Finding WA's Signature Dish
Buy West Eat Best, the food labelling program that proudly supports the Western Australian food industry, launched a competition in March to find WA's Signature Dish.
It combined with four regional food councils and Celebrate WA to host cook-off events from late April. (The competition was open to amateurs who love food and cooking but not professional chefs or cooks.)
The four regional winners were each mentored by a leading chef in order to be in peak condition for the Grand Finale. This took place on WA Day, Monday 2 June, as a highlight of Celebrate WA’s 'Come out to Play' event at the WA Cultural Centre.
The finalists were:
- Great Southern – Clare King with Celebration fillet of beef Thai-style
- Southern Forests – Alana Starkie cooking Southern Forests marron with Pink Lady apple and avocado salsa
- Gascoyne – Paul Kelly with a seafood tasting plate featuring Shark Bay snapper, prawns and crab sticks
- Perth & Surrounds – Rhiannon Birch cooking Dorper lamb cutlets with a sweet potato and lupin salad.
The finalists cooked their dishes on stage before a live audience over an hour and a half before serving up for the three judges – restaurateur Guillaume Brahimi, Crown Casino's Ralf Vogt and restaurant critic Rob Broadfield.
In a close-fought contest the winner was the lamb cutlet dish with lupin crust created by Rhiannon Birch, a farmer's daughter from Coorow. She represented Perth & Surrounds, the region in which she is working.
But as Guillaume Brahimi commented, the real winner was the quality produce.
Lupins have been grown in Western Australia for many years, but have been mainly used as stock feed. They are now being promoted as a high fibre, high protein and gluten-free food option for humans consumption.