We are all aware of the quality and precision that goes into every timepiece from IWC. The watchmakers have been in the game since 1868 and have since defined themselves through pieces that celebrate history alongside innovation.
In an intimate event at the new Ace Hotel Sydney and exclusive to VIP clients, IWC invited guests to learn about the exact inner workings of their craft. Hosting a masterclass, select few were invited for a firsthand experience into the assembling and disassembling of a movement pocket watch.
To commemorate the rare event, IWC tapped Sydney-based Chef Mitch Orr to prepare a one-of-a-kind menu for its masterclass students. Ahead of the event, we caught up with Orr, who tells us about his favorite IWC watch, the Big Pilot 43 and walks us through his creative process as a chef.
What’s your creative process for designing a dinner menu?
My creative process always starts with seasonality and flavor. If it's not going to be tasty as hell, what's the point of doing it? My food is heavy on umami and I love to utilize citrus to cut and lift flavors. From there, I look at the style of event/venue I'm creating a menu for. What constraints does the space come with, what direction does the client want? It's much easier for me to be creative within those confines. Once those guidelines have been set, I'll dig into ingredients, techniques, textures and temperatures.
Are there certain elements, or processes that you always include in your menus?
I always like to start with a bunch of fun, delicious snacks, followed by a raw fish preparation or a wagyu tartare, followed by a main and dessert. Seasonality and flavor always guide what each set of those dishes looks like. I always consider dietaries and have an option up my sleeve for those as well.
What’s your go-to signature dish?
I really try to steer away from “creating” a signature dish. If you're lucky, your clientele will decide what becomes a signature. You'll be lucky to have one dish people know you for and remember their whole lives. For me, that's probably the macaroni, pig's head, egg yolk pasta from my old restaurant, Acme. Hopefully we'll manage to create some new signatures when Kiln opens, which is located at Sydney's new Ace Hotel.
As displayed by IWC, the craftsmanship that goes into any endeavor makes all the difference. When it comes to the craftsmanship behind your work, which qualities would you say that you and your dishes share?
I believe the way I play on nostalgia and take inspiration from tradition before reworking a flavor profile through my lens are what defines my craftsmanship. I try to bring a sense of fun and levity to whatever it is I'm creating. I take what I do seriously and avoid taking myself seriously at all costs.
In your opinion, what’s the most unlikely, yet underrated, combination when it comes to food?
Food and taste are such complicated and deeply personal things. If you enjoy a particular combination of flavors or ingredients, that's all the rating it really needs. If you're pissing someone off with your creativity, you're probably on the right track.
You are rocking the IWC Big Pilot 43, how does this piece fit in with your lifestyle?
The Big Pilot 43 is such a timeless piece. It handles the stress of the kitchen with ease and I can rock it with any outfit in any environment. Adaptability is key.
Which aspect of working with IWC has been most rewarding?
IWC is a family of passionate people who are great at what they do, the depth of knowledge and respect for craft really resonates with me. There's also no pretension, I can walk into any IWC boutique or event in TN's and sweats and there's nothing but love and respect. That's a rare thing.
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