Michael Fox is a busy chef. Having exceptional local and international experience he has recently commenced his first Head Chef role at Paul Mathis’ hot new restaurant, Henry & the Fox. Michael also happens to be the winner of The Age Good Food Guide Young Chef of the Year Award (2010) which is testament to his talent.
Michael took some time out of his busy schedule to tell us a bit about his cooking and his involvement with Food for Thought. He has also kindly shared a unique and intricate recipe that he has entered into his next challenge, the Electrolux Appetite for Excellence Awards.
This is the second year that you have chosen to support Food for Thought.
It was really good last year. It was great. I think all the chefs really loved it and it’s for a good cause. I try and do at least two charity events a year and stroke is very much a worthwhile cause. I lost my Grandma and my Poppa to stroke and on my Mum’s side her Grandma also passed away. Stroke is just horrendous, for example there are so many young people that are suffering from strokes and people don’t even know about it. So events like this are obviously beneficial.
What produce do you like to work with?
Probably seafood for me is good, especially given that Australia is surrounded by sea. Why not use the best of what we have got? In saying that, we definitely do the menu as per the season. We are starting to get that little bit cooler weather so more comfort food. We have just come out of summer with stuff that is really light; tomato and zucchini and the like. So our menu is definitely evolving and nothing is set in stone. We have a few signature dishes, one of which I will be doing on the night, which is a rabbit terrine. It’s not the sort of thing where at the start of spring we do a spring menu. It’s just how things come in. Like mushrooms came in the other week and we put them on the menu. So we change the menu regularly.
Is there a particular reason that you chose a rabbit dish?
Probably not my generation but the generation before got scarred by eating rabbit. You know; tough, chewy, bootleg rabbit that was cooked for five hours and still wasn’t nice. But I think these days we are producing lovely farmed rabbit and it is so tender. I think it definitely represents where I have come from and where I am going. Rabbit terrines and terrines in general: French cooking. But I think in this instance we are making it really jazzy. We have rhubarb compote and a rhubarb jelly. We are bringing a modern element to a classical dish.
You won The Age Good Food Guide Young Chef of the Year Award in 2010…
The springboard that the award has given me has been massive. It has been a crazy time and I am about to enter into Electrolux too which is a huge, huge thing. You go to state finals, then international finals in Italy… (See a recipe Michael has entered into the competition below)
When I am cooking I like to listen to songs like…
I Love It by Hilltop Hoods.
Henry & The Fox
525 Little Collins St, Melbourne
(03) 9614 3277
Recipe: Spatchcock, veal sweetbread, celeriac, broccoli, chicken jus Serves 4
For the sauce
2kg chicken wings, chopped
2 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
2 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
5 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
10 white peppercorns
Place the chicken wings in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil, skim away any impurities that come to the surface. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add all the other ingredients. Continue to skim the surface on a constant basis to remove any fat that rises to the top. Simmer for 6 hours. Strain and refrigerate until required.
Brown Chicken Jus
500g chicken wings, chopped
100ml olive oil
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
5 white peppercorns
2lt chicken stock
Place a large frying pan on a high heat. Add the olive oil, once it is near smoking point, add the chicken wings. Don’t over crowd the pan, as it will reduce the temperature. Do in two batches if necessary. Once the wings have caramelised, turn and continue the progress. Strain the fat and the place the wings along with the remaining ingredients in a small stockpot. Bring to the boil, skim the stock, and reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 1 hour. Strain through a fine strainer and reduce to a sauce consistency.
Veal sweetbread and confit spatchcock sausage
250g chicken breast, cleaned and diced
½ tsp salt
1 egg yolk
Place the bowl of the food processor in the freezer for 30 minutes. This will help the mousse not to split
To make the mousse, blitz the chicken and the salt in the chilled food processor. Add the egg yolk followed by the whole egg, pulsing in-between. Add the cream in a steady stream. It should now be smooth and combined. Place into a bowl, cover with cling film and reserve in the fridge.
