Kitchen Spy: pastry chef Darren Purchese

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Pastry chef Darren Purchese in his Toorak kitchen. Photo: Luis Ascui

My latest kitchen spy column appears in Fairfax’s Good Food sections today – it’s pastry chef Darren Purchese. What is it with Brit-born chefs and cheese toasties? (Darren shares a secret vice with previous Spy talent, Robin Wickens).

Here’s the story:

Luck brought British-born pastry chef Darren Purchese to Australia when he filled in for a chef at a Brisbane Masterclass Weekend, in 2004. There he met chef Cath Claringbold, his future wife. Since then Purchese has worked at several restaurants as a pastry chef, including Melbourne’s Vue de Monde and Bennelong restaurant at the Sydney Opera House. These days he and Claringbold live in Toorak and devote their time to running Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio, a cake and dessert store in Melbourne’s South Yarra.

The staples 

My pantry:

I like Ortiz anchovies for salads and pastas, Mr Wilkinson’s Brown Sauce (a must with a bacon sandwich), Cobram Estate EVO Hojiblanca extra virgin olive oil for salads, pastas and roast potatoes and Rustichella D’Abruzzo penne or pennine rigate for quick pastas. I always have oranges (for juicing), limes (for squeezing on avocado and Vegemite on toast) and lemons (for making homemade lemonade and lifting salads and vegies).

My fridge

There’s always Meredith goat’s cheese, Vegemite, cornichons, which I have with cheese and in salads, fresh herbs and McClure’s Pickles from Brooklyn, New York (great in baguettes with smoked wagyu, rocket and Swiss cheese). I use unsalted butter from the Butter Factory in Myrtlefod  and five:am thick Greek yoghurt, which I mix with dill, mint, cucumber, cornichon vinegar, lemon, salt and pepper for a great sauce. It goes beautifully with Moroccan lamb kebabs, salads, quinoa or anything, really.

Read the rest of the article here…