Other chefs also drew ideas from their hometowns and local cuisines, such as Singaporean, Peranakan, European and Japanese. But beside these distinct flavours from around the world, guests also recognised some familiar flavours. Chef Jacky Chan, an expert in Cantonese cuisine, recreated the popular home-cooked dish pei pa tofu. “This was the first dish that I learnt when I began my career as a chef,” he says. “This time, I made it with bird’s nest to add an elegant touch.” His second dish, pan-fried spotted garoupa fillet, was just as indulgent, and a treat for both the palate and nose. “I prepared in front of the guests a sauce made with artisan soy sauce and aged mandarin peel from Xinhui, which is famous for its incredible scent,” he explains.
While the food and drinks were impeccable, the intimate setting that encouraged interaction between diners and chefs also impressed guests. Just like speed dating, guests hopped from station to station every 30 minutes to meet and experience each talented chef at work. “It was such an innovative way to experience food,” says event guest Steven Ng, APAC regional head of leadership and learning at Baker McKenzie. “And it went beyond dining. From the moment that I walked in, every part of the evening had been wonderful. I wasn’t expecting something so eloquent, fun, hip, and engaging, all at the same time.”