The Great Southern region of Western Australia is a blank canvas as far as Indonesian celebrity chef Chandra Yudasswara is concerned.
Celebrity chef set for a Secret Affair in Great Southern
He’s never been to Western Australia. And while plenty of Aussie beef, lamb and cheese finds its way to Indonesia, Chef Chandra has had little opportunity to try the amazing wines from The Great Southern.
The region is largely a mystery to Indonesian chefs, he says.
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Chef Chandra will be in WA as a guest of Australia’s biggest wine-and-food festival, Taste Great Southern, which will run over three weekends from March 8-25. In that time, up to 50 events will take place in and around Albany, Denmark, Mt Barker, Porongurup, Frankland River, Katanning and Kojonup.
While there will be surprises in store for Chef Chandra, he’s also planning some big surprises for his Secret Affair dinner -- including a twist that diners won’t expect.
The dinner to be held at a secret location near Albany on Thursday, March 22, featuring an Asian fusion-style meal prepared using local ingredients.
Chef Chandra -- whose Chefs Table program has aired on national TV network NET TV since 2014 -- will be working on the Secret Affair dinner with WA chef Vincent Lim, who will introduce him to the ingredients of the Great Southern.
“Chef Vincent and I will investigate the variety and quality of the produce from the area, and we’ll work on it from there to adapt the Asian-style cooking to the local ingredients,” Chef Chandra says.
He’ll have a delectable range of options at his fingertips, too. The region is famed for its lamb and beef, seafood such as oysters (and the akoya pearl oysters), salmon, snapper, king george whiting, mussels and dhufish, fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, avocado, stone fruits, apples and pears, and vegetables such as asparagus, potatoes, sweetcorn and microherbs.
On his TV show in Indonesia, which is screened every Saturday and Sunday, Chef Chandra cooks a three-course menu “live” for national and international celebrity guests. He also runs Portable Kitchen in Jakarta, Makassar, Kalimantan and Jogyakarta -- which feature Western and Asian food -- so the fusion menu in Albany will enable him to bring his skills with local produce to the table.
Chef Chandra also operates Bacco Restaurant, which is a wine bar featuring Italian dishes, and Domicile Kitchen and Lounge and Play, both of which are in Surabaya City and feature modern international food.
“I have heard lots about the region from my fellow friends and am looking forward to experience it myself,” says Chef Chandra.
“I’m really looking forward to trying the fresh vegetables and meats.
“Because wines from the Great Southern aren’t readily available in Indonesia, I’m looking forward to trying the best of those,” he says.
He’s also looking forward to having Chef Vincent introduce him to some of the restaurants in the region.
Taste Great Southern organiser Richard Campbell says Secret Affair will be a highlight of the festival.
“It will be a ‘must attend’ dinner where diners will enjoy local produce made with Asian flavours and matched with the wines of the Great Southern in an outdoor venue you will only find about on the night,” he says.
“Chef Chandra and Chef Vincent will present their interpretation of the foods of the region in a feast to remember.”
The dinner, which runs from 6pm to 10.30pm, will include welcoming sparkling wine and canapes, with a sit-down banquet matched with fine wine and good company.
Tickets will include coach travel from central Albany.
Chef Chandra will be among dozens of national, international chefs and locals at the event, including Marco Pierre White from the UK, best known to Australian television viewers for his appearances on Hell’s Kitchen and as a guest judge on Australian Masterchef.
Also there will be Masterchef contestant and TV cooking presenter Justine Schofield, along with Scott Brannigan, Anna Gare, Paul Iskov, Don Hancey, Sophie Budd, Kenny McHardy, Russell Blaikie, Stuart Laws and Vincent Lim, Amy Hamilton, Frederick Kirby, Sally Francis, Nic Lancaster, Marty Morgan, Ian Gatjens and Kade Sims.