What are your thoughts on the current culture in Australia regarding the use of modern food equipment?
think we have a long way to go to catch up to accepted work practices in Europe. If you remember sous-vide cookery was first used by Troisgros in 1974 it puts things into perspective. The technology most used in Australia (gas) is little different from Escoffier’s time except he used coal to fire the ovens. While things are changing incrementally it is going to take a huge mind shift to get the industry to accept the incredible benefits of current technology.
Please comment on the importance of the use of modern equipment in your establishment.
Basically Marque would not exist without the use of current cooking technology. Use of technology allows us to cook in a unique style, it also allows me to put greater effort onto each plate without the use of a larger brigade. We serve 55 covers a night with most opting for the 9 course degustation. That’s around 500 plates a night with a team of 5. Technology allows me to execute simple and effective ideas consistently. It also means a less experienced team can execute these ideas and rotate through each section. Traditionally only the most experienced chefs (and most expensive) could operate the meat, fish and sauce sections. Marque does not suffer from this impediment.
Daily work benefits of technology at Marque?
Where do I start? We can make icecream and sorbet bases once a week and blast freeze it in the pacojet canisters. Stored at –20°C waste is eliminated. We can have as many different flavours as we like as we are able to ‘churn’ only what is required. We used to churn a minimum of 1 litre for the traditional machine and have to discard any that remained. With the amount of time this took and the waste, it really limited what we could do.
Paco recipes also require less fat and sugar yet taste more intense than traditional churned product due to the super fine texture. We can also make truly savoury ice creams and sorbet with excellent texture.
Roner Water Bath
An integral part of the cooking and serving process at Marque along with our sous-vide unit. We not only achieve incredible consistency with cooked product it also allows us to cook in the restaurant’s down time (overnight). This means our production never has to stop and doesn’t require any further staff costs. We are also able to use 2nd and 3rd class cuts and turn them into a unique value added product. Service is the least stressful part of the day at Marque due to the use of this technology. Not many kitchens could make that claim.
This unit is mostly utilised in the pastry section where it is used intensively. It is used for everything from fruit purees to cooking ice cream bases, grinding nougatines, making liquid pralines to tempering chocolate and it also knocks out a brilliant banana smoothee to get the chefs started.
My initial perception of MyCook was that it looked well constructed and nicely designed. It is very ergonomic and I liked it’s aesthetic. The advantage it has over other competitors is the induction heating. It is extremely fast and even.
Mark Best is the owner of Marque Restaurant
4/355 Crown Street, Surry Hills NSW Phone: (02) 9332 2225
Taking some inspiration from Fifteen, Charcoal Lane is a social enterprise project of Mission Australia, where a top-class restaurant provides rigorous, on-the-job training for Indigenous and disadvantaged youth. The restaurant, named after the nearby lane where local Indigenous people would meet, produces Australian-inspired meals. The modern Australian menu mixes Aboriginal and international styles, like lemon myrtle fish bites with ginger and chilli dip; peppered wallaby tartare with endive salad and hazelnut dressing; and spiced Bendigo duck breast with confit leg parcel and quandong jus. Prior to opening they purchased RelyVac and MyCook as they wanted to provide a diverse range of foods that both machines can produce. Executive Chef Damien Styles comments on MyCook:
What are the specific advantages of using MyCook?
I use the MyCook for ice cream bases, shallot puree, hollandaise sauce and fruit jellies. The heating side of this machine is a great time saver. MyCook is easy to use. It is also reliable and creates a consistent product every time.
What are the specific advantages of using RelyVac?
We do a bit of sous vide cooking, so the vac machine is crucial. The aim of sous vide cooking is to cook at a constant temperature, which keeps the flavour and moisture in food. The consistency of sous vide cooking means that my customers always get a perfectly cooked meal. Compressing fruit in a vacuum (we use rockmelon and apple) intensifies the colour and flavour incredibly. It also makes the fruit more dense. I only leave it for a hour or so under pressure, any longer and the vacuum starts to crush the fruit, making it soft.
We also use RelyVac to make wildfire spiced confit king salmon, jerusalem artichoke and bush tomato jam. I make a chocolate aero bar in there as well. We also use the vaccum for storage, as food lasts longer. The increased shelf life of products after being vacuum sealed is fantastic.
Your favourite effect created with both?
Consistency is the key to any good restaurant and with the MyCook and RelyVac on your team, you set yourself up to be just that…consistent!
What advice would you give to young chefs regarding the use of technology?
Don’t be afraid of new things. If something can produce a great product with ease for you then you can busy yourself with improving elsewhere.
What about the influence of technology on modern cuisine?
I think it’s important to progress and improve everyday and when a new piece of equipment helps me do that – I’m all for it.