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Food at the Dome Garden is being taken increasingly seriously.
And this year has been a bumper year. The improved cafe is finally starting to take shape, the new bar will be all ready for next season and we served some the best food we have ever cooked in larger volumes than ever before.
And just when it was all going swimmingly, just as we had mastered the art of the 51.9 degree Sirloin, just as we produced the perfect 8 second standing pizza – along comes George.
‘Barbecuing mate. That’s where it’s at.’
As he regaled me with tales of succulent pork and some totally amazeballs machine he’d found and yet another restaurant buried in the heart of Soho that I simply must try when I’m next there…. I had the distinct sense we had been here before. Only weeks before I watched, for the umpteenth time, as, this time, a group of enthusiastic South Africans – ‘I was born under a bri mate’ burnt ten bells out of yet another bunch of pork chops and incinerated a pack of substandard, supermarket sausages. That’s why we banned barbecues for goodness sake. They don’t work and only one person in a thousand can actually make edible food from them.
But you’ve got to be nice haven’t you. So we listened and nodded. And off they went for a walk.
Later that day he returned “You were so interested earlier, (oh No!!) I bought you a little present.” he said brandishing it in the air. And there it was. OMG! (as the kids say). A book.
But like Heston Blumenthal’s book ten years before, this book was not just a book. As I turned each extraordinary page I realised it was The Book.
The Book that is going to cost me loads more burnt fingers. The Book that will leave us outside in the rain standing by the new barbecue until our eyes scream from the smoke. The Book that will have Mo fighting to better my pork chops every week of next year. The Book that sits so well in the way we look at the world that I can’t really believe I didn’t know about it before they wrote it.
It’s called the Pit Cue Company cookbook and is a story of infatuation and dedication and fanatical devotion to the production of the perfect piece of pork. Every page is dripping with the passion of the zealot and raging fury of an obsessive – rubs and marinades, sauces, slaws and slow cooking barbecues. It’s about provenance and husbandry and about meat that falls off the bone and leaves you begging for more.
I can only guess at the enormity of the task that now sits before us. I can only dread the intensity of the deliberations and debates to come, but one thing is for sure.
Next year there will still be ‘Pizza Night’. There will still be ‘Best Beef Ever’. But now they will be joined by ‘The Perfect Pig.’
Watch this space.
And please don’t dribble over your computer…