Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM
The intrepid and irrepressible Travelling Gourmet savour Epicurean Delights by Chef Ian Curley at…
MARVELLOUS The Prime Society on Dempsey Hill. Chef Ian Curley who is in Singapore for the World Gourmet Summit 2014 kindly cooked his signature dishes for me to taste. Born in England, his 24 hour restaurant “The European” in Melbourne, Australia has earned many accolades. The first course of maroon red Beetroot Carpaccio with crunchy Smoked Walnuts, Soft Curd and herbs was light and most refreshing. The dishes were matched with Japanese Sake! A nice bite was the Truffle Duck Liver and Smoked Eel Parfait. The tasty mousse was piped into a crispy ‘cigar’ and looked like a cute spring roll. The slightly sour Pear Chutney that came with it was nice too. A nice one for seafood lovers was a generous slice of John Dory Fillet subtly spiked with Indian spices like Turmeric and Coriander. It came with orange segments and Roasted Witlof. As Chef Ian explained, “Now food is so expensive, we use everything! I saved the orange peel to roast the John Dory for extra flavour. I don’t put foam and stuff on my food.” His style of giving a contemporary twist to classical cuisine was evident in the main course…Cape Grim Flat Iron Steak done “rare” with a sleek Bone Marrow Sauce and Mustard Crust. Tender, moist and succulent. I loved it! Incidentally, ‘Flat Iron” is the cut of meat near the shoulder..
My motto, “das Leben es ist unbestimmt, iss erst den Nachtisch!” means ‘Life is uncertain, eat dessert first!’ so I really adore desserts. His signature dessert is Chocolate Salty Caramel with Creme Fraiche Sorbet and Caramelized Peanuts. Two spheres, slightly bigger than a golf ball…one black and one white was on my plate. The white one was the Creme Fraiche Sorbet while the black ball was the gooey Salty Chocolate Caramel fudge enrobed in a 1mm thick chocolate shell. The level of saltiness to my mnd was just right, not too much and not too litle either. To keep things simple, creme fraiche is really another name for sour cream so it gives you that slight sour, tart flavour.
The Travelling GourmetTM interviews Chef Ian Curley
In an exclusive interview with The Travelling GourmetTM, I asked him, “What made you want to be a Chef?” Down to earth Chef Ian Curley confessed candidly, “In Coventry, there was no work. If you know Coventry, you know why you want to get out. Being a Chef was a good way to get out of Coventry and meet girls…”
TTG: What are your favourite spices to work with?
Chef Ian: Pepper, ginger…I like Cardamom, very good in ice cream and just boiled with milk.
TTG: I like your program “Conviction Kitchen” which helps former convicted prison inmates to learn culinary skill so they can change their lives. What inspired you to start this program?
Chef Ian: When I was young, I wasn’t lucky enough to get a good education. There’s NO unemployment in hospitality and food. I always believe you should give a bit back to society…anyone can make a mistake. That’s why I started this program.
TTG: What qualities makes a good Chef?
Chef Ian said emphatically: Hard work. Some Chefs want to be an ‘overnight sensation’…after a few years you never hear of them again. You have to be consistent. You can’t go out on the town and get drunk four nights a week. It took me thirty years to be an “overnight success”.
At The Prime Society, Chef Ian Curley is cooking with the restaurant’s affable Head Chef, Dallas Cuddy. My good friend, lovely “Prime Princess” Ingrid, the owner of The Prime Society, said, “The Prime Society is honoured to be having Chef Ian Curley, and having mentored our Head Chef Dallas Cuddy, WGS 2014 promises to push the envelope with the reunion of these two exceptional Chefs.”
The Prime Society
10 Dempsey Road
01-20 Dempsey Hill
Tel: +65 6474 7427
Hours: Mon and Tue 6pm -10.30pm
Wed to Sun 12noon – 10.30pm
Bar stays open till late