COOKING WITH GAS: Ballina RSL executive chef Blake Seymour and chef de partie Bradley Baldwyn are excited about making the finals of this year’s Chef’s Table Competition.
COOKING WITH GAS: Ballina RSL executive chef Blake Seymour and chef de partie Bradley Baldwyn are excited about making the finals of this year’s Chef’s Table Competition. Marc Stapelberg

Ballina RSL chefs to take on best in NSW after winning comp

A PAIR of chefs from the Ballina RSL are ready to take on the best club chefs in New South Wales after winning their way into the finals of the Chef's Table Competition.

Executive chef Blake Seymour and chef de partie Bradley Baldwyn will compete against 32 other finalists from across NSW in a restaurant challenge with some unique rules.

Firstly, their menu can't exceed $22 per person.

And second, each dish in the three-course meal must use rosemary, this year chosen in honour of the Anzac centenary.

Ballina RSL Club finalist menu

  • ENTREE: Soy braised Byron Bay pork belly with Ballina prawn and crab tortellini, dashi broth, shitake mushroom, pickled daikon and miso puree.
  • MAIN: Northern Tablelands lamb, done two ways - roasted lamb rump with macadamia and rosemary crumb, and slow-cooked lamb shoulder, raisin and rosemary cigar, celeriac puree, heirloom beets, warrigal greens and brussel sprouts.
  • DESSERT: Liquorice parfait with lemon curd, meringue, candied Nimbin pecans, lemon, poppy seed and rosemary sponge with Brooklet blueberries.

It's the first time Ballina RSL has entered the competition since 2006, but has an excellent record, having won three years in a row from 2004-06.

New to the helm at the Ballina RSL, Mr Seymour said his team was ready for the challenge.

His menu aimed to creatively use the plentiful local produce available in the region.

"I think this region has some amazing produce. You've got the macadamia industry, a good dairy and beef industry, and the region is famed for its pork," Mr Seymour said.

"And we've got a big ocean with a whole range of seafood, and I love going to the Byron Bay Farmers' Market on a Thursday morning."

Mr Seymour said while Ballina RSL still knew how to turn out plenty of steaks and schnitzels in a night, many diners were also looking for something a little more creative.

"They've been watching Masterchef and MKR, and they know what all those different tricks are," he said.

"People are prepared to pay a bit more for something a little more special.

"We do have those skills and we're prepared to match it with all the restaurants around this area."

And that's the cuisine on show this year in the competition, where the finalists will be judged on taste, presentation, preparation skills as well as their overall innovation and creativity.

The finals night will take place some time in May or June, and will involve serving the three course meal to 25 people, including three judges.



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