BASTILLE DAY INSPIRATION

BASTILLE DAY INSPIRATION

The best part of my job is talking with Braden (executive chef) and the team about new menu ideas and food and wine in general. We’re so excited about our Bastille Day degustation menu that we’ve decided to run it for the whole week, commencing 10 July and culminating on 14 July – Bastille Day.

When we were brainstorming the menu discussion turned to caviar. Caviar is not traditionally French, however France has supplied the market with the highest quality sustainable caviar for many years. We then started discussing the difference between caviar and fish roe, which is the inspiration for our latest blog.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FISH ROE & CAVIAR?

At its most basic level, they are essentially the same thing. However, “roe” is a reference to the  fish eggs themselves, whilst caviar is roe that has been cured and placed in tins for ageing. 

So caviar is processed, salted fish eggs. True caviar comes only from the sturgeon fish and the “best” caviar from Beluga, Osetra and Sevruga sturgeon. Caviar from any other type of fish must be labelled with the type of fish from which it is extracted, such as Salmon Caviar. In some countries it must be labelled as “Salmon Roe” or “caviar substitute”. If it only says caviar on the label, it should be from a sturgeon. 

Sturgeon have the largest roe with the lightest colour. Colour traditionally played an important role in the grading of caviar, but not the taste. However, these days, because every species of sturgeon fish is on the endangered species list, the most expensive caviars are not priced by taste, but by rarity. This is affecting the way in which consumers purchase caviar: the new thinking being that the best tasting caviar is not necessarily the most expensive.  

It is considered “good etiquette” to consume caviar in small bites (with no other flavours present) from a bone, crystal or mother of pearl spoon (let me just get mine out of the cupboard.) It should always be chilled. Metal spoons are a no-no, because they are believed to alter the taste 

For our Bastille Dinner we can’t offer mother of pearl spoons, but we can offer a small taste of black caviar. In a break with tradition, it will be served with a coffin bay oyster, dill and crème fraiche. 

Bastille Day Degustation 10th – 14th July. Each guest will take home a small gift.

Tasting menu not available during the Bastille Day Special. Lunch and dinner menu will run as normal. 

Stock, Broth & Two Smokin' Pots

Stock, Broth & Two Smokin' Pots

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BROTH, STOCK AND BONE BROTH?

I was annoying the chefs in the kitchen the other day. I had been reading about this new food trend called bone broth. Bone broth believers say that it treats joint health, reduces cellulite ( I am in) , helps people overcome food intolerances and will boost your immune system.  This made me  curious about the difference between stock, broth and bone broth and what makes bone broth so amazing.  This is what they had to say…..

What is Broth?

Broth is water simmered (do no  boil as the broth will go cloudy) with vegetables, herbs, meat, and can include some bones.  Simmer for 1-2 hours .  After straining, the broth is light and can be used as the base for a soup and will stay fluid when chilled.

What is Stock?

Stock is simmered (do not boil as the stock will go cloudy) with roasted vegetables, herbs, & meaty roasted bones.  Simmer for 4-6 hours, strain and season.  The collagen would have been extracted from the connective tissue of the bones which gives the stock its thick, gelatinous quality.  Stock is used for deglazing or as the base of a good sauce.  It can also be used instead of butter and cream to bind ingredients together.  When chilled, the stock should have a jelly consistency. 

What is Bone Broth?

Bone broth is a hybrid of both broth and stock. Follow the base stock method ,  Simmer for 24hrs (do not boil as the stock/broth will go cloudy).  Not only will the gelatin be extracted from the bones but also the nutritious minerals like, collagen, glucosamine, amino acids, electrolytes, calcium, and the list goes on. Enjoy as you would the broth…When chilled the bone broth should have a jelly like consistency.

So bone broth, broth and stock are all related. Cooking time is the major difference.

Here at the restaurant there is always a stock on the stove, whether it’s beef (de bouillon de bouef), chicken (stock de poulet) or fish ( stock de poisson). We use our stock as the base for all our sauces. Executive Chef Braden Honnery shares our recipe with you.

