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Kangaroo striploin tartlet with sweet potato and bush tomato jus

Kangaroo striploin tartlet with sweet potato and bush tomato jus

Serves: 8

Difficulty:Kangaroo striploin tartlet with sweet potato and bush tomato jus title=

1 kangaroo striploin
200g sweet potato
20g akudjura
80ml game jus
20g Wildfire Spice
20 pastry cases
2g Outback Salt
2g pepper
20g butter
50ml cream


1. Peel and roughly chop the kumara, then place into a small pot together with cold water and a little salt; bring to the boil, then simmer for 35 minutes
2. season the kangaroo fillet with salt and pepper, then sear on a hot grill or BBQ and cook on the hot plate or in an oven until medium rare; season with Wildfire Spice while it rests for as long as it took to cook
3. in a sauce pan combine the ground akudjura with game jus; bring to the boil and simmer, allowing the bush tomato flavour to infuse
4. strain the kumara, then mash and combine with butter and cream


To serve, place a little sweet potato mash in the base of the tart shell, then place a slice of kangaroo on top and
finish with a drizzle of bush tomato jus.


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Dining Downunder Cookbook
This Australian recipe of Kangaroo striploin tartlet with sweet potato and bush tomato jus is included in the Dining Downunder Cookbook which can be purchased online at the Dining Downunder Online Shop. Also available online is a wide range of native Australian herbs and spices, sauces, syrups, infused oils and bush tucker ingredients such as wattleseed and paperbark rolls.

Australia Week Moscow – May 2005

Australia Week Moscow - May 2005

Australian celebrity chefs, Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie from Dining Downunder were invited to host an Australian Cuisine Promotion at the RadissonSAS Slavyanskaya Hotel, Moscow from the 10th – 20th May 2005 as part of Australia Week in Moscow festivities.

Australia Week Moscow is the most important trade event in 2005 for Australian businesses exploring growth opportunities in Russia. The week was a unique opportunity for Australian business to promote and demonstrate a variety of quality Australian goods and services to interested Russian importers and business people. Events combined an exhibition, networking receptions and cultural events.

Australia Week was officially opened by the Australian Governor General, Michael Jeffery and acting Mayor of Moscow, Yaleriy Shantsov on Tuesday the 10th May. As part of the Governor Generals speech, Michael Jeffery said

“I also hope you will sample some of the magnificent Australian cuisine and wine available in this hotel’s Talavera Restaurant during the Australian Food and Wine Week. Two of Australia’s finest chefs (Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie) have come to Moscow to prepare a selection of dishes using Australian ingredients that are renowned for their quality, taste and purity.”

Read the Governor General’s full speech here.

After the official opening, the Australian Governor General met with both us to discuss how indigenous ingredients provide positive financial and cultural benefits to Aboriginal communities around Australia.

The first event on the Australia Week in Moscow calendar was a cocktail reception for over 450 guests of the Australian Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Mr Robert Tyson. The reception kicked off with a number of dances by Aboriginal dance group Descendance and then came the food. With over two days to prepare the reception included various native inspired Australian canapés together with fresh Moreton Bay Bugs, a carving station of Australian grain feed Black Angus Beef, mini lamb burgers with bush tomato relish and QLD king prawns with Mountain Pepper BBQ sauce. On the sweet side there was Wattleseed Pavlova with wild fruits, Rainforest parfait and Chocolate wild peppermint mousse with riberry confit to name just a few. Days after the reception event, both Vic and I were still receiving compliments.

From Wednesday onwards Australian cuisine was available in both the Talavera and Amadeus Restaurants. In Talevera Restaurant, which usually features fine dining Mediterranean cuisine, we offered an Australian à la carte menu with dishes such as kangaroo larb, paperbark smoked borscht and grilled barramundi with lemon myrtle mash and quandong confit. Each evening over 50 guests (20% over average numbers) experienced our unique menu.

