Ok, I finally screwed my head back on and realised that life goes on. There is a lot to be said for travelling interstate and entering national competition, I have met some fantastic people and hopefully made some good contacts. It is also a really good opportunity to look at the work that other people in the industry are producing and where you stand in relation to that. There are some very talented chefs out there, producing some really outstanding food. And the reality is, if our food was as good as theirs, we would have been standing on that stage making really ineloquent speeches.
It seems that the trend that was popular with the judges was modernity, well, slightly jaded modernity that has been around for a good five to ten years and has slowly reached Australia but modernity none the less. Think, soils and foams and condiments in jam jars. Oh so achingly trendy ! Hmmmm….
But, it makes me want to up my game. And that has to be a good thing. I’m not quite sure how I am going to get there or who in the region can teach me their new and edgy techniques but it definitely makes me hungry to learn. And tonight I learnt a thing or two about Molecular Gastronomy or Empirical Cuisine, as it is now often called. I am fairly confident I could make you a foam, or cook you some duck in the sous vide style. Call me a coward but I’m still not sure I am overly confident about the idea of liquid nitrogen, I really don’t like the cold! I’m not sure that I am completely sold on the idea of spherifying everything or eating muesli foam and 60 degree poached egg for breakfast every day but I think it is important to challenge our ideas. The people behind this movement, the culinary alchemists of the world are worth their weight in gold. It is as true for food as it is for life in general, it only takes one radical to make us stand up and pay attention. Stagnation is never a good thing and if you stand still for too long in the world of empirical cuisine, they will probably whack you in a thermomix, process you to a puree and turn you into a foam. So, the moral of this story is, don’t forget to challenge yourself and your ideas, not just in food but in life.