Footscray Fresh Food Markets with Adam D’Sylva & Frank Camorra

On Friday I dug deep into one of Melbourne’s most diverse markets (having 35 different countries under the one roof), which is Footscray Market. Footscray Market has been going since 1992. Of course we also had two ambassadors and amazing chef’s show us their stomping ground where they source products for their restaurants.

These two chefs were of course Adam D’Sylva of Coda and Frank Camorra of MoVida’s, both very talented cooks and down to Earth guys who were so easy to chat with.

As I stepped foot into the FOOTSCRAY market the smell of ripened fruit, fresh seafood, red meat and the light undertone of moth balls entered my nose. this is what being in a real market is all about, the smells and atmosphere. 

As our group walked through the market to see many stores you had sales assistances yelling as loud as they could the prices of their produce and the occasional hand grabbing your arm to get your attention. 

When we would stop at lets say a fresh butcher the array of reds, pinks and white meat that lay in front of you was incredible. Things I had never seen in my local butcher sitting there, which intrigued me as to how you would use them in a dish! 

At the fresh poultry they were known for their eggs. From quail, duck, chickens and even double yolkers this place had them all. They explained to us they went through an X-ray system and when a double yolk came through they would take it out. 

This is when we stepped out of the market and headed across to Saigon. 

Saigon Market, which is across the road from the actual Footscray Market, is a real hidden gem. I had never been or even heard of this place until today and to be honest it was like taking a step out of Australia and right into a little market in Asia.

The fruit, vegetables, meat and things have the Asian authenticity to them with the random Westerner pieces here and there. I won’t lie either the prices are almost like an Asian Market in Asia as well. You can pay as little as $1.99kg for mangoes, 99 cents for apples and the list just goes on and on it was truly incredible.

We then jumped back into our cars and headed to a hidden treasure of Footscray being Raw Materials. I have been here before for another event, and instantly fell in love; right after the worry that I was at the wrong place.  This is where we had the chance to become a little more intimate if you may with the chefs and really pick their brains to see what made them tick.

So before I go any further I want to touch base with who Adam and Frank are for those of you who may not know.

Adam D’Sylva

Adam has two restaurants Tonka which is Indian Inspired and then Coda which is Asian inspired- two restaurants I want to put right up there on my to-do list.

Although they have been inspired by different continents Adam doesn’t like to keep it strict and like to incorporate many nationalities and flavours into his menu’s and dishes.

Adam’s go-to place for those tricky to find condiments is the Saigon Market, which is the place I was talking about above.

I had so much fun chatting to Adam and really seeing where his inspiration to cook came from and learning why he picked Indian and Asian Foods.

Frank Camorra

Is a chef and co-owner of MoVida and then MoVida next door, Movida Aqui, Paco’s Tacos, Movida Sydney and Bar Pulp. He was also recently inducted into the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival’s “Hall Of Fame” which in my eyes is a massive accomplishment as a Melbourne chef.

Frank could be considered a local to Footscray as he used to reside in West Melbourne, and often visits the market for fresh produce. Frank said he bypasses the suppliers and heads straight to the source to bring the freshest of fresh produce to his restaurants.

Again Frank’s stellar line-up of restaurants has my mouth watering and my explore Melbourne’s best list growing quite a lot.

You may have seen Frank before on MasterChef and has even created a couple of award winning books, one of which I have sitting on my kitchen shelf.

So now back to what we were treated with and what our senses were indulges in at Raw Materials Footscray.

Raw Material’s is very much a secret of Footscray and I don’t think it has been given enough credit for what it is. It looks like a warehouse in the industrial

state, but when you walk in the door it is like a rustic, organic looking cooking school.

We took a seat in front of the chef’s benches and then submerged my tastebuds in bubblies :-) << Not much though as I had to drive myself, dang it.

Frank was up first 

Yellow Fin Tuna, Apple, Wasabi and Ponzu Salad

Usually I am not a huge fan or raw fish and the only fish I have ever eaten raw is salmon. But boy, oh boy this was just amazing and would go perfectly in Summer. I will be buying this come Summer and making this for my family, well maybe Daddy and Me because I don’t think the girls will give it a crack- but I will try.

Then Frank hit the pan with his 

Calamari Cooked in Olive Oil with a Spiced Beetroot Salad.

I was very excited when Frank said he could change the way we cooked calamari and that I could half the prep time. What I didn’t know was all this involved was keeping the skin on the calamari- yes it’s not pretty, but gosh does it add flavour.

The beetroot salad, I couldn’t help but go back for a second serving- this was of course to make sure I had all the flavours right in my mouth and had to be sure I liked it haha- Joking but it is my excuse for making a pig of myself.

Beetroot is one of my favourite vegetables and I could eat this every single day of the week, so I was happy to find a new way to enjoy it.

Then the spotlight was back on Adam for his next dish

Han Noi Style Crispy Rice Paper Roll with Nuoc Nam Dipping Sauce

I have made rice paper rolls myself and these are one of our favourite dishes to eat when in the warmer months and very healthy. But I did have no idea that you could deep fry these and have a whole new flavour level added to them

Two thumbs up for this one, even though I made a mess of myself and the floor with the dipping sauce (thanks Frank :-P )

Milk Soup With Cinnamon Bread Dumplings and Melon Balls.

I didn’t know how I would get through yet another serve of amazingly delicious food. But when I heard this dish had an aniseed liqueur (anis liqueur) in it I knew I would have to try it out- for um, food tasting sakes.

This was better then good with the soft texture from the melon, the crunch from the toast and the milky smoothness from the anis infused milk.

I could have easily gone back for seconds, thirds and maybe even fourths with this- but I stuck to a single serve.

For me, I didn’t want this night to end and had so much fun with great company. I have already planned for another trip to the Footscray market to get some fruit and vegetables, in particular Saigon Market and try some fruit I have never tried before.

Thank you so much for all those who made this event happen, I appreciate being invited along and can’t wait for the next !