A Taste of Two Countries
The Australian High Commission’s Taste of Australia made its debut in Brunei on May 12 to a joyously large turnout. Visitors to the event held at Radisson Hotel had the opportunity to witness a cooking demonstration by renowned Australian chef, Jack Nicolson, who prepared two dishes: blue shrimp cocktail with avocado, smoked tomato and salmon pearls and pan seared scallops with confit chicken wings, pumpkin and ginger beurre blanc, using local blue shrimps and local chicken wings together with Australian ingredients to prepare the two dishes.
In her welcoming remarks, Australian High Commissioner, Her Excellency Nicola Rosenblum said, “Australians and Bruneians have many things in common, but if there is one thing that truly brings us together it is our shared national obsession with good food!”
She added, “Today has been an opportunity to share in this passion, both by showcasing quality Australian products which are available in Brunei, and by also celebrating Bruneian enthusiasm for cooking and for fabulous flavours.”
Taste of Australia, sponsored by Austrade and a host of local businesses, made it possible for visitors to learn more about the great variety of Australian food products that are available in Brunei. On display during the event was an array of well-known Australian brands available in Brunei for guests to sample, such as Kraft, Golden Churn, Mountain Fresh Fruit Juices, Bundaberg, Esprit, Devondale and choice selections of meat from Tiara Maju, among others.
In his welcoming remarks, Senior Trade Commissioner of Austrade, Mr Daniel Havas said, “Australia is fortunate in that the rich variety of terrains and climates across our continent allows our farmers to produce an abundant variety of premium offerings all year round. Austrade is pleased to work with our local partners and distributors to bring these exceptional products to the Brunei public.”
Among other highlights that day was a cooking competition that gave the public – adults and kids alike – a chance to show off their culinary skills by creating dishes using a combination of Bruneian and Australian ingredients, that was then judged by Chef Nicolson and Brunei’s own food celebrity, Thanis Lim. The aspiring chefs had an opportunity to compete under categories for both adults and kids. The winner of the People’s Choice award, which was chosen by public votes, was Mrs Hairani Ahmad who prepared a Batik Cake featuring Milo as a star ingredient. Mrs Hairani’s prize included a hamper of Australian products from Brunei Halal, a carton of VicFarms milk, and a mystery gift from Euro Classic Collections.
The event ended with a VIP dinner the following day that included the two dishes demonstrated by Chef Nicolson the day before. During his visit to Brunei, the famous chef explored Brunei produce and flavours at the Kianggeh fruit and vegetable market, Kampong Ayer and Gadong Night Markets, and his parting words? “I will certainly be taking a few ideas back to Australia with me.”
Chef Nicolson is the executive chef of the Ghanem Group featuring the award-winning Blackbird Bar and Grill. This award-winning chef is renowned for his innovative dishes featuring hard-to-find high quality produce. He is passionate about whole beast cookery and seasonality and sustainability in cooking. Follow his culinary adventures on Instagram.
A full list of the winners of the cooking competition can be found on the Australian High Commission’s website.