How has the way that you cook changed as your career has progressed?
My style of cooking has progressively become more refined. In the beginning of my career, I was working in local pubs and making standard, 3-course dishes which required larger portions with bold and heavy flavours. Since then, I have had the opportunity to work in different fine dining restaurants around the world, sharpen my technique and use a broader spectrum of fine produce. As I grew older, I took a page from each experience to refine my technique and develop a more delicate style of cooking.
Where and how do you find inspiration for your work?
My inspiration comes from memories; what my family and I used to prepare for Sunday dinners at home, what I cooked with my friends after fishing on the docks, and even the meals I used to have in the pubs where I worked in my younger days. That to me, was food that meant something. I try to find comfortable, wholesome flavours and present them in a simple dish that creates lasting memories for the guests as well.
Did you grow up eating mushrooms? What is your earliest memory of eating a mushroom or a mushroom dish?
My mum is a vegetarian so naturally our fridge was always filled with vegetables and mushrooms were no exception. When I was younger, she always cooked sautéed garlic mushrooms for me as a side dish to many meals.
Do you see mushrooms as a luxurious ingredient or a humble ingredient?
I would say they are both. They are such versatile ingredients that depending on how you prepare them, they can go anywhere from a simple homemade meal to an elegant fine dining meal paired with a range of luxurious items.
For the rest of your life you can cook with, and eat, only one variety of mushroom – which variety do you choose and why?
I would choose chestnut mushrooms. Compared to other types of mushrooms, they are most versatile with less moisture and great flavour. They can be used in any meal period and its simplicity lends itself to any type of preparation.
What’s the secret to getting the most flavour out of fungi? Please explain the methods and ingredients that compliment it.
There is no secret and it really depends on the style of dish you are creating and with what type of mushroom. I prefer to prepare it à la Grecque, which involves warming the mushrooms, warming them up in a high quality olive oil, adding some garlic and lots of shallots, then topping off with thyme and Amalfi lemon zest. The process helps cure and marinate the mushroom, a great way to extract the flavour.
If you’re cooking mushrooms at home for yourself or your friends how do you like to prepare them?
If we were looking at cooking with basic chestnut mushrooms, I would roast them in butter, then sweat them with some garlic and thyme, remove from the heat and finish with a splash of aged Madeira.
Can you describe a memorable experience involving a glass or bottle of Krug?
My first glass of Krug was coincidentally on my first night in Singapore during my first meal at JAAN, so the whole experience was incredibly special. The flavours in Krug were rich and delicate, sweet and perfect. It was a taste of gold.
What is the dish you have paired with Krug Grande Cuvée?
Title: Scottish Langoustine with Morel Mushrooms and Madeira Hollandaise
- Scottish Langoustine
- Morel Mushrooms
- Madeira Hollandaise
Please explain the inspiration behind the dish?
My inspiration for every dish I create is based on the best and finest produce that is available during the season. This is a time when fresh morels are abundant in France and Scottish langoustine is one of my absolute favourite ingredients to use.
Why does it pair so well with Krug Grande Cuvée?
The dish pairs well with Krug Grande Cuvée because both have similar characteristics, which nicely complement each other. They are both rich and delicate at the same time. Krug Grand Cuvée helps highlight the layers of each ingredient to bring out the earthiness of the morels, the richness of the madeira and sweetness of the Scottish langoustine.