A dreamy pearl meat masterpiece crafted by Broome Cruises’ chef, Elodie Pires has featured in the Kimberley’s famous Shinju Matsuri Festival in Broome.

The Festival’s coveted ‘2022 Pearl Meat Cookoff’ presented by Willie Creek Pearls, showcased the creative cooking talents of Elodie alongside Broome’s best chefs, in an edible exhibit with pearl meat as the centrepiece ingredient.

Retailing for $160 per kilogram, pearl meat is the adductor muscle of the Pinctada Maxima oyster, allowing the shell to open and close. The rare delicacy ~ a popular highlight of Broome Cruises’ sunset dining cruise menu ~ has a fresh, sweet taste, often referred to as a blend of scallop and abalone.

Visitors to Shinju Matsuri’s Pearl Meat Cookoff were treated to exclusive tastings of each chef’s pearl meat creation, with official judging by celebrity chef and former Masterchef Australia contestant, Brendan Pang.

Broome Cruises’ chef, Elodie ~ an entrant in the Shinju Matsuri Pearl Meat Cookoff
Rare pearl meat and South Sea pearls harvested from a live Pinctada Maxima oyster at Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm

Oozing bursts of colour and flavour, Elodie’s dish was ‘Pearl Meat Ceviche with Moontide Gin Mango Sauce on a Flavoury Uruchimai with Squid Ink Tuile’, pictured below. The meticulously planned culinary artistry was themed to present ‘the heart of Broome’s pearling history’.

“I tried to reflect this through every element of the dish,” Elodie said.

Elodie’s Pearl Meat Cookoff competition entry ~ Pearl Meat Ceviche with Moontide Gin Mango Sauce on a Flavoury Uruchimai with Squid Ink Tuile

Elodie’s recipe honours the contribution to Broome pearling made by generations of immigrant cultures, through Asian-inspired ingredients of chilli sauce, coriander and garlic in the stock.

The pearl meat itself was cooked in a delicate ceviche.

I am in awe of live pearl oysters as I cook with them daily. My aim was to showcase the texture and delicate flavours of this beautiful seafood.

elodie pires, broome cruises’ chef

An element of Japanese sticky rice, ‘Uruchimai’, was cooked in a stock made with the mantle of the oyster, giving it a deep, rich flavour.

The pearl oyster is an incredible ocean gem and I wanted to use all of its parts, as has been practise for thousands of years by Indigenous Australians of the Kimberley.

elodie pires, broome cruises’ chef

Elodie’s dish also shared the story of glistening live pearls harvested on board Broome Cruises’ five-star-rated Sunset, Seafood & Pearling Cruise at Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm.

“To create a pearl, I drew from my own culture and chose meringue,” she said. “I have such strong childhood memories of going to the bakery with my grandma in my hometown in France, buying fresh-made meringue to share. It’s left me with a love of these beautiful desserts.”

To present the Broome’s iconic sunset, Elodie added a hint of ‘sunset sauce’, using two counterbalancing flavours.

“I used Moontide Distillery Gin called ‘The Pearler’s Gin’, which is Cygnet Bay Pearl’s new signature gin made with pearl mantle. I included a hint of this to balance the sweetness of the second main ingredient, fresh mango.”

“What’s not to love about a Cable Beach sunset cocktail?”

The finishing touch was a black Squid Ink Tuile. This artistic accent symbolises the delicacy of Western Australia’s marine environment, referencing the beauty, complexity and fragility of coral reef.

“This element speaks to the ongoing work being done in WA to protect the sustainability of our oceans and the oysters’ habitat.”

Elodie’s mouthwatering pearl meat masterpiece
Elodie Pires, Broome Cruises' chef
Elodie at the Pearl Meat Cookoff with her finished dish

Hailing from France, Elodie is living the Aussie dream as a cruise chef with Sea West, preparing deluxe 7-course seafood menus for holidaymakers in Broome, Rottnest, Dunsborough and Mandurah.

Her fellow competitors in the Shinju Matsuri Pearl Meat Cookoff were Courtney Drew from Kimberley Quest, James Weeding from Kimberley Wild Expeditions, Nicholas Carpenter from Matso’s Brewery, Eloise Borneck from Chefelby, Thibault Villanueva from Kimberley Sands Resort and Luke Miller from Sydney Cove Oyster Bar – the ultimate winner Cookoff title winner.

Exclusive pearl meat tastings, cooked by Elodie and Sea West’s seafood chefs, are available on Broome Cruises’ half-day Sunset, Seafood & Pearling Cruise ~ click for details.

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