Having a top chef prepare your meal is already an exclusive experience for most diners.
But watching him in action and getting cooking tips from him make for a unique experience.
That was what six Straits Times subscribers and their dining companions did on Wednesday evening at the Chef's Table - a new dining concept at Capella Singapore in Sentosa that gives diners front-row access to the cooking action.
They were winners of a lucky draw held for ST subscribers who had upgraded their print subscription last month to an All-In-One package which includes phone, tablet and computer access to the paper.
The three-hour, four-course private dinner worth a total of $3,500++ included a cooking-class component where the diners gathered around the kitchen island to watch award-winning French chef David Nicholas Senia whip up the first two courses - parfait caviar with tuna tantare (a blend of raw tuna with lemon juice and lots of spice) and sauteed scallop tataki, served lightly seared.
The chef got the diners to smell crushed tarragon leaves, which was added to the caviar.
He also invited them to sample kumquat and showed how vanilla seeds were scraped from vanilla pods.
The kumquat juice and vanilla seeds were used in making the scallop tataki.
Chef Senia, the hotel's director of culinary, also shared simple tips such as how to peel a tomato skin and chop vegetables without looking.
The third dish was a choice of either pan-roasted codfish or black pepper wagyu beef.
Dessert was a mini fruit salad topped with mango passion sorbet. Red and white wine were served in between dishes, while tea, coffee and chocolates rounded off the dinner.
Chef Senia says he planned the night's menu with the season and diners in mind.
"I didn't want it to be too difficult so that everybody can follow. I wanted it to be something that was suitable for the local palate."
Meals at the chef's table, which can accommodate up to 14 people, can be customised to diners' needs.
Chef Senia, who was recently named Executive Chef of the Year at the World Gourmet Summit Awards of Excellence, kept up a light-hearted banter with the diners.
Administrative manager Madam Faith Tay, who is in her 40s and has been reading ST since she was a child, says: "The chef was jovial and entertaining and the food was truly a gastronomic journey of the palette."
Her daughter, Michelle, 16, who was also at the dinner, says she especially enjoyed being able to interact with the chef. "It was a novel experience," she says.
Other than the Chef's Table, ST subscribers have also won dining experiences at four other restaurants in Singapore.