Mark Best Table AEG Gourmet Collection launch

Lunch at home with Mark Best | sous vide gourmet | Precision toys for chefs

Charisma and character - and just a little bit game-changing. Action!

There’s a reason Mark Best likes cooking at home over plating up for diners at his celebrated establishments Marque and Pei Modern. “At home I am the master. In the restaurant I am the slave!”

It probably doesn’t hurt that the kitchen of his inner Sydney apartment is now fitted out with chef toys such as a new state of the art integrated cooking system that pairs a sous vide vacuum sealer drawer and steam oven (and its accompanying bridal party of smart oven, induction cooktop and heat lamp), launching in September as the Gourmet Collection, from German appliance manufacturer AEG for whom Best is ambassador.

As a former electrician in West Australian goldmines, it clearly appealed to his love of precision engineering. And, he said, pragmatically, “Chefs need all the help they can get.”


Mark Best talks technology and technique in his Sydney apartment. Photo Susan Skelly

At a long table with towering arrangements of camellias and long-stemmed roses, with place names of parchment squares inscribed with gold ink curlicues, 20 of us sat down to lunch last Friday to watch Best roadtest the technology. (Also watching, longingly, was his incredibly cute French pug, Chowder, banished to the other side of a baby gate.)

The sous vide (it means “to suck empty”, in other words, food is vacuum sealed) and steam system is, says Best, “a very precise way of cooking because it creates a micro medium where you can cook your ingredients in their own juices to produce a concentrated flavour.” Especially appealing is the steam oven’s humidity sensor which ensures that the righty amount of steam is used for each dish.

The combo is claimed to minimise food shrinkage; is healthier because no fats or oils are needed in the cooking process; preserves freshness for up to three times longer; and, says Best, does away with “freezer burn”. But the steam oven is not a one trick pony – it also offers conventional cooking, baking, and grilling.

Said Best, whose accolades in recent years include  Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year for Marque, “I’m a technical chef whose ethos is to cook with a very light hand, the aim being to unlock the products’ potential, using combinations that speak to each other.”


Mark Best confit salmon AEG Gourmet Collection launch sous vide cookery

Confit ocean trout with raddichio and lemon dressing. Photo Susan Skelly

First up was a neatly trimmed and pin-boned confit ocean trout with a light rub of crushed juniper berries, peppercorns and Murray sea salt, with raddichio leaves and a puddle of lemon dressing. (Best is the chef who shares: Wrap 3 lemons in tinfoil. Roast at 180 degrees for 20 minutes then blend the whole lemons with the juice of 3 fresh lemons, 100ml olive oil, 2 pinch of sugar and ½ tsp salt.)

Next, roast chicken with caramelised broccoli and a generous dollop of spinach, broccoli and sesame mole; and two desserts: one poached quince and quince jelly with the week’s best discovery, white chocolate ganache (white chocolate, cream and Greek-style yoghurt), and a truly sinful chocolate tart. There was freshly baked “Best ever banana bread” in a dinky little loaf tin to take home.

Mark-Best- quince-jelly-white-ganache-dessert-recipes-AEG-launch

A princely dessert: quinces, quince jelly and white chocolate ganache. Photo AEG

Hopefully they will turn up in Best Kitchen Basics: Revolutionary Recipes for the Home, planned for a March 2016 release, but in the meantime, make do with the collection that is gift with (appliance) purchase.

Mark Best best ever banana bread AEG launch

Mark Best’s homemade banana bread, cutest goodie bag ever. Photo Alan Deans


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Copyright © Susan Skelly 2020.