Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Five Course Homage to the awesomeness of Italian Preserved Tomatoes.

DATE: Thursday 28th 2015 - LOCATION: Osteria Balla, Stefano Manfredi's modern Italian restaurant - EVENT: Oro Rosso Luncheon, 5 Course Degustation Menu; with 5, that's FIVE of the best Italian chefs in Sydney. A best of the best of Italian cuisine, gastronomic talent and those unique Italian tomatoes flavours.
The incredible thing about 'today' is that each and every one of these five dishes makes use of preserved tomatoes, canned, with the only exception, Eugenio Maiale's use of semi dried cherry tomatoes from the Campagna region. As soon as we are seated and introduced ourselves to our fellow guests on table 8. I want to tell them about this fascinating book I once had on Italian regional produce it's history and and cooking; and the famous Neapolitan pizza chef in Napoli who only used tinned tomatoes for his pizza sauce. Why? Because it was better than using fresh and the tinned were always available; but the key point was, they were better, they were superior!
Oro Rosso Luncheon's Italian Chefs, Danny Russo, Gabriele Taddeucci, Giovanni Pilu, Eugenio Maiale, Francesco Spataro. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
Sydney's top Italian Chefs, Danny Russo, Gabriele Taddeucci, Giovanni Pilu, Eugenio Maiale, Francesco Spataro.
So here we are, Vincenzo Prosperi of Vincenzo's Plate an Italian food-blogging channel, Michael a native of Rome, now a senior management for an Italian/Australian food importing and distribution company, Vivienne Shui from vivalaViv, and myself. It's two Italian's a Taiwanese/Chinese and an old-school Aussie who has learn't a little of food and if you already read this blog, know's a fair bit about passion and art and doing what you love. Well it will be no surprise to know that Food, Family, Friends (preferably combined), and passion and love for what you do (that's the real art by the way) was central to the conversation at this table.
My Menu  for the Oro Rosso Luncheon, 5 Course Degustation at Osteria Balla. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
A quick video on wonderful Italy before the Oro Rosso Luncheon, 5 Course Degustation at Osteria Balla. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
We kicked off with a Sicilian Pizzette on arrival, crisp and fluffy, rich tomato flavour mine with cheese and a wicked Tomato Negroni cocktail.
On arrrival at Osteria Balla, Francesco Spataro of Aperitvo's Pizzette Rositcceria Sicilian. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
Pizzette Rosticceria Siciliana by Francesco Spataro of Aperitvo 
Burrata With Cherry Tomato by Eugenio Maiale of A Tavola and Besser. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
Second course, Burrata With Cherry Tomato by Eugenio Maiale of A Tavola and Besser.
Delicious and nearly finished, Burrata con pomodorini of Eugenio Maiale of A Tavola and Besser.
Those semi-dried Italian Campagna region cherry tomatoes were a total explosion of flavour in the mouth the accompanying Burrata smooth and creamy.
Chef Giovanni Pilu speaks about his dish and using Italian ingredients.
Giovanni Pilu speaks about his dish and using Italian ingredients.
Serving Giovanni Pilu's Tortellini di pecorino in brodo di pomodoro con bottarga. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
Third plate, Pecorino Tortellini, Tomato Broth and Bottarga by Giovanni Pilu of Pilu at Freshwater. 
Giovanni Pilu of Pilu at Freshwater's  Pecorino Tortellini, Tomato Broth and Bottarga. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
I was keen to see how this crushed tomatoes strained overnight - the strained juice becomes the broth - would taste. Surprisingly fresh with more complexity of flavour than I would have expected, must be those tomatoes. Together with those perfect Tortellini's, divine!
Guest Vivienne Shui with her dish of Steamed Mulloway With Spicy Lucariello Tomato. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
A perfect pairing, Vivienne with her Steamed Mulloway with Spicy Lucariello Tomato, the sauce uses tinned yellow tomatoes and the flavour is exquisite. On this dish the fresh tomatoes were local produce, the sauce's tomato a Sardinian variety; if I was listening correctly.
Steamed Mulloway With Spicy Lucariello Tomato by Gabriele Taddeucci of Osteria Balla Manfredi. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
Fourth course, Steamed Mulloway with Spicy Lucariello Tomato by Gabriele Taddeucci of Osteria Balla Manfredi.
Annibale Pancrazio at BALLA, speaking on tinned tomato production in Italy and its positive impact on Australian cooking. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
Annibale Pancrazio speaking at the Oro Rosso Luncheon.
Plating the Tomato Cannoli With Saffron Crème e Fiordilatte gelato by Danny Russo of Russonlini. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
All pictures and words © Kent Johnson 2016.
Tomato Cannoli With Saffron Crème e Fiordilatte gelato by Danny Russo of Russonlini
Desert, Tomato Cannoli With Saffron Crème e Fiordilatte gelato by Danny Russo of Russonlini.
I really didn't know what to expect from our fifth course here, and chef Danny Russo had joked that he had created the desert because no one else was game to do one with tomatoes! The flavours were amazing, sweet and subtle, delicious; and the crumbled green olive a perfect accent. The term sublime springs easily to mind.
Detail, Tomato Cannoli With Saffron Crème e Fiordilatte gelato by Danny Russo of Russonlini. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
Oro Rosso Luncheon's Italian Chefs, Danny Russo, Gabriele Taddeucci, Giovanni Pilu, Eugenio Maiale, Francesco Spataro flanked by Loredana Di Nunzio on the left and Vivienne Shui on the right. At Osteria Balla, Star Casino, Pyrmont. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
A huge thank you to our chefs who took us on this gastromic journey of the Italian preserved tomato and fine Italian cuisine, Gabriele Taddeucci, Head Chef at Osteria Balla Manfredi; Giovanni Pilu of Pilu at Freshwater; Eugenio Maiale of A Tavola; Francesco Spataro of Aperitivo; Danny Russo of Russolini; the Italian Trade Agency and CIRA, and everyone involved in this wonderful and very appetising degustation luncheon.
#ororossoluncheon
#italiansdoitbetter

