The Italian Cooking Master Class series enter its second year courtesy of Accento and it sponsors along with the recognition by the Italian Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Each chef hosting one class as part of the series are proud holders of the Ospitalita’ Italiana award, a certified Italian quality seal bestowed only to the most authentic practice in the Italian culinary industry. Needless to say, the Media Launch night was no less spectacular where food was concerned although I did get a little lost in the Italian culture and language that followed. So for keen cooks looking to deepen their knowledge in authentic Italian Cuisine, be quick to register @ www.icci.asn.au or call 0892174200. All classes are held in the Accento showroom in Claremont. First class starts on the 20th this month.
Now, putting formality aside, I cannot deny that I had a really good night and as the little darling was too shy to come along, I asked another friend, J to fill in. He too had a pretty awesome night. I mean who would not have enjoyed all the beautiful food coming from the Accento kitchen?Chef Giuseppe Pagliaricci of Perugino (top) and Chef Egidio Squillace from Event Style (bottom) started the night with some well balanced fingers food ranging from scallop Carpaccio's to deep fried Bococcini and even several toast with delicious toppings!
Scallop Carpaccio with mango is every bit spectacular as I expect it to be especially the fruity mango used as a topping. Needless to say that even the best pairing can be flawed when the quantity is off. Fortunately, this was exceptional.
Prawn and pesto sauce. While this was another fresh course, I found the serve too small for me to enjoy the richness of a typical pesto but I could not fault with much other than that!
Bacala (cod) fritters (without potato) was also another decent eat. It had good texture although a significant portion of its crunch was lost due to its standing time on the plate. Cod fritters.
The toast which I found to be really awesome. It was simple. Just crisp right, the correct portion of cheese and that topping of truffles was really minimalistic but the flavors were just at the right intensity. Although a tad too dry, the combination of flavors were simply sublime! Really quite extravagant and it reminded me of little darling’s parmesan net, chicken broth and truffle toastie that we had at Robuchon’s restaurant in Hong Kong. See post here Le Atelier de Joel Robuchon.
Besides this we had other starters like the crumbled bocconcini which was another tasty morsel served to us that night. For me, it was again another minimalistic approach to maximize the natural flavors of the ingredient. This felt very Italian. Something like that when left to the Americans would normally come with Smokey barbecue or some sort of dip. And in fact, a more popular dish that day would have to be the prawns wrapped in prosciutto. Something that disappeared so very quickly when served. Every single time. But no worries, I caught it in the pan :)!
Following the launch and speeches by organizers, we moved on from finger food to the main courses for the night. First up was a course of pasta. Chef Giuseppe Pagliaricci of Perugino looking exceptional in this photo. He loves his Italian food and his expressions do not lie. Here, he prepares the sauce used for the gnocchi. This was for me an extremely genius dish which I enjoyed best.
The gnocchi with gorgonzola, apple, parmesan and pine nuts Fluffy gnocchi pillow coated with decadent gorgonzola and parmesan sauce. Wow factor for the night. The aroma of the cheese was easily orgasmic and the flavors of the cheeses mellowed really nicely. Especially when eaten with the little bits of apple. Yums! Pine nuts hmmmm I could not taste any.
Ravioli filled with potato, cheddar, and prosciutto with a pumpkin sauce and a dash of béchamel was the second pasta course.The pasta skin made under the watchful eyes of the chef was thin and silky smooth! Chef Giuseppi says, the most important thing for the pasta is the ratio of egg to flour. He was careful enough to not spill his magic ratio so if you want to find out more, definitely register for the first Italian Master class led by him @ www.icci.asn.au or call 0892174200. For me though, the highlight was the perfectly cooked pumpkin sauce. So delish :)! The white sauce despite complementing the dish did not feel like it was needed!
Rack of lamb cooked with olive oil, lemon juice and oregano was the meat course which I loved best. It was tender, and the flavors of the lamb were not clouded by any seasoning. It was just good old classic rack of lamb with pepper and salt, a few other herbs that was sealed before being finished in the oven. Lip-smacking good!
To finish the night, we had various cakes and more but the only desserts that could fit in my tummy were the
1. Macadamia panna cotta with white chocolate sauce
2. Pistachio panna cotta with berry sauce
These desserts continued the enjoyment we foodies were having for the night. While both were absolutely moorish, the acidity of the berry sauce gave the panna cotta an added complexity rather than topping sweet milk with more sweet milk. For me, the Macadamia panna cotta with white chocolate sauce did not reach the extent of cloying but felt bland as there was not contrast whatsoever. One comment though, was that the pistachio in the berry panna cotta did not provide much crunch. Felt somewhat soggy! Perhaps better on top then at the bottom? :)! Nevertheless, every spoonful was enjoyable :)! Just being picky because you expect chef’s like that to be at the top of their game! Bwahahaha
I was too full to eat anything else by the time the clock struck 9. For me, tonight was awesome and I can only imagine the rest of the master classes where all participants get to feast on equally moorish courses. How would I describe the quality of the food today? Well authentic would be a great place to start albeit a bit shallow if one assumes all Italian cooks are equally pure. For me, the food today was to a certain extent minimalistic but manages to capture the Italian flavors at its best. So is it time to bring out the inner Italian in you?
For me, it was also the first time meeting my foodie mates TFP, ChompChomp and the Queen of Bad Timing. All of which were super friendly and lovely people. Maybe next time I will not be too paranoid about media launches although I have to say that the formality of such invite usually extends past my norm hahaha.
More information of the Italian Cooking Masterclass is shown below courtesy of http://travelletto.com
All demonstrations start at 6.30pm and held at the Accento Showroom, 256 Stirling Highway Claremont.
Cost per class is $90 or $500 for the series of six.
For more information, visit www.icci.asn.au or call 08 9217 4200.