Confit Spatchcock leg
4 spatchcock legs
1 tbsp salt
5 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove
5 white peppercorns
250g duck fat, melted
Preheat the oven to 120°C. Place all ingredients (except the duck fat) in a bowl and mix together. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes so that the salt can start to penetrate into the legs. Place the legs into a small roasting tray, pour over the duck fat and cover with foil. Place in the oven and cook for 40 minutes or until the meat flakes away from the bone. Once cooked, remove the legs from the fat, and flake the meat into a bowl. Reserve in the fridge until required.
Assembling the sausage
100g veal sweetbreads, cleaned of sinew
1 tbsp olive oil
1 chicken mousse recipe
4 confit spatchcock leg meat
1 tbsp parsley chopped
1 egg, lightly whisked
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
Place a large frying pan over a high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil and panfry the sweetbreads until golden brown on both sides. Remove from the pan and allow to cool. Once cooled, dice into ½cm pieces. In a bowl, mix together the chicken mousse, diced sweetbreads, leg meat, and chopped parsley. Lay out some cling film on the bench and spoon some of the mixture onto it. Roll the mixture up in the cling film like a sausage and tie both ends. Repeat until all the mixture is use up. Place a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a low simmer (85°C). Place the sausages in the water and cook for 12 minutes. Remove from the water, place on a tray, and place it in the fridge. Once the sausages have cooled, remove from the cling film. In three separate bowls, place the flour, egg, and breadcrumbs. Roll the sausages in the flour, followed by the egg, and finally the breadcrumbs. Place in the fridge.
For the Spatchcock Breast
4 Spatchcock Breast, skin removed and reserved
Salt (for seasoning)
250ml olive oil
Place the olive oil in a small saucepan and heat over a low flame. With a thermometer, check the temperature of the oil (63°C is the perfect temperature). Once this is achieved, sprinkle the salt over the breast and place into the olive oil. Cook for 14 minutes. Remove from the heat, and place to the side.
For the chicken salt
The skin from the spatchcock breasts
½ tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 150°C. On a baking tray, lay out the skin so that it is flat. Place another baking tray over the top and cook in the oven for around 30 minutes or until the skin is golden brown. Remove from the oven, and place onto some paper towel to absorb the excess fat. In a mortar and pestle, place the drained skin and the sea salt. Pound until a powder is formed.
Broccoli Cous Cous
1 broccoli, Stem removed and reserved
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp currants
1 orange, zested
1 tbsp pinenuts, toasted
In a food processor, pulse the broccoli florets until in resemble coarse breadcrumbs then place to the side. In a small saucepan, bring the port to the boil and add the currants. Turn the heat off. Place a frying pan on a high heat; add the olive oil, then the broccoli crumbs and quickly sauté for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and place into a bowl. Mix in the strained currants, zest, and pine nuts. Season with salt.
1 celeriac, peeled, roughly diced
50ml pouring cream
In a small saucepan, place the celeriac and the milk, and cook over a low heat until the celeriac is tender. Once cooked, strain the celeriac and place into a food processor. Add the cream and blitz until smooth. Season with salt.
Broccoli stem, thinly sliced
Baby red sorrel, cut (for presentation only)
Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil. Add the baby turnips and cook for 3 minutes or until tender. Strain and place into ice water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, peel the skin with a small knife and cut into quarters.
Take the broccoli stem and place into boiling water to cook for 20 seconds. Strain and place into ice water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, strain the ice water and mix the stem with the baby turnips. Drizzle with olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt.
Preheat a deep fryer to 180°C. Deep fry the sausage until golden brown and cut into small bite size pieces.
Slice each of the poached spatchcock breasts into 4 pieces.
Spoon some broccoli cous cous on the plate and arrange the sliced breast and sausage on top. Spoon some of the celeriac puree and chicken jus around the plate, sprinkle some chicken salt over the breast. Finally garnish with the baby turnips, broccoli stem, and freshly cut baby red sorrel.