of CASSIA in Capella Singapore on SEntosa Island…
The energetic and audacious Travelling Gourmet TM has a chat with Chef Lee Hiu Ngai of Cassia fine dining Cantonese Restaurant!
Originally from Hong Kong, Chef Lee is now a Singaporean. Chef Lee has had an illustrious career involving culinary stints in the celebrated Noble Court Cantonese restaurant in the Grand Hyatt Beijing, followed by Man Wah in the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. His cuisine shows his respect for the traditions of Cantonese cuisine while at the same time incorporating 21st Century nuances and ideas.
Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM
Copyright all rights reserved
I began with a question close to my heart! Palm Oil not only destroys the forests of Indonesia but also causes Cancer. Top Chefs nowadays make sure they never use palm oil!
The Travelling Gourmet TM:
Just to check that there are no transfats, msg and palm oil in your food?
Chef Lee explained earnestly,
Here at Cassia at Capella Singapore, we do not use any MSG or palm oil in our dishes, as well as conscientiously try to minimise the use of oil when I cook my food. We observe a trend where increasingly, our restaurant guests prefer more healthful and nourishing dishes as well.
The Travelling Gourmet TM: Do you use as far as possible sustainable products in your restaurant for the sake of our environment?
I believe in the importance of sustainable food and environmental conservation. As far as possible, I try to use sustainably sourced ingredients in our dishes.
The Travelling Gourmet : What are your favourite herbs and spices ?
I like Goji berries, Hawthorne Berry, Sea Salt and Soy Salt!
The Travelling Gourmet TM: I love Goji Berries aka Wolfberries…very good for the eyesight!
The Travelling Gourmet TM: Your favourite wines?
I love using the Chinese 花雕酒 in my cooking, as well as Hennessy V.S.O.P. Privilège Cognac.
The Travelling Gourmet TM: I love wine! Sometimes I even put it in the food when I cook! Wahahahah! I am a professional Chef too! Trained by CIA, 3 Michelin Starred Chefs, Lenotre Culinary School in Paris and Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.
The Travelling Gourmet TM: Who inspires you?
My mother is my greatest inspiration and biggest critic. As a chef for more than three decades, I still feel that my mother’s simple yet memorable dishes far surpass mine. She uses simple traditional Cantonese cooking methods and classic ingredients to create dishes which will forever hold a special place in my heart, such as tender pork meat wrapped in a thin fried egg skin.
The Travelling Gourmet TM: I LOVE MY MUM TOO! 🙂 A Chef who pays tribute to his Mum must be good!
The Travelling Gourmet TM: Why did you become a chef?
When I was slightly over 10 years old, I picked up cooking from my uncle, a chef, who taught me my first skills and ignited my culinary passion. After which, I worked in a few renowned Cantonese restaurants in Hong Kong where I further honed my skills from the head chefs.
Chef Lee’s story reminds me of my affable pal, Master Chef Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook fame. Martin ran away from the Communists in China to Hong Kong, then worked his way up to the pinnacle of his profession. Chefs like Martin are a far cry from TV Chefs like Oliver and Lawson who are poseurs and…(I shall refrain from commenting further).
I really like Cassia for Cantonese ‘haute cuisine”. Do not just take my word for it. Go try the food and wines. I always say: Tasting is believing! 🙂
CASSIA at CAPELLA
1 The Knolls