You probably never thought that an "Iron Chef" inspired cooking contest mixed with rock music would be a good way to raise money for charity, but that's what happened tonight at the Corner Hotel. The beneficiaries were Good Shephard youth and family services. Ruth, Michelle, Belinda and I were treated to the mad culinary skills of Scott Owen and Andy Strachan from The Living End, Died Pretty’s Ron Peno, Ally Spazzy, Rebecca Barnard, Macromantics, Dan Kelly, Angie Hart, Lindsay MacDougall (Frenzal Rhomb), Candy Bowers (Sista She), Bob Log III, Link Meanie, Lisa Miller, PBS’s Kene Lightfoot, Paddy Donovan (The Age), RRR’s Holly C, Mia Dyson, and Dallas Crane front man Dave Larkin. The food was judged by Epicure’s John Lethlean, Mecca’s Cath Claringbold, and Andrew McConnell from Three One Two and we were given updates from the commentary panel of Helen Razer (774), Clem Bastow (The Age), and Melbourne Food & Wine Festival’s creative director Matt Preston.
There were two 30-minute heats with two teams competing each round, and then the winners took part in a 15-minute dessert challenge. The secret ingredients were mushrooms (heat 1), chicken (heat 2), and bananas (final heat). Some of the dishes were fantastic, others were shocking, but in the end the best (and my favorite) team prevailed: Rebecca Barnard, Ally Spazzy, Ron Peno, Scott Owen and Andy Strachan! We were lucky enough to get to taste test Andy's chicken dumplings from heat 2, and they were delicious. Best band of the night was Little Red- I was impressed with their gorgeous harmonies and songs. One reviewer called them "The Beach Boys meets The Strokes." I think they could become huge and I eagerly await the release of their debut EP.