre provide an excellent environment for all the “guest chefs” to feel comfortable.
MB: How did you decide on the dish will you be preparing?
NR: I wanted to do a dish that not only represented what I do at Union Dining but also was a great start to a big dinner. My dish – kingfish carpaccio with pickled baby beetroots and horseradish cream – has clean, strong flavours that I hope will get everyone’s palette ready for what’s ahead!
MB: What are the challenges in preparing a dish for so many people?
NR: The biggest challenge is ensuring we order enough ingredients! Having said that, it’s also important to ensure we remain true to the flavours of the dish and make sure that people are experiencing the same flavours on such a large scale – they should feel like it’s the same dish we offer in our restaurants.
MB: What do you hope is the outcome of this event?
NR: I do hope that everyone enjoys themselves on the night and that we can raise money for the Starlight Children’s Foundation; and awareness of the amazing work done by the people working in the hospitals with kids across the nation.
The Starlight Five Chef’s Dinner is happening this Thursday 14 June at the Melbourne Concention and Exhibition Centre.
To book visit www.fivechefs.org.au or call 03 9468 2024.
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