Masters of Chinese and Italian Cuisine Featured

Three prestigous chefs share their secrets with us.

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14 October 2009

The Chinese culture is obsessed with cuisine. There is no lack of worldclass restaurants in cities like Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai. Chef Chan Yan Tak, Chef Eugenio Iraci and Chef Fabrice Giraud come from diverse background, but they have one thing in common. Their excellent cuisine has gastronomes in thrall. We find out what they’ve cooked up this season.

Chef Fabrice Giraud
Jade 36, Pudong Shangri-la Shanghai

Fabrice Giraud joined Jade 36 as the new chef de cuisine. With 18 years of experience, he brings innovative, colourful southern dishes such as the Fondant de Porc (pictured) to Shanghai.

How would you describe your cuisine?
I would call it French Classic Modern cuisine. Classic in the choice of gourmet dishes, and the modern touch is all about the look and composition.

After finishing cooking school in Marseille, what was your career path?
London was my first step in the gastronomy world. I then joined Alain Ducasse, working with the famous French chef in Negresco, at Nice. And moved on from Saint Emilion (Bordeaux region) to Brussels where we turned a snack into a first Michelin star, Le Pain et le Vin. Every experience enriched my work as a chef.

What is one of your most popular dishes?
One of the best-sellers so far is the black seabass served with fresh market vegetables and a red wine sauce reduction. The sauce and vegetables beautify the simple taste of the fish. Along with Jade 36’s state-of-the-art kitchen, modern cooking techniques allow us to enhance the produce and beautify its natural flavours.

Would you adapt your French cuisine to fit the Chinese taste?
Understanding the Chinese taste is important, but without compromising the standards. My ravioli with ricotta cheese is popular amongst Chinese clients for its mild test. I also created a vacherin with mango and rose, a French classic desert with an Asian touch.

Jade 36
Pudong Shangri-la Shanghai
33 Fu Cheng Lu, Pudong, Shanghai
Tel. (86 21) 6882 8888

Executive Chef Chan Yan Tak
Lung King Heen, Four Seasons Hong Kong

A mecca of Cantonese cuisine, Lung King Heen offers some of Hong Kong’s most extravagant Cantonese dishes such as the Steamed Goose Liver in Abalone Sauce (pictured). At its helm is Excecutive Chef Chan Yan Tak, the only Chinese chef ever to receive three Michelin stars.

What is the role of Cantonese cuisine in international gastronomy?
That’s not an easy question to answer, because every country has excellent cuisine. Cantonese cuisine certainly has an important position on the world. Cantonese dishes are simple, bringing out the essence of each ingredient. So, it’s easily appreciated by most people. However, for the chef, Cantonese cuisine requires more difficult culinary techniques. Hong Kong’s position makes it easy to source the freshest, the best produce. Chefs have great options when choosing what ingredients they want to use.

How does it feel to receive three Michelin stars?
I just go with the flow, actually. The chefs team and I at Lung King Heen do our very best every day. Motivated also by customers’ praises, we achieved three Michelin stars with this spirit.

What dishes would you recommend this autumn/winter?
Braised Hoi Fu Shark’s Fin with Crab Cream and Gold Leaf. Crab cream is the most delicious and the richest in the autumn/winter season. Having a bowl of warm soup is wonderful when it’s cold outside.

Lung King Heen
Four Seasons Hong Kong
8 Finance Street, Central
Tel. (852) 3196 8888

Chef de Cuisine Eugenio Iraci
Cepe Italian Restaurant,
The Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street

The search for the best Italian cuisine stops at Cepe, an multi-award winning restaurant in Beijing. We find out how delicious memories such as Boston Lobster Linguine (pictured) are made.

Coming from Umbria, Italy, you have also worked in Doha. How would you compare Middle Eastern and Beijingnese cuisine?
Middle Eastern cuisine is spicier and the Beijing taste is more balanced. There is rarely one predominant flavor in one dish, but rather a harmonious blend of several tastes in one dish. In the arid region of the Arabian Gulf countries, vegetables and seafood are often imported from France and Italy. In Beijing, nearly everything is available.

What is your approach when presenting new dishes?
To start with, I’d ask my assistant Frank who is my source of cultural information. Then I will get some trustworthy tasters at the hotel, and I keep working on the dish until it is perfect.

What would you recommend from the autumn/winter menu?
One popular dish is a Wagyu beef braised in cinnamon-scented Barolo wine. The guests love it so much that it is now in the menu all year round and not just for winter.

What are some of your favourite places in Beijing?
I like exploring seafood or fresh produce markets and food stores. I get inspired by the sights, sounds and smell. In fact, I draw a lot of inspiration from scents so what better place to be inspired than where the local food can be found in abundance!

Cepe, Italian Restaurant
The Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street
1 Jin Cheng Fang Street East, Financial Street, Beijing
Tel. (86 10) 6629 6996

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