The Adelaide Good Food and Wine Show 2011

Fell short of last year’s in my humble opinion, but enjoyable nonetheless! I pre-purchased the tickets online back in August and scored the two-for-one deal. Pretty nifty. So the line-up this year was not as cool as last year with the absence of George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan from the hit TV show MasterChef Australia. As per usual, the show promised a large offering of restaurants, food industry reps and of course, some of South Australia’s finest wines.

I was excited. The anticipation of rubbing shoulders with the usually two dimensional people from the television. And the food of course! So we went bright and early. The first person I spot signing autographs at the General Trader store was…

None other than Australia’s most famous Vietnamese chef Luke Nguyen who is making waves in the culinary scene. If you have been a loyal follower of MasterChef Australia, remember that golden crispy-skinned maltose-encased slow-braised chicken? Oh. My. Goodness.

So anyway, my hopes of bumping to familiar faces (people on TV, that is) in the crowd are dashed as apparently, there aren’t any more of them to bump into, much to my disappointment. The number booths seems to have diminished this year as well, judging from the impression I got from the wider spaces between booths. Perhaps it was my misconception of space but I definitely felt that way.

With the celebrity chef demonstrations, heavily French-accented Manu Feildel stole the show with his wisecracks, cream and garlic while the flamboyant British cook Ainsley Harriot sent the crowd roaring with his antics. Chef Matt Moran was a bit disappointing however, as I had a stinking suspicion that he was perhaps still nursing a hangover. He cut himself slicing sashimi and worse yet, moulded embarrassingly ugly-looking nigiri sushi. The rice balls were practically loose bits of morsels flying everywhere. Disgraceful indeed. Paired by dimwitted unfunny jokes and a less than impressive crowd interaction, it was a far cry from his very own performance from last year.

The highlight of the show, however, was Adelaide’s very own version of Heston Blummenthal – Cole Thomas. The man made famous by his levitating fish. Equipped with liquid nitrogen and several other interesting gizmos, Mr Thomas promised us a great show after very narrowly missing two of his earlier ones. As promised, he entertained us with the construction of a mozzarella cheese balloon, filled with tomato relish foam. Wow. The finished balloon was set atop a mound of fresh pasta salad and then pierced to release its innards, saucing the pasta. Ingenious! Apart from a good show, Cole Thomas was a very friendly sort of guy, chatting about his culinary adventures (and misadventures), his up and coming restaurant opening in February 2012 and wanting to know more about us. He ended the show with a 60 second dessert, cooking a honey sponge in the microwave and dropping cake pieces into liquid nitrogen. Oh the fun!

Unfortunately (and amazingly), I made no purchases after spending seven fun hours at the show. A bummer indeed as I was revved and ready to get something interesting. Oh well, at least I made dinner with freebies.

Fresh pasta with creamy mushroom sauce, topped with mesclun salad and pan-seared prawns. No, only the pasta was the freebie but I had a good meal after a very fulfilling day.