Telling Stories in Pictures all over Sydney..
Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
0433 796 863

All pictures and words © Kent Johnson 2016.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Walking on Eggshells - Two Stories of Art and Immigration.

Last week I was invited to two art events, both of which I knew would be very different. Tuesday was the launch of a Masters student's art installation at the National Art School. "Red Journey with Two Perspectives" by Pamela Leung. Wednesday was a 30th anniversary celebration party at The Billich Gallery in The Rocks, Sydney.

"Red Journey with Two Perspectives" consisting of Leung's two installation pieces "Beyond Birth" and "I Am Alright, I Am Not Alright" directly address timeless issues of immigration - fragile, ephemeral, tactile, these introspective yet accessible works; detailing - the emotional and psychological trauma and hazards of having to, needing to; leave a country, under duress - in finely realised contemporary artworks. (Continues below)
portrait of Pamela Leung with "Red Journey with Two Perspectives" by Kent Johnson.
Pamela Leung with "Red Journey with Two Perspectives"
 "Red Journey with Two Perspectives" "beyond Birth" (detail) Photographed by Kent Johnson.
Pamela leung, "Red Journey with Two Perspectives" "I Am Alright, I am Not Alright"  Photographed by Kent Johnson.
Then Wednesday, the 'Erotica' party and 30th anniversary celebration at The Billich Gallery.
(continues below)
Charles Billich mingles with guests, Billich Gallery 30th anniversary party. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
Charles Billich mingles with guests, Billich Gallery 30th anniversary party.
Gallery view, Charles Billich mingles with guests, Billich Gallery 30th anniversary party.
After the art of Leung, one might assume on seeing the commercial leaning(?) fine art of Charles Billich, that he has forgotten his migration story; embracing his personal freedom and an Australian identity completely.

And yet it was during Billich's speech that he directly referenced his early journey to Australia, from communist Croatia sixty years ago, one where he had been incarcerated for his politics and faced a future of uncertainty. In researching Billich for this brief article, I found some 2011/2012 wordpress blog posts, fictional letters, to himself from Josip Broz Tito, written to him from-hell no less! No he has not forgotten his past.
Speeches at the Billich Gallery 30th anniversary party.
Now recently I read the work of the Czech-born writer who went into exile in France in 1975, Milan Kundera's The Curtain, 2005; a series of essays on art and history. It's the reading of the Kundera text that made me much more aware of how non-linear art-styles/movements really are and how culturally embedded our perception of how art should be, is. On page 52 of The Curtain Kundera writes
"..I began to marvel at the fact that the terms "novel,""modern art,""modern novel,"meant something other for me than my French friends. It was not a disagreement; it was, quite modestly, the recognition of a difference between the two traditions that had shaped us." and so on.

