Nowadays, being a great chef, is just not enough. Nowadays, you have to be a great chef, AND a personality as well.
It’s not just about cooking anymore. It’s not just about serving a great plate of food, that not only looks good, has a strong idea behind it, and tastes sublime.
Nope, nowadays, that comes second, and entertaining, comes first.
The Asian Food Channel (AFC) prides itself on being “the premier food and lifestyle broadcaster based in the heart of Asia”. I sincerely applaud them for their efforts and accomplishments, as especially for their own original productions that they’ve ventured into in the past year.
I go through phases of watching the channel, as sometimes there’ll be an array of new, exciting shows that I religiously record with my Astro Beyond. At other times, the reruns get so tiring or everything is in Chinese back to back that I would rather curl up with a good recipe book for inspiration and get cooking myself.
Once in a while, a great show comes along, and I only realize it when I’ve managed to catch the last 10 minutes of it. Then, I realize, there’s only six episodes in the season, and the episode I watched was number five!
I’m talking about AFC’s ‘Great Dinners of the World’.
The Appreciation Dinner was held for the winners of the Great Dinners online competition, which was held during the run of the series. The Dinner was held at Tanzini at G Tower…
A restaurant with the ambiance befitting such an event.
The winners were rewarded with goody bags thanks to Pernod Ricard and all invited guests were rewarded with free flowing GH MUM champagne, Chivas, Martell Cognacs and The Glenlivet whiskies.
‘Great Dinners of the World’ promises this:
“Asian cuisine. Great wine. Luxurious travel…
Four rising stars of the Asian culinary scene find themselves transported to foreign, but culturally and historically rich Europe.
In addition to visiting the most picturesque chateaus, mouth-watering breweries and enchanting castles in France & Scotland, these four culinary maestros will be tossed out of their comfort zones and given the challenge of cooking up and delivering their signature Asian delights to their unsuspecting guests of honour.
Will they shock the foreign tastebuds with Asia’s exotic and spicy flavours of swiftly win over the hearts and palates of these overseas foodies?”
I quote from the press release because I haven’t seen the whole series yet. And this is when I throw my hands up in the air and exclaim dramatically, “Thank God for RERUNS!”
I never go to these events expecting mind-blowing cuisine. I always try to imagine what it would be like for the chef to cook his dish, just for me, not for his 30 odd kitchen helpers to make and plate it.
So, I can honestly say, that the food from each chef was ‘nice’, the ideas for each dish were ‘ok, well, the story is there, but the taste to match?’
I’ll close one eye.
And that’s what you have to do with the new breed of celebrity chefs. They bring such enormous personalities, so much fun, laughter, and entertainment. I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the entire event, because of their infectious laughter and comical antics. I mean, 4 Asian guys in Scottish kilts, cooking? Hilarious!
And that’s what’s important nowadays, especially for TV. For a chef to be a great entertainer. The food, while still good, is just another prop for the show.
WHAT WE ATE
Chef Johnny, Executive Chef at Tanzini Restaurant, G Tower, Kuala Lumpur
Halibut-Salmon “Mokume Gane”
House Prickled Ginger, Lemon-grass Calamansi Granita, Candied Hojiso, Horseradish
“The dish I created tonight incorporates all the senses and flair I experienced during our trip; it is rich, fun and flowing, a way of life. Pernod Ricard and AFC have inspired me with new life experiences. Food-pairing is not just about combining a dish with liquor but about delivering a cultural experience and I aim to channel all that I’ve gained into my dishes. It’s all about living life to the fullest; training is only half the journey!”
Chef Sherson Lian, Chef and Malaysian Cooking TV Show Host
“It was really an eye opener, in terms of ingredients and also the approach to food. We all have our different ways in how we approach food and being around other great chefs has really made me view food in a whole different way. The experience is something I will be proud of for the rest of my life, along with the friendships made.
