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Issue 115 - The Perfect Dinner

Whisky Magazine Issue 115
October 2013

 

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The Perfect Dinner

The whisky chef cooks up a storm in Australia

How can perfection be achieved through just a few emails exchanged, a thirty minutes remote phone conversation and an informal meeting a few days before the event? There must be magic in the combination of ingredients. My encounter with Jess Ong, the executive chef of The Four Seasons hotel in Sydney resulted in the happy combination of two well matching ingredients.

I have designed and hosted a good numbers of dinners in different countries and there is always a touch of anxiety before the unknown and the fear of not being understood. I never felt that when preparing the six courses gourmet dinner with Jess Ong. The procedure is always the same. I am given a list of whiskies I have to find the matching for them and then, meet with the chef. Before talking with him (or her), I send a guideline, describing the whiskies and suggesting the style of dishes, either sweet or savoury. I also indicate the ingredients which would clash, garlic featuring as a constant enemy. For some dishes, especially fish or seafood, I recommend serving the whisky chilled. I did the same with Jess. For some whiskies, the choice was obvious, like chocolate with Nant Sherrywood or a light smoked fish entrée with Glen Grant 10 Years Old. Glengoyne 12 Years Old called for a tasty meat or poultry and duck came easily. I did not hesitate long with Hellyers Road: a mature cheese enhanced by some sweet accompaniments sounded appropriate. Quite a logical coincidence finally when you think of Hellyers Road ...

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