Head Chef 'Woody' mentors young chef Tom Hitchcock at Noosa Beach House.
Photo Geoff Potter / Noosa News
Head Chef 'Woody' mentors young chef Tom Hitchcock at Noosa Beach House. Photo Geoff Potter / Noosa News

Young Tannum chef ready to take on the world

YOUNG chef Tom Hitchcock might call Tannum Sands home, but  he is prepared to travel far for his food dream.   

The 22-year-old Noosa Beach House chef has entered the 2016 St Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year competition.   

Currently working with internationally renowned chef Peter Kuruvita at one of Noosa's top restaurants he has picked up many skills and techniques to help achieve his dream.   

One day, he hopes to be a leading chef in Australia.  

His competition dish, quail ballotine with carrot puree and dust, quince gel and pressed apple, is his favourite dish.  

"De-boning the quail is the hardest technique," he said. 

"I changed the dish about eight times. It started as quail with beetroot, and then I ended up using carrot."

He entered the competition this week, and is waiting to hear if he will be heading to Melbourne to create the dish for a team of judges.   

For Tom, creating a dish from scratch is something new.  

As a Noosa Beach House chef, he has to create four tapas for the menu --- an entree dish that changes everyday.    "For inspiration I watch YouTube clips of French Michelin star chefs.  

"Something that I'm looking at doing at the moment is blow torched prawns or a basil gel."   

Cooking was a passion of the Tannum Sands High School graduate from a young age, achieving top grades for home economics in just grade eight.  

"I never really cooked at home. It was always just toasted sandwiches and scrambled eggs," he said.   

"My parents don't do much cooking at all either. Mum's dish is steak and veggies."   

He completed the first year of his apprenticeship at the Tannum Sands Hotel, and he moved to Yeppoon  for the last two years.  

Now a keen young chef, Tom says he is passionate about giving traditional meals a modern spin.   

The competition's world finals will be held in Italy.  

Tom Hitchock's quail ballotine

Tom Hitchcock entered this quail ballotine dish into an international cooking competition. Photo Contributed
Tom Hitchcock entered this quail ballotine dish into an international cooking competition. Photo Contributed

Ingredients

CARROT PURÉE

2 carrots; 2 shallots; 2 cloves of garlic; 150g butter; 1 tsp cumin

QUAIL BALLOTINE

4 quail; 2 chicken thigh; 3 shallots; 6 cloves garlic; 10 sprigs thyme; 6 mushrooms; 200ml brandy; 200ml port; pancetta; 100g butter

SPICED HAZELNUT

200g Hazel nut; 1 tsp cayenne pepper; 1 tsp smoked paprika; 1 tsp sumac

COMPRESSED APPLE

2 green apples; 1 tsp ascorbic acid

Method

QUAIL BALLOTINE

Debone quail (keep bones for stock).

Dice shallot, garlic and mushroom and sauté with thyme.

Deglaze with port and brandy, reduce and chill.

Blend chicken and add shallot and garlic mix (place in piping bag).

Slice pancetta and lay out on cling wrap. Place deboned quail on pancetta and pipe chicken farce. Roll tight. Cry-vac sous vide for 25-30min on 58C. Render fat in a pan with thyme and garlic.

Baste with butter to finish.

CARROT PURÉE

Peel carrot and slice thin.

Slice garlic and shallot.

Cook till soft in butter.

Blend with toasted spices and pass.

CARROT DUST

Peel carrot to ribbon.

Dehydrate, blend, pass.

BURNED ONION

Peel baby onion, cut in half. Cry-vac with butter.

Sous vide 80C for 2hrs.

Burn the face side in a pan.

SPICED HAZELNUT

Toast hazel nuts and peel. Pulse blend.

Toast spices. Mix with nuts.

COMPRESSED APPLE

Peel apple. Mellon ball the apple and place it in chilled ascorbic acid water. Cry-vac for 90sec.

CARROT DUST

Carrot; quince gel; 250g quince; 250g sugar; vanilla pod

BURNED ONION

2 baby onion;

1 tbsp butter

QUAIL JUS

300g quail bones; 100g chicken bones; 2 tbsp tomato paste; 2 carrots; leek; 2 onions; 3 sticks celery; 1 apple; 200ml port

 

200ml merlot; 8 garlic cloves; 1 tbsp peppercorns; 2 bay leaves



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