Australian celebrity chefs Vic Cherikoffand Benjamin Christie were asked by Austrade’s Business Development Manager, Ancy Palma from the Philippines to host a week long Australian cuisine event at the Hyatt Regency Guam from the 11th to 17th April 2005.
The event complemented the Pacific Hotel & Restaurant Expo (PHARE), a three day expo for chefs, purchasing managers, US military and hotel management from the region to view the latest products and services on offer and exhibitors to network with thousands of visitors. There was also a culinary competition run during the expo with judges mainly from the Micronesian Chefs Association
The week long event was held in the Hyatt Regency Guam’s main restaurant, La Mirenda which offers buffet dining with international themes and features a show kitchen together with indoor and alfresco seating. Both Vic and Benjamin presented a menu which changed daily and each service featured various native flavours of Australia including wattleseed, paperbark, riberries, quandongs, Alpine Pepper, Oz Lemon, Wildfire Spice, munthari, lemon aspen and wild desert limes to name a few.
Highlights from the menu included dishes such as;
Wattleseed duckling with Illawarra plum sauce
Moreton bay bugs tossed with Mountain Pepper BBQ Sauce
Barramundi with macadamia cream sauce and glacé riberries
Paperbark smoked pork loin with apple munthari
Gumleaf crème caramel
With PHARE on the doorstep, the Hyatt Regency Guam and Austrade’s strategy was to promote the native flavours of Australia as reflecting the hotel’s culinary innovation. The strategy paid off with many PHARE exhibitors, participants and visitors dining at least once and nearly every Executive Chef from Guam’s 4 and 5-star hotels sampled what was on offer in La Mirenda.
As part of PHARE, Austrade represented numerous Australian companies looking to export their products to Guam. The three day trade event concluded with an Australian inspired cocktail party hosted by Corinne Tomkinson, Australian Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia and Alan Morrell, Australian Senior Trade Commissioner to the Philippines. Attendees included various US and Australian government officials, Australian companies, local buying groups and some of Guam’s best chefs. The talk of the event was the native Australian flavoured canapés and cocktails, which were served, particularly the Australian lamb cutlets with Illawarra plum chilli sauce, a mussel soup with wild lime and the squid, corn and asparagus cakes with rainforest herbs and Ozyaki™ sauce.
There was extensive media coverage for this new Australian cuisine concept of Dining Downunder including television, radio and both conventional and virtual newspapers and encouraged many locals to attend with some guests dining daily for 3 and 4 return visits. The overall success of the event was measured by the positive revenue after costs and covers were 70% up on the average number of diners for the equivalent non-promotional period.
Towards the end of the week, Vic hosted an Australian Cooking Class for Hyatt Regency Club members and corporate guests in Al Dente Italian Ristorante. The 3 hour cooking class was attended by over two dozen people, setting a record for cooking class attendances at the Hyatt Regency Guam. Students enjoyed a lunch they helped prepare of Paperbark Smoked Barramundi flavoured with Australian spices, a ‘Bushetta’ of bush tomato and basil on Wildfire spiced ciabatta and finished with Wattleseed Pavlova and glacé riberries and wild limes, all served with appropriate wines, from Australia of course.
One highlight of the week long Australian Cuisine Promotion was the Sunday Brunch in La Mirenda Restaurant. The Australian inspired menu presented a wide selection of salads, seafood and soups together with various festive hot dishes. Three live cooking stations offered pasta, omelettes and crepes all featuring Australian native ingredients.
Dining Downunder would like to extend a sincere thank you to the GM and all his staff at the Hyatt Regency Guam and would like to offer special thanks to the following people who really made the event a compete success;
Hermann Grossbichler, Executive Chef
Ian Crough, Executive Sous Chef
Chef Suharto, Executive Pastry Chef
Patrick Verove, Director of Food & Beverage
Maria Cooper Nurse, Marketing Manager
Ancy Palma, Business Development Manager, Austrade Manila.
John (and Paula) Bent, Business Development Manager, Austrade Guam.