A few weeks back, I attended the Western Potatoes Food Service Sundowner at Don Hancey’s Panorama Catering venue. I love potatoes as well as supporting local produce so I was very interested to see what the sundowner would involve.
When I arrived, the Panorama kitchen was split up into mini-workstations spread out around the large venue, with ‘potatodors’ cooking a variety of potato dishes. The guests were a mix of potato farmers, industry representatives and chefs from across the state who were there to discuss all things ‘potatoes’ while enjoying a drink and a bite to eat.
To kick off the event, Ross Taylor, the Chairman of Western Potatoes, and D’arcy Hodgkinson, Operations Manager at Panorama Catering, welcomed everyone to the event. In their opening speeches, it was stated that the sundowner aimed to provide information about the 23 varieties of potatoes that Western Australia has to offer, as well as their availability, growing region, process and regulation.
I spent my time at the sundowner floating from one workstation to the next, sampling the potato dishes on offer and having conversations with various growers and chefs. There were so many dishes on offer, so I decided to try the majority.
Don Hancey, Executive chef and owner of Panorama Catering and Consulting, served Vegetarian Nadine Potato Bravis at the event. I really liked this spicy potato dish which had lots of flavour!
Stephen Clarke, Head Chef and owner of Clarkes of North Beach served the guests Royal Blue chips with Hollandaise Sauce. These cones were snapped up really quickly and there was a hungry line of guests around his work station waiting.
Sophie Budd, Head Chef and Owner of Taste Budds Cooking School served Potato Croquettes with Jamon, Manchego and Leek with Saffron Aioli. These croquettes were the standout of the day – with potato, jamon, manchego (spanish cheese) and leek proving to be a perfect combination when lightly fried!
Nik Duncan, Executive Chef of Panorama Catering and Consulting, served up Blue Sapphire Potato Woodfried Pizzas with Thyme, Sumich and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I was lucky enough to grab the last piece of the last pizza made and loved the combination of the tomato sauce and thinly sliced potatoes. Yum!
Dan Sharp, Head Chef of Forrest Hill Winery in Denmark, served Albany Rock Oysters with chilli tomato sauce and Royal Blue potato nests. I really enjoyed Dan’s dish, which gave a bit of variety to the potato event but showcased another way of utilising potatoes in cooking. Another excellent dish!
Ryan Larsen, the 2011 HGT Apprentice of the Year & 2011 Restaurant and Caterers Apprentice of the year, made German Royal Blue potato salad. I wasn’t quick enough to grab one of these to try but they looked delicious.
At the event, we were invited to take away a ‘goodie bag’ of potatoes, including the new varieties such as the purple-fleshed Laura and a range of specially grown varieties for the food service industry. I came away from the event with more of an understanding of the growing process, the different varieties of Western Australian potatoes available and felt motivated to use potatoes in more of my cooking at home.
Thank you to Panorama Catering and Potato Marketing Corporation of Western Australia for the invite.
For more information about Western Australian potatoes available, visit http://www.westernpotatoes.com.au/