Friday, August 26, 2011


This is one event that the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre team couldn't afford to make any mistakes. A hallmark bash that underscored everything that Chef Richmond Lim touts in his inaugural book - The Stainless Steel Kitchen - a classy, hard cover tome that reveals the precise art of banqueting.

I guess most of the guests that night came with pretty high expectations just like me. And happily, the KLCC team delivered; everything went off without a single hitch right from the start. What is even more surprising (well to me at least) is that the food was top-notch.

Now this is no small feat considering that the kitchen team has to cater to such a large group of guests. But then again I suppose after catering for countless international events of all types and group sizes, the night's launch would have been a walk in the park for them. Nevertheless, I was impressed that all the dishes were served at the right temperature, freshly and beautifully prepared and cooked to perfection.

Executive Chef Richmond Lim who delves into the meticulous nitty-gritty and precise work that go into each banquet told members of the local media that the book was conceived a year ago.

"It took me six months to jot down and compile all the essential notes for the book: from the different aspects of banquet operations, how cutting-edge technology from Electrolux has transformed the face of modern banqueting and my own thoughts, experiences and insights on how it is possible to replicate fine-dining dishes for hundreds and thousands of diners," says Lim.

The affable chef also paid tribute to his superior, KLCC CEO Datuk Peter Brokenshire and his dedicated team who supported him unstintingly for the book project.

After the ceremonial bit was over and done with, we circulated around the function room to sample the sumptuous spread laid out. Although it was a standing cocktail, only the starters and dessert were served buffet-style. Even then there wasn't a chafing dish in sight; every offering was in singular, dainty and visually pleasing portions to tickle the tastebuds.

Much to our delight, several specialities found in Chef Lim's 5-Star Banqueting book were recreated for us to savour. My choice picks include tender slivers of Peking duck stuffed with assorted lettuce and enoki mushroom in a crisp, kataifi-type cone; rolled salmon with its own roe and tangy dill-scented cream; smoked duck breast with pear compote; plump, sweet scallops with ebikko; miniature glasses of Asian seafood bouillabaisse and double-boiled Treasures of the Sea consomme.

One of the most outstanding dishes were the Malaysian evergreen favourite of Nasi Lemak. Served in carved out coconut shell tops, this ensemble of santan-rich steamed rice, half a hardboiled egg, fried baby anchovies, peanuts, cucumber slices and piquant sambal must have knocked the socks off quite a few international delegates had they gotten the chance to sample it.

Now few hotels and restaurants let alone an international convention centre would bother with a painstaking speciality like Nasi Kerabu but this is the other show-stopping delight that really grabbed me that night. Beautifully tinged to a dreamy pastel blue, the rice was amply flavoured by finely shredded fresh herbs like torch ginger flower with cucumber, cabbage, dry-fried grated coconut and long beans. It was a match made in heaven when eaten together with the tender Ayam Percik hot off the grill and generously doused with a thick, sweetish and spicy sauce.

Last but not least, the momentous occasion also marked a reunion of sorts for me and a couple of dear old friends (Rose and Majorie it was great having caught up with you both) and former chef colleagues (ditto for KK Yau and Vincent Tan)!

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