RWS Food Affair: RWS Celebrity Chefs Dinner (18 September 2013)

Resorts World Sentosa puts up a spectacular display of culinary finesse with six celebrity chefs joining forces for this one-night-only gastronomic event –the RWS Celebrity Chefs Dinner, part of the inaugural RWS Food Affair.

Read more about the RWS Food Affair in my previous blog post.

One of the highlights for me was meeting the legendary Chef Joël Robuchon in person.

The S.E.A. Aquarium’s Open Ocean habitat transforms from a viewing gallery to a massive dining room, enthralling diners with the magnificent view of marine animals including manta rays, leopard sharks and goliath groupers.

The dining space is spaciously aligned with tables spruced up with white shimmery tablecloths, basking in the glow of glimmering candlelight.

Diners are ushered to their allocated seats after the cocktail reception.

Wines served throughout the evening are Penfolds Koonunga Hill Autumn Riesling and Penfolds 2 Shiraz Mourverdre –wines that transport you to Australia.

The opulent 6-course dinner features the cuisines of Chef Joël Robuchon, Chef Sam Leong from Forest, Chef Li Kwok Kwong from Feng Shui Inn, Chef Cat Cora from Ocean, Chef Douglas Tay from Osia and Executive Pastry Chef Kenny Kong, who each designed a course for this dinner.

An extravagant basket of assorted breads came our way as soon as we warmed our seats, and we nibbled almost incessantly as we waited for dinner to commence. You can never resist a good breadbasket.

After a welcoming speech by emcee The Flying Dutchman introducing the six celebrity chefs who made this dinner possible, which follows by a polite sprinkling of applause from the dining tables, the first course soon arrives.

Le Caviar Imperial by Chef Joël Robuchon

Matching its description – imperial caviar in a coral infusion served as a surprise – surprising elements include a bed of crab salad consummated with a light but proactively alluring dressing, and pearls of caviar tasting of the ocean’s bounty.

Steamed Marble Goby with Forest Mushroom Sauce by Chef Sam Leong

Not sure if what’s being served to us poses to be a threat to the marine animals in the aquarium, hopefully not, because Chef Sam Leong assures us the fishes in the aquarium are unconditionally pampered and safe from slaughtering.

His delicate execution of the marble goby aroused our palates and had us wanting more. It is buttery tender and thoroughly moist.

Double-Boiled Cordyceps Flower with Dates, Quail & Conch Meat by Chef Li Kwok Kwong

You might wonder if this traditionally Chinese soup fits into this circumstance at all, but surprisingly it garnered the most raves and is truly worthy of the limelight. The soup is exceedingly flavourful –it wasn’t long before it was down to the last drop.

Slow Cooked Salmon Roulade, Hokkaido Scallop & Fried Octopus by Chef Cat Cora

As an individual component, the seared Hokkaido scallop is casted as a mere cheerleader, as there was simply nothing to shout about –anyone can do a seared scallop. The salmon roulade is slow cooked to tender and moist perfection, accented with fresh dill, but once again it fell short of expectations and made me wonder if Chef Cat Cora really did push her boundaries at all. The fried octopus, however, is a godsend. It is nicely crusted and inordinately tender on the inside. The shellfish emulsion, smoked aioli and sautéed garden peas were great accompaniments to this dish and helped bring the three components together.

Image provided by RWS

Being a huge fan of Chef Cat Cora, I never once doubted her culinary prowess. Meeting her in person totally unleashes the fangirl in me. I would love to try more of her dishes some day, quietly longing for that day to come.

Beef Short Rib with Charred Radicchio, Macadamia, Buckwheat and Balsamic Burnt Butter by Chef Douglas Tay

How can such a lean piece of steak turn out to be so utterly tender? Well, it is possible with Chef Douglas Tay’s scrupulous execution. The short rib is vacuum-cooked for 12 hours at 85 °C before being chargrilled. Textures on the plate include crispy buckwheat flakes, macadamia nuts and charred radicchio. It is an impressive dish in all respects.

Sweet Temptation; Yuzu Mango Cremuex, Gula Melaka Streusel and Milky Lemongrass Sorbet by Chef Kenny Kong

Chef Kenny Kong displays his creative abilities in the Sweet Temptation. I’ve tried it previously at the media preview and loved the contrasting elements on the plate. Eating it for a second time just revives those wonderful taste sensations.

The meal ended on a sweet note with a surprise chocolate platter.

The dining experience on a whole is one I will never forget. Each course is promptly paced out; the meal is unrushed and allows diners to enjoy the spectacular view and ambience with great companions, yet still ending on time, just as the aquarium’s lights go out –it is RWS’s regulation that the aquarium’s lights have to be switched off at 10.30pm sharp as fishes need their beauty sleep.