Apart from fine dining Australian style, a more casual Australian menu was offered in both Cafe Amadeus and in the Lobby Lounge. The most popular dishes were the Wildfire spiced wontons with bush tomato chutney; Red Desert Dusted steak sandwich with Illawara plum sauce and beer battered barramundi with chips and wild lime tartare.

Another highlight of the Australia Week Moscow was the Australian Brunch in Cafe Amadeus, which featured crowd-pleasing performances by Aboriginal dance group Descendance on Sunday the 15th May. The Australian inspired menu included a wide selection of salads and seafood together with soups and an array of other hot dishes. Three live cooking stations offered pasta, omelettes and crepes all with Australian native ingredients. Guests were able to sample a wide range of authentic Australian dishes – paperbark smoked beetroot salad, wattleseed duck with quandongs and Wattleseed Pavlova with wild fruit coulis.

Apart from the Australian Food and wine being offered, Austrade hosted a 4 day exhibition for Australian companies looking to export their products to Russia. The full list of participants can be found here.

The week long event was sponsored by Emirates Airlines who provided return airfares from Australia to Moscow.

Dining Downunder would like to extend a sincere thank you to all the staff at the RadissonSAS Moscow and we would like to offer special thanks to the following people who really made the event a compete success;

Joergen Rathjen, General Manager, RadissonSAS Moscow
Tony Higginbotham, Executive Chef, RadissonSAS Moscow
Björn Hörberg, Executive Sous Chef, RadissonSAS Moscow
Gregory Klumov, Senior Trade Commissioner, Austrade Moscow
Natasha Smirnova, Business Development Manager, Austrade Moscow
Dan Tebbutt, Consultant, Austrade Moscow

Regent Seven Seas Mariner – November 2005

Regent Seven Seas Mariner - November 2005

When the Regent Seven Seas Mariner recently visited Australian shores, Australian celebrity chefs Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie from the cooking show, Dining Downunder ™ were invited on board as part of the Regent Spotlight on Wine and Food from the 8th to the 11th of November 2005.

During the five day cruise from Sydney to Hobart, Chefs Vic and Benjamin held a series of cooking classes using native Australian ingredients in every day cooking. Each of the cooking classes consisted of two dishes which were then available each evening in the main restaurant, The Compass Rose.

The Australian menu onboard included:

• Creamy cauliflower soup with West Australian marron scented with lobster oil and Oz Lemon

• Seared kangaroo fillet with Yakajirri rosti, aniseed myrtle mushrooms, quandong confit and crispy enoki

• Lemon Aspen Sorbet

• Wildfire spiced Tasmanian ocean trout fillet on paperbark smoked kipfler mash topped with pineapple and riberry salsa

• Rolled Wattleseed pavlova with wild rosella coulis

Whilst onboard the Mariner, Vic and Benjamin also presented an Australian Steakhouse menu in the La Veranda restaurant, which served a range of Australian steaks and game meats including kangaroo loin, emu steaks and crocodile tail served with native flavoured sauces including a sweet Kakadu plum sauce, Mountain Pepper BBQ Sauce and a wattleseed mushroom sauce. As many of the guests were American, Vic and Benjamin also served up an Australian style pork ribs with Illawarra plum sauce which proved quite popular.

During the cruise down the east coast of Australia, all Australian menus was accompanied a selection of both white and red wine by Wolf Blass. The chefs were also joined by Wolf Blass’s Chief Winemaker, Chris Hatcher who conducted two very popular presentations on Australian wines.

The Regent Seven Seas Mariner is the world’s first all-suite, all-balcony ship, as well as the first to offer dining by the famed Le Cordon Bleu® of Paris in Signatures, one of four single, open-seating restaurants. Catering to only 700 guests, she is one of the most spacious cruise ships afloat. For more information on Regent Seven Seas Cruises visit

After arriving in Hobart, Vic and Benjamin spent time travelling around Tasmania visiting food producers, restaurants and wineries sampling the best food and wine Tasmania has to offer as an exploratory visit for the 2nd series of Dining Downunder™.