Chicken or Beef broth, stock or bone broth

  • Chicken or Beef bones - use bones with lots of marrow like knuckle & scraps of meat 
  • Mirepoix – celeriac, carrots, onion, garlic
  • Herbs and spices – thyme, rosemary, peppercorns, bay leaves, salt
  • Cold water

METHOD: Roast bones with your mirepoix place into stock pot and add cold water until your bones and mirepoix are covered. Add your herbs and spices and simmer, 1- 2 hours for broth, 4-6 hours for stock and up to 24hrs for your bone broth. Skim the impurities off the top of the liquid with a ladle. Strain and season.

Fish Stock

  • Fish bones - have some meat attached.
  • Mirepoix – celeriac, fennel, onion, garlic
  • Herbs and spices – thyme, rosemary, peppercorns, bay leaves, salt
  • Cold water

METHOD: Roast bones with your mirepoix place into your stock pot and add cold water until your bones and mirepoix are covered. Add your herbs and spices and simmer, 30min. Skim the impurities off with a ladle, strain and season.

Enjoy!

PEWSEY VALE RIESLING

PEWSEY VALE RIESLING

Pewsey Vale Riesling Tanya introduces us to another amazing drop

‘Pewsey Vale is one of the great Riesling vineyards of the world. Where a true alliance between nature and variety exists, the need for human intervention is minimal. Gentle guiding hands and an understanding of place are all that is needed to create consistent and delicious wines… vintage after vintage.’ - LOUISA ROSE, WINEMAKER 2017

Earlier this month I had the privilege of being invited by owner, Robert Hill Smith to the 170th Anniversary of the first Riesling plantings of Pewsey Vale Vineyard, Eden Valley in South Australia.

What an experience! Our first event was held at fermentAsian restaurant in Tanunda, Barossa. I arrived at the restaurant with no idea what to expect, because the two days of events were kept a very close secret. The intimate dinner for around 40 guests included some legends of the Australian wine industry, James Halliday, Max Allen, Judy Sarris, Jane Faulkner and Jeremy Oliver, just to name a few. The room was full of sommeliers and restaurateurs from around Australia. The dinner was a degustation experience matched only with Riesling - 19 to be exact. Wine from Alsace, Mosel, Saar and of course, Pewsey vale. The oldest vintage we tasted that night was a 1983 Scharzhofberger Auslese, Riesling. My two favourite wines of the night were the 1983 German Riesling and the 1981 Riesling.

The next morning we were bused out to the vineyard to taste Riesling produced only in the Pewsey Vale vineyard. Pewsey Vale’s single focus is Riesling. I had the privilege of sitting next to the winemaker, Louisa Rose and opposite James Halliday. This morning our first bracket consisted of a 1967, 1968, 1975, 1982 Pewsey Vale Riesling and a 1995, 1997 and 1999 Pewsey Vale contours Riesling. I wont go on - you get the picture. I have never tasted such beautiful wine. Being under a marquee tasting world class wine in the middle of the Contours Vineyard was a once in a life time experience.

After our tasting, we had a walk through the vineyard where we were greeted with SA oysters and the launch of the 2017 1961 block Riesling. The winemaker suggested I pour a little of my Riesling onto my oyster. Wow! I will never eat oysters again without a splash of Riesling.

Riesling in Australia is quite misunderstood. It is a great food wine with lovely fruit characteristics. Here at Michel’s we will carry three Pewsey Vale Rieslings:

Pewsey Vale Vineyard – The Contours 2011.
The contours block was planted in 1965. This part of the vineyard produces a much finer wine than the rest of the vineyard. Wine harvested from this block is held in the bottle for 5 years before it is released for sale. This vintage has fresh lime juice overlaid with toasted brioche, sage oil and lemongrass. It will age gracefully.

Pewsey Vale Vineyard – 1961 block Riesling – coming soon
The block 1961 is a new wine from old vines. It has lemon myrtle and tea tree blossom, with seamless minerality. It is an ageless wine which will drink well with youth and longevity. Don’t forget to try a splash of Riesling on our always fresh SA oysters.

