Using subtle beautiful flavours, head chef Mark Adler shares the stages involved in cooking a masterpiece for the stars.

"Normally, you might think about white wine with this shellfish, but this dish has so many earthy components that I think you could push it a bit further and go for something red. The savouriness of the mushrooms and chestnut foam click nicely with the funky forest floor characters of a pinot noir. Am I a stuck record? Maybe, but pinot is just such a champion with food. Exploring the wilder side of pinot leads us to the beautiful and esoterically packaged Bill Downie Pinot Noir. It has hauntingly light and elegant floral aromas, overlaid on a palate rich with earthy undergrowth tones. Those airy red fruit flavours won’t intrude too much on the delicate marron, making it an all-round thumbs-up for the taster." - Dan Coward






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 120 ml pear-and-parsley sauce
  • 6 Western Australian marrons, poached, finished with butter
  • 240 ml chestnut foam
  • 100 g pickled mushrooms
  • 6 snow peas, blanched, cut on an angle
  • 1 red radish bulb, sliced finely with a mandolin
  • 4 sprigs tarragon, for garnish
  • ½ punnet micro shiso leaves, for garnish

Pear-and-parsley sauce

  • 2 bunches continental parsley, leaves picked
  • 1 pear, peeled, cored, diced
  • 150 ml chicken stock
  • pinch of paprika
  • 50 ml apple juice
  • pinch of salt
  • ⅔ tsp xanthan gum

Poached marron

  • 4 litres water
  • 200 ml vinegar
  • 6 Western Australian live marrons

Chestnut foam

  • 2 tbsp (40 ml) oil
  • 200 g chestnuts, roasted, peeled, ground
  • ½ cup (125 ml) fortified wine
  • ½ cup (125 ml) chicken stock
  • 1 cup (250 ml) milk
  • 1 tbsp (20 ml) truffle oil
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ tbsp lecithin powder

Pickled mushrooms

  • 50 g enoki mushrooms, using the top half of the stem
  • 50 g oyster mushrooms, tear them gently to desired size
  • 100 ml water
  • 100 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp salt

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Drink William Downie Pinot Noir 2010, Yarra Valley, Vic

To make the pear-and-parsley sauce, bring a medium-sized pot of salted water to the boil, and blanch the parsley for 10 seconds. Immediately refresh the parsley in a bowl of iced water. Squeeze and drain off any excess water and roughly chop.

Place the parsley, pear and the chicken stock in a blender and blend for 6 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, do not force the mix through. Leave in the fridge until needed to avoid oxidation.

When ready, season with the paprika, apple juice and salt. Add the xanthan gum. With a hand blender, blend until you have no lumps. The xanthan will help to emulsify the sauce.

To make the poached marrons, combine the water and vinegar in a large-sized pot and bring to the boil.

Place the live marron in a freezer for 30 minutes to relax. After 30 minutes, remove and place the marrons in a deep enough container so that they will be well covered and poach evenly. Pour the boiling water over the marrons and make sure they are well submerged. Poach for 2½ minutes and dunk straight into a bowl of ice and water for 30 seconds.

Remove the marron and peel the shells. The marron should be opaque, otherwise it will be too tough. Gently sauté the marron in lots of butter.

To make the chestnut foam, heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the ground chestnuts and cook, stirring continuously making sure that the chestnuts do not catch on the bottom. Stir until you achieve a golden colour and a roasted aroma.

Add the wine to the pan and deglaze, continually stirring until the wine has evaporated and the pan is dry. Add the chicken stock and reduce by two-thirds.

Add the milk. Bring to a simmer and take off the heat, cover and let stand for 20 minutes to infuse the milk. Strain and add the truffle oil, salt and lecithin powder.

Place back into a medium-sized pot and bring to a simmer. Take off the heat. Blend with a hand blender to create a 'foam’ effect. Using a spoon, scoop the foam off the top and place on the dish as desired.


• If the foam subsides, blend with the hand blender once again to recreate the foam.
• To make the pickled mushrooms, place the mushrooms in a non-reactive bowl.
• Place the water, vinegar and salt in a medium-sized pot and whisk until the salt has dissolved. Place the pot on a stovetop and bring to a simmer. Remove and pour the mix over the mushrooms, making sure the mushrooms are covered evenly. When the liquid has reached room temperature, drain and they are ready to use.
• To serve, use a spoon to smear the pear-and-parsley sauce down the middle of the plate.
• Place the cut marron in the middle of the sauce and then build the salad around the marron.
• Spread the pickled mushrooms, snow peas, and radish around the marron so you can see all the colours.
• With a spoon spread the chestnut foam over the marron and around the plate. Garnish with the tarragon and shiso leaves.