Australian culinary training event at the Casino Zollverein – April 2004

Australian culinary training event at the Casino Zollverein - April 2004

Australian Celebrity chefs, Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie from the popular Australian cooking show Dining Downunder ™ were invited to Casino Zollverein in the town of Essen (nearby Düsseldorf), Germany for a 1 day training course on using Australian native foods.

The Casino Zollverein is acclaimed but for its world reknown restaurant which serves, so called New World Cuisine. The restaurant is considered the “best restaurant in the entire Ruhr-area” – in a place full of contradiction: The Casino Zollverein in the former compressor-hall with its 6-meter high concrete-pillars uniquely combines modern interior design with rough industrial charm.

To add to the kitchen brigade’s vast knowledge, Vic and Benjamin spent the day teaching the Casino Zollverein chefs about the unique flavours of Australian cuisine. In a combined effort with the 14 chefs in the kitchen, we prepared dishes such as Paperbark smoked snapper, Chicken Supreme with kumara and Lemon myrtle sprinkle (Oz lemon); Wattleseed pannacotta and gumleaf sorbet to name a few.

By the end of the day, the chefs from Casino Zollverein were each experimenting with Australia ingredients in their own sections and it was exciting to see these highly motivated German chefs being creative and innovative with the Australian herbs and spices.

In 1932, Zollverein was regarded as the most beautiful mine in the world (sic). The architecture was setting benchmarks and still fascinates visitors today. Now, The bar-area, the restaurant and the lounge unite to an aesthetic and unique sight. The constant industrial elements harmonize with constantly changing interior details and decorations.

For more information about the Casino Zollverein, visit

Touch and Taste Australia in Prague – March 2004

Touch and Taste Australia in Prague – March 2004

Australian Celebrity chefs, Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie from the popular Australian cooking show Dining Downunder ™ were invited to host Touch and Taste Australia in Prague, from the 18th to the 25th of March 2004 at the Corinthia Tower Hotel. Touch & Taste Australia was reportedly Prague’s largest ever culinary event held in the Czech Republic since the countries independence in 1993.

Touch and Taste Australia took over 6 months of planning and was organised by Petr-Vodvarka from Austrade and hosted by General Manager, Christian Grange of the five star Corinthia Towers Hotel.

Touch and Taste Australia was officially opened by Patrick Lawless, Australian Ambassador to Poland and the Czech Republic. The opening event started with a short cocktail party featuring cocktails including Iced Riberry Martini, Wild Lime Caipiroska, Spicy Akudjura Bloody Mary with various native Australian inspired canapés. Then guests made their way to the main restaurant, to experience a 4 course set menu with matching Australian wines. The menu consisted of;

• Kimberley coconut soup
• Lemon aspen sorbet
• Akudjura crusted lamb rack with Alpine pepper mash and Illawarra plum sauce.
• Wattleseed Pavlova with rosella coulis
• Lemon Myrtle Tea

The final event of the week was a Hospitality Luncheon where all the General Managers, Food and Beverage Managers and Executive Chef from Prague hotels joined us for an afternoon to experience the unique flavours of Australia. The lunched kicked off with a cocktail party in the kitchen, where various canapés and dishes were being prepared. This gave the opportunity for guests to ask questions. Then the main course was served, with the highlight being an Aboriginal entertainer taking stage.

Other successful events during Touch and Taste Australia were an Aussie Brunch for over 250 guests, a Wine Degustation Dinner for 100 and a daily mini trade fair highlighting the best food, wine, fashion and products from Australia.

Big thanks to Christian Grange, chef Martin Jiskra, Marcus Bauder, Linda Nejezchlebova and the entire kitchen crew of the Corinthia Towers Hotel.

Australian Event at Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket – November 2004

Australian Event at Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket - November 2004

Australian celebrity chefs, Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie hosted an Australian Cuisine Promotion at the Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuketfrom the 27th November – 1st December 2004. The promotion was held in two of the resorts restaurants; The Teahouse Restaurant and The Market Place Restaurant.

