Cafe finds recipe for success

IAN ALLEN
Last updated 12:53 11/02/2013
Chelsea Winter
Scott Hammond

Top notch: Figaro’s head chef and owner Beck Hill, left, with Cloudy Bay events and communication manager Stephanie McIntyre, centre, with wine and food match judge and MasterChef 2012 winner Chelsea Winter. The Figaro’s-Cloudy Bay food and wine match was named Supreme Wine and Food match winner at the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival

Wine Festival 63
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Third time was a charm for a popular Blenheim cafe at the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival on Saturday as it scooped the Supreme Wine and Food Match title along with former winner Cloudy Bay.

Figaro's and Cloudy Bay won this year's competition with a ‘Tale of Two Porks' dish matched with the Pelorus Blanc de Blanc.

Figaro's head chef and owner Beck Hill said the cafe had only entered the competition three times and had come second last year and third the year before.

"We're pretty proud of that. We like to challenge the perception that cafes have no chefing skills."

They served a braised pork and watercress rice paper roll and miso braised pork belly with apple and horopito salsa.

The braised pork had to be slow-cooked for eight to 10 hours, Ms Hill said.

It was taken out of the oven at midnight on Friday ready for Saturday's festival, she said. "I've only had three hours sleep."

Ms Hill couldn't go overboard on the celebrations as she had to work yesterday.

"It's our busiest day of the year. We will do at least 120 meals," she said.

"We are a seven-day restaurant. We couldn't come here without the help of staff and friends. We have a great team working for us at the moment."

Cloudy Bay cellar door manager Tiffany Guillemot said they were paired with Figaro's through a mutual friend in October last year.

They played about with salmon before opting for pork and fine-tuning the final dish.

"Everyone does bubbles and fish," Ms Guillemot said. "We wanted something a bit different."

Ms Guillemot said Cloudy Bay was happy to be paired with the Blenheim cafe as she was a regular customer anyway.

The feeling was mutual: "I'm pretty honoured to be matched with Cloudy Bay because they have such a good reputation," Ms Hill said.

Cloudy Bay won the Wine and Food Match in 2010 with Tio Point oysters.

New Zealand MasterChef season three winner and guest judge Chelsea Winter said the dish was very creative.

"It was nothing I had ever seen before, it was obviously something they had thought very hard about. Matched with bubbles just finished it off perfectly."

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