A group of chefs in Singapore are paying homage to the legendary French chef Auguste Escoffier, coming together to cook a seven-course dinner called Experience The Taste Of Magic.
Some of the proceeds from the meal, part of the ongoing Voilah! French festival, will go towards encouraging less-privileged students through culinary learning in Singapore. The dinner is priced at $280++ a person and will be held at the One Degree 15 Marina Club on May 18.
The participating chefs include some from Michelin-starred establishments - three-Michelin-starred Joel Robuchon Restaurant's executive chef Michael Michaelidis, 35; one-Michelin-starred Jaan's chef de cuisine Kirk Westaway, 31; and two-Michelin-starred Shoukouwa's head chef Masakazu Ishibashi, 36.
They are volunteering their services to the 10-year-old Disciples Escoffier Asia, a chapter of the non-profit Disciples Escoffier International, an association set up in 1954 to honour the late chef.
Currently, there are 35,000 members worldwide in 30 countries.
Escoffier, who died in 1935 at age 88, was a pioneer of modern French cuisine and has been credited with revolutionising the way fine-dining kitchens are organised. His book - Le Guide Culinaire - is seen as a "Bible" for classic French cooking and is still used today by chefs around the world.
Each of the Singapore-based chefs will cook a course.
Chef Ishibashi's dish is hamachi (amberjack) smoked with hay after being marinated in a soya-based sauce, while chef Westaway is serving skinned heirloom tomatoes with burrata cheese and basil sorbet. The meal ends with Saint Pierre pastry chef Jonathan Allaert's dessert of Manjari chocolate, cocoa-hazelnut praline, passionfruit caramel and vanilla parfait.
Chef Emmanuel Stroobant, 49, of Saint Pierre at One Fullerton and president of the Disciples Escoffier Asia in Singapore, says: "There is still a profession where 'brotherhood' exists. This is a job between art and science, where there is a need to pass the knowledge to younger generations to grow together. It is also a chance for young chefs to cook alongside top chefs."
Demonstrating the transfer of knowledge, he will be working with the winner of the Disciples Escoffier Young Talent culinary competition for the dinner's main course.
The Singapore qualifications for eight pre-selected candidates for the competition take place next Saturday at The Sapling restaurant in Lengkok Bahru by hospitality institute Shatec.
The winner will represent Singapore at the Asia Finals of the Young Talent Escoffier competition in Hong Kong in September, and will compete against representatives from countries including Thailand, Vietnam and China.
BOOK IT / EXPERIENCE THE TASTE OF MAGIC
WHERE: One Degree 15 Marina Club, Sentosa Cove, 11 Cove Drive
WHEN: May 18, 6.30pm
PRICE: $280++ a person
INFO: E-mail fenella@ one15marina.com for reservations
Stroobant says: "The association is not a 'chefs' club'. It is a group of people wanting to help others by sharing their knowledge and we use food as a medium. Anyone is welcome to join if you want to make a little difference. It is a society where the proceeds raised are used to help less-privileged young people to achieve their dream via education.
"What inspires me about Escoffier is his will to change the lives of chefs. Back then, there was no air-conditioning in the kitchen, no discipline, no hygiene and no system. He changed the whole system long before any TV show did."
Chef Westaway considers Escoffier to be one of his first "true culinary heroes".
He says: "He has been an incredible inspiration for me and all of us chefs. He is very much featured in my college course training and is a legend in the world of cuisine."
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