As many gourmands would have known, celebrity chef Raymond Blanc was in town for The Homecoming: Raymond Blanc at Grand Hyatt Singapore.
After 11 years, the masterful maestro was finally back in Singapore for an epicurean experience that is bound to be phenomenal.
Expect a culinary showcase that is nothing short of passion and pizzazz from one of the finest chefs around the world.
The essence of seasonal produce
Born in Besançon, France, Raymond is Chef Patron of Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, a restaurant and hotel in Oxfordshire, England.
As the only country house hotel to have retained two Michelin stars for an astounding 33 years, the destination has courted countless locals and tourists alike for a taste of the creations by the world renowned masterchef.
It is also home to the acclaimed Raymond Blanc Cookery school, which is considered to be a heavyweight in the culinary school scene.
Seasonality is the word as the celebrated chef couldn’t emphasize enough how paramount it is in affecting the taste of your food. As with the case of cherry tomatoes, it is considered as the cream of the crop when it comes to sweetness of the flesh and its juiciness.
Apart from that, we had the honour of watching him demonstrate the A-Zs of extracting the essence of tomatoes with a creative dripping technique.
In a bid to retrieve the clearest juice of tomato and essentially the heart of it, the dripping technique is integral. Although tomatoes rarely take centrestage in a dish, there is in fact a sizeable amount of assiduous effort before obtaining the freshness and sweetness of it.
In essence, one should really choose your tomatoes well and it goes without saying that the produce or ingredients used in your dish is exceptionally important.
Raymond Blanc’s adoration for Southeast Asian spices
Now, can a Frenchman do curry?
Well, tell that to Raymond Blanc and his eyes are bound to light up at the mere mention of that. His love for the warm flavours accompanied with the use of our local spices are an impetus for his foray into incorporating these flavours into his culinary creations.
When asked about injecting Southeast Asian flavours into his dishes, he remarked that by doing so it was not necessarily a fusion dish but his interpretation of a French dish that play to our palates.
What’s more, curry is a rich and robust flavour that gives Chef Raymond Blanc much room for experimentation; as well as to tug on our heartstrings with such a familiar taste for our tastebuds.
The curry powder is both sweet and savoury yet these two flavours come together in a seamless manner that only serves to whet your appetite even more. As he was cooking up a storm with his culinary team, the spices started to warm up before sizzling into a little jaunt on the pan.
In accordance with his culinary philosophy – creating gastronomic wonders with love, respect and understanding for the cultures of foreign flavours, it is easy to spot his almost palpable passion for adding Southeast Asian flavours to his creations.
Amongst the Southeast Asian flavours he prefers, it includes lemongrass yuzu, mango and of course ginger extract – all of which he foresee experimenting with in the future.
For his The Homecoming: Raymond Blanc menu, he prepared the likes of roasted duck breast with Southeast Asian flavours such as Citrus Purée and Jasmine Jus. Diners were bound to be anticipating his exotic dessert – Fruit Ravioli with Coconut & Kaffir Leaves with bated breath. The medley of contrasting flavours surely had discerning diners marvelling at such stunning creations.
Cooking is a game of precision, so says Raymond Blanc
Of course, the quintessential French dessert – Soufflé – needs no further introduction.
Likewise, the mastery of baking this classic confectionary entails much precision and the use of some of the finest ingredients. For instance, Chef Raymond Blanc recommends the use of pure vanilla for its extraordinary flavour, even though it is considered to be rather steep.
That aside, cornflour is used as it has a silkier texture; thus making it more suitable for pastries.
We gained even greater knowledge of baking Soufflé, as the celebrity chef revealed that a zest of lemon or passionfruit not only makes a great finishing touch. In fact, the hint of lemon helps with the coagulation of egg white, hence making the batter smooth.
Made with 100% cocoa sorbet, the soft-to-the-core Soufflé was practically oozing of divinity in our mouth. We could also taste a hint of pistachio and almond without them being overpowered by the cocoa.
Filled with candour and humour, the pre-eminent chef was easily a crowd pleaser as he shared relatable anecdotes while dishing up bite-sized life lessons. He will definitely be greatly missed for his impeccable culinary showcase imbued with finesse and charm.
Truly a honour to have met the legendary chef Raymond Blanc in person and the next time he is cooking up a storm here in Singapore, you can count on us being there.
Till the next time.
World Gourmet Summit 2018
World Gourmet Summit 2018 returned for its 22nd year in April between 2 and 29 April 2018 with a fascinating theme “The Discovery WGS”. Diners were taken off the beaten track to experience some of the world’s exciting, lesser-known cuisines, presented by a stellar line up of culinary stars – young, up and coming, and established – representing countries from Asia, Eastern and Central Europe, and America.
Partner Restaurant One-off Gastronomic Specialties ran from 2 April to 29 April 2018; while Masterchef Dining Delights ran from 16 April to 21 April 2018.