Story & photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM
The suave and debonair Travelling Gourmet goes to the island of Sentosa to…
MINGLE with the ‘creme de la creme’ of Gastronomy. Held at the new Maritime Experiential Museum, Singapore’s iconic Gourmet Festival kicked off at 19:03 with Peter Knipp, my friend saying: This is the 17th Edition and we are grateful to Meat & Livestock Australia for their continuing sponsorship. Sparkling wine and beer and Coffex Coffee flowed freely like the Adige River as I went to see some of the exhibits of the Maritime Experiential Museum. Whoever gave it the name must have been a very bombastic person. It would have been simpler and easier for all to just call it the Singapore Maritime Museum. I liked the exhibits on the spices of Cinnamon, Cloves and Pepper whose trade led to the Spice Wars. Communist China was not interested in the mineral wealth of the South China Sea in those days. I liked too the exhibit of Admiral Cheng Ho who was a very dynamic Eunuch and seafarer. The sea is in the blood of Singaporeans…
As I quaffed my Champagne, I thought of the marathoners in Boston, USA. It was surreal. Here we were enjoying the best of food and wines and more while thousands of kilometers away Americans are dismayed by the deadly terrorist bombings at the end of the Boston Marathon. Well, to look on the positive side…here in peaceful Singapore, we are lucky to be celebrating Life, Good Food & Good Wines. We sincerely sympathise with the innocent victims but life must go on…The French say: c’est la vie’.
I, for one, have already observed one minute of silence in their Honour. I felt for a moment like the Emperor Nero in Rome, fiddling while Rome burned…as I bit into my richly flavoured slightly gamey Foie Gras coated with black Truffle.
The audience profile of WGS is very different from that of SAVOUR 2013 which just ended 2 days ago. Savour has a young crowd of food and wine lovers, mainly consumers but WGS has an attendence of older, higher net worth individuals, including the nouveau riche…plus potential buyers for the F&B, Restaurants, Cafes and Hotel industry. A good place to promote new products and to perhaps, for a wine or liquer, to be put on the Wine List of a 5-Star Hotel. You get the idea…My readers, I know, are intelligent, discerning people with open minds. I don not need to spell it out. At this point, I want to say a BIG Thank You to you for reading my articles and your many kind comments!
Jean-Francois Piege is one of the stellar Chefs here. I know him from when he was at the fabled Hotel de Crillon in Paris, and he cooked for me a most fantastique Degustation Menu in Les Ambassadeurs. I love the Hotel de Crillon. It is one of my favourites in ‘la ville lumiere‘. Currently closed for a major renovation, I can hardly wait to return to stay in one of their ueber-luxuriuos suites. Jean-Francois is a very nice gentleman. Like all great Chefs, humble, polite and affable, unlike Gordon Ramsay. “I left Hotel de Crillon and Les Ambassadeurs at my peak as it were …because I wanted to express myself and have more freedom to cook as I please. When you work for a famous Hotel, you are are accountable for many things…Now, I am accountable only to my guests. I want to please them with my food!” Well said! Embedded with 1-Stellar Restaurant (part of the Rochester Group) for the WGS, , I can’t wait to see how his cuisine has evolved since he last cooked for me at Les Ambassadeurs.
The food and wines of which there was ample supplies were at the Aquarium which was too dimly lit for comfort. Surrounded by denizens of the DEEP, I picked my way gingerly through the huge crowd of guests to queue up for Foie Gras, Brittany Oysters, Champagne and other goodies. I hope for WGS 2014, there will be an air con venue that is big enough to accomodate the huge guest list.
I like this fish a lot. A certain agency used the poison from this fish to try to liquidate evil communist Castro of Cuba. It was a pity they did not succeed but now Castro is dying…good riddance!
The Aquarium though good and air conditioned…was simply too small for so very many guests. Some just stood around drinking wine because the queues for the food were simply too long for patience and comfort. I ate my Brittany Oyster and watched the sharks, clown fish and sting rays watching me watching them…Surreal but very nice.
RWS Pastry Chef Kenny Kong’s desserts were excellent. Very well balanced sweets with the right amount of sugar and acid ingredients for a harmonius taste sensation. A very good Chef I am honoured to count as a friend. Like all good Chefs, humble with NO arrogance at all but great skill!
To be continued…