Earlier this week the final of the Glenfiddich Culinary Challenge took place at Sydney’s Centennial Park dining quarters. The culmination of a nation-wide search of chefs matching dishes with Glenfiddich single malts, 100 eager food and whisky punters tasted five dishes matched with whisky to chose the overall winner.
It was hosted by Australia’s Glenfiddich ambassadors Laura Hay and Richard Blanchard.
The series raised money for the Soldier On charity, which provides support mechanisms for returned servicemen and women.
In the end chef Duncan Wlegemoed of Adelaide hot spot Africola was the crowd-voted winner and he’ll now enjoy a trip to Speyside in Scotland to visit Glenfiddich. He matched smoked mussels and roast crab with charred baby cos, caramelised whisky barrel yeast and Glenfiddich butter sauce with the rich Glenfiddich 18-year-old.
Round 1: Storm clams with saffron and Glenfiddich aioli (on dry ice) with the light, apple-y. Glendfiddich 12. If only Glenfiddich had a salty whisky to match with this… By Centennial Parklands Dining’s own Arkin Barretto.
Round 2: The eventual winner from Wlegemoed. The butter worked fantastic with the creamy ‘Fiddich 18.
Round 3: Dram Club’s vote, from Balmain-based chef Leigh McDivitt of One6Eight. Chicken tortellini with scorched corn and Glenfiddich custard matched with the dry oak and spices of the Glenfiddich 14 Year Old. Far more spectacular in the mouth that it was reading it on the menu.
Round 4: Another New South Wales local in Matthew Ouwerkerk of Raven Eye who put together this hay-smoked spatchcok with fagiolo all’uccelletto and Glenfiddich and thyme jus. Matched with the richer sherry-casked 15-year-old solera vat.
Round 5: Finally desert, this slightly-birdsnest-looking Glenfiddich and maralumi cacao with lambs blood ganache matched with the layered 21 year old. A lot going on in glass and on plate, not always in harmony.
In the end the award went – rightly so – to the tortellini and Glenfiddich 14 – a dish that matched the whisky, even if you’d be hard pressed to pick between the first three as dishes alone. Those clams really needed a peated cask…