PAY­ING IT FOR­WARD

With lit­tle fan­fare, Dis­ci­ples Es­coffier In­ter­na­tional, Sin­ga­pore Del­e­ga­tion is do­ing its bit to groom ris­ing chefs

Wine & Dine - - CHEF DU JOUR - D@E, Sin­ga­pore is fully sup­ported by e2i. For D@E en­quiries, pls email jes­sica.es­coffier@ gmail.com

Since it was of­fi­cially in­au­gu­rated last year, the Sin­ga­pore chap­ter of Dis­ci­ples Es­coffier—a 30,000-strong global net­work cel­e­brat­ing the spirit of Au­guste Es­coffier, fa­ther of modern French cui­sine—has been hard at work, or­gan­is­ing events and sup­port­ing ac­tiv­i­ties that es­pouse Es­coffier values, namely, equal­ity among mem­bers, shar­ing knowl­edge, re­spect for culi­nary cul­ture and in­no­va­tion, and giv­ing back to so­ci­ety.

IN GOOD COM­PANY

Dis­ci­ples Es­coffier In­ter­na­tional, Sin­ga­pore Del­e­ga­tion counts il­lus­tri­ous mem­bers of the lo­cal chef com­mu­nity as mem­bers. But D@E, Sin­ga­pore is not just a group­ing for chefs; it’s for any­one who be­lieves in Es­coffier’s ethos. Their gourmet din­ner last Novem­ber was graced by Michel Es­coffier, great grand­son of Au­guste Es­coffier, and sup­ported by the Em­bassy of France in Sin­ga­pore.

WHAT’S COOKING

With the sup­port from e2i, D@E, Sin­ga­pore will or­ches­trate and part­ner with an In­sti­tute of Higher Learn­ing (IHL) for a new ven­ture in 2019: The Es­coffier Sym­po­sium.

Over­seas mas­ter chefs will be in­vited to the Sym­po­sium as speak­ers, shar­ing the trick of the trade with pas­sion and ex­cite­ment on how they con­tinue to learn and evolve.

MENTORING TAL­ENTS

Other than strength­en­ing culi­nary net­works and fundrais­ing for good causes, a key tenet of D@E, Sin­ga­pore’s mis­sion is to nur­ture the next gen­er­a­tion of chefs through the an­nual Young Tal­ents Es­coffier (YTE) com­pe­ti­tion. Last year, Sin­ga­pore’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive, 24-year-old Koh Han Jie made his­tory when he rep­re­sented Sin­ga­pore at the YTE Asia se­lec­tion held in Hong Kong, win­ning the Asian se­lec­tion for the first time.

Not only that, un­der the men­tor­ship of na­tional culi­nary coach chef Khoo Wee Bin, (di­rec­tor, Culi­nary Train­ing at HCSA) and chef Ed­mund Toh (hon­orary pres­i­dent, D@E, Sin­ga­pore), he went on to Zurich ear­lier this year, clinch­ing the YTE world ti­tle. Ac­com­pa­nied by Toh, Jes­sica Prevost, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of D@E, Sin­ga­pore, Lau­rent Brouard, group ex­ec­u­tive chef of Bistro Du Vin, and Justin Chow, a stu­dent from SHATEC, Koh im­pressed the in­ter­na­tional panel of judges by mak­ing the best dish us­ing ev­ery part of two farm chick­ens, in­clud­ing a pomme fon­dante (fon­dant potato) us­ing the tech­nique as de­scribed in Es­coffier’s Le Guide Culi­naire or A Guide to Modern Cook­ery (1982).

This year, 24-year-old Neo Jun Hao, bet­ter known as Hob­bit, hopes to fol­low in his foot­steps. The for­mer chef de par­tie of Ding Dong came up tops in the YTE Sin­ga­pore

se­lec­tion 2018 with his dish of poularde à la Paysanne or poached chicken breast in aro­matic court-bouil­lon, chicken roulade with herbs chicken mousse, thyme con­fit winglet, savoury mush­room tart­let, and potato de terre à la crème, served with Alle­mande sauce. He will be go­ing on to Hong Kong this Septem­ber to vie for the Asian prize at Restau­rant & Bar Hong Kong, held at Hong Kong Con­ven­tion and Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre. Ac­com­pa­nied by Prevost, Koh, in his ca­pac­ity as YTE world cham­pion 2018 and Neo’s trainer, as well as chef men­tor from the Sin­ga­pore na­tional culi­nary team, Anderson Ho, ex­ec­u­tive chef (air­line cater­ing) and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager for Snorre Food, Neo will be pre­par­ing a salmon fil­let for eight per­sons with three gar­nishes and a clas­sic sauce Genevoise by chef Pa­trick Heu­berger.

Says Neo of the men­tor­ship he is re­ceiv­ing from Koh, Ho and Pa­trick, “It’s such an hon­our to be men­tored by them. One is the for­mer YTE world cham­pion while the other has men­tored the Sin­ga­pore na­tional team. To pre­pare for the up­com­ing YTE Asia se­lec­tion, Han­jie has been help­ing me by shar­ing with me his ex­pe­ri­ence, and giv­ing tips about how I should ap­proach the com­pe­ti­tion. Be­cause the main pro­tein for the com­pe­ti­tion is salmon, chef Anderson, who’s an ex­pert in fish, has been par­tic­u­larly help­ful, ad­vis­ing me about the tech­nique of han­dling the salmon, from cut­ting to cooking and im­prov­ing my tim­ings. I’m still fi­nal­is­ing the con­cept for my dish but I’m look­ing for­ward to the com­pe­ti­tion.”

Neo will ar­rive in Hong Kong four days be­fore YTE com­pe­ti­tion and to con­tinue his train­ing in Bistro Du Vin, helmed by Sin­ga­porean chef Peter Teo.

BET­TER THINGS AHEAD

But their de­vel­op­ment and growth do not end with com­pe­ti­tions. Build­ing on his suc­cess so far, Koh will be chal­leng­ing him­self even more by tak­ing on the role of head chef at El Feugo, a new con­tem­po­rary Euro­pean restau­rant by Collin’s, a brand that won dou­ble ac­co­lades at the Sin­ga­pore Pres­tige Brand Award 2017 for Promis­ing Brands and Most Pop­u­lar Promis­ing Brand. This restau­rant is slated to open at Jewel Changi Air­port when it is ready in the first half of next year. As­sist­ing him will be chef de par­tie Neo.

All this is made pos­si­ble by Toh, who apart from his roles with Es­coffier, is also vice pres­i­dent–culi­nary at Collin’s. He sees it all as part of let­ting the young chefs test their met­tle. Says Toh, “Both of them have been trained well through men­tor­ship by es­tab­lished chefs such as Khoo Wee Bin, Anderson Ho and Pa­trick Heu­berger. They are both very pas­sion­ate, de­ter­mined, com­pe­tent, and will­ing to ac­cept pro­fes­sional crit­i­cism. Through guid­ance by Chef Collin and my­self, we hope to groom them into promis­ing young chefs that can lead the F&B in­dus­try.”

With such sup­port from the in­dus­try, we can ex­pect great things from these young dis­ci­ples of Es­coffier.

Anderson Ho

Neo Jun Hao

Pa­trick Heu­berger

Ed­mund Toh

Koh Han Jie

Khoo Wee Bin

Neo’s win­ning dish: Poularde à la Paysanne

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