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Lentil soup may not sound like the sexiest of dishes, but rest assured, it's a heart-warmer. We've added warming spices and served the soup with a dollop of garlicky tahini. Thin slivers of shaved raw beetroot add earthiness and texture - the beetroot is also excellent simply grated and served piled on top. The poached egg is optional, but highly recommended.

Blue Nile's Ethiopian eggplant dip

"I'd love the recipe for the eggplant dip the wonderful Fatuma Tikuye serves at Blue Nile in Blacktown." - Helena Rosebery, Annandale, NSW REQUEST A RECIPE To request a recipe, email or write to Fare Exchange, Australian Gourmet Traveller, GPO Box 4088, Sydney, NSW 2001. Please include the restaurant's name and address or business card, as well as your name and address.

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What the hell is Gelinaz anyway, and why is it shuffling?

Paul Carmichael

Paul Carmichael

On the eve of the second outing of one of the world’s stranger restaurant events, The Grand Gelinaz Shuffle, we attempt to answer some of your questions.

So what the hell is Gelinaz anyway, and why is it shuffling?

Gelinaz is a loose affiliation of chefs brought together by Lyon-based Italian food writer and impresario Andrea Petrini. Its goal? It's not entirely clear. We think it's benign. The name Gelinaz is a mash-up of the names of cult Tuscan chef Fulvio Pierangelini and the Gorillaz, the rock super-group fronted by animated fictional characters. It was conceived a decade ago in the wake of a conversation about restaurant dishes and intellectual property rights. 

If that's suggestive of more than a little subversion and cheek, it's useful to understand that Petrini, a man Time magazine recently referred to as France's "culinary starmaker", is something of a prankster. To the consternation of diners, he once put together a dinner at Noma where a glittering roster of international chefs all cooked variations on a single dish - and sound-tracked it with an audio loop of a baby crying.

And the Grand Gelinaz Shuffle?

It's conceived in that same spirit of mischief and boundary-pushing. The idea is that you plonk down hundreds of dollars a ticket for dinner at one of the 40 restaurants Petrini has invited to participate and take a leap of faith. You know that your dinner will be cooked by one of the 40 chefs on the roster, you just don't know which one.

Some of the most celebrated international names in contemporary cooking are involved, so you might rock up to Orana in Adelaide, Brae in country Victoria or Momofuku Seiobo in Sydney on Thursday night to find your chef for the evening is Massimo Bottura from Osteria Francescana, Alex Atala from DOM in Sao Paolo or Noma's René Redzepi, while someone in Paris might find Paul Carmichael on the pans at Le Chateaubriand, a diner in Slovenia might see Ben Shewry on the pass in place of Ana Ros at Hiša Franko, while Dan Hunter and Jock Zonfrillo could be doing their thing at Jimbocho Den in Tokyo or Atelier Crenn in San Francisco.

So they just show up and cook?

Nothing so simple, gentle reader. The idea is that the chefs get under the skin of the cities they're in - so much so that many of them are living in the homes of their host chef - and come up with something new, a product entirely of the Shuffle. And they're encouraged to have a bit of fun with it. 

At the first Shuffle, in July 2015, Nahm's David Thompson blew the heads off Parisian diners at Plaza Athénée with caviar-spiked betel leaves, while Mission Chinese Food chef Danny Bowien ditched Noma's usual cool Scandinavian aesthetic and reinvented the restaurant as a Cantonese function centre, replete with neon lights, pink tablecloths, pleated napkins and bouquets of baby's breath.

That's crackers. Has anyone in Australia gone for it?

The dinners at Attica, Brae, Orana and Momofuku Seiobo have all sold out.

Wow. So who's cooking?

Stay tuned. 

Read our post-Gelinaz wrap up.

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