Twenty leading chefs partner up for what promises to be the meal of a lifetime
IT’S RAISED an impressive Bt87.5 million to support the education of underprivileged kids over the last eight years and Gourmet One, organiser of the ninth edition of the Bangkok Chefs Charity dinner, will be hoping to nose that figure past the Bt100 million mark when it brings the high-profile event back to the Royal Ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok on March 3.
The beneficiary of the funds, the Royal Patrol Police Schools under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, recently opened the Bangkok Chef Charity Border Patrol Police School in Ban Mae Longtai, Omkoi District of Chiang Mai Province, where the 20 chefs involved in the programme led by Norbert Kostner of Mandarin Oriental Bangkok were on hand to welcome the Princess. In addition to supporting construction, the money has also been used for scholarships as well as purchasing books, school materials and sports equipment – in short everything these kids need for a fully rounded education.
Kostner, who has lived in Thailand for some 48 years and who serves as an adviser to the Royal Projects, was making his first trip to Omkoi District, which is so remote that it requires a full eight hours to drive the 320 kilometres from the city.
He was overcome by emotion at the opening of the school, telling XP, “It is difficult to describe my feelings but I am so pleased that these kids will have a future thanks to the gift of knowledge. Learning is very important. Without knowledge, they risk being taken advantage of. His Majesty the late King Rama IX and Princess Sirindhorn have done a wonderful job in initiating schooling in these remote areas as part of the royal projects. You can give people anything but if they don’t have knowledge, they can’t take care of themselves and their families. And we humans take pride in being able to take care of ourselves, we don’t want other people to take care of us. So it was fantastic to see how happy the children were with their new school. It was lovely to cook for them too, as they not only finished their plates but came back for more. I teased them, telling them they had already devoured double portions and they giggled in return, saying ‘a-roi’ (delicious). It made me so happy,” he said.
This year’s event will see 20 top chefs from 18 five-star hotels and Thai Airways International preparing a gourmet 10-course menu highlighting premium food products from around the world, Thailand included. They will use camellia seed oil from Pat-Pat and pesticide-free vegetables from Jan-Ka-Pak, two royal agricultural development projects under the Chaipattana Foundation at the Chakraband Pensiri Center for Plant Development at Tambon Pongpha in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai District.
The foundation’s Bhakamol Rattaseri says that both royal projects are working hard to support long-term sustainability through top-quality products. “Our camellia seed oil is the result of Princess Sirindhorn’s tireless efforts to improve the wellbeing of everyone from consumers to farmers. She brought the seeds from China and gave them to the Centre for further experiments and development. The oil is known to have great health benefits and is not only cold pressed with a high level of unsaturated fats, but also has a high boiling point of 252 degrees Celsius, making it suitable for all types of cooking and food preparation,” she says.
Chefs Dominique Bugnand of Mandarin Oriental Bangkok and Richard Sawyer of the St. Regis Bangkok will be in charge of the canapes for next month’s dinner and will be serving up such tasty mouthfuls as Sangria scented watermelon, cured Manchego, Dublin Bay Prawn Cocktail, Siam Mary foam, smoked paprika, Citrus cured Scottish salmon, blue crab, avocado, and pink grapefruit.
Markus Zuck of Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok and Nathan Chilcott of Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit will follow with a dish of Japanese scallop, lemon, red radish, fennel, and hairy basil.
Gael Lardiere of the Athenee Hotel joins Marc Erwin Cibrowiu of Shangri-La hotel in presenting a trio of lobster dishes on one plate –lobster mousse infused with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. lobster tartare with passion fruit sour cream and warm lobster medallion with beurre noisette, shaved fennel, baby carrot and smoked Thai dressing.
The meal will continue with Agasta soup with smoked Mascarpone, dried Belota, and preserved lemon prepared to perfection by Jan Van Dyk of Anantara Siam Bangkok and Antony Scholtmeyer of the Okura Prestige Bangkok.
Thai chefs Thitisorn Amatasin of the Sukhothai Bangkok and Somchai Deeying of Centara Grand Bangkok have come up with a fish course of which they are very proud. It boasts kata salmon filled with yuzu butter, a whole roasted tangerine, and smoked salmon dressed with a Thai style prik kluea and pomelo and citrus fennel jelly.
“I’m very proud to participate in this project, which is not only about raising money for a good cause but also showcases Thai ingredients to the world. It makes me so happy when our Western colleagues show interest in our dish and ask questions about the ingredients,” says Somchai.
Chefs Michael Hogan of Marriott Queen’s Park and Mark Hagenbach of Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit will present poached rougie foie gras in double black chicken with Thai mushroom broth, Iberico shavings, and Chinese Date Chutney. Gaetano Palumbo of Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit and Rolando Manesco of InterContinental Bangkok, meanwhile, go wild for pasta with home-made potato tortelli, goat cheese and celery, wild rocket sauce, and royal project mushrooms.
Philippe Gaudal of the Landmark Bangkok joins with Kevin B Thomson of JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok for a duck dish dubbed “Roots and Duck” that meldsroasted and pickled beetroot and radish with slowed cooked duck breast, horseradish cream, citrus dressing, tea oil, and the Egyptian condiment dukkah made from spices, nuts and herbs.
Kostner joins with fellow Mandarin Oriental Bangkok chef Dominique Bugnand for a dish of lamb roasted with ratatouille and zucchini wrapper, potato mille feuille and thyme.
The meal finishes with three desserts. Pisit Jinopong of the Dhara Dhevi in Chiang Mai will present his “Thep Sukhon white truffle sorbet” made with the white truffle successfully cultivated by the Chakraband Pensiri Centre
Chefs Philippe Keller of Dusit Thani Bangkok and Pierre Andre Hauss of Thai Airways International Plc will offer a sinfully rich ivory chocolate sphere matcha dusted dessert with a lychee and raspberry heart and Bourbon vanilla cream green tea oil. And last but certainly not least, Christophe Sapy also of the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is creating a “Wheelbarrow Sweet Garden” of petits fours with chocolate, carrot and beetroot, candy jelly pebbles complete with chocolate soil and a mini spade.
“With such a wide variety of dishes, the wine pairing is extremely challenging,” says Nick Reitmeier, executive vice president, Central Food Retail, which is sponsoring the wine for the dinner.
“It’s hard to match a wine with three types of lobsters in one dish, but I think we have managed it.”
And in line with the spirit of the charity event, this year’s dinner will see the participation of 11 young and aspiring young chefs who will partner with their older and much more experienced confreres and learn from the pros.
PERFECTION ON A PLATE
- The 2018 Bangkok Chefs Charity Dinner takes place on March 3 at the Royal Ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok.
- Seats cost Bt12,500 and there are 10 seats at each table.
- Advance reservation is recommended at (02) 4033388 extension 511 or (085) 1526857 or by mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
n All proceeds without any deductions will go straight to the Royal Patrol Police Schools under the patronage of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.