There are many provinces around New Zealand who are creating a real foodie following and the Manawatu would have to be one of them. The area not only boasts many Beef and Lamb Excellence Award holders who are dishing up excellent beef and lamb cuisine, but it is home to the annual Plate of Origin competition. This is a collaboration between a Manawatu based restaurant and a restaurant from another region of New Zealand. The two chefs come together to create a dish based on ingredients from both regions. We were delighted to learn that our Platinum Ambassador Chef, Scott Kennedy from Nero Restaurant in Palmerston North had been teamed up with fellow Beef + Lamb Ambassador Kate Fay of Cibo in Parnell.
With these two top New Zealand chefs collaborating in the kitchen we were intrigued to follow their process and see what they came up with. The first step was choosing the hero ingredients from each region. Scott picked beef as the protein and it was an easy choice sourcing the product from local Manawatu farmers Forbes and Angus Cameron. Adding to this Kate choose Te Matuku Oysters which are farmed in the Hauraki Gulf and heirloom tomatoes from Curious Croppers in Clevedon.
With this combination the final dish Kahuterawa Angus sirloin with flavours of Te Matuku Oysters, crispy beef tendons, heirloom tomatoes and a sticky beef bonbon was a take on the classic surf and turf. It proved to be a hit on the menu at Nero’s during the competition and also went down well with the judges and became the dish which won the overall competition.
Scott first met Kate Fay when they were both named as Beef + Lamb Ambassadors several years ago and as our Ambassadors are renowned for, they kept in touch sharing ideas and recipes. Scott said Kate was easy to work with, had some great ideas and he felt they complemented each other very well, sharing similar beliefs and philosophies when it came to cooking. As both chefs are Ambassadors for Beef + Lamb New Zealand it was inevitable they worked well together with the chosen protein. Scott was delighted with his win as he commented that it’s a tough competition with so many great chefs involved and the wide choice of seasonal ingredients from each of the various regions. Scott added his trade mark philosophy of using as much of the animal as possible in his dish including a delicious braised short rib bonbon and beef tendon to add texture and flavour.
Kate flew down to Palmerston North to work with Scott where they threw a few ideas around before creating the dish which took pride of place on Nero’s menu during the competition. Kate thought the oysters were a perfect match for the beef and were used in an oyster cream sauce as well as deep fried. She found it an interesting process working in a smaller provincial centre and with both chefs catering to entirely different markets in their respective restaurants, and having quite different plating styles, Kate said she very much took the lead from Scott. She said it was an eye opener working in a smaller kitchen which did not have the same equipment as her Cibo kitchen, so her ideas and the final dish had to be tailored to what was available in Scott’s kitchen and also to the customers who dine at Nero.
Plate of Origin judges scored the dish right from the preparation stage through to the cooking, plating, serving and eating of the dish. Scott said the dish was so popular he had customers booking in several times to eat the dish which accounted for 40% of his covers most nights. With the change of season the dish is now off the menu, however we know Scott will be working his magic on creating a new menu which will feature more amazing dishes for his customers, so if you happen to be passing through Palmerston North anytime soon, pop in and check out his menu. nerorestaurant.co.nz
And next up for Kate Fay will be her Ambassador Series dinner coming up on May 24th which coincidentally will also be National Lamb Day – so celebrations all-round. Keep an eye out for details on ticket sales. cibo.co.nz