The experience has really taught me how to pair liquor with food and also how to enhance my dishes, with my personal favourite being the “Nadurra” by The Glenlivet. I’d do it all over again anytime! To all budding chefs I say, Get foolishly passionate and pour your heart, soul and mind into every dish you plate. Take pride in what you do yet stay humble in the eyes of others and that is the recipe for respect.”
Chef Sho Naganuma, Executive Chef at Hide Yamamoto, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Stuffed with foie gras, Nage Pernod Ricard Clams, Minute Fricassee of Chick pea and Eringue, Crisp from The Sea
“There were some amazing ingredients I saw in the markets during filming that were very new for me and some I’ve never touched before! It was a challenge translating my interpretation of these ingredients to our European VIP guests and this inspired me to be creative with the menus in my restaurant on my return.
Pairing with whisky, brandy and champagne for starters to desserts was a first for me in my whole culinary career, although the exquisite stable of Pernod Ricard made the task easier as they paired with and incorporated so well into my dishes, a true harmony of Asia and Europe on a plate. I feel that to cater to a truly global palate, we must open our eyes wide for inspiration from all over the world and evolve cuisine as well as ourselves, and to never forget the exhilaration of cooking!”
Chef Malcolm Goh, Culinary Executive/Supervising Chef and Competitions Trainer at Berjaya University
White Chocolate Cremeux
Fried Sabayon, Litchi Glass, Wild Berry Coulis, “Malcolm G” Fleur de Sel
“The best experience for me when we were shooting, was seeing the beautiful scenery all around us. Scotland was really majestic and never boring while France was steeped in so much history. The architecture in France was amazing and I really marveled at the level of craftsmanship which really inspired me, along with the heritage of Martell and Chivas Regal.
“You can source the sweetest fruits, the freshest vegetables, all the prime cuts of meat and the finest ingredients from all over the world, but if you don’t have a team of chefs who click together, understand each other, and respect each other with strong team work, it counts for nothing. The four of us are extremely grateful that we gelled together like a proper terrine.”
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PRESS RELEASE
Pernod Ricard Malaysia proudly presented an appreciation dinner on March 16, hosted by the four chefs who starred in the Asian Food Channel original production, Great Dinners Of The World. The dinner featured one specially created dish from each chef, a fitting reward for the winners of the Great Dinners online competition, which was held during the run of the series.
Great Dinners Of The World is AFC’s first-ever fully produced series filmed outside of Asia and depicts the journey of four talented Asian maestro chefs who are selected from Singapore and Malaysia’s diverse culinary scene and sent to Europe to cook at a series of high end dinners.
Regarding the program, Mr Terence Ong, Sales and Marketing Director, Pernod Ricard Malaysia said, “The world’s great dinners are crafted from the best ingredients, meticulous attention to detail and a great finesse in combining flavours to outstanding effect. PRM understands this and with our very own 3-Star Michelin kitchen and staff and a comprehensive portfolio of fine liquor products to complement any palate, we are only too happy to be the catalyst for this fusion of amazing cuisine and breathtaking journeys to tantalise tastebuds the world over.”
As guests enjoyed the delectable cuisine along with PRM’s offerings of GH Mumm Cordon Rouge, The Glenlivet 12 year old, Martell Cordon Bleu and Chivas Regal 18 year old, the starring chefs also shared the life-altering insights from their experiences during production along with some invaluable advice for budding chefs everywhere.
WHO WATCHED THE SHOW
Great Dinners Of The World presented audiences with a holistic experience of PRM’s ultra premium and prestige brands in an entertaining manner, premiered on the Asian Food Channel in December 2011 to over 45 million viewers, a million of which were from Malaysia.
CATCH THE RERUN!
Save the Date, May 17th at 9pm!
The programme broadcasted in nine territories and is slated to return to the AFC channel, Astro 703, on Thursday, May 17th at 9pm. For more information about Great Dinners Of The World, please visit:
I can’t wait for it, nor can I wait for Season 2!