Pewsey Vale Vineyard – The Contours Riesling 10 year release – coming soon
This is a beautiful, mature riesling with a full, bright yellow hue and a rich and alluring buttered-toast bouquet. Next time you are in and ask for a NZ Sauvignon Blanc, I may just talk you into a Pewsey Vale Riesling. You will not be disappointed.

WEDDING CATERING COVERED

WEDDING CATERING COVERED

Every couple wants their wedding to be unique and memorable. Coming up with new and exciting wedding food ideas can be a task and a half. Your wedding reception does not have to follow the usual formal three course sit down meal. Your guests may enjoy something a little more unusual. Let’s throw around some alternative catering styles and then discuss the more traditional.

Canapes

Finger food does not mean party pies and sausage rolls, unless that it your preference. Canapes can rival the fanciest sit-down meal. This style of service can be a very cost-effective way to host your wedding and of course it is extremely social. Guests will get to try an assortment of dishes, compared to just the one choice with a traditionally catered wedding. Many couples worry that a canape style event will not provide enough food for their guests. On the contrary, finger food can be very filling and your guests will be satisfied. Ask your caterer to start with delicate light canapes and then finish with more substantial options. And of course, don’t forget about the sweets. On the negative, side seating is limited, so make sure you think about your older guests. 

Grazing Table

This style of wedding has shot to popularity. It is such a visual experience; grazing tables look amazing and give your wedding something special. This style of service suits cocktail style weddings and is a great way to allow your guests to interact with each other. It is also a great way to feed your guests more cost effectively.

Festival

This style of service is super popular now and is a modern version of the humble buffet. It is all about the food and a relaxed fun wedding. The festival style of wedding works best outdoors and consists of a variety of food stations for guests to experience. It’s about eating and drinking what the bride and groom would normally like to eat if they were out eating and drinking with their friends. That could be a burger station, Risotto station, teppanyaki bar or woodfired pizzas.

Just because we know we have alternative options to the traditional sit-down dinner and buffet style wedding does not mean we must rule those options out.

The three-course plated sit-down traditional wedding meal has many positives. Guests are all served at the same time, which gives you the opportunity to stay on track with your timetable and have everyone’s attention through speeches. It is also an easy was to identify and serve guests with different dietary requirements. If you have elderly guests they are guaranteed a seat. However, there are some negatives: it can be the most expensive option because this style of service requires more staff. Your guests also have limited food choices, as alternative drop is the usual method of serving.

Buffet style of service is all about flexibility. You can offer a great range of food options for your guests and they get to choose what and how much they like to eat. Buffet is also another easy way to cater for guests dietary requirements. You won’t need extra staff as they will be serving themselves and It can also get very social at the the buffet. Buffet style does require the caterer to provide a lot more food than your standard sit down meal and this can cause additional expense. It is a mistake to think that a buffet is your cheapest alternative. 

Canape’s, grazing table, festival, three course sit down or buffet style Catering By Michel’s has all your catering needs covered. Come in and see Craig and Tanya or find our menu options at www.cateringbymichels.com.au 

Its all about the experience.

GLUTEN FREE DINING AT MICHELS

GLUTEN FREE DINING AT MICHELS

People living with celiac disease can feel more confident dining out or attending functions due to better tasting gluten free options becoming available.

When hiring a caterer for an event, you want to feel secure they will deal with every aspect of the food service. The caterer’s goal is to ensure that the process is as easy as possible and this includes serving gluten free options. People with gluten and wheat intolerances need to feel confident that no cross contamination has occurred during the preparation, presentation and service of food. 

Simply removing croutons from the top of a salad and serving to a person with coeliac disease can cause a severe reaction and produce symptoms that can last for days or weeks. For food service professionals, it is about learning the process of how to produce safe gluten free food. It is also about educating staff to take food allergies seriously and to proactively prevent the wrong food being served to the wrong person. 

