Charoen is the talented Sous Chef at Club Five Dock RSL. He took a break from the kitchen to chat to Ciao recently about the upcoming Clubs NSW Chefs Table Awards…
You will be assisting Club Five Dock’s executive chef Kamal Mudunkothge in the upcoming cook off to find the best chef in the NSW club industry. How do you feel to be part of the competition?
It’s very exciting to be in the finals for the 2014 Clubs NSW Chefs Table Awards. I love working for Club Five Dock RSL and especially with Executive Chef Kamal; we have a fantastic team sharing our passion and work great as a team. Kamal and I were fortunate to pick up bronze in the 2013 Chefs Table Awards and I’m keen to go further this year with the new main ingredient: Spatchcock.
Spatchcock is known as an old traditional meal and we have rejuvenated it for the public. In our competition menu, we are creating three different styles of dishes ranging from the wings, breasts and legs as well as making a master stock out of the carcass, all on a set budget. When creating the menu we thought about different textures, flavours and colours making sure they all complement each other and flow in the course tasting.
What do you think is the secret to cooking the perfect spatchcock?
The main secret is to cook and serve quickly so the spatchcock doesn’t come out dry. It’s best grilled, barbecued or poached but we can’t give away all our secrets before the final!
What cuisines most inspire your style of cooking?
My background is Thai so at home I cook a lot of Thai-style dishes for my family and friends. But I have been cooking all my life so all cuisines fascinate me as you can pick a bit of
each style and develop from there. I personally love going to fusion restaurants as I love the idea of many tastes and varieties in one plate.
How did you first get into the food industry?
I learned how to cook in my home town in Thailand as my mother was a cook. I would help her out in busy times and developed from there. I have been a Sous Chef at Club Five Dock RSL for over seven years now and I love working with my team, guiding them to produce quality food. Working with chefs is always a great environment as we all learn from each other about new dishes and techniques in cooking.
If you could invite anyone over for dinner, whom would you invite and why?
I would invite anyone who has a passion about food to come for a relaxing dinner and taste my food.
Pan-Seared King Prawns with Avocado and Chilli Lemongrass Dressing
200g King Tiger Prawns
½ red onion, finely sliced
½ lemongrass, finely sliced
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1-2 long red chillies, sliced
1 tblsp, roasted chilli paste (found at any Asian grocery shop)
juice from 1-2 whole limes
1-2 tblsp sugar
1-2 tblsp fish sauce
half a cos lettuce
6-8 coriander leaves
6-8 mint leaves
100ml olive oil
Add lemon juice, red onion, garlic, chilli, roasted chilli paste, kaffir lime leaves, lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, mint and coriander leaves together and mix well (flavour can be adjusted by adding more lime juice or chilli depending on how you like it).
1. Peel and butterfly your prawns.
2. Heat frypan on medium heat, add olive oil and pan-fry prawns on both sides until cooked (may take 2-3 minutes), then
3. Place washed cos lettuce in a large bowl with sliced avocado and top with your cooked prawns.
4. Pour dressing all over and you have a healthy, easy salad to enjoy for lunch or dinner.
Note: these ingredients can be used for any type of seafood e.g. fish fillet, mussels, scallops or squid.