THE last time Kailis Fremantle head chef Peter Manifis and Island Market culinary director David Coomer worked together, it didn’t quite pan out as expected.
Almost five years ago, a young, spritely Manifis (then of InContro) promised Coomer he would help the former-Pata Negra stalwart in the kitchen at 6.30am the next morning.
Manifis did turn up the next day, only he was late and allegedly sporting a hefty hangover.
“I rocked in with my tail between my legs because back then I was scared of him,” Manifis said.
“David is so dry that you don’t know whether he likes you or he doesn’t!”
When asked if he recalled the incident, Coomer laughed.
“Oh, he actually was honest about it,” he said.
“He turned up an hour and a half late to give me a hand, and he was completely f****d up and I just looked at him and went, ‘Go back to bed mate, you’re not helping me at all!’”
Thankfully, with age comes wisdom and the end of the month sees the duo come together properly for the first time in the Island Market kitchen in Trigg for a seafood collab dinner, with both chefs focused on letting WA seafood shine.
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“A seafood platter is a special thing and quintessentially West Australian,” Kailis Hospitality Group managing director George Kailis said.
“We wanted to showcase a wide range of interesting local seafood species in almost a tasting fashion so we felt hot and cold platters were an excellent way to deliver it.”
Manifis said he had hoped he and Coomer would join forces on a few dishes, but now that they were serving up two separate platters for the evening, there was opportunity for a friendly rivalry.
“He was happy to take on the cold stuff, which I think is easier (laughs),” Manifis said.
“But you can’t call me the fish whisperer and me not do the hot platter.”
“I am happy to do the lazy-arse cold platter, then stand back and watch Pete sweat it out, running around the kitchen like a maniac,” Coomer said.
“I’d prefer not to know which platter everyone prefers but hopefully they enjoy mine just a little bit more!”
Manifis brings the boat harbour to the northern beaches for the night, serving up prime produce straight from the pass at Kailis Fishmarket Cafe.
“The dish that I’m most excited about is going to be the saffron battered snapper wings,” he said.
“It adds a bit of a casual component and I infuse saffron with a Heston (Blumenthal) batter – it just takes it to a whole new level.
“Heston does a batter with vodka and a beer and he puts it in a siphon – the cream guns – blows it out and it produces this really crunchy, amazing batter.”
Manjimup-based Coomer, who left diners heartbroken when he closed Fuyu two years ago, will do what he does best with a Southern blue fin tuna kibbeh nayeh.
“Kibbeh nayeh is a kind of Lebanese tartare, traditionally lamb, but we’re going to do it with tuna, a meaty fish.,” he said.
“It’s basically a finely chopped raw tuna, burghul (cracked wheat), a little bit of allspice, some finely chopped shallots, a bit of aleppo pepper, lemon and olive oil – lightly flavoured and Arabic inspired.”
Dinner guests will also be delighted to know that Kailis’s cult uni waffles will be served on the night, alongside chilled Manjimup marron with harissa cocktail sauce and Abrolhos scallop with tiger’s milk (aka ceviche liquid) from Coomer’s cold platter, and Western Rock lobster with curry leaf butter and peppered Swan River crab off Manifis’s hot offerings.
All courses will be accompanied by a curated selection of WA wines, and dessert by Ella Saleeba will wrap up the evening.
Kailis Fremantle X Island Market will be held on Thursday, February 27, at 6.30pm.
Tickets are $140 and on sale now at www.islandmarkettrigg.com.