Talking food! Featured

Three famous chefs reveal their kitchen secrets

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27 March 2013

When it comes to great eats, the magic lies in the kitchen. We have selected three famous chefs, and asked them to share their knowledge of food culture. Their answers are an invitation to enjoy wonderful delicacies, and they also provide us with a glimpse of the profound culture underlying the culinary arts, much more than just titles on a menu. We selected three different ingredients: lobster, foie gras and fish maw. Let's find out their fascinating and the best cooking methods for achieving unforgettable flavours.

Kwong Wai Keung, Executive Chef of Chinese cuisine
The Langham, Hong Kong

Where do the most suitable lobsters for Cantonese cuisine come from?
The best lobsters are from the South China Sea. They are perfect for Cantonese cooking; stir-fried, the meat is tender and flavourful.
What should you avoid when eating lobster?
Don't eat it after spicy and sour dishes. Those flavours tend to cover up its authentic and delicate taste.
During a meal, when should lobster be served?
Before eating red or white meat is the best moment to savour lobster as its flavour is relatively light.
In Cantonese cuisine, how do you cook lobster to get the best flavour?
Use the simplest techniques, without too much seasoning, in order not to mar its natural taste. Side dishes with strong flavours are of course not suitable, and so stir-frying or soup-cooking is the best way to enhance the lobster's flavour.

Rémi van Peteghem, Chef at Gaddi’s
The Peninsula, Hong Kong

Which is the best kind of foie gras?
The best is freshly-made, without any preservatives. It has a pleasant taste and a distinctive fragrance.
What is the difference between foie gras and duck liver paté?
In recent years, in France, duck liver has been used for this sort of paté, because really good goose liver is hard to find and expensive. Fresh duck liver is readily available and so its paté can be produced in much larger quantities. Freshness is key for the best taste.
How can you tell a really good foie gras from its appearance?
Yes, it should be creamy yellow with a touch of pink. If it is bright red, it means that it contains residues of blood, which will adversely affect the taste.
Where does the best foie gras come from?
Since it is a traditional French product, the most famous brands come from the southwest of France. They are best sellers worldwide.
What wine would go well with foie gras?
Cold foie gras can be accompanied by white wines that have a hint of sweetness; warm foie gras are best with red wine.

Li Shu Tim, Executive Chef, Chinese cuisine
Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

What is maw?
The maw is a dried internal gas-filled organ found in most fish. The best maw comes from Bahaba taipingensis, the Chinese bahaba, found in the Indian Ocean, Vietnam and Myanmar. The larger the fish‘s body, the higher the quality of the maw.
How do you cook maw?
Stewing is a technique that enhances the maw's glial, creating perfect flavour. A consommé is another preparation that benefits from the high quality-protein of maw, and it typically contains bone collagen as well.
Are there male and female maws?
Yes, the best maw is male, because it contains more glial.
What are the characteristics of well-braised maw?
It should not smell fishy. It should have a fragrant gum flavour, and should be snow white with a golden lustre.
Why is maw so expensive?
Overfishing, pollution and other factors have caused this fish to be caught only at small sizes. This, along with the surge in demand in recent years, has led to the price of maw doubling in a relatively short time.
Is maw better new or aged?
The older dried maw is, the better it is. Stored properly, its colour becomes dark brown and the glial taste will be more full-bodied. Then, it is considered the best type of maw.