December 8, 2014

World Chefs Without Borders: Charity Gala Dinner at Cilantro Culinary Academy

Cook With Love Charity Gala Dinner

If everyone can do a little for the world, the world will definitely be a better place.  It’s not about how much you can give, it’s about just giving whatever you can as every little action counts. I was recently invited to attend the Cook with Love Charity Gala Dinner in conjunction with International Chef Day 2014 hosted at the Cilantro Culinary Academy. The initiative is started by World Chefs Without Borders in joint partnership with Chefs Association of Malaysia and Cilantro Culinary Academy for Malaysia.

Themed ‘Cook with Love’, the menu featured the love of the chefs for the less fortunate through their love for food. The Cook with Love Charity Gala Dinner showcases a five-course dinner menu with cocktail canapés, bread, drinks, coffee or tea and praline for RM250 per person. Each course is prepared by different chefs and assisted by the team from Cilantro Culinary Academy as well. The proceeds from the charity dinner go to World Chefs Without Borders to assist the underprivileged or those in need.

L to R: Chef KK Yau, Chef Khor BG, Chef Eric Siew, Chef Amy Beh, Chef Chern CH, Chef Rajesh Kanna and Chef Helmut Lamberger

The evening went well and despite it being a wet evening, the crowd was amazing. Cocktail hours kicked off the evening and the canapés served were prepared by Chef Amy Beh, the Ambassador of World Chefs Without Borders for the event. Chef Amy prepared her signature Jiu Hu Char Canape together with some other canapés such as Mushroom Choux and Smoked Salmon Bruschetta. What a creative way to serve Nyonya Jiu Hu Char in a mini tart shell and its taste yummy too!

The culinary academy was filled up on timely manner and as everyone settled in, drinks and freshly baked bread was served before dinner commence. It may only be bread but I was so impressed with the bread basket that night. Prepared by Chef Alice Han, Junior Patisserie Chef Lecturer and her team, the array of mini French Baguette, Focaccia and Slice Hazelnut Muesli Bread to be served with butter are simply magnificent. These were still warm and toasty and all of the bread is just so good that we all have several rounds of the bread.

Presenting the first course, which is the appetizer, is Chef KK Yau, Director of F&B cum Executive Chef of Dorsett Regency KL and assisted by Chef Alan Ooi, Culinary Chef Lecturer.

Beautifully presented on a white canvas plate is Salmon, Marinated Asparagus with Vin Jaune, Borage. Three thick cuts of salmon, lightly cured, is paired with marinated white asaparagus with a yellow wine Vin Jaune, thinly shaved fresh green asparagus, borage and two sauces with light sprinkling of lemon zest. The sauces really enhanced the flavour of the salmon while the lemon zest gives a light floral citrus note to the fish. The asparagus, both green and white has lovely contrasting flavours and textures. The dish seemed simple and yet it managed to taste wonderfully complex and well controlled.

The second course is a soup prepared by Chef Eric Siew, Executive Sous Chef of Doubletree by Hilton KL and assisted by Chef Shaun Anthony LiPaul, Culinary Chef Lecturer.

Fresh Prawn Bisque with Blue Swimmer Crab Timbale, Crispy Prawn and Truffle Leek Parcel and Avruga Caviar sounded extremely elegant and complex. Looking like an elegant hat sitting on a timbale of crab in a pool of majestic orange hue with a sprinkling of chives and tiny pearls of Avruga caviar, you know you will be in for a treat.

True enough, the bisque is gloriously rich and seductive with intense essence of shellfish. It has a piquant and savory note and went very well with the mount of sweet crab meat chunks. The crispy parcel of prawn and truffle leek also paired well as it provided a nice crispy texture to the overall bisque. We all raved about this course at our table and literally clean the plate with our bread.

Our entrée course was presented by Chef Rajesh Kanna, Director of Culinary and Restaurant at Sheraton KL and was assisted by Chef Firdaus Lim, Culinary Chef Lecturer.

The entrée was another pretty looking dish of the much highly-prized Wagyu Beef Carpaccio with Hot Salted Smoked Mozzarella Cheese, Caper Berries, Dehydrated Kalamata and Mustard Dressing. The gorgeous marbling on the wagyu beef provided a luscious deep rich pink platform for the accompaniments. The wagyu melts-in-the-mouth with its high fat content while the other components of salty smoked mozzarella, intense savory dehydrated Kalamata olive crumbs, crunchy shredded purple cabbage, tangy pickled caper berry and tangy sharp mustard dressing provided the flavours.

Despite all the strong flavoured ingredients, everything worked beautifully. One gets creamy, savory, tangy and smoky flavours when savoring the carpaccio in a bite. It’s a cleverly paired dish!

The main course was prepared by Master Chef Helmut Lamberger, Executive Chef of Impiana KLCC and assisted by Chef Julian Chia and Chef Fanny Goh, Culinary Chef Lecturer.

Taking on a safer protein route, the Honey Infused Lacto Chicken Breast, Brussel Sprout, Topinambur Mashed and Chanterelle is as pretty as a garden at sight. French cut chicken breast is well seared and cooked to a juicy perfection is paired with Jerusalem artichoke puree, lovely chicken jus and an array of brussel sprouts, chanterelle mushrooms and edible flowers. The dish evoked simple and clean flavours, gathering much comfort aftertaste with its simplicity of flavours and textures.

The final course of the evening was dessert, prepared by Chef Khor BG and Chef SK Lim, both are Senior Patisserie Chef Lecturer at Cilantro School of Patisserie.

Dessert certainly ended on a high note! Trio of Miniature with Mango Yuzu Brulee, Soya Panna Cotta and Infused Chocolate Mousse with Garden Flower, Seasonal Berries, Raspberry and Passion Fruit Drop looked like an art rendition masterpiece. We thought it was just too pretty to be eaten. The dessert platter showed off lots of pastry techniques and even has the word World Chefs Without Borders hand piped on every plate. One gets to savor all the elements of sweet, savory, tangy and creamy on one plate. There is even a hand blown sugar containing a sweet fruity liquid inside it. tiny macaron, chocolate décor and dollops of fruit gel.

I am also pleased that the overall dessert wasn’t overly sweet as there are bits of berries and its tartness to help clear our palates.

Coffee or Tea was served with Pralines.

It was certainly an evening to remember. Chef Chern CH, President of Chefs Assiociation of Malaysia ended the evening with a speech with regards to the Charity Gala Dinner for Worldchefs Without Borders. It was truly a fruitful and meaningful evening with all the leading chefs working together for a worthy cause for our world!

Ruth from The Ruthless Eater even managed to get all the chefs to autograph the menu for her…

For more information on the event and its sponsors, check out the following websites and Facebook.

Worldchefs Without Borders

Cilantro Culinary Academy

Chefs Association of Malaysia

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