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Aussie Meat Trends

Steaking it Out in Boston

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GSO

Last month, we kicked off grilling season in Boston in True Aussie style with an event dubbed the “Great Aussie Steakout” outside Catalyst in Cambridge. It was an evening of great food, games and beer, with Chefs William Kovel from Catalyst, Ryan Marcoux from Boston Chops, Matthew Gaudet from West Bridge, Renee Scharoff from Blonde on the Run Catering, and Eric Kinniburgh from Boloco on the grills. Ticket proceeds benefited ALS Therapy Development Institute the world’s largest drug development organization dedicated to ending ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease.

Chef Renee “ran” home with the $500 prize for being voted fan favorite for her dish, Herbs de Provence Crusted Aussie Grassfed Ribeye with Housemade Boursin and Spicy Pickled Lemons. Yum! One lucky voter in the audience, Laura Graziano, won a Boston staycation valued at $600.

Here’s a rundown of the other chefs’ dishes:

Chef William Kovel, Catalyst
Grilled Australian ribeye, kimchee slaw, hoisin BBQ sauce, lotus root chips.

Chef Ryan Marcoux, Boston Chops
Grilled Australian flank steak, guajillo marinade, pickled watermelon rind, compressed watermelon, whipped maytag blue, sorrel.

Chef Matthew Gaudet, West Bridge
Grilled Australian flat iron with chermoula, clams, cloumage

Chef Eric Kinniburgh, Boloco
Grilled Australian flap steak, chimichurri, fermented ramp salsa, smoked potatoes, ramp leaf aioli, fresno chips

And for an interview with Renee about her winning dish, follow this link.

Chef steak out: Renee Scharoff, Blonde on the Run catering

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Renee Scharoff

We met Chef Renee of Blonde on the Run catering during our True Aussie beef & lamb campaign in the Boston area earlier this year, and were struck right away by her fun personality, her talent and passion for great food. We were able to partner up with her for a special event we called the Great Aussie Steak Out in Cambridge last month. Renee’s dish was judged the best by the tasting audience, beating out fellow star chefs from Boloco, Catalyst, Boston Chops, and West Bridge restaurant.

The winning dish was “Herbs-de-Provence-crusted ribeye with housemade Boursin, spicy pickled lemons and arugula oil.” We caught up with Renee to get the secrets of her dish, and her thoughts on Aussie meat.

TA: What was the inspiration for your dish?

Renee: I work part of every year in the South of France, and it’s inspired a lot of my cooking. I wanted to showcase the Aussie grassfed beef, and the preserved lemon, the cheese, arugula oil all have that fresh, simple, Mediterranean appeal to them. The arugula oil adds a splash of color and a little bitterness to balance the dish, and it’s really simple to make.

TA: Did you really make the “Boursin” from scratch?

Renee: Yes! I used a grassfed milk, churned it and made the cheese from the cream. Most people probably wouldn’t go that far, but I loved how those floral, herbal notes came through in both the beef and the cheese. I made an herbs de provence mix to crust the beef overnight, which amplified the effect. The richness of the cheese complements the grassfed beef nicely too, which is naturally quite lean.

TA: What did you like about cooking with Aussie grassfed beef?

Renee: First just looking at it, the color on the ribeye was incredible - deep burgundy, rich, beautiful color. And the flavor of the meat was amazing. My clients are always asking for the best products, and especially with beef that means grassfed and organic. As a chef I don’t have to manipulate it, just let the product shine and the natural flavors come through.

TA: I understand that you use a lot of lamb in your catered events, what’s the key to getting Americans to try lamb, and especially Aussie lamb?

Renee: Catering clients are always looking to impress, and lamb chops especially have this appeal of being special and a luxury. The presentation works really well with chops, too. It looks great on the plate, it’s a manageable size as an appetizer, and comes with a handle (she laughs). When you are working with a great product like Aussie lamb, it’s a really clean, mild, natural flavor. I joke with folks that it’s not 1979 and your grandmother’s overcooked lamb leg with mint jelly! Once I explain that, folks are usually willing to give it a try, and that’s all it takes.

Meet the Chef: Robert Sisca, Bistro du Midi, Boston

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Robert Sisca

Aussie meat fans, say G’day to Chef Robert Sisca of Bistro du Midi, a Provençal restaurant in Boston. As of now, chef Sisca is practicing his Aussie phrases for the trip down under he won in our most recent chef competition! Chef Sisca’s dish – Rye Cavatelli with Australian Lamb Neck Ragu – took home the top prize, beating out some stiff local competition and impressing a discerning panel of judges. We caught up with him to learn more about his cooking style and his winning dish.

TA: What was the inspiration for your dish?

Robert: We’re a southern French restaurant, and I wanted to do something that really celebrated spring, especially after the brutal winter we had. At Bistro du Midi, handmade pastas are a popular part of the menu, and it doesn’t get much more “Spring” than lamb with morels and fresh peas!

TA: Why did you choose the lamb necks?

Robert: For braising, I really love lamb necks. They’re a little bit different than your typical shoulder for braising, and they give you an amazing liaison, that classic silky smooth, unctuous sauce from all the collagen in the neck.

TA: The caraway is an interesting twist that shows up all through the recipe, in the pasta, the spice blend on the lamb, and even the vegetables. What inspired that classic “rye” flavor?

Robert: Caraway is a classic pairing with meats in France, especially lamb. It gives you an earthy, anise-like dimension that pairs really well. It makes the pasta much more interesting, too.

TA: What about the orange juice and cabernet vinegar?

Robert: Those flavors are another Provençal thing – you’ll find lavender and orange zest or juice as a little touch in a lot of our dishes. In this one, both the vinegar and the orange juice provide that little lift of acidity to what’s otherwise a pretty over-the-top rich dish. Especially when you reduce the lamb jus, the savory flavor is super-concentrated, so it needs that flash of acid.

TA: What’s the key to getting guests to order lamb?

Robert: Our guests are pretty open to having lamb, but for the few that are hesitant, being able to assure them that it’s not going to be “gamey” is important. They look for quality indicators like grassfed on the menu, too.

TA: What do you like about cooking with Aussie lamb?

Robert:
The fact that it’s all-natural, and has that really clean flavor. We use Aussie Wagyu beef and black winter truffles from Australia too, and I haven’t been able to get out to many producers and farms since my twin boys were born. I can’t wait to get to see the lamb ranches up close in Australia!