I don’t clean my plates with vinegar and tissues.
I rarely get inspired for new dishes simply by looking at flatware.

Quite simply, I don’t have the Tupperware or patience to assign every ingredient an individual container before I start cooking.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the white pants off those who do; particularly if they’re Katrina Kanetani, previously chef of the year, from Sydney’s Pier.

Her souffles make me sigh and her honeydew melon soup made me swoon- and I don’t even have a particularly sweet tooth.

On Tuesday night the Hungry One and I went to drink champagne and see Katrina assemble a TAHITIAN VANILLA PANNA COTTA WITH WHOLE-ORANGE PURÉE, YUZU CURD, MILK
CHOCOLATE SAUCE, ORANGE PAPER, YUZU AIR AND MANDARIN SORBET(sic). As you do.

Hosted by Gourmet Traveller and Domayne the class was partly an exercise in product placement, with a dose of delightful delusion.

The dish involved crafting a static puddle of lightly set panna cotta across the base of a plate, then excavating with the back of a spoon six circular pock marks, piped full of three separate sauces. That’s before you make freshly made orange paper, cocoa nib pepper, sorbet and flavoured air.

The prospect of me ever constructing such a dish in my kitchen is slim. The idea that I would succeed without an ocean of tears to rival my mother when the Women’s Weekly, inverted ice cream cone castle cake began to waver, is sheer fantasy.

Yet while Katrina was painstakingly plucking out circles of panna cotta and dumping them into one of the scores of plastic containers that lined the bench, there were a range of women dutifully taking notes. I’m sure not all of them were pastry chefs.

The evening was not without take-aways. Katrina’s tips included:
*When making panna cotta, heat the milk and vanilla first and then, only when it’s slightly cooled add the cream. This helps prevent a yellowed skin forming.

*When combining egg yolks and sugar, whether in cakes or curds begin whisking the two straight after contact- this helps prevent the sugar ‘cooking’ the yolk and forming small lumps.

Then there was the best take-away; the chance to taste what she’d talked us through, safe in the knowledge that constructions that complicated are best left to the experts.

If anyone’s brave enough to try, the full recipe is here.

If anyone’s coming to dinner at mine tonight and expecting dessert, I’m pretty sure you’ll end up facing cold, drained lychees, fresh from the tin, dribbled over vanilla ice-cream. The plate probably won’t be vinegar sparkling, but it’ll be clean.