Eating with the AU: OzHarvest’s fourth annual CEO Cookoff

Larry Emdur with Matt Moran, Ronni Kahn and Guillaume Brahimi

In its fourth year of operation OzHarvest’s annual CEO Cookoff gives true meaning to the term ‘pop-up restaurant’ by bringing together the nation’s top chefs and CEOs in a bid to increase awareness of food security, homelessness and food wastage in Australia. The event saw over 120 business leaders and 40 chefs (with 38 chef hats amongst them) produce a three course meal for a thousand of Sydney’s homeless and disadvantaged.

The depth and breadth of OzHarvest’s work and social impact is overwhelming, having only recently celebrated their 10th birthday late last year, the organisation has rescued 10 million kilos of good quality food and delivered 30 million meals to Aussies in need. It’s been a busy and prosperous start to 2015, fuelled by an excitement and passion that’s truly palpable when walking into the beautifully dressed warehouse at Carraigeworks where the event is hosted.

Regular supporters mobile bar Trolley’d greeted guests with beverages made from organic and sustainable produce, a Plum with Blue Flower and Earl Grey and a Nashi Pear and Cassia Bark which had tart and refreshing kick, garnished with a sticky pear crisp. The crew from Vittoria coffee were on hand, serving up brews throughout the night and Nudie donated a range of their juices and smoothies for the tables.

Trolley’d Plum with Blue Flower & Earl Grey and Nashi Pear & Cassia Bark Drinks

Entrée involved a shared antipasto platter accompanied with Brasserie Bread, which included beetroot with dill and hummus dips prepared by OzHarvest’s Nourish students and Chef for a Cause, both delicious and enjoyed with extra appreciation of the love and care put into them. Signature main courses were designed by each chef and plated up by the CEOs. Guests were deservedly spoilt for choice with dishes ranging from Miguel Maestre’s Chicken and Chorizo Paella, Matt Moran’s Lamb, Maggie Beer’s Roast Chicken and Matt Stone’s nourishing Soup.

Miguel Maestre and James Hunter – National Managing Partner, KPMG

Chef Kumar Mahadevan of Aki’s served up a flavourful spicy Chicken Green Curry with Saffron Rice whilst Lydney Milan’s buttery Seafood Moqueca brimming with prawns, mussels and juicy clams proved moreish. The team from Black Star Pastry had been up the night before putting together 1600 serves of their famous Watermelon and Strawberry Cake topped with pistachios and a rosewater glaze, a surprising yet perfect flavour combination, set off nicely with specially designed Gelato Messina ice-cream.

Black Star Pastry’s Watermelon and Strawberry Cake

Wonderful food aside, the night was all about the nourishment and enjoyment of its guests who looked like they were having a ball. Kicking off with a traditional ‘Welcome to Country’, entertainment came in the form of performances from Australian Idol winner Karise Eden who blew everyone away with her powerhouse Joplin-esque vocals, inciting cheers of support as she spoke of her time in refuges and how bittersweet this moment was. The Field Brothers eight piece band (The Cockroaches) rocked the night away and a tribute song written by founder Ronni Khan’s son Nadhav Khan and his band Air Land Sea titled “If You’ve Got Love”, featuring vocals from the Sydney Street Choir raised an excited sing along, the joy in the choir’s faces reflected back by the crowd.

OzHarvest Guests

Larry Emdur took the reins for his first time hosting the do and did a great job of charging the atmosphere where entertainment was broken up with speeches and awards. Sydney Mayor Clover Moore and OzHarvest founder Ronni Khan both made inspiring and moving speeches, Ronni stating at one point “this night is about an imbalance in our existence, let’s experiment with the idea of what this world would look like if we took care of each other”. Her sentiments were met by a huge amount of support to the tune of almost $900,000 raised towards the organisation’s initiatives, an undoubtedly brilliant end to a night which goes from strength to strength each year and really enforces and celebrates the caring, sharing and generous spirit the organisation embodies.

To find out more about OzHarvest and make a donation visit >>

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