SINGAPORE - Ten lucky Straits Times subscribers and their guests spent Tuesday evening (June 18) dining at homegrown celebrity chef Sam Leong's Forest restaurant in Equarius Hotel, Resorts World Sentosa.
As winners of a six-course dinner for two worth more than $276, they got to meet the 53-year-old chef, who shared stories from his years of cooking, and try dishes from a brand new menu titled I Am Sam, meant to celebrate Leong's 30 years of culinary experience and trace his life's journey.
This dinner - hosted by ST's food correspondent Eunice Quek - is part of a contest held under the ST+ news with benefits programme, which rewards subscribers, in partnership with Resorts World Sentosa.
Guests got to taste dishes such as the pan-seared lemongrass chicken roll stuffed with glutinous rice, or what Leong calls a "Chin-Thai entree", as it is the first dish he created with his Thai wife Forest, 49. She was also in attendance at the dinner alongside their son, 26-year-old pastry chef Joe Leong.
Another dish is the lobster barley porridge with condiments, which was served to Singapore's late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 2013 when he visited Forest. Also on the menu are Leong's creations, wasabi prawn and coffee pork ribs, both dishes he came up with that are now popular in Chinese cuisine around the world.
Ms Isabelle Chen, a 31-year-old primary school teacher and a subscriber to ST for more than three years, enjoyed the mix of flavours in Leong's menu. The newlywed, who has been married for six months, took her husband to the dinner.
Referring to the dessert course - black sesame glutinous rice balls served in an avocado and coconut blend - she says: "The dinner was very good. I know he's a celebrity chef so I was quite excited about this. I think he's very creative with his food - who would think to match glutinous rice balls with avocado?"
Leong, who was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Gourmet Awards this year, says of his menu: "I have so many dishes and I can't pick everything so I went back to look at the dishes in my past and decided to highlight the ones with good stories behind them."
The I Am Sam menu is now available at Forest daily, except for lunch on Sundays. The restaurant is closed on Wednesdays. Ala carte selections start from $18 per dish, a four-course set lunch is priced at $48 a person while a four-course set dinner is $88 a person.