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Pork Underbelly

October 14, 2019 October 2019 No Comments

Prawn Underbelly Burger

How do you beat all comers in the burger section of Wellington On A Plate?  There’s plenty of competition.  Burgers have become such a popular part of the event that they’ve been given their own separate category.  

Café Medici has been honing its skills in the competition for the last 8 years and was a finalist in 2018.    But it’s a big challenge to come up with something that’s not only new but better than all the others.  There’s always a WOAP theme too, and this year it was “Challenging the Senses”.

With the deadline looming, Nick found himself suffering from the chef’s equivalent of writer’s block.   “It’s hard when you have to have to crank up the creative juices right in the middle of the busy summer season and the competition is still six months away.”

A visit to friends Baptise and Caroline – who set up Colombo and now live in Adelaide – gave him the breakthrough he needed.  “What’s Medici best known for?” Baptiste asked.  “Why don’t you work with that?”    No surprise to Medici fans that the answer was pork belly and prawn toast.   Lightbulb moment!    Right then and there Nick and Baptise raced into the kitchen and began experimenting. By the time Nick got back to NZ the basic concept was in place.  Prawn Underbelly was born.

“Most dishes have a hero ingredient” Nick says, “and for hamburgers that’s usually the pattie.   In our case we decided to go the opposite way and look for a perfect marriage of all the elements.  We also wanted to deliver on the current trend for crisp, fresh and vibrant.” 

A great recipe is just the start.   It’s not much use if you can’t replicate it consistently in the café so the team continued to trial it until it was perfect.  The judges obviously agreed.

The impact of the win has been massive.   There’s been such a social media buzz that Nick’s had to hire someone to handle it.    He’s sold over 2,000 burgers and last week alone Medici cooked 300kg of pork belly.  “The response has been humbling” Nick says, “both from customers but also other chefs who’ve come to check us out.”  

If you haven’t tried one of the burgers yet, they’ll be on the menu until Christmas. Don’t miss out.

Chris Cassels

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