Chef: Chris Siktars
Position: Owner of Black Ox Dining and Honour Ave Cellars. Brisbane, Australia
How did you get started?
As long as I can remember I have been around kitchens and food. Whether it was going to the Vic Markets in Melbourne or helping my Grandmother cook our traditional Hungarian cuisine at home, my childhood revolved around the next meal.
What was your first position?
I managed to get my first kitchen job at the age of 14. The owner struck me straight into the dish pit and it wasn't long until I was hooked on the heat, pressure, and intensity of the kitchen.
Now some 12 years later and having worked at numerous Chef Hatted restaurants around Australia. Since 2016 I am now running a Pop Up Restaurant, Black Ox Dining, Brisbanes first Pop Up Degustation Restaurant. As of 2020, I am opening a neighbourhood Wine Bar, Honour Ave Cellars to share the humble cuisine of my childhood.
The story behind the dish:
As a child, my Grandfather and I would head down to the bay and attempt to fish. That memory of wild fresh fish has stuck with me and this recipe is one that centres on fresh wild Kingfish and seasonal produce.
1 Whole Kingfish (For best results look for a wild and/or line caught fish)
Assorted Sea Vegetables (Karkalla, Ice Plant, Sea Blite)
500g Raw Almonds
1L Full Cream Milk
1 Small Onion Fine Dice
2 Garlic Bulbs Fine Dice
100ml White Wine
1-3 Tsp Xanthum Gum
Start by breaking down the Kingfish into sides and portions of your choosing. Sweat off the diced Garlic and Onion in a pot over low heat until translucent. Once translucent add White Wine and reduce by half. Meanwhile, set up a pot with foil in the base and colender on top. Add your smoking chips to the base and turn burner to high to smoke. Add the Almonds to the colender and place a lid in top. Smoke for 10 minutes. Once complete add your Milk and Smoked Almonds and bring to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allows to steep for 3 hours.
Once steeped, bring up to the boil and add to blender. Blitz until smooth. Pass twice through a course sieve then a fine sieve.
While hot add back to the blender and add the Xanthum gum 1tsp at a time until it comes together.
In a heavy based pan over medium heat. Line with baking paper and add 1tbs of Butter. Season the fish on the skin side and place skin side down in the pan. Cook for 3 minutes then transfer to oven at 200.
I serve my fish still slightly raw in the middle to showcase the quality and freshness of the fish. Dress the Sea Vegetables in Oil and char over open flame.
Remove fish once cooked to your liking and serve.
Cooking is a caring and nurturing act. It's kind of the ultimate gift for someone, to cook for them. It creates all this beautiful stuff, conversation, appreciation, romance. All the most important things in life you do around a dinner table.
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Story on the Pass