05.24.18 | Restaurant Reviews & Travel

Soundfood Vs. Sommelier: Melbourne, Australia, March 2018

When my good mate DJ “Markj” asked me to do a wine pairing dinner with his uniquely successful DJ-and-catering business (appropriately named Soundfood for intimate private parties), I couldn’t resist. I was already stoked to visit Melbourne, Australia for the first time after years of dreaming of the trip to catch up with my long lost kiwi pals who are living in such a vibrant part of this world. This opportunity was going to be the icing on the cake! I thought. And that it deliciously was.

Soundfood Vs. Sommelier: Melbourne, Australia, March 2018

Longtime passionate New Zealand born DJ Markj began his creative business journey over 8 years ago shortly after he returned from his inspirational time in Vancouver, B.C, where he and I first connected. When Mark brought his resume into the wine shop that I was managing at the time, an instant friendship sparked over sharing an equal passion of food, music, and of course wine! Mark immediately filled the position of “resident chef and DJ” for staff functions and casual out-of-work gatherings for our circle of friends at time. He appropriately called his new business: Soundfood.Let me pick up some fresh market ingredients and bring them over to cook for you guys,” he insisted, as a kind gesture of gratitude for being welcomed into Canada. “You pick the wine, Kippy.” He knew that between the two of us, we had all of the bases covered. And boy did we ever have fun experimenting with new flavours and dishes to try alongside some yummy wine pairings from ‘the bottle shop’! This was all happening of course while Markj would blast his fresh new house-and-techno mixes; the corks kept popping and we kept grooving.

The Icing on the Velvety Chocolate Torte

Almost a decade later, not much has changed- except the location. Based in Melbourne, Australia, born and bred in the beautiful Taranaki region of New Zealand, Mark has creatively carved out his own niche of simultaneously DJing and cooking for crowds who are hungry for fresh tracks and killer avant-guarde eats. With almost 20 years of both cooking and spinning tunes under his belt, Mark continues to reinvent himself and loves experimenting with fresh, new and innovative fun flavours from a multitude of ethnic cuisines- keeping all of us craving more with each sumptuous bite.

The week leading up to the event will remain one of the most memorable times in my life. We spent days snacking on his gourmet experiments while brainstorming and menu planning for our Soundfood vs. Sommelier evening. (Mark had invited 20+ of his good mates to reap our delicious efforts.) Sourcing brand-spanking new beats, he spun funky, appetizing tunage on his decks just for he and I while we sipped local Aussie wine, trying to contain our excitement on how awesome this night was going to be for everyone. Et, voila! A beautiful menu complete with wine pairings emerged.

Joined at the hip for three solid days leading up to our event, we perused the Victoria Public Market: for Mark’s always-fresh ingredients mantra. He proudly introduced his Canadian mate “Kippy” to all of his regular vendors, and of course, they all greeted him with the warmest of smiles- proving his reputation as an experienced, well-respected chef and hospitable human being was nothing short of honorable. After all, Mark must be one of their best customers since he has pumped out 150 Soundfood events over the years!

Not only has Markj managed to present an impressive number of delightful eats-and-beats for his clients, he has put together a cookbook in collaboration with other inspirational DJs he has had the pleasure of working with over the years. The masterpiece also includes their favourite recipes amongst the shiny, eye-candy pages. Mark enjoyed writing the cookbook so much that he’s currently working on a second one. Stay tuned (pun intended) via his website and check out the new release hot off the press when it arrives!

So, what were some highlights from our Soundfood vs. Sommelier evening? A mixture of French, Spanish and Thai fusion cuisine influences gave us something to savour while sipped and boogied all night long. Here’s the wine line-up:

Wine O’Clock, anyone?

….And here is the full menu of tantalizing tidbits to get your palate salivating:

Course 1: Polenta Crumbed Barramundi / Halloumi / Brioche Roll / Roasted Garlic Tzatziki

~ paired with a King Valley Non-Vintage “Love Bug” Prosecco, Victoria, Australia

Course 2: Goat / Tamarind / Coconut & Paneer Curry / Basmati Rice

~ paired with a Tahbilk 2010 Marsanne, Victoria, Australia 

Markj prepping the Tamarind Goat Curry for his Sous-Vide machine

Course 3: Smokey Black Bean Tostadas with Corn / Feta / Green Grape Salsa Verde:

~ paired with Domaine De Paris 2016 Cotes de Provence Rosé, France

Green Grape Salsa Verde

Course 4: Pommes Paillasson / Gruyere Cheese Sauce / Spiced Loquat Relish

~ paired with Mount Moriac 2017 Pinot Noir, Geelong, Victoria, Australia:

~ second pairing option included: Little Yerling 2016 Chardonnay, Yarra Valley, Australia

Course 5: Blackberry Chocolate Torte with Hazelnut Prailine:

Blackberry Tart with Hazelnut Praline

~ paired with The Lindsay Collection 2015 Shiraz Barossa Valley, Australia

Blackberry Tart paired with The Lindsay Collection 2015 Barossa Valley Shiraz

The dessert course literally took the cake for pairings in my books. (And Mark claims he’s “no pastry chef.” Coulda fooled us!) My memorable tasting notes include: blackberry-jam-cassis, coffee and dark chocolate notes mixed in with a silky smooth tannin and hazelnutty creaminess; a match-made-in HEAVEN for everyone! I want more, right now!

…..And just like that, BOOM! The night was over, or so it seemed. Both Mark and myself regret not having someone in charge of camera duties for the 5-course menu, but, truth be-told, we were all too busy eating, dancing, sipping and having fun. So, you’ll just have to take my word for it. Or book us at your next event. Sounds like a delicious idea, doesn’t it?

For a sneak peak at Markj’s style of music, check him out on Soundcloud.

Mark is also working on his second cookbook; stay tuned to his website for launching details.

Markj Spinning Tunes; in His Element.

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