Sunday, August 18, 2019

2019 REGIONAL WOK COMPETITION AT SHANGRI-LA KUALA LUMPUR


Being a chef isn’t a vocation for the faint-hearted. Especially when one has to step up to the plate and pit one’s cooking skills at Shangri-La Hotels’ regional 2019 Chinese Cuisine Wok Competition.
Held at Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur recently, the above dish was one of the final creations rustled up by the competing chefs who represented their hotels at the internal regional level competition.
 
 
Aimed at raising the bar for Chinese cuisine among Shangri-La chefs, the 3-day 2019 Chinese Cuisine Wok Competition is a platform for the competitors to showcase their culinary talent and expertise.
 
Divided into three stages: hotel, regional and global level, the 18 competitors already bested the starting pool of 90 contestants at the hotel level, to make the cut for the regional stage.


 
Members of the media and food bloggers including yours truly were invited to join the Wok Competition judging panel. Together with celebrity cookbook author Danielle Peita Graham, we entered the Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur’s cavernous kitchen where the heat was on the chef competitors.
The seasoned chefs were steadfastly focused on cooking up a storm despite the presence of a camera crew, photographers and us judges. They remained cool, calm and collected despite all the attention on them; some even sportingly waved and mustered up a smile for our live social media posts.





We observed the chefs’ methodical approach as the clock ticked away. Personally, I admire their willingness to stand the heat in the kitchen, enduring the challenge of cooking up good food repeatedly day in day out.



The scoresheet given to us was comprehensive and specific; covering criteria such as preparation & hygiene, technique execution, ingredients & taste, and dish presentation. Each competitor also has to rationalise and explain the crux of their dish.

Homegrown talent Chin Jia Jian from Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur proffered Sichuan Style Baked Cod whilst the only rose Heidy Juventia Lovena proved her unflappable capability with Stir-fried Cod with Chinese dumplings, Garden Greens & Caramelised Sauce.


Hats off to the chefs who made it so far. They’d be leaving the cooking challenge with new experience and greater insights on how to raise their Chinese cuisine game from the constructive feedback and critique given.


Six winning chefs from the regional heat will then proceed to the first round at the global level. Only the top three will have a chance to battle it out in the second round, to determine their final standing and who will ‘wok’ tall as champion.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

GLORIOUS MALAYA OMAKASE & LUNAR FORTUNE AT NOBU KL


Gear up for a double celebration at Nobu Kuala Lumpur. Executive Chef Philip Leong and his Nobu KL team have put their creative culinary prowess to proffer a 7-course omakase set to commemorate Malaysia’s 62nd Merdeka Day with local ingredients and Japanese-Peruvian flavours.


Simultaneously, a selection of Lunar Fortune Mooncakes takes centrestage for the coming Mid-Autumn Festival celebration, from now until 13 September 2019.
Paying homage to Malaysia’s bounty of local ingredients, the Nobu KL team has incorporated palm sugar, tamarind, coconut and monk fruit into the Glorious Malaya Omakase (RM500++ per person). Available until 31 August 2019, the opening volley of Seared Toro with Caviar & Tamarind Sauce is an uplifting appetiser to savour.

Dollops of caviar and refreshing pineapple salsa alongside charred fern tips lend invigorating interest to fatty slices of raw tuna. The palm sugar and tamarind sauce tempers the fish’s inherent richness, making this dish a noteworthy curtain-raiser.
The gastronomic parade continues with Nobu Style Sushi — a sumptuous quartet of handcrafted sushi with choice toppings of tuna with chopped truffle, kinmedai (splendid alfonsino) with chopped yuzu & jalapeno, yellowtail with fresh jalapeno, and snow crab. This artful composition is an apt distillation of the Japanese-Peruvian influences Nobu is famous for.

Slices of fresh apple, cucumber and pear complemented by baby spinach and kataifi bits serve as a healthy, wholesome canvas to showcase the Scallop Salad with Peanut Den Miso Dressing. The flavourful clincher for this seemingly simple dish is den miso — a Japanese sweet-salty cooked paste created by founder Nobu Matsuhisa blended with peanuts.

Crushed local vegetable keropok (cracker) makes the main course of Artic Char Wasabi Palm Sugar the show-stopper of this celebratory menu. The crunchy crust atop the artic char fillet together with sweetish, tart and zingy wasabi zuke pickles and palm sugar sauce left us singing praises of the delicious dish.

Melt-in-the-mouth slices of Wagyu with Nori Cream continues the charm offensive.
Accompanied by creamy rich seaweed sauce and savoury mounds of chickpeas and lentils, the buttery beef is an indulgent treat no discerning gourmand will fault.



Then a glassful of silky Somen with Watercress Soup is entrusted to ensure a clean sweep of an amply flavour-satiated palate; an ingenious way to stave off any cloying aftertaste from the earlier meat course.
Bringing the epicurean menu to its final flourish is Monk Fruit Mousse with Coconut Ice Cream, Vanilla Sponge & Monk Fruit Jelly. Again, this dessert masterpiece ticks all the right boxes: visually pleasing, texturally exciting and tastefully balanced so you won’t walk away feeling guilt-ridden but exhilarated from such a wonderful dining experience.

LUNAR FORTUNE MOONCAKES


 
Drawing from its distinct culinary approach, Nobu KL has unveiled Miso (fermented soya bean paste) Yolk, Wasabi Yolk, Green Tea and Black Sesame fillings for its range of baked, Shanghai-style or snowskin mooncakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival this year.



Presented in beautiful lacquer boxes with wood finish inspired by the interior décor of Nobu KL, each Lunar Fortune gift box comes adorned with a miniature gold or silver koi — a symbol of good luck, prosperity and fortune in the Japanese and Chinese culture.
Guests can enjoy 10% discount for purchases of 5 boxes above and 15% for 10 boxes above. The Lunar Fortune Mooncakes will be available until 13 September 2019 at Nobu KL and a special kiosk at Pavilion KL from 23 August to 12 September 2019.

For inquiries or reservations at Nobu Kuala Lumpur, please call tel: 03-2164 5084 or WhatsApp 019-389 5085.