Each evening in The Market Place Restaurant Vic and Benjamin presented a cooking show to guests, cooking a variety of dishes including; Paperbark Smoked Sea Bass with Mango Chutney, Wok tossed Wildfire Prawn Noodles with Wattleseed, Phuket Lobster with Lemon Myrtle & Wild Lime Confit and a Rainforest Parfait. While watching the cooking show in the Marketplace Restaurant, resort guests dined on a buffet of Australian dishes and salads together with BBQ local seafood.

The Teahouse Restaurant was the venue for the Gala Dinner on Monday the 29th November and played host to over 70 resort guests, local expatriates, media, chefs and general managers from other Laguna Resorts. The menu included an Australian tasting plate of Gumleaf prosciutto, Lemon Myrtle smoked salmon bushetta, Kangaroo with mango & wild mint salsa, wild herb fetta, paperbark smoked oysters with wild limes.

We would like to thank Thai Air, who not only sponsored the Australian Cuisine Promotion, but provided return airfares for Vic & Benjamin.

A special thanks to the Sheraton’s General Manager, Andrew Jessop, Executive Chef, Glen Roberts, Director of Food & Beverage, Torsten Richter and all the kitchen staff, particularly Executive Sous Chef, Suwin, Pastry Chef, Prageet & Chef de Partie, Prawit.

Australian Corporate Event at the Solamar Hotel San Diego – June 2005

Australian Corporate Event at the Solamar Hotel San Diego - June 2005

Australian Corporate Event at the Solamar Hotel San Diego - June 2005Australian celebrity chefs, Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin were invited to San Diego to cook Australian Food at the official launch of Constellation Property Group at the new Solamar Hotel during June 2005. The corporate event was hosted by Eugene Marchese, who is recognised as one of Australia’s leading architects and Managing Director of Constellation Property Group.

The company launch was held at Jbar on the rooftop deck of the Solamar hotel and the poolside area was transformed to a showcase of all things Australian including Australian food, Australian design and fashion and Australian Music. Eugene used the parallel of these areas of Australian innovation as a measure of what The Constellation Property Group is all about.

Beside the pool, the chefs set up a hot and cold buffet under a stylish canvas marquee as well as various live cooking stations serving Wattleseed mushroom risotto, Paperbark smoked oysters, Australian lamb cutlets with Illawara plum chili sauce and sugarcane shrimp on the barbie with a rainforest lime splash.

The Solamar Hotel and Jsix Restaurant is headed by Executive Chef Deborah Schneider, who is well known in San Diego for her innovative style. Deborah’s menu features Coastal California cuisine, showcasing fresh, innovative, seasonal foods inspired by the region’s 2000 miles of Baja coastline, area farms and wines from Washington to Baja California. Both Vic and Benjamin were certainly inspired by Deborah’s cooking style and we are looking forward to reading her new cookbook on Baja Cuisine which is to be released during 2006.

Vic and Benjamin would like to thank all the people that made this corporate event happen including Eugene Marchese, Katherine Kasparian, Deborah Schneider, Ed Nesfield and all the food and beverage staff from the Solamar Hotel.

Australian Event the Hyatt Regency Guam – April 2005

Australian Event the Hyatt Regency Guam - April 2005

Australian Event the Hyatt Regency Guam - April 2005Australian celebrity chefs Vic Cherikoffand Benjamin Christie were asked by Austrade’s Business Development Manager, Ancy Palma from the Philippines to host a week long Australian cuisine event at the Hyatt Regency Guam from the 11th to 17th April 2005.

The event complemented the Pacific Hotel & Restaurant Expo (PHARE), a three day expo for chefs, purchasing managers, US military and hotel management from the region to view the latest products and services on offer and exhibitors to network with thousands of visitors. There was also a culinary competition run during the expo with judges mainly from the Micronesian Chefs Association

The week long event was held in the Hyatt Regency Guam’s main restaurant, La Mirenda which offers buffet dining with international themes and features a show kitchen together with indoor and alfresco seating. Both Vic and Benjamin presented a menu which changed daily and each service featured various native flavours of Australia including wattleseed, paperbark, riberries, quandongs, Alpine Pepper, Oz Lemon, Wildfire Spice, munthari, lemon aspen and wild desert limes to name a few.

