Sipping on Moet & Chandon at the Crown with John Lawson

November 5, 2012, 12:06 pmYahoo!7

Chef John Lawson took on the role of head chef at the Derby Eve Moet and Chandon party at the Crown in Melbourne. He shares with us his experiences and the art of pairing food with Moet & Chandon.

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What's Mr. Hive Kitchen & Bar's food philosophy?

We create big flavours that are balanced and fresh, focussing on top quality naturally-sourced meat from local Victorian suppliers. We like to find interesting, seasonal ingredients to maximise the natural taste.

Tell us a bit about your background and how you came to Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar?

I studied in London and worked under Raymond Blanc at Le manior aux Quat Saisons, where I tuned my skills for tasting and cooking. From there I moved to New York where my eyes were opened and it made me more aware of the numerous cuisines and cultures that can be put on a plate. I moved to Melbourne and was part of the opening team at Maze by Gordon Ramsay, before creating the concept and being appointed Executive Chef at Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar.

How different is catering for an event like Derby Eve's Moet & Chandon party from creating dishes in the restaurant?

It’s completely different. For this event we have carefully matched the canapés to the Champagne, whereas in the restaurant we aim to have a variety that will complement our wine list as a whole. The process of creating for an event is more structured.

More or less stressful?
A restaurant is a stressful workplace and because we’re at Crown, we are aligned to most of the major events in Melbourne, so during peak events seasons like Spring Racing, we are at our busiest and not only catering for the restaurant, but also Crown Metropol’s room service and breakfast menu. Working on and event such as the Moet & Chandon Derby Eve is sometimes more stressful as there is a new menu tailored for the evening, so there is a lot of pressure on the night to execute the food correctly. But I wouldn’t be a chef if I didn’t thrive in stressful, busy situations so it’s always enjoyable.

What's your ultimate canapé?

Veal tenderloin with truffle wrapped in freshly-baked bread


Are there any latest hot trends in canapés we need to know about?

I am always aware of how the guests will consume the canapé – we only have two hands and one should always have a flute of Champagne in it – and how the menu will progress throughout the event, that’s what is important to me.

Which of your canapés pairs best with Moet & Chandon do you think?

The Jicama ravioli with scallop and mango. The light flavours of the scallop blended with the sweetness of the mango complement the premium Champagne perfectly.

What flavours overall pair best with Moet & Chandon?
I will be using some lovely waterfall oysters from NSW. They’re slightly salty, fresh and sweet.

Do you have a favourite vintage of Moet?

In Crown’s cellars we have a select few of 100 year old Moet & Chandon Champagne. It would be quite the experience to try a glass of this vintage one day. In the meantime, I’m happy to sip the Ice Imperial or the 2002 Grand Vintage.

Moet is so iconic, so many of us have great memories of times with the champagne ... What's your favourite Moet memory?

We served Moet & Chandon at the opening party for Crown Metropol Hotel in 2010. The party goes down in my book as one of the best events at Crown that I’ve been a part of.

If you could pop a bottle of Moet & Chandon anywhere in the world, where would it be and with whom?

With my fiancée, Louisa in Tomales Bay, San Francisco…the oysters there are the best.

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