DJs food events

By Holly Thomas. 

Tucked away in the basement dwellings of department store David Jones lays David Jones’ spectacular food hall. With wall to wall fresh delis selling everything from chocolate coated strawberries to succulent pieces of meat and an amazing pantry section full of jarred goods, it seemed only fitting to host various talk and taste sessions as part of Melbourne’s Good Food Month. Melbourne is known for being the food capital of Australia and Good

Food Month in this city celebrates this well-earned title. David Jones participated in this celebration by hosting several talk and taste sessions for the general public to attend in order to get handy hints and tips on how to cook some of our favourite dishes, using the ingredients of some of the best food purveyors in Melbourne.

I very happily attended a Chicken, Chorizo and Green Olive Paella Talk and Taste session with quality food purveyors, Simon Johnson. The setting proved formal at first but our Paella connoisseur and Simon Johnson employee, Elliott soon put us at ease with his personable approach and down to business attitude. The session began with a pretty comforting tip for Paella, you can literally put whatever you like in this dish whether it be meat or fish or particular preference to rice, the staples will essentially always be the same.

Guests were served with a choice of a Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz or a Squealing Pig Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc whilst we sat back and absorbed the amazing smells and colours of a Paella in progress, up close and personal. We watched and furiously attempted to take notes and follow the recipe and method printed in front of us as Elliott casually added a splash of this or a dash of that, we shared our dining experiences and really took the opportunity to soak up each other’s travel tales whilst also soaking up the opportunity to have such a beautiful and colourful dish cooked from scratch before us. We were guided through every aspect and every step along the way, subsequently breaking down the mystery behind the dish and giving all guests the confidence that they too could produce a successful Paella in their own kitchen.

With a squeeze of lemon to finish off the dish, dinner was served and the all-important and eagerly anticipated taste test was finally upon us. Elliott believes this dish is best served guerrilla style, strictly keeping the food in the Paella pan for guests to take a plate and a spoon and to just dig in… fighting the guest on your right for the biggest piece of chicken. The finished product was unbelievably tasty with every single ingredient being evident in the taste and my favourite part of Paella, chorizo being cooked to perfection. So good in fact, that we all approached the pan for seconds.

Simon Johnson pride themselves on good quality food made from the best produce, they package their various chicken and fish stock in glass jars and casually sell the best Gordal Olives around, their rich red passatta is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate and Simon Johnson extra virgin olive oil is something no kitchen should be without.

You can find all Simon Johnson products at David Jones Food Hall.

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