Natasha works in public relations for Museum Victoria.
Renowned Melbourne chef Guy Grossi is putting on a special event at the Immigration Museum, A Sweet Dinner with Guy Grossi,on 15 March as part of Sweets and the 2012 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. He has also contributed a couple of items to the Sweets exhibition. I had a chat with him about why he got involved.
Guy Grossi preparing some Italian sweets.
Image: Stewart Donn
Source: Museum Victoria
Why were you interested in being a part of Sweets?
Food has a magical way to be able to bring people together and share special memories together and many a moment has been shared over a dessert or sweet treat that has us all melting. We all remember those moments. I was really interested in exploring how delicious sweet ingredients have been used in dishes, both savoury and sweet, throughout different cultures and how this has evolved over time. It's such a fascinating journey and I'm excited to be a part of this exhibition.
What are some of the sweet influences that you grew up with?
My speciality is Italian food so I have incorporated a great Italian pastry as the dessert – Canoli alla Siciliana. My parents are not from Sicily but I remember every time we would visit a pastry shop or café in Carlton I would have one of their crispy pastries filled with sweet ricotta. Amazing!
Do you have any memory of sweet foods being used in Italian celebrations when you were growing up?
Celebrations in Italian culture are remembered for the particular sweets that are served at them. Different cakes, pastries, lollies and biscuits are used to typify different occasions such as weddings, Easter, Christmas and many more.
Your degustation dinner includes sweet influences from Indian, Mauritian, Turkish and Japanese cuisines. Have you enjoyed integrating other cultures into your cooking?
It has been a big adventure for me and as a chef, we're always looking for new ways to do things. Food is always evolving and whether it be a new ingredient or technique there's a constant drive in chef's to always improve and evolve. Throughout my travels I've been lucky enough to try so many incredible dishes and I tried to incorporate some of those memorable ingredients, as well as my own research and speaking to other chefs who are experts in their field, to gauge their opinion on integrating sweetness into my menu. I've tried to keep it authentic to the culture as I highlight the theme.
Sweets: Tastes and traditions from many cultures encompasses an exhibition, a one-day festival and the Sweet Dinner. To buy a ticket to the Sweet Dinner with Guy Grossi, call 13 11 02 and press '3' to connect to the Immigration Museum. Credit card payments are accepted.