Masterchef S01 ep7: Tim Pak Poy, Claudes Restaurant, [Sydney]

Interview with Tim Pak Poy

My interest in European food came from a different point in the sense that I was looking for things that I couldn't learn here. So I did a course in Perfumerie in Paris to learn the art of trapping flavour. It is understanding of how to encapsulate flavour and to offer it to people in an accessible way. One of the simplest way that we know of trapping flavour is by using fat - any fat, whether it be olive oil or animal fat. In perfumerie you would follow the notes and so composing a series of notes into something that sings for itself. At the end of the day the sum has to be greater, than all of the parts.


 

18.35
My ancestry is Anglo-Chinese and I can remember my father teaching me to
carve hams - that you must be able to see the knife through it.

18.45
We would have salted duck eggs that we made and all sorts of things so there
was a real mixture of cuisine going on in my household.

18.51
There was a terrific chef in Adelaide a guy named of Chong Lu. He taught me
how to cook by first teaching me how to eat.

19.04
The restaurant has been here for 25 years and it was started by a Frenchman
called Claude Cornme, and there has principally been three chefs here in the
25 years that have all had the same idea in mind and that is really to cook from
the heart.

19.22
You can see the progression which is ongoing of course and that is learning
how to eat, learning how to cook, and then learning how to look at things with
clarity and understanding who it is you are cooking for.

 

19.35
That is your local environment, national environment and your international
guest and then looking at learning how to run a business and now it is ongoing
in the adventures of taste.

19.56
My interest in European food came from a different point in the sense that I
was looking for things that I couldn't learn here. So I did a course in Perfumerie
in Paris.

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

20.05
KM – Oh, Paris?

20.06
Yeah Perfumerie school in Paris. I looked at a distillery in Alsace.

20.11
KM – Why Perfumerie? Why Distillery?

20.13
Trapping flavour.

20.18
KM – What is the art of trapping flavour?

20.20
It is understanding how to encapsulate flavour and to offer it to people in an
accessible way.

20.28
One of the simplest ways that we know of trapping flavour is by using fat - any
fat, whether it be olive oil or animal fat.

20.35
KM – What to infuse that?

20.36
Yes, so you see it through all different cultures. You might see it in Asia,
people might be toasting spices and then roasting them in the oil, just gently
roasting then to infuse the oil with flavour. It might be slicing back fat from
pork and laying slices of truffles and rolling the oil and infusing overnight.

21.08
There are other elements that come into play as well. There is the ambience
that you are eating in, it is the company that you share, it is how accessible the
menu is. Understanding that senses are heightened if the lights are down low
for example. I serve a simple broth of Sydney rock oysters and it was very
carefully approached not to loose the natural character of the oyster and the
client discreetly asked me to turn the lights right down and actually off so that
she could really appreciate..

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

21.33
KM – With her eyes closed.

21.35
Yeah, and so those are the other elements that come into this kind of cuisine
that we work on here.

21.46
There are a number of words you can use that follow that analogy - you're
composing a dish rather than writing a recipe for it. In perfumerie you would
follow the notes and so composing a series of notes into something that sings
for itself. At the end of the day the sum has to be greater, than all of the parts.

22.11
The ice cream that you saw a little earlier, it was made with the first of the
Tasmanian truffles. It reminds me of a terrific La Tache [wine] of '78 that had
the terrific aroma of truffles and violets and so we used truffles and violets
together in this ice cream to follow a natural flavour combination that people
find mysterious and appealing and the nuances are stimulating. And we go the
other way too; we do use discordance as well.

22.52
I opened a dinner recently with a bitter lemon - a bitter gorde. And I served it
with mud crab, which is a local crab in Australia, which is the sweetest, nuttiest
flavour in crab, absolutely beautiful. So we had the sweetness from the crab,
the mystery of the truffle that underlined the dishes and acted in the role to
bring the flavours together and then we salted the melon and deep-fried it and
it has a distinct bitterness and we made a crisp, a twirl if you like, from bitter
chocolate and fragrant peppers.


Jewellery Theatre Elements

23.30
And so when you eat the dish the first thing that strikes you is the combination
between bitter and sweet - it is quite arresting you sit up! Your palette is
immediately alert, "Am I dancing with danger. This is bitter - this is not
something I should really..."

23.41
KM – Your understanding, "I am curious about this”.

23.42
In fact I am not curious I am worried". And so there is that dancing with
danger. The sweetness is reassuring and the bitter chocolate crisp starts to
melt into the sauce and picks up the bitterness again.

23.54
By the second dish, which was very, very gentle - a consommé of smoked
salmon, a hot broth sits with a cold saffron cream - very reassuring.

24.04
By the time we go to the next dish - a little sausage that you bite into and it
explodes with a sweet pork, so people are starting to wake up again and
people are starting to say - uhmm now we are getting into something good.

Jewellery Theatre Fairytales

24.15
When I ask them about the first dish, they started talking about the first one
but by the time they got to the end of the menu the first dish was the best dish.

24.21
And so we played across the menu.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE:Tim Pak Poy, Claudes Restaurant, [Sydney]