Imagine being asked to design and serve a 5-course menu for a fine-dining art event, as part of a cultural festival that attracts 2.4 million people annually.
Many might find this undertaking daunting, but at this year’s Vivid Sydney festival of light, music and ideas, a team of Torrens University students have jumped at that exact opportunity.
During the Vivid Festival, diners have the opportunity to come and taste a unique, one-off a la carte menu designed specifically for the event. This unique menu will be available as 2 or 3 course option for lunch and dinner on the 8th, 9th, 10th, 15th, 16th and 17th of June.
Introducing the Vivid Menu for William Blue Dining: created entirely by students
Torrens University’s culinary students in a delightful collision with Torrens University’s Billy Blue College of Design students have crafted a multi-sensory light installation and inventive culinary experience to feature at one of Sydney’s most anticipated events of the year.
The small team of culinary students were given a special assignment and asked to create a unique a la carte menu based on the life of the adventurous Sydney maverick and ex-convict William ‘Billy’ Blue.
The exceptional team worked tirelessly to conceptualise, create and deliver a series of dishes that would make William Blue’s mouth water.
Learning by doing at William Blue Dining
Culinary students at Torrens University rise to the challenge and test their skills with innovative work-integrated learning opportunities.
At the footsteps of Sydney Harbour, William Blue Dining is an award-winning student-run restaurant in The Rocks, Sydney.
The restaurant serves as a training ground for Torrens University’s hospitality students, where they gain invaluable hands-on experience through five-star food and service in a real restaurant environment.
Lynsey Harding was one of the four, second-year Bachelor of Culinary Management students working on this project at the 2020 Vivid Festival.
"I was lucky enough to be asked to be involved in the Vivid menu for William Blue Dining. We’re part of a team, and we were given a brief about what it was going to be about; Vivid this year is about Mavericks and renegades," Lynsey said in an interview, after her selection.
"The highlight for me in being asked to do Vivid was mainly being able to put all your skills that you’ve learnt straight away into action, it’s really given me a lot of confidence. This is what we did it for; this is why we studied."
How the menu came together
Drawing inspiration from William ‘Billy’ Blue's Caribbean heritage, the menu was entirely designed, created and served by students at the renowned William Blue Dining restaurant.
"I researched a lot of culinary schools, and the fact that at Torrens you could get a bachelor and also work in a live kitchen, it just was amazing. We get to work with lecturers who are really good chefs. So, you’re working but you’re essentially still getting taught, and you still have the time to learn from the lecturers," Lynsey said about her experience at William Blue Dining.
As part of their degrees, our second-year culinary students who are studying Advanced Kitchen Operations (AKP201) are required to coordinate and manage food production and service within a commercial environment.
"Our Vivid menu is the first time that I actually got involved in making menus, creating everything from scratch.
For me, it's a good opportunity to learn more about dish creation, meeting new people, making new cuisines and being part of a team," said Da Som Lee, one of the Bachelor of Culinary Management students working on the Vivid project.
This creative project was possible because Torrens University uses a work integrated learning model, where students are given unique opportunities to test their skills in real-world working situations.
Mentors an essential ingredient in the Vivid Menu project
The incredible teachers at Torrens University also play a crucial role in organising and overseeing these opportunities.
“Being closely mentored by the lecturers has given me the confidence to put my skills into action on recipe development and menu design. I feel like doing this as part of a high-profile project, such as Vivid will really set me apart once I go out to industry," Lynsey said.
Richard Bruno, Learning Facilitator and Chef at Torrens University and William Blue Dining, has been instrumental in making the Vivid project happen.
Richard has guided and mentored the student team, providing an experiential framework that has allowed them to harness their creativity within the operational environment of William Blue Dining.
Richard couldn’t speak more highly of the team, saying “It is truly an honour to have worked with this team. I would employ them in a heartbeat”.
Where and when to come and taste the Vivid Menu
The a la carte menu will be available for lunch and dinner for the general public on the 8th, 9th, 10th, 15th, 16th and 17th of June, bookings are essential. Anyone can come and taste the wonderful creations of our hard-working student team. Book here.
What’s on the Vivid Menu
The a la carte menu is designed to take you on a journey from subtle, delicate flavours to bolder and more heavier dishes, finishing with a delicate dessert. The menu honours William Blue’s Caribbean heritage and each course is uniquely named after his many personas.
1st course – Commodore
Tomato filled with roasted pine nuts, puffed rice and barley served with a basil infused tomato water
2nd course – Visionary
Citrus cured kingfish ceviche, young coconut and lemongrass infused cream, cucumber, chili and kaffir lime
3rd course – Renegade
Raviolo of Caribbean curried oxtail with kumara foam, sautéed baby spinach, crisp curry leaves and fava
4th course – Maverick
Jamaican jerk spatchcock with black bean ham hock braise, collard greens and a light cilantro jus
5th course – Bootlegger
Sous vide pineapple steeped with vanilla and pepper berry served with banana and passionfruit sorbet and a caramel rum glaze
**Gluten-free and vegetarian / vegan options available on request**
Read more about the creative collaboration between Torrens University’s design and culinary schools at this year’s Vivid festival here.