Sunday, July 8, 2012

Private Dining by young passionate chef swallowing life in big gulps

Amateur table setting is not important when good conversations take center stage
Yiyi made news in the local papers as a pre-university graduate who is deviating from the doctor-engineer-lawyer path set before him to enrol as a student at Le Cordon Bleu London. His parents are highly supportive of the pursuit of his culinary passion after the initial shock.

I reached out to Yiyi and invited him to cook for a few of my friends because his story struck a chord with me and he is hoping to cook at as many private dinners as possible before his enrolment in September.

I spent a few hours cooking with him the day before the actual dinner to get to know him and his food better. My time was certainly well spent as this young man inspired me throughout the afternoon with his quiet yet strong conviction for food and God, and his sense of fearlessness in the kitchen.

Here are some pictures of his food that I am proud to show you.

Complimentary Starter Sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives and oregano fougasse. I baked this bread with him a day earlier. I call it "a whole day bread" as that was almost how long it took with a starter dough and 3 proofs.

Amuse Bouche Roasted Tomato Soup with basil foam

Starter 1 Roasted Hokkaido Scallops with cauliflower puree, parmesan foam, chervil oil and jamon iberico de bellota (cured Spanish ham)

Starter 2 Slow-braised Pork Belly with seared slipper lobsters, crushed minted peas and marsala jus (2 friends who hate peas actually wiped their plates clean!)

Main Lamb Shoulder Confit, roasted lamb loin, celeriac puree, buttered baby vegetables, beetroot and thyme jus - a burst of flavours with different colours and texture

Pre Dessert Lemongrass with mint Granita as a palate cleanser

Dessert Bread Pudding - Valrhona Ivoire white chocolate, peanut butter and banana bread pudding, with orange blossom honey ice cream and caramelised bananas - a hit with everyone

Complimentary Apple Sorbet with almond praline and cider syrup (I made this with him the day before)
Do you see a cross between a green snowman and an angel with a halo?
As with all good dinners, the focus of the conversation is not on the food. I don't remember what we talked about but I do remember laughing a lot last night. Not the ROFL type but a constant tickling of the ribs and just feeling good about friends around the dinner table and life in general. Some good wine help of course.

As for Yiyi, I beamed with pride in introducing him to my friends. This is one young man swallowing life in big gulps. Every plate was returned to the kitchen empty. You can tell I am so ready to adopt him. Do check him out here and here. His interest is purely on cooking so don't expect stunning shots or elaborate write-ups.

Next post: I'll show you some behind-the-scenes of this event including the making of the fougasse, the pork belly and one bad kitchen injury!


  1. wow, these look indeed professional and very elegantly served!

    Blog about life and travelling
    Blog about cooking

    1. Indeed they are, Ola. A very driven and focused young man cooked them.

  2. Hi, girl, love the scallop & pork belly dishes very much! Yiyi is lucky to have your guidance. Every 1st step is hard, wish Yiyi all the best!


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