It seems very much like a case of, the art victor writing the history as they see it and goodbye to the rest.. So now there is a predominant belief that art flowed through quite specific Central & Western European developments mostly ignoring the outliers of European culture, then war took ART to America; and the rest, of course is history..

And there's another curious side to modern and contemporary art, the prickliness between "applied" art (graphics, photography, design, (advertising)) and "fine"art. Certainly in Australia one is seen to be somewhat tainted as an artist if you made your living in the world of applied art; before you took on a role in fine art. All of which may come as something of a surprise to art lovers who are outside of the closely cloistered fine art networks. After all didn't Andy Warhol work as a very successful illustrator before becoming one of the most famous artists of modern times! Haven't we have moved on from all that by now?

So two evenings in a row, two very different art shows, and yet very pertinent and current Australian stories and a connection out of similar experiences for both artists, taking place both 40 and 60 years ago respectively. For both Pamela Leung and Charles Billich are immigrants who chose Australia to escape danger, to find a new home, and thankfully to make art here as well.

http://www.pamelaleung.net/
http://www.billich.com/
http://www.uniqueeventphotography.com.au/

Telling Stories in Pictures all over Sydney..
Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
0433 796 863

Friday, April 15, 2016

Art Student Style - Jackets and a Scarf at NAS.

Getting a bit cooler in the evenings now, these two spotted at an art show at NAS in Darlinghurst, that right Art Student Style strikes again, gotta love it!

His style, vintage leather jacket with music and protest pins, black jeans &nail polish, necklace & earings, brothel creeper shoes.

Outerwear jacket and brown pants tucked into high brown boots, two shoulder bags and a tartan scarf and bracelet.

Telling Stories in Pictures all over Sydney..
Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
0433 796 863

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

About Art Last Night - Paint and Design..

Well the last two nights actually and it was paint, photography and design - fashion, ceramics, jewellery, craft - and the environment and I couldn't find the room sheet for what is a pretty special art/design show at KUDOS gallery, so a little light on some details, at least for the moment. The very first picture below is of artist Patrick Cremin. I saw some of this show, the photographs in January at First Draft the photos are fine but I loved this, 'Defence Mechanisms' the complete show with it's broken bottle in concrete, top of brick wall sculptures, the graffiti inspired urban cammoflage, you better be quick only today and the tomorrow the 8th!
Artist Patrick Cremin at "Defence Mechanisms" Opening Night  AD Space UNSW Art and Design
Patrick Cremin 'Defence Mechanisms'
 "Defence Mechanisms" Opening Night  AD Space UNSW Art and Design
 KUDOS Gallery was/is as mentioned above showing 'Designed By', fabulous show! And perhaps I should take this opportunity to point out to UNSW Art & Design faculty; that one of us is inept at supplying relevant information about the galleries and the exhibitions on their website! The exhibitors Facebook pages that are I assume meant to plug the gap are not always as useful as one might hope Q.E.D. this show below!
Julie Toke - Visceral Effect - Ceramic art, Heart, Brain, , Lung, Liver, Bowels..
Julie Toke - Visceral Effect
Detail, Julie Toke - Visceral Effect - Ceramic art, Heart, Brain, , Lung, Liver, Bowels..

Ceramic and thunder egg art works, go deeper, KUDOS Gallery.
Go Deeper.. Artist to be updated..
Detail, Ceramic and thunder egg art works, go deeper, KUDOS Gallery.

Tulia Carson

Joy Poon
Art Style - Rolled sleeves and cuffs, hoop earnings.

Hayley Megan French - 'Hints of things we know' at Gallery PomPom
Hayley Megan French - 'Hints of things we know' at Gallery PomPom

Anthony Bartok 'new Work' at MOP gallery
Artist Miranda Skoczek, at 'Fragments and Fantasy' at Arthouse gallery
Miranda Skoczek, 'Fragments and Fantasy' at Arthouse gallery.
 'Fragments and Fantasy' at Arthouse gallery.

Miranda Skoczek and friends at 'Fragments and Fantasy' at Arthouse gallery.

Street fashion, metallic shoes, boot, ballet pump, sandal, seen at Arthouse.

https://www.facebook.com/events/Defence Mechanisms/
https://www.facebook.com/events/DesignedBy/
https://www.facebook.com/Mop-Gallery/
http://www.arthousegallery.com.au/

Telling Stories in Pictures all over Sydney..
Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
0433 796 863