We met Chef Renee of Blonde on the Run catering during our True Aussie beef & lamb
campaign in the Boston area earlier this year, and were struck right away by
her fun personality, her talent and passion for great food. We were able to
partner up with her for a special event we called the Great Aussie Steak Out in Cambridge last month. Renee’s dish was judged the best by the tasting
audience, beating out fellow star chefs from Boloco, Catalyst, Boston Chops, and West Bridge restaurant.
The winning dish was “Herbs-de-Provence-crusted ribeye with
housemade Boursin, spicy pickled lemons and arugula oil .” We caught up with Renee to get the secrets of her dish, and her thoughts
on Aussie meat.
TA: What was the inspiration for your dish?
Renee: I work part of every year in the South of
France, and it’s inspired a lot of my cooking. I wanted to showcase the Aussie
grassfed beef, and the preserved lemon, the cheese, arugula oil all have that
fresh, simple, Mediterranean appeal to them. The arugula oil adds a splash of
color and a little bitterness to balance the dish, and it’s really simple to
TA: Did you really make the “Boursin” from scratch?
Renee: Yes! I used a grassfed milk, churned it and
made the cheese from the cream. Home chefs don’t need to go that far – Boursin
off the shelf is fine –I just loved how those floral, herbal notes came through
in both the beef and the cheese. I made my own herbs de provence (again,
off-the-shelf works fine) mix to crust the beef overnight, which amplified the
effect. The richness of the cheese complements the grassfed beef nicely too,
which is naturally quite lean.
TA: What did you like about cooking with Aussie
Renee: First just looking at it, the color on the
ribeye was incredible - deep burgundy, rich, beautiful color. And the flavor of
the meat was amazing. My clients are always asking for the best products, and
especially with beef that means grassfed and organic. As a chef I don’t have to
manipulate it, just let the product shine and the natural flavors come through.
TA: I understand that you use a lot of lamb in your
catered events, what’s the key to getting Americans to try lamb, and especially
Renee: When you are working with a great product like
Aussie lamb, it’s a really clean, mild, natural flavor. With anyone who’s
hesitant, I joke with them that it’s not 1979 and their grandmother’s
overcooked lamb leg with mint jelly! Once I explain that, folks are usually
willing to give it a try, and that’s all it takes.