Talking food and beverage trends with Karen Martini

We chat to the renowned Aussie chef about catering to large numbers at Sydney Opera House.

As Trippas White Group’s ambassador chef, Karen Martini is tasked with creating the menus for Sydney Opera House venues, including the new Yallamundi Rooms.

Here, the renowned Australian chef shares her thoughts on current food trends and why great produce is the foundation for every great meal.

What does your role as ambassador chef involve?

I have the wonderful opportunity to create bold, delicious and inspiring modern Australian menus to be showcased mainly in the new Yallamundi Rooms.

My work in designing these menus involves collaboration with Trippas White Group’s executive chefs Kasper Christensen and George Diamond to execute and train the new and enthusiastic Trippas White Group kitchen team to carry out my vision and menu philosophy in this beautiful space.

Image credit: Daniel Boud

What is your food philosophy and how is this reflected in your menus?

My core philosophy is championing great Australian produce. My heritage and passion is also reflected in my menus which are flavoursome, bright, bold and uncomplicated dishes with good technique applied.

What are the biggest trends influencing your menus right now?

Image credit: Daniel Boud

I am channelling the healthy approach and appetite for enjoying seasonal food right now, especially vegetables, in all their shapes and forms. Given the rich history of the location my menus will be enjoyed, I’m also tapping into indigenous flavours that compliment other everyday ingredients.

In terms of event menus, what is the key to ensuring the highest quality when dealing with such large volumes?

Above all, it starts with sourcing great produce, then good cooking technique is applied in the preparation so that when we come to plating up for large events, it’s easier to deliver a well-presented, natural dish with intense  flavours, quickly. Hence why my menus are simple in presentation but complex in preparation.

Heading into winter, what ingredients are you looking forward to working with?

This time of year can be so rewarding for a foodie. I’m looking forward to autumn and winter at their best. Chestnuts, wild mushrooms and ceps, parsnips and all our Brassica family is at their best too, including Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbages.

This article originally appeared in the winter edition of Spice Magazine. Subscribe here.

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