Fourth work experience at Urbane

The big news was announced that Kym Machin (executive chef), Brendan Gradidge (head chef) and a couple of others from Urbane and the Euro were departing Urbane to further pursue their cooking career. It was the last full day that Kym was working at Urbane and the Euro and he asked me to help out with the Delicious Event they were holding there that night.

I arrived at 10 am and started in the cold section segmenting oranges and peeling a large bag of onions. Kym arrived and asked me to help him with plating up for a tasting at Restaurant Two in preparation for a Variety dinner to be held soon at the Hilton. We entered through the large doors at the back of Restaurant Two and all the people turned around to look at us. The likes of Alistair McLeod (Bretts Wharf and Tank), David Pugh (Restaurant Two), Hajime Horiguchi (Wasabi), Peter Merchant (Sommeliers Australia) and a couple of others I didn’t recognised were looking at us and I was a bit embarrassed. Kym set up his dish because I had no idea what it was and all the chefs and I tasted the entrees. Afterwards we all tried the mains and Kym’s dish was the standout, by far. We moved on to desserts and one of the best bakers in Brisbane made a large box of petit fours. We all took one and without realising I took the alcoholic one. It was so strong I couldn’t taste anything else. I tried another of the petit fours and it was a delicious orange flavour.

On the way back to the restaurant we passed Moda and the executive chef (Javier Codina) yelled out and we came and said hi to him. After we talked we were finally on the way back to Kym’s restaurants. Once back we shared the good news with the team and began preparing for the lunch service.

Brendan demonstrated to me how to fillet a whole king fish. He insisted that I try a raw slice. Surprisingly it didn’t seem to have any flavour but just a soft unexpected texture. Brendan then marinated the raw kingfish slice in lemon juice and fresh herbs for a few minutes. This turned the flesh white which tasted amazingly good. Then I took the rest of the fish fillets down stairs into the cold room.

I then counted all the edible flowers and leaves that a chef had picked from the roof garden to make sure there were enough for the lunch service. There were 109 baby beetroot leaves and 209 other edible flowers and leaves.

Lunch service was under way and it was reasonably busy with a couple of people ordering the degustation and as usual a lot of people at the bar ordering from a large selection of gourmet burgers. I helped Kym and Brendan to plate up the dishes out the front.

After service was over Kym gave me my first chefs’ knife and told me to get a lesson from Ben (who used to be head chef of Cha Cha Char) about the physics of the knife. He explained that if you put a knife under a microscope you could see split metal on the edge. He also taught me how to look after knives by sharpening them and cleaning them. I also learned the difference between Japanese knives and normal knives. Japanese knives are a bit softer so you have to sharpen them more often but they have a sharper blade. Normal knives need a longer sharpen but they stay sharp for a long time.

I then helped Ben truss pieces of Wagyu beef with cooking twine. Afterwards the team went on a break and Kym and I walked around the city in search of lunch. We decided to have lunch at a Japanese restaurant. We were talking about the Noosa Food and Wine Festival and he said that I could be his little helper and go to all the classes and help him out. We then walked back to the restaurants.

Once we arrived the team prepared for the 70 plus people event. I had to count the amount of plates and sort them into sections for the different foods. I then opened all the vacuum packed bags of crab meat that were cooked in a water bath for the crab congee entrée.

All the guests arrived at 7pm, so the team started on the entrée which was cooked marron tails and a crab congee. Five chefs were lined up on the stoves constantly stirring big pans of congee. Once one batch was done and plated up they filled the pans back up with more and repeated. When plating up, drops of dashi and nori were added to the meal.

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Once the entrée was finished the team began working on the second course. For this we sous-vide (water bathed) kingfish, made a coconut fumet and paired Yarra Valley petit heirloom vegetables with the dish.

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For the 3rd course we cooked Dorper Lamb with baby carrots, fenugreek (kind of has a fennel, aniseed, tarragon and liquorish taste only in plant form), three day old carrots and grilled cauliflower. Sorry I didn’t get a close up picture of the dish but here is the kitchen plating it up. The man on the right is Ben who took me to the markets.

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For the 4th course the team created their own hay fired barbeque in the kitchen! They used 9+ Wagyu beef which means it has a larger amount of intramuscular fat then other beef under 9. It was served with cooked bone marrow and charred turnips. Below is the hay fired barbeque followed by the finished product.

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For dessert the pastry chef and the team on the entrees worked together to make a refreshing citrus dish. On the plate was a passionfruit ice-cream frozen by dry ice, torched mini marshmallows, ginger tuiles, and lemongrass sauce.

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I really enjoyed the day and was lucky enough to be asked to come back next holidays and work in not only Urbane but Spring as well. YAY!

Below is a photo of Kym and I.

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