WHAT’S ON THE MENU? – with Ambassador Chef, Scott Kennedy.
After a recent conversation with our Palmerston North based Ambassador Chef, Scott Kennedy I just had to share his latest creations which are starring on his winter menu.
Scott has just imported a German meat dry ager for his restaurant, Nero. He is delighted to now be able to age his meat on his own premises which enables him to get really creative with all sorts of flavour and meat combinations. The dry ager has pride of place in the foyer of their dining room which has attracted much interest from customers as they arrive to dine at Nero.
At the moment he is preparing to put a new dish on his menu OP Rib, Dry Aged with Whiskey and Ginger. The OP rib (or scotch fillet on the bone) is aged for 30 days with a twist – it has been wrapped in muslin macerated in whiskey and ginger which imparts the delicious vanilla and oaky flavours of the whisky into the meat. After tests and trials on his regular customers’ taste buds, they are now all eagerly awaiting this to be permanent on the Nero menu and as always the entrepreneur, Scott is exploring options of wholesaling this product to his customers.
Another beef dish on his winter menu features the lesser known cut - flat iron steak. This secondary cut of beef is slowly gaining recognition amongst the culinary world as a cost effective, tender and tasty steak to have on the menu. Scott says careful cooking to medium rare ensures optimum tenderness and he serves his with truffled dauphine potatoes, topped with a French brie, black garlic butter and beetroot chips. This dish has proven to be hugely popular, but Scott says initially his customers palates needed to be educated a little on just how tasty this lesser known cut really is, and with truffle season in full swing, he says customers just cannot get enough of it!
Scott’s passion for his craft is definitely displayed in his next dish which, as he explained to me, is a by-product of his OP Rib dish as he needs to purchase the whole forequarter of the animal to create this dish. This leaves him other cuts to play around with and with inspiration in hand, Scott had to persuade his local butcher to also get creative and break down the meat to the specifications Scott needed for his other dishes.
One such dish is his beef shank and for this, Scott removes all the meat from the bone, cleans it down and ties the meat with various herbs back on to the bone. It is then sous vide for 72 hours which results in 1.2kg of the most flavoursome tender beef shank which is served as a meal for two. The shank not only tastes amazing, but is visually impressive too.For inspiration, Scott immerses himself in research on meaty trends around the globe by following overseas chefs on social media, reading blogs, cookbooks and travelling. He takes all the inspiration he can find and channels it into his own kitchen, adding some kiwi twists and tailoring flavours to what he knows his customers will enjoy.
The providence of his beef and lamb is also very important to Scott; telling the story of the product from pasture to plate resonates well with his customers, some of whom are the highly successful farmers who are just as passionate about producing some of the best beef and lamb in the world as Scott is about cooking it!
So if you happen to be heading to the Manawatu it is well worth a visit to Nero Restaurant where your only problem will be trying to choose which delightful dish to order from Scott’s menu. www.cafenero.co.nz or call 06 354 0312.