From canapés to whimsical dessert, 10 years of Porkstar was marked with a celebration of pork, writes Maya Kerthyasa.
How do you pay fitting tribute to one of the more distinctive culinary marketing campaigns of the last decade? If you're Australian Pork, the answer is simple. (Hint: it's not with chicken.)
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Porkstar, the marketing initiative launched to put the protein back on Australian menus, the industry body hosted a dinner in Sydney for a hundred of the campaign's strongest supporters, going the whole hog and more.
The Strand Arcade made a striking setting for the event, transformed for the night to a glam dining room with one long candlelit table, the scene reminiscent of The Great Hall in Harry Potter's Hogwarts.
The magic continued on the plate, with four of Porkstar's most prominent chef advocates - Christine Manfield, Four in Hand's Colin Fassnidge (Sydney's "prince of pork"), Brent Savage of Bentley and Pendolino's Nino Zoccali - in the kitchen.
"We chose them because they're among the chefs we have the utmost respect for," Australian Pork's marketing manager, Mitch Edwards, said. "They've helped the Porkstar program become what it is and we wanted to celebrate them on the night."
Pork, naturally, was the star, making its début in Savage's canapés of puffed pork skin topped with scallop-roe cream, and prosciutto-wrapped grissini with muntry berries.
Fassnidge prepared an entrée of braised and crumbed pig's tail in a bowl of prawn bisque with pickled mussels, seaweed and dollops of potato and sage purée. Zoccali, meanwhile, presented a gutsy pork spare rib with parsnip and parsley-root purée, carrot and fennel salad and Pendolino's 2015 first harvest extra-virgin olive oil. Manfield rose to the porcine dessert challenge with her "Miss Piggy" creation: a sweet, salty, smoky dish of bacon-caramel ice-cream and chunks of mango wrapped in a buttery biscuit cone and topped with sherbet-laced fairy floss.
It was an apt way to close a celebration of milestones and camaraderie, though the party continues for the team at Australian Pork. "We're looking at kicking off the next 10 years… and continuing to inspire chefs, through chefs, to get creative with pork," said Edwards.