You have probably read about China’s obsession with wine. If you are interested in the intersection of wine and China, you should definitely watch the documentary Red Obsession – narrated by Russell Crowe, this documentary details the relationship between China and Bordeaux and how Chinese demand artificially inflated Bordeaux market values which later crashed. And so it is, quite rightly true, that the Chinese are becoming big wine drinkers.
Two months ago, I enjoyed a rejuvenating trip to Bali on my own, leaving my two jumping beans at home with the hubby. I stayed at the stunning Mulia Resort, and ate like a queen. One of the dishes that left a lasting impression on me was a beef tenderloin drenched in a delicious bagna cauda sauce at Soleil, their fine-dining Pan-Asian restaurant. During dinner, the affable and talented Executive Chef, Corky O’Connor, came over for a chat, and apart from me gushing about that sauce, we discussed our love for anchovies (especially in pasta).
In the first of this series, I sit down with Jennifer Dembitz from PS.Gourmet over a deep plate of linguini vongole. The PS.Gourmet group owns and operates six successful outlets, and will be adding two more to their roster very soon. Jen came to Singapore in 2010 by way of New York, where she was a publicist at award-winning agency Bullfrog & Baum. We talk about her bi-continental F&B career, personal cooking style and of course, the magic formula behind PS.Cafe.
I try to eat clean and green most days. But there are times when even my steely resolve can’t trump the incessant, nagging craving for a big, decadent, juicy burger (one of my favourite foods). Since I don’t indulge in burgers that often anymore, it has to be a darn good one when I finally get down to it. The Privé Group has a burger joint, Roadhouse, one minute from my kids’ school. This is a blessing, for almost instant gratification when I need a hit, and a curse for my waistline. I have eaten there four times in total. Thrice in the last ten days. This can only mean one thing- Roadhouse serves really amazing burgers.
I have been interested – perhaps obsessed is a better word – with Japanese food for many years now. There is something that is at once minimalist and at the same time luxurious about the cuisine. Japanese cooking emphasises simple and elegant preparations that highlight the unique flavour profiles of the ingredients – rather than the more Western technique of trying to “elevate” dishes with complex sauces. The simplicity and sheer sincerity of Japanese cooking wins for me every time. For example, the Japanese will, with unwavering confidence, put a single piece of pork on a plate with a side of plain shredded cabbage and serve it to you….just like that…because it is in itself pork perfection.
Chestnuts are one of my five-year old son’s favourite snacks. In Singapore, street vendors roast them in a covered urn or wok, filled with charcoal bits. You crack open the shell, and the flesh within is creamy, sweet, fragrant, and extremely addictive. My family goes through a 600g bag whenever the craving strikes. But recently, I have also developed an appreciation for the cooked and peeled chestnuts that come in foil packs, sold in convenience stores and supermarkets. With a few of those packets in hand, whipping up this crème de marrons is a piece of cake.
There’s no shortage of good coffee in Sydney. Quality sourcing of beans and passionate baristas are scattered all around the city. As an avid coffee drinker, I tend to keep an eye out for places that keep pushing the envelope or that want to prove their worth despite the very hefty, worthwhile competition.
Su-Lyn and I love Margaret River. We used to visit this West Australian wine (and surf) region on an annual basis back my wifey was working on her (never-completed) doctorate with a university in Perth. A number of years ago, we discovered an incredible, gorgeously-designed house, just a short five minute drive from Margaret River Town, perched on a cliff, and overlooking the Indian Ocean. Back then, we had rented the house with two other couples and (because we were in the area for a wedding) had a blast entertaining several friends during our stay. Most recently, we decided to head back to the house with our son and Su-Lyn’s parents.