Chef Justin Quek’s style in keeping dishes simple but elegant is simply his forte.
The celebrity chef from Singapore talks about food with much passion, stressing on simplicity in his Franco-Asian cuisine where he cleverly uses French cooking techniques to highlight South-East Asian ingredients in an experience that will leave diners charmed.
“The world is about combination and it is the best when you get it right,” said Quek who is tantalising taste buds with his Franco-Asian cuisine at The Library, The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur until tomorrow.
“Being Asian, I think Asian… you eat what you see and ingredients are important.”
Singapore-born Quek’s culinary journey can be traced to when he was a steward on a merchant ship before following his passion to cook.
Quek who worked alongside his mentor chef Bertrand Langlet at The Oriental Hotel Singapore received the senior chef’s encouragement to pursue training in France and it was in Europe that Quek would hone his skills.
In his illustrious 30-year career, Quek gained experience at Michelin-starred restaurants but it was his seven-year stint at Sky on 57 at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore that won him raving reviews and accolades.
The restaurant together with Flight Bar & Lounge ceased operations in June, this year.
Quek has earned several awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 8th Annual New World Food and Wine Festival 2004 and World Gourmet Summit Award of Excellence Hall of Fame Best Chef.
As a frequent traveller, Quek finds that Asian food is wrongly interpreted overseas as there is more to it than just sweet-and-sour sauces.
“I do not copy Western chefs as I have my own style of cooking but I incorporate French techniques,” said Quek.
For his first appearance as guest chef at The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, Quek’s non-complicated and elegant menu is all about the ingredients.
The dining experience at The Library featuring Quek’s signature starters of Mushroom Cappuccino, Ceps Cream; Duck Foie Gras Xiao Long Bao; Cauliflower Puree, Oscietra Caviar and White Chocolate was a tantalising peek into Quek’s French-Asian creations.
Served in small portions, the hors d’oeuvres are accompanied by the refreshing sparkling fruitiness of Canard-Duchene Cuvee Leonie Brut.
The Duck Foie Gras Xiao Long Bao is to be relished before tasting the silky and rich mushroom soup.
The soup is reflective of simplicity.
Preferring button and cep mushrooms for his soup, Quek uses water, cream and milk to complete his creation.
The chef who enjoys highlighting the natural flavour of lobster, presented the appetiser of Duo of Maine Lobster, Wild Mushrooms, Shaoxing Cream paired with J. Moreau & Fils Fourchaume, Chablis Premier Cru.
In fact, the fragrance of Shaoxing wine and lobster encouraged diners not to waste the creamy sauce, using bread to relish every bit.
The main course of Crispy Scale Blue Cod Fillet Clam and Herb Fondue piqued diners’ curiosity as the fish scales on the crisp skin paints a pretty picture while the flesh remains opaque and tender.
A clear and slighty sweet Dr. Loosen Bernkasteler Lay Riesling Kabinett accompanied the wild cod but those opting for the beef will get a taste of the chosen red – Knappstein Shiraz from Clare Valley.
Fermented beans and star anise are some Asian elements in Quek’s Asian Braised Angus Beef and Seared Wagyu Beef Oriental Greens, which is extra interesting with the inclusion of chestnut offering an earthy touch.
Quek rounds up the meal with a light Chocolate and Mint Floating Island, Caramelised Crispy Rice served with Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry.
The four-course dinner is priced from RM300 per person.
On his future plans, Quek is looking forward to opening a fine-dining restaurant in Marina Bay Sands next year while promoting his brand of ready-made sauces and dips, wines and his cookbooks.
THE LIBRARY, Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, 168, Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2142 8000). Business hours: 6pm to 1am, daily.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.
Published at Sun, 16 Jul 2017 14:30:00 +0000