It was Australian night in The Daily Meal Kitchen & Bar on November 5, celebrating the media partnership between The Daily Meal, Tourism Australia, and Destination NSW — as in New South Wales, the geographically diverse, gastronomically rich Australian state that's home to, among other things, the restaurant capital of Sydney and the country's oldest wine region, Hunter Valley.
The event also served as a kickoff for a journey Down Under by myself and two Daily Meal Council members, chef–restaurateurs Jonathan Waxman and Alice Waters. We three are joining more than 200 other members of the media, "international influencers" (chef Eric Ripert and British critic A.A. Gill are among the others) from 15 countries, and Australian dignitaries for "Invite the World to Dinner" — a massive feast, cooked by star Australian chefs Neil Perry, Ben Shewry, and Peter Gilmore, to be held at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart, Tasmania, on November 14.
Our chef for the evening wasn't Australian — he was French chef Sebastien Archambault, late of the esteemed Blue Duck Tavern at the Park Hyatt hotel in Washington D.C. and now executive chef at The Back Room at the newly opened Park Hyatt New York — but he worked with a treasurey of imported Australian ingredients. His menu included Sydney rock oysters both raw on the half-shell and baked with spinach and an oyster velouté; chilled shrimp salad with Australian macadamia oil and celery leaves; roasted rack of Australian lamb with a sauce of sheep cheese and fresh herbs; cubes of Australian wagyu beef with , yes, Australian black truffle sauce and pommes dauphine; and individual caramelized Australian macadamia nut pies.
The wines were from Hunter Valley's award-winning Brokenwood Winery — a Sémillion (the white-wine grape for which the region is particularly famous) and a Shiraz.
The evening offered a tantalizing taste of Australia, and especially of Sydney and the rest of New South Wales — a multicultural food mecca, with an astonishing number of world-class restaurants, great wines, and some of the finest produce, meats, and seafood anywhere. I'll be filing stories from my forthcoming visit to the region with more details on all of the above.
From right, Daily Meal president J.P. Kyrillos, Tourism New South Wales marketing executive Adam Lubicz and regional director Irene Morgan, and Daily Meal editorial director Colman Andrews.
Chef Sebastien Archambault of The Back Room at the Park Hyatt New York, our guest Celebrity Chef for the evening, with a platter of Australian lamb chops with sheep cheese and fresh herb sauce.