Chef Andre Chiang
D came home from one day to excitedly tell me that one of the boys he plays soccer with, and who works at the Asian Food Channel, had told him about a masterclass series that AFC were organising. The first one was with Chef Andre Chiang and we went last night to the AFC studio on level 7 of Orchard Central to watch the chef in action.
Coincidentally, D had the pleasure of eating at Restaurant Andre last week for a friend’s birthday, and which I missed out on because I was in Sydney, so he was familiar with the sort of food that was going to be cooked last night. Me, on the other hand, was left to discover Chef Andre’s method of combining flavours that I would never have dreamed would work, but absolutely did.
Heirloom tomato gazpacho with vanilla oil and basil flowers
The first dish was an heirloom tomato gazpacho with vanilla oil and basil flower. Chef Andre was friendly and comfortable in front of an audience, and walked us through the recipe, peppered with hints on how to get the best out of the dish. In his own restaurant everything is done by taste and not by recipe, and these hints helped flesh out the recipe and gave us all hope that we could recreate the intensely flavoured, perfectly sweet/acid balanced dish, at home.
36-hour braised short rib with mushroom fricasee and celeriac-apple mousse
The second dish was a 36-hour braised short rib with fricasee mushrooms and celeriac -apple mousse. Again, Chef Andre talked us through the composition of the food, how he prefers to prepare his food (simply, nothing fancy, letting the produce be the star). We got to sample each dish he demonstrated, thanks to a team of invisible chefs in the back room. This dish was delectable. The braised short rib was meltingly tender and was perfectly balanced with the celeriac and apple mousse, which was lighter than a potato mash (although served with a potato on top).
The final dish was snickers 2011 (too hard to explain on an already lengthy post but think coffee/chocolate/hazelnut flavours). It was about as close to molecular gastronomy as you can come without actually calling it that. Watching him cook it was fascinating and my love of science and chemistry made the demonstration so interesting to watch. Not sure I would actually cook this at home, it was far too complicated and my home cooking has seen me move to simple dishes that mean I can spend time with my friends rather than in the kitchen, but the final product was gorgeous. I will happily let the experts do all the work and sit in their restaurant to eat works of art like this.
The session was such an enjoyable way to spend a Monday night. The food was amazing, and paired perfectly with wines from the South of France. It made me want to get to Restaurant Andre quick smart to sample more delights from this young and talented chef, and also inspired me to invite friends over for dinner to try to recreate these dishes at home. Loved it.