Highlights from the menu included dishes such as;

Wattleseed duckling with Illawarra plum sauce
Moreton bay bugs tossed with Mountain Pepper BBQ Sauce
Barramundi with macadamia cream sauce and glacé riberries
Paperbark smoked pork loin with apple munthari
Gumleaf crème caramel
Wattleseed Pavlova

With PHARE on the doorstep, the Hyatt Regency Guam and Austrade’s strategy was to promote the native flavours of Australia as reflecting the hotel’s culinary innovation. The strategy paid off with many PHARE exhibitors, participants and visitors dining at least once and nearly every Executive Chef from Guam’s 4 and 5-star hotels sampled what was on offer in La Mirenda.

As part of PHARE, Austrade represented numerous Australian companies looking to export their products to Guam. The three day trade event concluded with an Australian inspired cocktail party hosted by Corinne Tomkinson, Australian Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia and Alan Morrell, Australian Senior Trade Commissioner to the Philippines. Attendees included various US and Australian government officials, Australian companies, local buying groups and some of Guam’s best chefs. The talk of the event was the native Australian flavoured canapés and cocktails, which were served, particularly the Australian lamb cutlets with Illawarra plum chilli sauce, a mussel soup with wild lime and the squid, corn and asparagus cakes with rainforest herbs and Ozyaki™ sauce.

There was extensive media coverage for this new Australian cuisine concept of Dining Downunder including television, radio and both conventional and virtual newspapers and encouraged many locals to attend with some guests dining daily for 3 and 4 return visits. The overall success of the event was measured by the positive revenue after costs and covers were 70% up on the average number of diners for the equivalent non-promotional period.

Towards the end of the week, Vic hosted an Australian Cooking Class for Hyatt Regency Club members and corporate guests in Al Dente Italian Ristorante. The 3 hour cooking class was attended by over two dozen people, setting a record for cooking class attendances at the Hyatt Regency Guam. Students enjoyed a lunch they helped prepare of Paperbark Smoked Barramundi flavoured with Australian spices, a ‘Bushetta’ of bush tomato and basil on Wildfire spiced ciabatta and finished with Wattleseed Pavlova and glacé riberries and wild limes, all served with appropriate wines, from Australia of course.

One highlight of the week long Australian Cuisine Promotion was the Sunday Brunch in La Mirenda Restaurant. The Australian inspired menu presented a wide selection of salads, seafood and soups together with various festive hot dishes. Three live cooking stations offered pasta, omelettes and crepes all featuring Australian native ingredients.

Dining Downunder would like to extend a sincere thank you to the GM and all his staff at the Hyatt Regency Guam and would like to offer special thanks to the following people who really made the event a compete success;

Hermann Grossbichler, Executive Chef
Ian Crough, Executive Sous Chef
Chef Suharto, Executive Pastry Chef
Patrick Verove, Director of Food & Beverage
Maria Cooper Nurse, Marketing Manager
Ancy Palma, Business Development Manager, Austrade Manila.
John (and Paula) Bent, Business Development Manager, Austrade Guam.

Australian Event Grand Plaza Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur – May 2005

Australian Event Grand Plaza Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur - May 2005

Australian Guest Chef Dayle Merlo of Dining Downunder™ will take centre stage for one week at the famed Parkroyal Grill at Grand Plaza Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur. from the 10th -17th May. The Australian Cuisine Promotion is being sponsored by Malaysia’s national carrier, Malaysia Airlines and Cherikoff Food Services.

