I have long been a fan of Adriano Zumbo, the fantastic pastry chef based in Balmain. I found a cooking class he was taking at the restaurant under my building - Signorelli. An evening with Zumbo? Who could resist?
The unlikely celebrity, Adriano Zumbo.
The class fell on an evening with torrential rain. Many people were running late - including the star of the night. Adriano arrived, full of apologies and bearing several trays of intriguing looking ingredients.
Adriano demonstrated two desserts that he had created just for the occasion. A new version of tiramisu and a lemon curd tart with olive oil sorbet.
Watching Adriano in action was fascinating. The softly-spoken man had the room's attention with his every move and word. Several members of the class were scribbling down notes furiously, asking questions that would help them re-create the recipe at home. I happily know what my baking limits are, so was content instead to photograph and listen to the words of wisdom the great chef had to depart on us.
As he cooks, Zumbo shares his tips and stories of his childhood. He tells us about his time in France and his dislike for their huge food wastage. After he mentions this I notice as the night goes on that nothing goes to waste. Any extra material is boxed up in plastic containers for re-use. Burnt pine nuts are salvaged.
Most interesting is watching Zumbo crack open eggs on handed, with the reflex of one who has cracked more eggs than I shall ever consume in my lifetime. He shows us how to separate the yolk using our hands for a cleaner separation (some recipes require the yolk and egg white to be cooked at different temperatures, so having bits of white left on the yolk can spoil the dessert).
Zumbo whisks up the first of many frothy components.
The finished product, "tirimisu".
Lemon curd tart with olive oil sorbet.
After the two-hour class, we get the chance to speak with Zumbo. He is humble about his success and thanks us sincerely for coming to his class. We bow in worship a few times before heading out into the cold night.
I meet the genius.
Ground floor of Accenture/Google Building
Trouton Place Pyrmont NSW 2009
(opposite Metcalfe Park)
P: 02 8571 0616