Good food brings people together, and that's what we're celebrating with Menus, the first hardcover cookbook by Gourmet Traveller. The beautiful bronze-embellished volume comprises recipes from some of our favourite Australian chefs, here and abroad, and will be launched in fine style at a dinner at Quay restaurant, overlooking glittering Sydney Harbour. And the fun twist: the meal includes dishes selected by Peter Gilmore, chef of Quay and Bennelong, from the menu he contributed to the cookbook.
"I'm not cooking the food that I would usually cook at Quay," says Gilmore. Instead, it'll be a menu he designed for a Sunday lunch at the property of one of his favourite growers north-west of Sydney. He won't be tearing up the carpet to build a fire-pit but, says Gilmore, "it'll be more casual and reflective of the environment that produced the lunch on the farm".
The dishes, matched with wines by fine purveyor DRNKS, will be tweaked to fit the season. The Western Australian marron, for instance, will be served with Tasmanian wasabi butter rather than citrus butter, along with seasonal flowers and herbs grown on the farm where the lunch was held. Wagyu tri-tip, on the other hand, defies seasons. "It's something that you can have all year round," says Gilmore. "A beautiful piece of grilled meat." It'll be served alongside coastal greens and shiitake mushrooms topped with an umami-rich butter flavoured with kombu, dried shiitakes and roasted sesame seeds.
The cookbook is a feast of menus that are all about gathering friends at the table - a dinner party at Hollywood hotspot EP & LP, for instance, an Easter feast at Sydney's Ester and a modern Asian banquet by Melbourne's Lee Ho Fook.
"Food is like an international language," says Gilmore. "It's part of being human: enjoying great food, company and stories."
The meal will conclude with a trifle of summer berries and stone fruit. "Trifles are interesting because there's a layering of textures," says Gilmore, "the cake, jelly, fruit and cream; it's old-fashioned and comforting.
"Our aim for any dinner here at Quay is that people enjoy the food," he says. "When you've got really good food that's using great ingredients, it's pretty hard to go wrong."
Join us for dinner at 6.30pm on Monday 28 November at Quay, upper level, Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks, NSW. The cost of $200 includes two canapés with a three course menu, matched wines by DRNKS, a copy of Menus and a $10 donation to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. To reserve your place, call Quay on (02) 9251 5600. For more on the OCRF, call 1300 OVARIAN or visit ocrf.com.au.