Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Surprise Dinner with Chef for Hire

I was in for a treat in Singapore! It's not just any dinner but this one here is really something special. Ervin arranged a surprise belated birthday dinner for me right at Chef Ryan Hong's pad. For those who are from the republic, you might know him for his fame as the Chef for Hire on Channel 5. Afterall, he's one of the first chef on that channel and he is a private chef that one can hire to cook up a dinner right at the comfort of your own home. However, he's no ordinary private chef because his clientele list will awe you and he's pretty choosy too.

I was really looking forward to dinner, simply because it's a new experience to be dining at the chef's place and there's some wines that I look forward to savour. One of them was the Jacques Selosse Initiale. Having tasted the Version Originale a couple of months ago (here), I can't right forget about Anselme's wines. This Initiale Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut is the entry level champagne compared to its bigger and more refine brother, the V.O.. Ervin asked me not to put too high hopes on this bottle as I've already tasted the best.

This is another 100% chardonnay and the dosage is about 5-6g/l and a total of 33,000 bottles are produced yearly which constitutes two thirds of the wines produced at his vinery. It's also an indication that you're more likely to find Initiale in the market compared to Substance or even the V.O.. We had this to go with the appetiser. On the nose, you can get a nutty and citrus bouquet. And when it touches your palate, there's honey, vanilla, nuts, lemon, peach and flowery notes. The texture is smooth and it does have a good finish. If you can wait, I think this bottle would be better in a few more years to come.

The first dish that the Ryan whipped up after we had a few glasses of Initiale was the Proscuitto with the jelly from the cherry tomatoes, olive and garlic oil, balsamic vinegar and some rocket leaves. It's funny how a simple dish like this can taste so good. A little lemon juice is used to give the dish a lift in flavours! He told us that he improvises with what he has left in the fridge and never be too critical about having a certain ingredient if you don't have it.

While we were waiting for the 2nd dish, we could smell the pork collar roasting in the oven. It smelled so good - a combination of roast and sweet flavours. Ryan is really swift. He can wash dishes, talk, make jokes and cook all by himself without us helping. Next up, we had a generous portion of fusilli mixed with his special tomato-based-sauce, chopped rocket leaves and topped with a spoonful of black tobiko (flying fish roe coloured with squid ink). I was surprised that a spoonful of that would make the pasta dish tasted different due to the salty and umami taste. At the same time, he did also share the secrets to cooking an al dente pasta. Hmm.. that's a very good tip but I can't share it because that will be my weapon to cooking a perfect pasta.

The last dish we had that night was also the highlight of the dinner as he has been roasting this slab of pork collar for hours. It's not easy to get a pork collar but if you do have it, try to treat it with utmost respect. The meat at the collar is not only tender, it's robust in flavours and so juicy! Ryan had done a good job in roasting this with a normal oven. I thought a chef like him will have super duper high-tech kitchen gadgets but he didn't have any of it. Now, I think I can cook like him too! Lol..

The colour of the wines we had that night somehow are all in this yellow, golden and amber hues. It was very kind of him to share some of his vintage cigars with us and then some of this 97 Riesling from Franz Kunstler. He told us that it's worth thousands of dollars and so I didn't waste even a single drop of it. It's refreshing to drink sweet wines once in a while and for a moment, I thought this bottle here tasted better than the Chateau Y'quem 2001 I had last year! Hehe...

But that's not all the fun. The best part of the dinner is to play with both his dogs. They are just so super lovely!

Their names are so cute. Don't you think so? This Patchy loves it so much when I stroked him while he laid flat on the floor and Lulu has her tongue sticking out all the time. I wished they were my dogs! Patchy loves to play the throw and fetch with the blue soft toy. In fact, the toy is so wet with all his saliva and he doesn't let go knowing that I like to snatch the toy away from him. This is too cute!!

I really had a good time there! Thanks to Ervin & Chef Ryan!


Mun Mun said...

Oooo.. Something interesting! Without a doubt, I am sure you had fun and pretty good wines plus food was presented.

Thumbs Up! Bon Appetite!

Sean said...

home cooking that looks way better than most hotel cooking! pretty interesting presentation ... at first glance, i thought the prosciutto might have been smoked salmon, while the pork collar looked almost like lamb loin! ok, or maybe i need new glasses :D

eiling lim said...

Mun Mun: Thanks!

Sean: Haha.. Maybe it's my photography problem lo... I'm sure you don't need new glasses.

suituapui said...

Wowwwwwww!!! You certainly get to rub shoulders with the rich and the famous... *envy!!!

suituapui said...

Wowwwwwww!!! You certainly get to rub shoulders with the rich and the famous... *envy!!!

missyblurkit said...

wow! amazing food from a home's kitchen. i do suspect since he is chef...he must have made it so easy.

the furkids are sooooo adorable!

Huai Bin said...

OMG how nice! Yeah, I've heard of this, but I haven't experienced it.

Awesome birthday present Eiling, am sure you enjoyed it.

Very unique and right up your alley too. I would love an experience like this. :D

Ryan said...

The food and pups seem familiar!

Anonymous said...

The "best" in Selosse's range is not the VO. Try the Substance. It's out of this world but perhaps an acquired taste for some.

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