Cooking for the Pleasure of it

Monday, October 13, 2014


One of the highlights of the year is the opportunity to cook fine dining Western cuisine for the larger family gatherings. Someone else is always sponsoring the bill. All I need to do is to plan and prepare the meal.

The chefs like what they are doing. The diners like the food. And the one who sponsors believes that he is getting a good bang for the buck. Everyone is happy.  There is nothing like the atmosphere of a home which feels like a restaurant, with food plated to each guest.

Family, food and friends. I am not sure I got the order right but these are always special and anticipated gatherings.

I have a full-time job of course (pastoring), and over the years, I have also realised that it is not possible for me to do this alone, much as I enjoy working at it. For last night's event, I had the opportunity to team up with two budding and passionate Shatec-trained chefs, Javis and Amos. I thoroughly enjoy planning, discussing the menu and working with them. They are really passionate about cooking everything well, using fresh, good ingredients and applying good techniques to bring out the best from them. Doing most of the kitchen work, they do not take short cuts and every detail was laboured at.

We were glad that we were not limited by commercial budget constraints (i.e. for a dish to have profit margins). We were able to plan each dish optimally though we were also conscious about not wasting or spending unnecessary.

Serving 40 pax at one go - every dish individually plated and served -  is always a difficult challenge. Home equipment have their limitations too. The event and food turned out quite well, considering this being our first time working together. I am sure with more experience, we will only do better.  Looking back, there were certain aspects of the food preparation which we could better cater for and perhaps some dishes would be more suited to the home kitchen environment and nature of the dinner.

But boy, did we have fun! Its strange and hard for some to understand - but some chefs really enjoy what they do. Most of the time, anyway. What is work and stress for some, can be passionate play for others. While some cook to live, others live to cook. :)

Certainly, Javis and Amos enjoy their kitchen time. I know that they will go far in their career, given their dedication, learning attitude, quest for excellence and willingness to work hard.

Amos Ho is currently working at La Strada and Javis at Lewin Terrace.

Enjoy the photos of the evening.

Menu
Setting the tables for 40 pax

Roasted corn
Searing scallops
Grilling flatbread
Hokkaido Scallops
Celeriac purée, Chorizo, Roasted Corn, Watercress & Yuzu
Black Angus USDA Prime Ribeye
Assorted Market Vegetables & Mashed Potato
Vanilla Panna Cotta
Mixed Berry Compote & Caramel Dust

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