Awards, Competitions

This Guy is World Class

1011778_10151724959668689_760137718_nHe made great drinks, he won a hundred grand and in a few weeks time he’ll be on a mother fucking boat.

Huge congratulations to Luke Ashton on taking out the Australian finals of Diageo’s World Class tonight in Sydney. You can get a drink off him at Vasco on Cleveland St in Surry Hills, and soon at his new bar. Can’t wait!

Huge props as well to the Gourmantics, for this photo and many others, by far the fastest photo journalists in Sydney if not the world. I’ll write a feature on Luke’s dronks once the shots come through from the PR agency…



World Class food and cocktail pairings

Any of you fortunate enough not to be friends with a bartender who is taking part in Diageo’s World Class comp in any one of the feeder markets for the global extravaganza might have missed that things are getting down to the pointy end.

Australia is mid-way through choosing their winner, who travel to Europe for a cruise ship based experience of a lifetime.

Last night was the cocktail and food pairing part of the contest, with contestant drawing dishes from Black by Ezard at the Star here in Sydney.

I was judging team B, out of my culinary depth completely seated next to Adriano Zumbo and Diageo silvertongue and Crispin Glover lookalike, Scott Gross.

Each year the contest and the cocktails get better, here are two of my favourites


Trapped in that potato nest is a perfectly poached egg, and Queenslands Krystal Hart paired it with a Ketel One Citroen concoction featuring verjuice, truffle oil and a herb garden. While the chive garnish was a bit limp, it bought the dish to life.

WP_20130610_006The Ocean Trout had a lot going on, and the Ketel One Citroen, italian vermouth, cumquat and tonic. The nori and parsley garnish leapt out of the glass and took aim at the trout on the plate.

My pick was the Bulleit, Talisker and porcini pairing with the final dish, a MBS 9+ Wagyu Rumpcap. The toilet water appearance was overcome by the result of tasting food and drink together, great pairing.

As last year’s global winner, Tim Philips noted “there are nowhere near enough brown cocktails. ”

Tonight the contestants will run their own pop up bars at the Star, report to come tomorrow.