Celebrity chefs Matt Moran and Courtney Roulston, this year’s ambassadors for the ClubsNSW Your Local Club Perfect Plate Awards, have embarked on a road trip across NSW in search of the best club meal.
Moran, who first discovered the commercial kitchen at an after-school job at Parramatta RSL Club, will be joined by MasterChef alumni Courtney Roulston who started her career at her local bowlo in Putney. The pair could try any one of the 160 competition dishes, ranging from the Sydney Rowing Club’s Moreton Bay bug rigatoni gratin to the Broken Hill Sturt Club’s masala-style lamb shanks.
ClubsNSW Acting CEO Sallianne Faulkner said the Perfect Plate Awards are designed to showcase the incredible quality and diversity of food on offer in NSW clubs.
“Matt Moran and Courtney Roulston are Australian culinary icons and they both started their careers in clubs, so they are the perfect ambassadors for this competition,” Faulkner said.
The public is encouraged to visit the 130-plus participating NSW clubs, between 30 May and 9 July, to taste any of the Perfect Plate dishes they have on offer and give it a score out of five by scanning each club eatery’s unique QR code or filling out a paper form.
While diners can only vote for each Perfect Plate dish once, they are encouraged to taste as many competition dishes at as many NSW clubs as possible to boost their chances of winning a prize.
The 13 clubs that receive the highest average score for their dishes, based on patron ratings, will be crowned the winner of their respective region. There will also be three state-wide winners announced in the small, medium and large club categories.
Moran, a fourth-generation farmer who owns a farm in the NSW Central Tablelands, is particularly excited to see what clubs in that region create for Perfect Plate.
“I want to see clubs utilise as much fresh, local produce as possible and plate up dishes that take them out of their comfort zone a little bit,” he said.
“Having started my career at what was then known as Parramatta RSL, I know there is a plethora of talent in club kitchens and Perfect Plate is a fantastic way for chefs to demonstrate their skills and really impress the public.”
Roulston began her career at the beloved “bowlo” in Putney, which she went on to manage for 11 years.
“Club food has come such a long way in the last 10 years or so – there are hatted chefs working in club kitchens and club restaurants that are consistently booked out every weekend. I think people are going to be blown away with the calibre of the dishes that clubs have entered in Perfect Plate this year,” Roulston said.
She is also keen to visit areas of the state that are still recovering from natural disasters.
“Clubs are the lifeblood of their communities. During floods and bushfires, it’s often the local club stepping up as an evacuation centre and looking after those in need. I’m looking forward to offering my support to those clubs and I’m excited to see what their chefs produce.”
The Your Local Club Perfect Plate Awards are now in their third year, with Cabra Vale Diggers scoring the top gong in the large club category with their Handmade Silky Tofu with Salted Egg Yolk in 2022, challenging the notion of what many would consider a typical club meal.
To find out more about the Perfect Plate Awards, visit perfectplate.com.au.