French nibbles at Voilah! French Food Festival

Chez West restaurant, located at ITE College West.
Chez West restaurant, located at ITE College West. PHOTO: ITE COLLEGE WEST


While restaurants, bakeries and wineries across Singapore celebrate French gastronomy as part of Voilah! French Food Festival 2016, students at ITE College West in Choa Chu Kang are also getting in on the action.

At Chez West, a 40-seat restaurant in the school, several dishes on the menu will be created and prepared by these youngsters.

As part of their examination, three groups of finalyear students training for a Technical Diploma in Culinary Arts with Restaurant Management will prepare seven dishes each. From these 21 dishes, some will be selected to be part of the menu.

To sample their creations, you can pop in for dinner at Chez West from May 11 to 23, from 6 to 9.30pm. The menu and prices have not been fixed.

Those looking for more polished fare should book a table on either May 19 or 20, as there will be lunch and dinner services with guest chef Christian Nee, who is the Chef de Cuisine of La Pyramide, a two-Michelin- starred restaurant in Vienne, France. The restaurant does not serve walk-in customers. E-mail Rajeev_Saxena@ite.edu.sg for reservations


While most drinkers associate whisky with Scotland, Ireland and Japan, France has its own stable of whisky brands, mostly originating from the Brittany region which shares the same climate as its Scottish and Irish cousins.

These will feature in a whisky tasting at home-grown whisky distributor La Maison du Whisky on May 15, from 5 to 7pm. Called flights, these tastings allow participants to sample small portions of each whisky expression.

While much younger than their Highland equivalents - the oldest French whisky is about 18 years - French whisky makers are willing to experiment with different cereals, water and even the oak in which they age the whisky, says Ms Priscilla Chua, 21, retail executive at the spirits distributor.

One of the whiskies that will feature in the flight is Eddu, named after the core ingredient of buckwheat, which is found abundantly in Brittany. Eddu means buckwheat in the local Breton language.

The flight - which will be conducted by Mr Mathieu Musnier, general manager of La Maison du Whisky - also features two expressions of Domaine des Hautes Glaces, a craft whisky from a distillery in the French Alps and Armorik, which is made in the style of a single-malt, Scotch.

Armorik ranges from $73 to $170 and Eddu from $94 to $115, which is close to the prices of whiskies from Scotland.

As part of Voilah! there will be two flights, one for French whiskies and one for brandies.

Each flight is $35 and seats can be booked via info@whisky.sg

Wine pairing with Teochew cuisine

Local wholesale wine distributor Wine Caviar, which brings in European, family-owned wines for restaurants, is hosting a series of wine and food pairings at restaurants around Singapore, one of which features Teochew cuisine.

"Wine appreciation is still in its developmental stage in Singapore, and only a very small percentage are connoisseurs," says Wine Caviar's general manager Kevin Yeow.

"Singaporeans are foodies, so we're trying to get them to discover quality wines as well."

For this particular session, it will be featuring wines from the Champagne and Burgundy region to go with Teochew food, which typically features seafood, as well as braised and steamed dishes.

For instance, with a cold crab dish, he recommends a white wine from Burgundy, whose citrus fruit notes complement the seafood. With fried Teochew kway teow, he says a light bodyweight wine works best. For a starter like deep-fried prawn balls, he would go with a bubbly champagne.

The dinner on April 23, which is priced at $118, will be held at a location that will be revealed only to participants who sign up for the session.

But Mr Yeow hints that it will be at an "old-school, traditional Teochew restaurant that was founded in 1999 by a crab merchant and his friend who was a veteran in Singapore's Teochew food scene".

Diners can register at voilahwtc.eventbrite.com

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2016, with the headline 'French nibbles'. Subscribe