When I received a phone call from the beautiful Tara one morning saying that I was invited to attend a book launch luncheon in Noosa for Adriano Zumbo, I literally squeeled for joy when I got off the phone. What an oppurtunity! and what a great way to finish of my patisserie studies – and meet the man himself – Adriano Zumbo. When someone says Zumbo – you automatically think macarons, croquembouche, masterchef – but when you mention Zumbo to an aspiring patissiere herself it’s much more than a few desserts and a reality tv show.. I think creativity beyond the imagination of Willy Wonka, I think the greatest young homegrown success of the last coming years, + an unusual appreciation and dedication for all things indulgent, decadent, baked, caramalized, sticky and sweet without foreseeing challenging technique and process. Adriano Zumbo makes patisserie look easy.
It was such a wonderful day – hot mind you, but a beautiful day nonetheless. Mind you it was a pretty busy day for this little blogger, because in the morning I had to attend the brekky launch at Bistro One Eleven at 7am – then mish it up to the Sunny Coast with my besty for this luncheon at the stunning Berardos Resturaunt and Bar - so we were rushed to say the least. Oh did I mention it was hot (I think I recall it reaching a top of 41*C). Once we were greeted by all kinds of people and seated at our allocated tables, we began chatting amongst ourselves while drinks were poured, photo opportunities were snatched and book signings began. I was lucky enough to already have a copy of his new book ‘Zumbarons’ – which he personally signed for me :)
Food began rolling out not long later, first off an oversized, delicious meat ball :) Without actually knowing what was inside we all thought it was a giant arancini :P
Then this massive plate of decadent penne that was just to die for, with creamy fetta, chicken, pork and fennel and fresh basil.
After the pasta I had a quick chance to mingle and properly meet two of my favourite Queensland based health and lifestyle bloggers – meet The Nutrition Guru and The Chef - what a handsome couple ! Such lovely people – if you have a chance click over to their blog and check out some of the healthy Summer goodies they have been creating and eating lately.
Shortly after, the first course of dessert rolled out .. yep, you read right, first course of dessert.. what else could you expect from a man like Mr. Zumbo ? A beautiful dessert with rich the rich flavours of coffee, rum and raisin, pear and ricotta :) This was to die for, something that looked so simple but tasted so complex. I was actually pretty devastated when I finished it.
I was already feeling ready to near explode with all the indulgent food I had already consumed by this stage, that when the second course of dessert arrived I wondered if I could fit it in. Don’t underestimate the indulgence of the plate below! Caramelized pinenut ice-cream, black olive meringue, olive oil sorbet and a dense lemon tart-like pudding square. OHMY! This was definitely a play on the senses but worked wonderfully, this dessert was something really special.
With full bellies, a sweat dripping from everyone brows, Mr. Jim Berardo (owner of Berardos) stood up and made a speech, welcoming everyone, and had a little Q & A time with Adriano. One thing I realised about this spectacular man, is that Adriano Zumbo is very humble and very modest. It seemed to be this Coonamble country boy is very grateful for his success and achievement. It turned to crowd Q&A time.. no one put their hand up.. but me, I was dying to know what advice he has for young aspiring pastry chefs starting in industry. His response was that “it’s definitely not easy, as long as you work hard and have a passion for what you are doing, and have a dream, you can achieve it. Don’t take mistakes or small failures personally instead just pick yourself up and get on with it and keep going, and that’s not just for young chefs, that is for anyone who wants to achieve success. Yes, some chefs yell, but that’s hospitality life for you and once you leave the kitchen, it’s forgotten.”
Not long after Q&A time finished the final course of dessert appeared.. the very sought after Zumbarons. Several flavours appeared, but I was really after one .. salted butter popcorn – yep - you read right. Salted butter popcorn. It was everything popcorn in a macaron should be and more :) I went halves with the lady next to me and has some of her salted caramel macaron – which I have had before in Sydney from his store – still so amazing.
After we snatched a few more photo op’s, we said our ‘goodbyes’ and ‘thankyou’s’, we left Berardos and Noosa and took the long drive home. Adriano’s words really resonated with me on the drive home, it made me realise that maybe I need to be more patient, maybe have a little more faith in myself and what I do, and not get so caught down on what I am doing wrong in the kitchen, and focus more on what I am doing right ? Also, that success doesn’t come easy, that you have to work for it, and work bloody hard at that, to achieve not only personal success but personal achievement too.
If you are in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast, please check out Berardos.. or maybe head up for their annual Noosa Food and Wine Festival .. maybe I’ll see you there :)
** As mentioned above, I was invited as a guest to attend this event and the lunch was complimentary, however I did purchase the book on my own accord beforehand. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own unless stated otherwise.