In mid-March, not long before Australia went into lockdown, I visited Peter Gunn’s IDES restaurant to talk to him about his signature Black Box dessert. This is an incredible dish – mystery giving way to tasty, intricate layers. The interior is revealed through an act of sunny, sanctioned violence as diners smash through the chocolate box with a gavel.
For me, the Black Box is the thread which allows us to explore other themes. I love what the dessert says about the chef who created it and the restaurant he owns and runs. It’s a tale of creativity, persistence, leadership, teamwork and the importance of fun. It’s also a musing on the meaning of restaurants as theatre, as forums to exchange ideas, as places to share experiences, both for diners and for the people who look after them.
Now, with restaurants closed, we aren’t just missing food. We are missing communion and community. We have lost an outlet of expression and an anchoring of identity. It makes this video all the more poignant.
IDES has recently launched March, a takeaway service that is infused with the spirit of the restaurant. To my surprise, they are serving the Black Box! “It actually comes together really well for home delivery,” says Peter. “All the biscuits and crunchy stuff are in a little bottle, there are compressed pear and a custard replacing the frozen element.” I can’t wait to order it for an iso feast.
I’ve even added the recipes here from my IDES Signature Dish Series event earlier this year and guess what? The Black Box recipe is in there too.