Posts Categorized: Chefs

Chin Chin’s $275 first birthday dinner with the awesome David Thompson was worth it

I had to think long and hard about attending this dinner. But the fooderati came and ate. $275 for a Thai meal. That’s 13 courses cooked by David Thompson and pretty much unlimited booze. I’ve never spent so much on what is a function meal but I’m glad I did sitting on the corner of the bar seeing David sweating over the woks and pestle and mortar rejecting dishes that weren’t good enough. Usually when you stuff 150 or so people in to a restaurant for a guest chef experience it isn’t quite up to what you’d expect. Here it was totally amazing with, for my western palate, a perfect balance of flavours (although some people were blown away by the chilli). I made me think of critic Stephen Downes review years ago where he gave David Thompson 20/20 for the perfect meal. It was one of the best meals I’ve eaten for years and I seem to have lost my critical facility. Sadly it will be a long time until David will be back in Melbourne. But you can always try Nahm in Bangkok.

Inside the Paul Wilson Twitter spat

This blog is unprofessional, according to the person behind chef Paul Wilson’s Twitter account – whether it is Paul himself or his wife Bec. I’ve asked for an apology but they have chosen to ignore the request. And now I’m telling this story which encompasses how people fuck-up on Twitter, ethics and how and why reviews here are written. So what happened? Well, I published a story about two Prahan pubs Morris Jones and The Smith that was unintentionally inaccurate and something obviously the Paul Wilson Twitter account didn’t like. To wind back to 12 October, I was invited by a friend Rory Kent to have a free dinner with Morris Jones owner Hayden Burbank. Burbank toured me through the pub and talked me through the menu, introduced me to head chef Tony Milton. He told me Paul Wilson had helped him out and with the direction of the menu, I’m pretty sure. So I reported that. Then came this rather bitchy Tweet: I took that on-board and immediately corrected the error, which was that I reported that the menu was by the “ubiquitous” Paul Wilson. And he is ubiquitous, thanks to his consultancy to many venues prior to becoming a director of the Melbourne Pub Group, which limits him to 4 or 5 restaurants/pubs now. And subsequent to posting this (12.10 Thursday), I received an email from Paul Kasteel (his name was mispelled in the Tweet): “Whilst it is true l provided a lot of direction on the menu with Paul Wilson’s help and input as a consultant l am not a chef and did not write the menu. The correct spelling of my name is Paul Kasteel and the Head Chef at Morris Jones is Tony Milton. We developed a brief for Tony with Paul’s help and l provided the direction on the sorts of dishes, desire to do something different with Cocottes and Crepes on the lunch menu, however, Tony wrote the menu for us and l think it is unfair to quote myself as the chef.” When I write a review I try and make it interesting and in this case, coincidentally, The Smith had opened up the road and chef/owner Michael Lambie had been emailing me to come along. I did and I paid for my meal. And as Michael Lambie has been consultant to as many venues as Paul Wilson it was worth mentioning… Read more »