Ruby’s Rhubarb


Preparation info

  • Serves


    : You will Need to Begin this Recipe 1 Day Ahead

Appears in


By Ben Shewry

Published 2012

  • About

On 19 January 2010 our third child, Ruby, a baby girl, was born. Five days later I left Australia to fly to Spain to present at Madrid Fusión, one of the biggest and most important food symposiums in the world. I was the first cook from Victoria to be invited and it was a huge honour to be asked. When you come from such humble beginnings as I have it’s hard to believe you would ever be deemed good enough to join the ranks of the absolute elite cooks in the world on the stage in Madrid.

As excited as I was about participating it was with a heavy heart that I left our home. My wife, Natalia, was in no condition to look after a newborn and our two other children, Kobe and Ella, who were both less than five, by herself. Fortunately my mother, Kaye, flew over from New Zealand to lend a much-needed hand and, as mothers often do, she saved the day.

It was such a tough period of our lives and I felt immense guilt for leaving baby Ruby for a week at her vulnerable age. I arrived in Madrid with my then-apprentice Rory Cowcher after a thirty-hour flight in a tired, conflicted and emotional state of mind wanting to do a good presentation but constantly worrying about my family. It’s times like these that I run on that basic animal instinct of survival: put the foot to the floor and do whatever is necessary to get the job done. We worked five twenty-hour days, cooked a dinner for eighty with my friend chef Eneko Atxa and presented my cuisine to an audience of 1,400 people. It was a hell of a time and we met some amazing people.

When I arrived home I decided to create a dessert about Ruby and this is it — although it is not nearly as beautiful as she is.

To Finish

  • 12 rosella flowers in syrup, drained and syrup reserved for rosella stock
  • 2 radicchio leaves, torn
  • 10 g ( oz) freeze-dried rhubarb*, cut into thin shards

Separate the rosella petals and pat dry on paper towel to remove the excess syrup. In the base of each bowl form a ring with the slices of salted pear. Place a scoop of the rhubarb–whey sorbet on top of the pear. Place a few pieces of radicchio around the bowl. Arrange the rosella petals around the sorbet like a flower. Dress the radicchio on and around the flower with some of the rosella stock. Add the shards of rhubarb. Sprinkle over some candied cocoa nibs and serve.

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