Crocodile meat and bush tomato were the "mystery" ingredients. Sun, smoke and dust went without saying.
The third annual Bushfoods "iron chef" competition was held last Sunday, at the Quandong Farm in Ilparpa Valley, where picnickers were welcomed by the Scales family. It was a somewhat challenging induction into cooking on an open fire for UK chef Chris Messenger, who'd never done it before. Suren Perera had, but often looked like he was longing for the cool stainless steel of his kitchen at the Barra on Todd.
They were both commended by judge Bec Gooderham, a former organiser of the competition, for doing "an amazing job" in the conditions. Her fellow judges Lisa Perry (Reality Bites) and Raelene Brown (Kungkas Can Cook), both experienced chefs, commented on the difficulties of cooking with crocodile meat as well as cooking over a fire or in a camp oven. "Regulating the heat is a challenge," said Brown, "it depends on the wood you use." KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: Chris Messenger (foreground) and Suren Perera sweat it out in the Bushfoods "iron chef" competition. Event coordinator Clare Woods lends a hand with the fire.
Tourism Minister, Malarndirri McCarthy says a new Tourism Strategic Plan is needed to guide the industry from 2013. Will Alice still have a tourism industry then, and what needs to happen to ensure we will? Deborah Rock (pictured) gives her views in our Food For Thought series. She has been in the tourism industry for 20 years, is currently running a Bed and Breakfast, and has a history in sales, marketing, car rentals, tours, inbound and promotion in Sydney and overseas.
She says the cost of visiting The Centre has changed patterns of investment and we need to revitalize our image: We should become Australia’s Adventure Capital, the Capital of Aboriginal Culture and Bush Foods.
Deb says: "We are an amazing and unique destination and it all starts with believing in ourselves."
The midday sun parched our faces, burning the backs of our necks and scalps as our crew ventured out into the bush behind Undoolya, on a very particular mission – digging for witchetty grubs. Us youngsters stood in the tray of the ute, while the grownups – Rod Moss, Eva and Julie Hayes from Whitegate – held the cabin. Kangaroo tails, matches and two crowbars were all I thought we needed. I excitedly sang pop tunes to the boys – my partner Shaan from Melbourne and young Kaylum also from Whitegate – as we held onto the rail of the roof, but the sound was muted by the blasting wind, as the dirt track’s rocky ride bumped us up and down the corrugation. PHOTO: Digging without crushing the roots and damaging the grubs: Eva Hayes shows how. MOZZIE BITES turns hunter - gatherer.
A burger 'n' chips with a difference won the wildfoods/bushfoods competition final on Sunday. Its creators were Michael La Flamme and Pamela Kiel, who have been regular competitors since their "Gecko's Revenge" – a sausage made from feral cat – won people's choice in 2006.
In the intervening years the couple's culinary creations have moved towards more subtle messages about food in our environment. On Sunday Michael said their aim was to create an everyday dish with a taste like the smell you get when you step off a plane in Alice. At the moment, he said, that would be eucalyptus, acacia and smoke. KIERAN FINNANE tastes. PHOTOS: Top - Judge Beat Keller musters his courage before tasting a witchetty grub.By Peter Carroll.At right - Ronja Moss gives the grubs an oriental touch.By Edan Baxter.