By James Atkinson

Whisky and food matching will be a major focus for Diageo Australia in the coming months, according to Reserve Ambassador Sean Baxter (pictured).

Baxter, who was a contestant on Masterchef this year, told TheShout he became increasingly interested in matching food with whisky through creating sampling sessions for guests.

“I was always searching for appropriate food options to serve throughout the evening. It was through these hurried experimentations and mad-dash-scrambling through menus before sessions that I stumbled across some of my favourite combinations on the plate,” he said.

“These combinations were often so strong that people really began talking about it through the sessions and were surprised about how it elevated the flavours of the whisky, or brought hidden flavours to the forefront.” 

“It was this enjoyment that really inspired me to see what else was out there and ultimately lead me to creating full degustation experiences.”

Baxter said Diageo is currently developing a whisky degustation that will be run out of the new Johnnie Walker Blue Label Room at The Stables at Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse. 

“This will really stretch the consumer’s understanding of whisky by inviting people to experience the liquid in different ways,” he said.

“Anyone who has attended some of the whisky dining experiences I’ve hosted in Melbourne would be aware that I love to push the boundaries in terms of flavour and texture. That will be the focus of these dinners, where we will try and create a multi-sensory experience for the diner to revel in.” 

In terms of single malts, Baxter said Talisker will be his main focus over the next 12 months, and he will also be creating some exciting training programs around some special release whiskies that will land early next year.

Sean Baxter’s current favourite whisky matches:

  • Creamy Blue cheese doused with honey with Johnnie Walker Blue Label,
  • Mini steak tartare on potato crisps, with whisky and sherry cured quails yolks, served with Singleton 12 Year Old.
  • Sydney Rocks Oysters served with Talisker Storm  
  • Venison served with peated marrow and roast beetroot, paired with Johnnie Walker Platinum Label
  • Marshmallows, dipped in chocolate and honey fondue, consumed with frozen Johnnie Walker Gold Label. 

"These are just a handful of my favourites, expect many more to pop up on menus curated all across Australia over the next year," he said.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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