Chef Adam Liston has pulled together an A-list team for his Tasting Australia Glasshouse Kitchen “party,” which, for an evening, will showcase through food how his flavourful career has been influenced by his peers.
Flames and fortitude: Adam Liston on the chefs who shaped him
Among a stacked 10-day program, South Australia’s premier food and wine festival, Tasting Australia, will host the Glasshouse Kitchen dinner series in Tarntanyangga Victoria Square – a glimpse into the world of some of the state and country’s most decorated chefs through a series of set dinners.
Six guest programming chefs will each lead a team of contemporaries, showcasing how their mentors, peers or interstate inspirations moulded their success.
**Please note: Tasting Australia 2020 has been postponed since the publication of this article.**
Read CityMag‘s conversations with the other guest programmer chefs:
Tasting Australia’s creative director, Simon Bryant, told CityMag having a ringleader curating the teams is more effective than the festival stringing together a fantasy match-up, as this form lends itself to narrative.
“We always curated our menus so they flowed, so there was no produce overlaps and weird progressions, and a lack of harmony, and this is a logical extension of that,” Simon says.
In the second of a series of conversations with the chefs behind these dinners, Adam Liston (executive chef of Shōbōsho and Joybird) speaks about why he selected Dan Hong, Aaron Turner, Raymond Capaldi and Max Sharrad to cook with him on Saturday, 4 April.
“Raymond Capaldi is an old-school god of the industry who’s known for breaking all the rules,” Adam says of his Scottish-born mentor, who trained him at Melbourne’s Hare & Grace restaurant almost a decade ago.
“He’s always been known to put really weird ingredients together that sound like they don’t work, and then somehow magically works.
“Ray is doing some crazy smoked-trout ice cream cone, which is pretty cool.”
Although Adam has worked in many kitchens – he worked in Japan and Shanghai kitchens, honing skills in Asian cuisines, before opening Melbourne’s Northern Light restaurant – he’s never cooked professionally alongside his second running mate, chef Dan Hong, from Sydney’s Lotus restaurant and Asian bistro Mr. Wong.
But he knows Dan as someone who will lend his talent to Adam’s vision of his Glasshouse Kitchen “party”; whereas the dinner series has traditionally been a sit-down affair, Adam’s will be a 250-person standing event that includes two dishes per chef, three separate kitchens, firepits, a live deejay and a Black Market Sake and Maybe Mae bar.
“Dan Hong is probably, in my opinion, one of the most known fusion cooks in Australia,” Adam says.
“One of his signature dishes is the cheeseburger spring roll [and] that’s going to be there.
“We have similar interests and obviously cook similar style food. We do have a lot in common.”
Adam co-runs yakitori bar Shōbōsho in Adelaide, a Japanese-leaning restaurant with a menu focussed on skewered meats cooked over open flames.
The menu for his Glasshouse Kitchen event will be mostly rooted in this style of charred, burnt and steamed flavours, and Aaron Turner from Geelong’s fire-focussed Igni was selected to participate in the roster for his shared love of heat.
“I probably respect Aaron the most for the way that he uses fire, and that probably goes back to the link with Shōbōsho, which obviously uses a lot of fire,” Adam says.
“Aaron’s doing a dish of baby cucumbers with this whipped butter, which is pretty cool. I think they’re slowly grilled over the fire.
“Aaron and I started off as a professional relationship which is now a friendship… He’s someone that is now coming to my engagement party!”
Head chef of Sydney’s Sixpenny restaurant, Daniel Puskas, was originally scheduled to appear as part of Adam’s lineup, but has since pulled out. His replacement is closer to home by geography and in business: Max Sharrad, whose credits include the lauded Noma in Copenhagen, as well as being co-owner and head chef at Nido, a sister restaurant to Shōbōsho.
For Adam, Max represents the new wave of South Australian talent.
“Max is an upcoming chef with lots of ambition and he’s won a few awards in his own right,” Adam says.
“He’s done really well down at Nido, so I think his style of food and the fact that it’s completely different to the rest of that lineup is good, because it brings a bit of comfort and a bit of Europe to something that’s not really a European dinner.”
Despite Adam remaining quiet about what he’ll personally dish up, he says the format of the Glasshouse Kitchen event and his roll-call of contemporaries represents who he is as a chef and a person.
“Originally [the event] was going to be like a tea party on a Sunday, but it didn’t really sit with my style that way,” he laughs.
“It’s the last proper event for the year’s festival, so it’s going to go out with a bang.
“It’s an event where people will be able to actually talk to us and probably have a drink with us. It’s a party.”
Or for more on the Glasshouse Kitchen conversations, read CityMag’s profile on Emma McCaskill here.