My culinary skills are enhanced as I sit engrossed under a rustic pergola laced with twining vines.
The coolness of black and white tiles transcends through my sandals’ soles and the scent of fresh herbs and produce overpowers the air.
I feel as though I have entered into a doorway in time to the Napa Valley or south of France, taking a cookery class while sipping on fine wine.
I am in one of Sydney’s inner city sanctuaries, The Grounds of Alexandria, receiving an exclusive master class from Jake Dell, 3rd generation owner of the famous Katz’s Deli in New York.
World-renowned for Pastrami on Rye and Reuben sandwiches, Dell reveals Katz’s secrets in a demonstration on how to re-create these gastronomic masterpieces.
Shifting to an adjacent, open area with the same industrial aesthetic, positioned next to a luscious vegetable garden, we all get our hands dirty creating our own Reuben sandwiches.
Using an assortment of ingredients, including corn beef, pickles, Dijon mustard, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing, blue cheese and salami, the taste of fresh, balancing flavours without a doubt ranks higher than aesthetic appeal.
The next dish we dig our teeth in is the ‘The Pumpkin Pie’, made of Ryvita crisp bread with rows of homemade spiced pumpkin mousse, sliced fennel and pickled cucumber and delicate shavings of hot salami.
Then Gelato Messina’s smoked salmon and white chocolate gelato for desert refreshes our palate.
With the Reuben growing in popularity throughout Australia and other parts of the world, Dell has travelled down under to kick off Ryvita’s “Topped to Perfection” competition.
The competition involves some of Australia’s top eateries battling it out to win the title for Australia’s Best Ryvita masterpiece.
The select eateries include The Grounds of Alexandria (Sydney), Malibu (Sydney), Hotel Windsor (Melbourne), Shady Palms Café (Brisbane), Bar 9 (Adelaide), Café Elixir (Perth) and Toastface Grillah (Perth).
For the chance to win a $2000 cash prize, the public are encouraged to head into these eateries to taste and vote for their favourite Ryvita creation, by logging onto www.facebook.com/RyvitaAustralia.