I feel pretty lucky most days, as I get to talk to people about food, help people enjoy their lives more through feeling better and experiment with cooking different recipes, and writing articles. This week has been a bit more exciting than most though, with the culmination of a few months of planning with A FODMAP Friendly Dinner at nel. in Sydney.
Having never done anything like this before (the biggest event I’d ever planned was my birthday last year… and literally all I did was book the restaurant!), I’d be lying if I said I thought everything would run smoothly, and I knew exactly what I was doing…!
Start with why…
I’ve wanted to have this dinner since my partner and I were on holidays a few years ago in Spain, at a beautiful restaurant. We’d let them know that I need to be careful with egg (my key intolerance trigger) two weeks in advance of the booking, however of the 12 courses, I was only given 7. And then got to watch whilst he enjoyed every course! Plus, I have clients tell me all the time that they sometimes don’t come to beautiful places (such as nel.), as they don’t want to have to have different meals, cause a fuss, go home feeling unwell, or maybe miss out.
We were dining at nel. last November, and chatting with Nelly, the head chef after our meal, I said ‘I’ve had an idea…’. Lucky for me, he loved it, and we met for coffee the following week to get started with planning.
Planning the menu
I wanted the experience to be just like any other experience at nel., however without the FODMAP triggers included in the meals. I provided Nelly and his team with lists of which foods could be included, and which needed to be avoided, along with some things that could be used in small quantities, to then allow them to work their magic, and alter their usual recipes.
From my understanding, desert was the hardest to modify, as lychees are a key part of the dish, however Jason, the pastry chef did a phenomenal job with adjusting the ‘Summer Efflorescence’ to only contain low FODMAP fruit, and only in appropriate quantities as well.
The final menu was:
– Melon, Jamon iberico: A small amount of rockmelon puree encased in dehydrated feta, surrounded by jamon
– Snapper, yellow tomato, avocado, pomegranate: Snapper ceviche in yellow tomato gazpacho, topped with pomegranate and avocado (and some green leaves)
– Beef, coffee, macadamia, Cos: Grilled cos lettuce hearts, macadamia puree and beef marinated in coffee, with coffee sauce
– Dessert – ‘summer efflorescence’ – this dish usually has lychee, however this was removed to only be strawberries and strawberry sorbet, plus candied flowers and topped with meringue
– Petit fours – dark chocolate with peppermint
So much support!
I love being able to provide goodie bags to my clients participating in The FODMAP Challenge. However the support that I received from so many wonderful brands for this dinner was next level. I’d love to again say a huge thank you for the wonderful gifts they provided.
A shout out to:
– Lewis and Son – hamper and vouchers
A FODMAP Friendly Dinner: The evening itself…
I was absolutely blown away by the wonderful people in attendance. It was great to meet clients who I’d only ever known over Skype or phone sessions. FODMAP Challenge clients. Face to face clients. And others who attended because they’d heard about the event through other means and wanted to attend. I was so happy to see everyone having such a lovely time, chatting with those they knew, and making new friends as well.
Kate gave a wonderful speech about exercise and IBS, whilst Nelly and I had a great time handing out the door prizes mentioned above. And after so much lead up, suddenly the night was over.
I am already thinking of planning another event such as this! So please watch this space!