After being introduced to Alastair McLeod (Brett’s Wharf, Tank and Ready, Steady, Cook!) at the Noosa Good Food & Wine Festival, I was lucky enough to be asked to spend a service with him at Tank.
Tank’s cuisine is modern Australian with Japanese influences. These influences are evident through using ingredients such as shiso (Japanese mint), yuzu (citrus fruit), tosaka (seaweed), shishimi (spice mix), miso (seasoning) and kinako (soybean flour).
I arrived in the city and met up with Mum and Dad for lunch at their local Malaysian restaurant Nudo’s. After gobbling up delicious Beef Rendang and Roti, I walked to Tank.
After changing into my chefs whites and meeting the team, Darren showed me around the kitchen and dropped me off to Ollie who ran through a dish with me. He said that his main job was to crisp everything. He crisped duck leg and breast for this dish.
I worked with Darren and Eddie for the day in the cold larder/dessert section. First I picked mint and made a mint sauce using the thermomix. This was being served with roast lamb shoulder and finished off with a pinch full of shiso in the sauce.
While the boys were on break I scooped out the insides of half of a watermelon. With the chunks I blitzed them up (in the thermomix) and added some other secret ingredients to make a watermelon granita. I love to make strawberry granita at home so I knew the steps except this version was icier and not as sweet as mine.
Darren then ran me through the pickling process using a specific formula: half part sugar, one part vinegar. With this I pickled chilli and red onions.
I also vacuum sealed cuts of meat, cut bread, segmented lemons, refilled oil, picked endives and other small jobs.
When the dinner service began I plated up with Alastair and watched him organize the kitchen. He also offered me a back stage pass to the Good Food and Wine Show, Brisbane in November which I will definitely accept!
I was really fascinated with one of the entrees – smoked ocean trout, crisp oyster, crab and tapioca salad, parsley. Alastair would put smoke inside the glass trapping it and infusing the trout. I even went with Alastair to the table the dish was going to be presented. The waiter lifted up the glass and poured a sauce around the trout (I can’t remember what sauce it was).