Epicure 20th anniversary dinner
When a food and wine publication holds a birthday bash, you just know the evening is going to be rather special, particularly when six top chefs write the menu.
Melbourne's Age newspaper features the Epicure section every Tuesday. It's a favourite read for me with talented contributors, columnists and reviewers maintaining a consistently interesting content embracing recipes, gossip, new products, food and wine stories, forthcoming events. No surprise, then, that it has been a feature of the Melbourne scene for 20 years.
It might have been pouring down outside the Great Hall of the National Gallery of Victoria but things were already warming up inside when we arrived. The Moet - selected by the evening's sommelier Ben Edwards - was flowing and the first of the evening's taste delights were being passed around.
Canapes by Brigitte Hafner
Brigitte (pictured left being interviewed during the evening by Epicure editor Kylie Walker) has worked with some of Victoria's best Italian chefs, including Guy Grossi and Stefano de Pieri and her recipes regularly appear in Epicure. She runs the Gertrude Street Enoteca with partner James Broadway.
The tables sparkled with glassware, and mirror vases holding bright tulips, and the stained glass ceiling glittered above. It was a splendid venue for the sell-out occasion. And the fun was just beginning for the 250 guests.
Stephanie Alexander OA is an internationally celebrated cook, restaurateur, food writer and author. She ran the acclaimed Stephanie's restaurant for 21 years till its closure in 1997. These days she spends much of her time on the Kitchen Garden Foundation where young people learn about good food.
Second course by Stefano de Pieri
Third course by Jacques Reymond
Fourth Course by Greg Malouf
Dessert by Philippa Sibley
Philippa Sibley was co-owner of Melbourne's est est est and Ondine and has earned a reputation as one of the finest pastry and dessert chefs in the city. She is now working at Circa, the Prince.
Petits fours: Brunetti's
The dinner was very much a co-operative effort with the chefs helping each other. I took the opportunity to pay a brief visit to the kitchen during the evening and found Brigitte Hafner assisting Philippa Sibley with her dessert (right).