Celebrity chef Manu Fieldel was given quite the serve as he toured the Illawarra on Wednesday.
The My Kitchen Rules judge visited Dapto, Fairy Meadow and Wollongong to taste-test their best dish from their menus and offer advice ahead of the Your Local Club Perfect Plate Awards.
First up, the French culinary expert sampled the parilla grilled pork cutlet with charred provolone cheese, celeriac mash, confit carrots and tomato jam at The Mill inside Dapto Leagues Club. Despite having more kitchens to visit that day, the celebrity downed everything on his plate.
"When you read it on the menu you may think 'oh it might not work' but I just devoured the plate, I just finished it and it was absolutely delicious," he laughed. "I'm a machine and a professional."
Fieldel and TV colleague Colin Fassnidge have been visiting clubs around the state for the past month to meet some of the chefs and encouage the public to vote for their favourite dish, so far the kitchens have been up to scratch.
"It's nice to push the chefs to create a bit more and get some great food in the clubs," he said.
"Some [kitchen staff] have been very welcoming and some are more shy but everyone's been really hospitable and they've created some beautiful dishes. So far I'm not complaining about service, and if we compare that to what the clubs were offering before and what's coming now I think it's a big step."
Sous chef Shaun Lawson has been at The Mill for the past five years and said it was exciting and nerve-wracking to have such a celebrity in his presence, but hoped he was impressed.
"It's a dish that takes me back 10 years when I started cooking," he said.
"[I like to bring] it back to plain, simple food. I always grew up eating pork cutlet, and thought I would try and modernise it a bit with some new elements.
"I still see a big demand for that old food, so I try and tweak those old recipes and try and give them a new experience when they try it."
Next in line for Fieldel was Artisan inside Wests Illawarra, with their crispy skin salmon served with a zucchini fritter, broccolini, pickled ginger, sesame seeds, nori and miso mayonnaise.
The star sampled two dishes at The Fraternity Club as the venue boasts two eateries. The chefs at La Trattoria plated up a carbonara tartufata (pappardelle pasta with Italian sausage, pancetta, garlic, cream, shallots, parsley, truffle cream, topped with parmesan cheese and cracked pepper).
Il Bene Pizzeria then plated up their Da Vinci Pizza (Italian pancetta, prawns, premium porcini mushrooms, fruffle oil, topped with fresh parsley).
The public is encouraged to visit participating clubs by June 21, taste the Perfect Plate dish and score it out of five. Patrons can win dining vouchers for doing so while the top three voted kitchens in the state will be treated to an exclusive lunch with Fieldel and Fassnidge.
Got a hot news tip? Email us - COS@IllawarraMercury.com.au
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.