Ed Halmagyi Hunter Valley Gardens Chocolate Festival Interview

Ed Halmagyi Hunter Valley Gardens Chocolate Festival Interview

Ed Halmagyi Hunter Valley Gardens Chocolate Festival Interview

Chocolate Festival at The Hunter Valley Gardens Promises a Sweet Weekend
Hunter Valley Gardens is proud to announce that on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th of August, the fourth annual Chocolate Festival will take place. Proudly sponsored by Callebaut Chocolate this year is gearing up to be bigger, better and sweeter than ever, where visitors are invited to enjoy 'the sweet life' at the Gardens. The event will feature plenty of chocolate, breads, pastries, desserts, cakes, truffles and a number of sweet celebrities too including;
Adriano Zumbo (Masterchef and Zumbo on SBS) Daily Between 10am-3pm
Adriano is best known for his famous macaroons. His creations have gained him the highest respect from food critics and the public. The Champion of Patisserie will share his knowledge and dessert inspirations over the two days, and he will also judge the showpiece competition.

Justine Schofield (former Masterchef contestant) Daily Between 10am-3pm
Justine is a favourite from the first series of MasterChef, and since leaving the show has expanded on her knowledge of food by working in some of Australia's top restaurants. Justine will share her love of all things sweet at the Chocolate Festival.

Ed Halmagyi (Better homes and Gardens) Daily 10am-3pm
Fast Eddy, who is a whiz in the kitchen, believes 'when you do less, the ingredients can do more.' This fast cooking chef will share his encyclopaedia of knowledge on chocolate and food when he hosts the main stage over the weekend.

Celebrity Cafe
Visitors can sample their favourite celebrities' delicacies at the Celebrity Café, where a two course menu will be prepared by Justine and Ed.

Degustation Dinner - Saturday 6th of August from 6.30pm
For the true chocoholics, why not indulge in a special chocolate inspired degustation dinner prepared by award winning Hunter Valley Gardens Executive Chef Nick Vivian and award winning Dessert Chef Anna Polyviou from Bathers Pavilion Sydney. The mouth watering 7 course degustation dinner will be hosted at The Barrel Room at Tempus Two Winery on Saturday August 6. Tickets cost $150 per person, and bookings are essential.
Chefs and industry experts will perform demonstrations at the 'Live Patisserie Kitchen' giving guests a special insight into how the professionals operate in a commercial kitchen.

The Callebaut showpiece competition, now in its 2nd year, will challenge competitors to build works of art using chocolate. Visitors can also tempt their sweet tooth by visiting the Chocolate Pavilion, which will feature many of the Boutique Chocolate providers within NSW. Best of all visitors can sample and stock up on all the chocolate products.

Kids can also join in the fun and participate in an 'Ice cream sundae eating competition', and create and decorate their own cupcakes at the cup cake kitchen.

Entry to the Gardens is $23.50 per adult, $20 for Seniors, children aged 4 - 15 are $15 and older, with children 3 years and under admitted free. For further information please call 02 4998 4000 or visit www.hvg.com.au

Interview with Ed Halmagyi

Question: What will you be doing at the Hunter Valley Gardens Chocolate Festival?

Ed Halmagyi: Whilst you'll have all the other specialists doing their creative chocolate pastries, bakery and chocolate sculpture, I will be doing a little bit of dessert but mostly looking at the way in which chocolate as a derivative can be used in savoury cooking. I will be doing everything from cocoa smoked prawns to a beautiful fillet of veal poached slowly and covered in cocoa and herbs served with homemade sauerkraut. There are a whole range of great things and I am still developing the recipes; my main focus is to contextualise chocolate for the savoury lovers.

Question: Do you have a tip for when using chocolate in a savoury dish?

Ed Halmagyi: Less is definitely more; use it as an accent favour rather than a principle. One of the great mistakes people make is when they're trying to use chocolate as the primary flavour in savoury cooking and all you can taste is the sweet of the chocolate. The other thing to remember is that it's not the sweetness that you're looking for; it's actually the cocoa flavour. Often you'll find chefs don't use specific chocolate or cocoa or cocoa butter to give them that kind of a taste; because they want to use it in a way that doesn't complicate or cloud the basic dish, itself.

Question: Overall what is your favourite chocolate dish?

Ed Halmagyi: There is a guy called Nico Laden who had a restaurant in London for years and he made a Baked Chocolate Tart which I still think of as one of the most clever things to do with chocolate.

The other night I was fortunate enough to try one of Mark Best's new recipes which was a Chocolate Milk Cookies with a Milk Sorbet. The biscuits were only made from cocoa, glucose and milk and I don't know how he'd done it but imagine if he had shredded what glass would be if it was softer - it was miraculous! I think that has been the most impressive thing I have seen done, in a long time.

Question: Do you believe that events such as the Hunter Valley Gardens Chocolate Festival motivate Australians to cook in their own homes?

Ed Halmagyi: It is part of an interconnected conversation we have with ourselves and within our culture. I am happy with whatever gets people cooking, that to me is the whole purpose of the game.

Question: What inspired you to become a chef?

Ed Halmagyi: My dad gave me the choice of having a Bar Mitzvah or getting a job and I thought getting a job sounded easier. I went and got a job in a kitchen and within about six months I started cooking. I fell into cooking, for me it wasn't one of those lights on moments were I went 'this is it' it was literally a little bit more steady and I decided 'well actually, this is pretty cool'.

Question: What inspires you to create new dishes?

Ed Halmagyi: My own driving factor with all of my cookery is about taking care of people, I love the way food is generous and giving. There are a lot of chefs who are motivated purely by creativity or that they can play around with food all day, I respect that but my caliber is wanting to be able to give things to others.

Interview by Brooke Hunter