Cooking for a cause: Kylie Kwong's Refettorio Paris meal

Kylie Kwong's everyday fried rice.
Kylie Kwong's everyday fried rice. Photo: William Meppem

In March 2019, Kylie Kwong was invited to cook for 80 homeless people at Massimo Bottura's Paris Refettorio as part of his Food for Soul project. She described it as "one of the greatest experiences of my entire life". Chefs are asked to cook with surplus food that would normally go to waste. "I was so honoured to be part of such a deeply moving, life-changing experience cooking for people who ate with such appreciation and gratitude."

This is what she cooked.

Refettorio Paris cabbage and herb salad with tomato, chilli and lime dressing

INGREDIENTS

Salad

1 cup shredded savoy cabbage

1 carrot, julienne

1 red onion, finely sliced

1 Lebanese cucumber, cut in half lengthways, finely sliced on the diagonal

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3 spring onions, finely sliced

handful coriander leaves

handful dill sprigs

handful mint leaves

Dressing

4 ripe tomatoes

⅓ cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil

salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

7cm piece ginger, finely chopped

2 long red chillies, cut in half lengthways, deseeded, then finely sliced

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp fish sauce

juice of 3 limes

large handful of Vietnamese mint leaves

METHOD

1. For the dressing, preheat oven to 190C. Place tomatoes in a roasting tray, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast uncovered for 45 to 50 minutes, or until caramelised.

2. Place the ginger, chillies, garlic and a teaspoon of salt in a mortar and pestle and pound to form a paste. Add the sugar and pound to combine. Add the roasted tomatoes including cooking juices to mortar, and carefully "bruise" the tomatoes with the pestle, gently combining them with the paste (you may have to do the tomatoes in batches if they don't all fit into the mortar at once). Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice. Add the extra chillies if more heat is desired and finally, add the Vietnamese mint. 

3. Mix all salad ingredients together in a big bowl. Pour over the tomato, chilli and lime dressing, toss well and arrange on a serving plate.

Serves 4 as part of a shared meal.

Refettorio Paris fried rice

INGREDIENTS

3 eggs

½ cup (80ml) vegetable oil

1 small brown onion, finely diced

2cm piece of ginger, finely diced

2-3 garlic cloves, finely diced

3 rindless bacon rashers, finely diced (optional)

2 tsp brown sugar

2 tbsp dry sherry

2 cups (200g) steamed rice

3-4 spring onions, finely sliced

1 bunch coriander, stems only, finely sliced

1 long red chilli, finely sliced

2 tbsp tamari

¼ tsp sesame oil

white pepper

pinch salt flakes

METHOD

1. Break eggs into a bowl and beat lightly. Heat half the oil in a wok until the surface seems to shimmer slightly. Pour beaten eggs into wok and leave to cook on the base of wok for 10 seconds before folding the egg mixture over onto itself with a spatula and lightly scrambling for about a minute until almost cooked through. Carefully remove omelette from wok with a spatula and drain on paper towel. Set aside.

2. Heat remaining oil in a hot wok and stir-fry onion, ginger, garlic and bacon for one minute. Add sugar and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Pour in wine and stir-fry for one minute. Add rice to wok with spring onions, coriander, chilli, tamari, sesame oil and reserved omelette, using a spatula to break up the omelette into smaller pieces. Stir-fry for two minutes or until everything is well combined and rice is heated through.

3. Transfer the fried rice to a bowl, sprinkle with pepper, salt and serve.

Serves 4 as part of a shared meal.