It beggars belief that Tetsuya Wakuda has never cooked in Melbourne. But the Japanese-born chef, one of Australia's most revered culinary legends, owner of Sydney dining institution Tetsuya's and two Michelin-starred Singapore restaurant Waku Ghin is making his Melbourne cooking debut this September. And it's all because of Tasmanian produce.
Wakuda's Melbourne appearance sees him teaming up with chef David Hall of Southbank restaurant Pure South Dining. Together they'll cook a six-course degustation showcasing the brilliant stuff being grown and produced on and around the island. Pure South has been Tasmania-focussed for nearly 15 years and has forged relationships with many small and artisan producers across the island. Hall will often fly in small quantities of rare produce by light plane.
The Pure South Tetsuya dinner will highlight the strength of these relationships by featuring luxury Tassie produce like ocean trout, lobster, abalone and wagyu.
Wakuda is no stranger to Tasmanian produce, having first visited the island in 2000 to source ocean trout for his Sydney restaurant. He believes the clean air, water and soil combine to make the local produce "above and beyond organic".
Understandably, Pure South owner Phillip Kennedy is more than a little chuffed to be hosting Wakuda's Melbourne debut.
"No one is as well versed in Tasmanian produce as Tetsuya," he says. It's a thrill and an honour to have him collaborate with our team for maybe our greatest celebration of Tasmanian fare, ever."
Tetsuya at Pure South, 6.30pm, 10 September, $195 for six courses with matched wines. Pure South Dining, Southgate Melbourne, 3 Southgate Ave, Southbank, Vic, (03) 9699 4600, puresouth.com.au