Friday, 19 February 2010


“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” - Andrew Carnegie

I wrote last Wednesday that I had visited Adelaide and that I had luncheon at the Adelaide Convention Centre, at the function I was attending. I was most impressed with the food and service and have since found out more about the executive chef behind this venue. But first, the menu of the luncheon, which was truly delicious:

Tassal Smoked Salmon with Spanish onions and freshly juiced lemon, beetroot relish and sourdough horseradish bread

Main Course
Prime fillet steak with Anna Potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, asparagus spears and baby caper cabernet sauce

Selection of bread rolls and pure creamery butter

Freshly brewed coffee, selection of teas and fine chocolates

Nepenthe Tryst Chardonnay Pinot Noir
Rymill ‘The Yearling’ Sauvignon Blanc
Shingleback Red Knot Cabernet Sauvignon

Coopers Pale Ale and Premium Light beers
Orange juice, mineral water and soft drinks.

The Adelaide Convention Centre is located in the Adelaide CBD at a prime location by the River Torrens and it has magnificent facilities for conventions, conferences, various events, as well as fine dining on a large scale. The executive chef of the Centre is Tze Khaw who with his staff can prepare 13,000 plates that will be served simultaneously through three courses in six dining rooms over a weekend. Truly impressive, even if one considers only the logistics of the exercise! Tze Khaw does not cook, he has ten qualified chefs and seven apprentices to take care of that, as well as tens of other staff in the kitchens and as many waiters to serve the food.

Efficiency and good organisation must underlie such operations, but helping out is the barrage of latest technology and amazing machinery that help the staff in their herculean tasks. For example huge basement freezers and refrigerators to store three tonne shipments of sirloin steak and 600 kg lots of prawns. A conveyor belt in the kitchen that assists eight staff to prepare 1,000 plates of dessert in six hours. Cold chocolate soufflés (made with 150 litres of sauce and 400 litres of cream!) are packed into custom built food trolleys that each carries 70 plates and they are wheeled to the refrigerators until they are served a few hours later. Digitally controlled banks of convection ovens can cook food in chambers that control the temperature to within 0.1˚C and can cook 250 kg batches of meat!

The good organisational skills of the establishment come to the fore when the guests are seated and they need be served. The food must be distributed quickly enough so that it doesn’t get cold and that the guests all eat at approximately the same time. In our function there were about a thousand people present and each course of our lunch was served within 15 minutes - no mean feat!

As I have already said, the food was superb. The salmon was as though it had been sliced that minute, the beetroot relish was exceedingly good (savoury and tart, not a trace of sweetness), while the sourdough horseradish bread interesting and light. Even more impressive was the main course. The steak was one of the most tender I have ever eaten, even though it was well done (just the way I like it!). The wines were very good and as I said, much was achieved over the lunch as well!

Enjoy your weekend!

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