Changing a menu to suit gluten free diners is not a hard process. At Catering by Michel’s, as well as at the restaurant, we prepare real, whole foods that are already free of ingredients that may contain gluten. We have adapted recipes to ensure our sauces and salad dressings are free of gluten. Some people may not realise that many common sauces such as soy sauce, worcestershire and even vinegar are made with wheat based stabilisers and are not suitable for people with gluten intolerances. All our sauces used in the restaurant are made in-house and are gluten free. 

When catering off site we have colour coded cutting boards, knives and utensils that are dedicated to solely making gluten free options on request if needed. From the beginning of an event or dining experience we want our gluten free diners to feel confident we can keep them safe. This happens through proper communication with our clients and proper training of our staff. 

In the restaurant we have many gluten free menu items or menu items that can be made gluten free. Check our menu for options, or just ask. See you soon for some safe gluten free dining. 

HOW DO PINOT GRIS AND PINOT GRIGIO DIFFER?

HOW DO PINOT GRIS AND PINOT GRIGIO DIFFER?

Almost every day in the restaurant someone asks me about the difference between pinot gris and pinot grigio.

If you are in France you call it Pinot Gris and if you are in Italy you call it Pinot Grigio. If you are in Australia you can call it both. Hence, the confusion. The styles are made from exactly the same grape, just like Shiraz and Syrah. However, while the grapes are the same, their styles differ significantly.

The Italian style Pinot Grigio is typically lighter bodied, crisp and fresh, with vibrant stone fruit and floral aromas with a touch of spice. The grapes are picked earlier in the harvest season than their French counterparts.

The French style Pinot Gris is typically fuller bodied, richer, spicier, and more viscous in texture. The grapes are left on the vine until later in the harvest season, so they also tend to have greater cellaring and ageing potential.

These grape varieties are both thought to be a mutant of the pinot noir grape. Both the grapes and leaves look exactly the same. Another interesting fact about this variety is that the grapes are red in colour. Skin contact, which gives wine its red colour (all juice produced from red or white grapes is white) does not occur during the pressing process. You will find some pinot gris that are slightly pink. This occurs if the wine has come into contact with the skin of the grape and left for a short time to add colour and tannin. 

Whilst Pinot Gris and Grigio are quite new to the Australian wine scene, they are being embraced by sommeliers because of their food friendly qualities. Pinot Grigio, being lighter is better suited to enjoying as an apéritif or with lighter dishes such prawns, fish or appetizers. In contrast, the richness of many Pinot Gris styles enables them to work well with heartier dishes such as a veal, rabbit, pork and hard cheeses.

The two styles work differently (but beautifully in their own way) with food, making them the perfect choice for a night out, no matter what you might feel like eating. 

Try our 42 Degrees South Pinot Grigio from Tasmania with our Saute Calamari and the Mt Diffuculty Pinot Gris with our Blanquette de Veau.

The Joy of Dining Out

The Joy of Dining Out

Dining out is all about the experience, and enjoying time with friends and loved ones. If you are a lover of food and wine, matching these two elements can really enhance your evening. However, it doesn’t have to make or break your evening. The majority of wine consumed, usually occurs before or after your meal, with only a few sips taken while eating. Therefore, I say, don’t over think it. Life is complicated enough already. 

There are a couple of simple rules:

Drink and eat what you like

Look for balance and match the wine to the most prominent element in the dish

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Drink and eat what you like. Choose a wine you like to drink by itself. Even if it is not the perfect match for the food you have chosen, at least you will enjoy what you are drinking. The same rings true for food. If, for example, you don’t like oysters, no wine is going to make them taste good to you, even if it is recommended to be paired with oysters.

Look for balance with the food and wine. By that I mean consider the richness or weight of the food compared to the wine. This is the secret behind all good food and wine matches. A classic match for natural oysters is sparkling wine or champagne.

Next step is to pick a prominent flavour in the dish and match your wine with that flavour. A lot of times it is the sauce rather than the main ingredient that you match with your wine. Is it a creamy sauce, tomato based sauce or a silky red wine jus? For a creamy sauce match chardonnay. For tomato based sauces, a light red such as Montepuliciano, Sangiovese, or a light pinot noir go well. For steak with red wine jus, it’s a shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon. These wine and food matches hold the same weight. For example, a hefty shiraz is the drink equivalent of a feisty red wine jus.