Dayle Merlo, Executive Chef of Bistro C Restaurant, Noosa Heads, Queensland, Australia, has more than 20 years of experience and during this time has made various TV appearances and been featured in various magazines such as Vogue, Gourmet, Queensland Living, In Flight and Wallpaper. Chef Merlo was also featured in the Dining Downunder™ television series, which has aired in 32 countries and led to his involvement at other Australian Food Promotions by Dining Downunder, most recently, in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The Parkroyal Grill’s special promotional menu by Dayle Merlo includes entree, main course and dessert items. For entrees, patrons can take their pick from Natural oysters with watermelon, basil & fruit spice salsa: Lemon aspen cured salmon gravalax with asparagus panna cotta and alpine pepper grissini; Australian beef and riberry tart garnished with a frisée of paperbark smoked beetroot salad; Akudjura butter grilled scallops with a snow pea, shaved fennel, wattleseed & orange salad; Warm salad of paperbark smoked lamb, eggplant, spinach & fire roasted peppers with quandong.

Irresistible main course offerings comprise King prawn, riberry, fruit spice & plantain banana curry, Oz lemon rice,chilli mango & native lime relish; Eye fillet of prime Australian beef, akudjura & wild mushroom crust, smashed roasted kumera, broccolini, sticky jus; Wildfire spiced baby chicken, Oz lemon & coconut risotto, seared choys, jus lie; Alpine pepper roasted duck breast & Illawarra plum braised leg, parsnip gnocchi, Kenyan beans, plum glaze; Crisp skinned, Red Desert dusted barramundi fillet, crab mash, asparagus, confit tomatoes, native lime and rosella beurre

Three mouth-watering desserts are available to help diners end their meal with the perfect sweet note – Wattleseed pavlova with passionfruit and banana and espresso brittle; riberry and apple crumble, acacia ice cream; and rosella jam bombolini and aniseed myrtle semi fredo. In addition, patrons can also compliment their meal with a range of fine Australian wines.

Dayle is one of a select handful of Ambassador Chefs for Dining Downunder and who are taking Australian cuisine to the world. Dining Downunder Ambassador Chefs are Australian cuisine specialists who focus on promoting the country’s unique offerings including aromatic herbs, pungent spices, tangy and flavorsome fruits, rich nuts and a collection of infused oils, sauces, syrups, extracts and more. These are incorporated into enticing menus and our chefs highlight the essentials of using Australian native ingredients and presenting an authentic Australian food style.

Dining Downunder releases Global Survey Results on Hotel Cuisine Promotions

Dining Downunder releases Global Survey Results on Hotel Cuisine Promotions

From January to June 2005, Dining Downunder conducted a global survey on hotel cuisine promotions which was completed by over 650 in the hotel and restaurant industry.

The survey was developed to identify the challenges for hotels in hosting cuisine promotions and to allow hotels to evaluate future promotions and distinguish the profitability of a particular event.

Guest chefs are commonly invited to host hotel promotions around the world. However many promotions are still seen as significant cost centres and run for public relations rather than as for what they should be – serious revenue generators and opportunities to train the kitchen brigade in specific cuisine offerings.

The survey addressed 14 key areas;

1. How often does your property run cuisine promotions?
2. Why run a cuisine promotion?
3. What cuisine is the most popular?
4. Do you feature a guest chef for cuisine promotions?
5. Is the reputation or celebrity status of the guest chef important?
6. Average length of a hotel cuisine promotion?
7. Does your hotel try to gain sponsorship for cuisine promotions?
8. Do sponsors feel that they got value for their investment?
9. Average budget for each cuisine promotion in US Dollars?
10. For what market segment is the cuisine promotion predominantly focused?
11. How many room nights does a cuisine promotion typically generate?
12. What factors contributed to your least successful promotion(s)?
13. Have your cuisine promotions been increasingly successful?
14. What do you feel makes a cuisine promotion successful?

The results were very surprising and paint a realistic picture of the industry today and also direct readers to think outside the square to attract attendees to future promotions and look at what opportunities they offer potential guests.

Purchase a copy of the Dining Downunder Global Hotel Cuisine Promotions Survey Results here.

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