Aussie chef Mike Tafe is a global ambassador for the cuisine and produce of Down Under. He’s on his way to Abu Dhabi to teach the city’s residents the skills to barbecue with the best in the business
Does the world have an accurate perception of traditional Australian food?
It has always been my experience that Australian cuisine is perceived extremely positively. I try to avoid using the word ‘cuisine’ when talking about Australian dining, largely because Australia in the culinary sense is such a young nation compared to other countries, which over centuries and with regionalism, have developed the great ‘cuisines’ of the world. Australia is a melting pot of nationalities and in many ways for Australian cooks and chefs it is a cultural playground where we are exposed to so many international influences without the confinement of a single cuisine. I think Australian food is largely recognised and appreciated for the freedom of expression it delivers on the plate.
What can guests expect your Big Brunch Aussie BBQ and Australian Flavours?
Since Australia has some of the cleanest, greenest pastures, fields, orchards and farms as well as pristine coastlines and oceans, our starting point when preparing dishes is absolutely top-quality produce. So my job cooking it is made easier right from the start. Guests can expect to see relatively simple dishes packed with flavour, where my focus is on highlighting the quality of the ingredients used.
If diners could only try one dish you’ll be bringing to the festival, which one would you recommend?
A personal favourite of mine is an appetiser I will be making for the ‘Australian Flavours’ menu. It’s a very simple dish of lightly smoked black pepper mulwarra lamb loin with minted spring vegetables. Or maybe try the Spencer Gulf prawns from the pristine waters of South Australia at the Seafood Night. The prawns will be lightly spiced before being grilled.
The Big Brunch: Dhs475. April 10, 12.30-4pm. Ingredients restaurant; The Big Aussie BBQ: Dhs250. April 11, 4pm-7pm. The Pool Dek; Australian Flowers: Priced à la carte. April 12-13, 7pm-11pm. The Pool Dek.