If you are really after an amazing food and wine matching experience, let the restaurant take you on the journey. Choosing a degustation menu with a wine pairing is always a good place to start. Allow your waiter to explain the food and wine connection and just enjoy the experience. 

Come in and experience our new degustation menu matched with some of our new wines.

What's in a Burgundy

What's in a Burgundy

Is it a wine? A region in France? Both?

Well done if you said both. Burgundy is a region in France that produces wines that are considered to be the best in the world. That is also why they are some of the most expensive in the world. 

There are two types of Burgundy – red and white. Red Burgundy is madeusing 100% Pinot Noir grapes and white Burgundy is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes. Could it be any simpler than that? So now we know what the wine is made from, let’s talk about where it comes from.

Burgundy is widely regarded as the region which has the best land in the world for producing pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. More than any other wine region, Burgundy is heavily influenced by its terroir (sense of place). The quality of the land is so important to the final product that inside the Burgundy region, vineyards are classified by four levels:

1. Grand Cru The Best, top 2%
2. Premier Cru Nearly the best, top 12%
3. Village wines
Burgundies produced from several vineyards in the 1 village of the Burgundy region. 36%
4. Regional Wines
Burgundies produced from a combination of vineyards and from a variety of villages. 50%

That all sounds pretty simple doesn’t it?

That’s the end of the simplicity. When it comes to classifying French wine, especially Burgundy, it can get very complicated. Here at Michels, one of our favourite BurgundiesJoseph Drouhin Cote de Beaune 2012, has just made an entrance onto the wine list.  A lovely red Burgundy, aged in French oak with delicate, fruity aromas and a touch of spice. This wine is made from grapes sourced from premier cru vineyards in the sub region of Beaune, but is not classified as premier cru and cannot be confused with village wines.

So where does this wine sit?  At Michel’s, we say that it doesn’t really matter. Even at the regional level Burgundy wines are highly regarded because they are from one of the best wine regions in the world and are worth enjoying no matter where it sits within French classification. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay can thank Burgundy for making them famous. Come into Michel’s and enjoy this wine paired with one of our new menu items:

Duo of Venison – Seared Venison Steak, Venison rosemary pie, celeriac gratin, juniper glazed pear, pancetta & white balsamic Brussels sprouts, mustard sauce.

New Wine List and Menu started this July.

A Night in Vegas

OH what a night! 

Entertainment by Attori was incredible.  To have such talent right here in Townsville is a real treat for locals.  Craig created a mouth watering American style menu with items such as  - Southern BBQ Pork Belly, Boston Clam chowder, mojo spiced spatchcock, wood smoked eye fillet and Grilled sword fish.  Dessert was a Baked cherry and baby apple pie.

I cant wait for our next event which will be A Night in Italy in early November !

Happy Easter everyone.

Welcome!

Welcome

Welcome to 2016 at Michels restaurant and welcome to the 1st edition of our weekly blog.  Restaurant life is very interesting and at times can be extremely challenging. The food and beverage industry is constantly changing, you have to be on top of your game.  The Michels team is always looking out for innovative ideas  whether they are food, or beverage related.  Its not about trends but more about the direction the industry is heading.  Our goal with the blog is to let you know what is happening behind the pass, behind the bar and behind the Michels team.   We will be talking all things food, wine and events.

Let's get up to speed

Almost a year ago to the day a change of ownership sparked a string of changes to bring Michels a whole new look & vibe.  When the opportunity came up to buy into Michels, (I wont say I jumped at the chance) I thought it would be a great direction for me.  Craig my business partner has 25 years industry experience, he has worked here and abroad and is a fantastic teacher/role model for the staff.  My experience spans 25 years and I have worked all over QLD, and have had a  two year stint in Sydney.  Craig and I have worked extremely hard over the past year to bring the restaurant up to what it used to be. We have redirected the restaurant into a modern, on trend venue that's drawing a younger crowd and bringing all the favourites back.

The next instalment

Next week I will let you know how our Night in Vegas night transpired!  Until then bon appeitit!