August 11, 2012 00:00 By MANOTE TRIPATHI THE NATION
The World Gourmet Festival returns to the Four Seasons Bangkok next month
Bangkok’s gourmets will once again ascend to food heaven next month, as the 13th World Gourmet Festival offers not-to-be-missed culinary experiences from eight acclaimed top chefs and food connoisseurs from around the world. In addition to fine dining, participants will enjoy a cigar-and rum-pairing session, a cheese tasting with an eleveur de fromages and the chance to bone up on the latest wining trends in a wine masterclass with Asia’s renowned Master of Wine.
The chefs will showcase their signature creations for two nights each at the Four Seasons Hotel in addition to gourmet lunches during the weeklong festival, which runs from September 3 to 9. This year, both the Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai and Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui are joining the World Gourmet action, with each hosting a one-night-only dinner with one of the participating chefs.
Celebrities from the global food world will be sharing their expertise in masterclasses. Jeannie Cho Lee will lead a wine masterclass. Eleveur de Fromages Jean-Francois Antony will facilitate the cheese tasting events while Patoro Cigars and Eastory Rums host the cigar and rum-pairing event. Dilmah Tea’s mixologist Robert Schinkel will also treat guests to an extraordinary Afternoon Tea.
Once again, the WGF will be supporting Her Royal Highness Princess Somsavali’s Save A Child’s Life from Aids Project under the auspices of the Thai Red Cross Society. A portion of every ticket price, as well as proceeds from an auction, will be donated to this charity.
MEET THE CHEFS
Michael Mina, San Francisco, USA
Born in Cairo, Egypt and raised in Ellensburg, Washington, Michael Mina has had a long love affair with the kitchen, creating memorable dining experiences for guests from a very early age. Mina’s epicurean journey began in 1987 at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.
He has been honoured with numerous accolades, including the Michelin two-star award and San Francisco Chronicle’s four-star award for the original Michael Mina restaurant in San Francisco.
Frederic Vardon, Le 39V, Paris, France
Born in Normandy into a family of charcutiers and farmers, Frederic Vardon inherited cooking traditions from his grandmother. After completing an apprenticeship with Jean-Pierre Morot-Gaudry and training with Alain Dutournier, in 1988, Vardon joined Alain Chapel’s culinary team at Mionnay. The chef now heads the team at Le 39V, a peaceful haven built on the rooftops of 39, Avenue George V in Paris. Awarded its first Michelin star in February, Le 39V offers guests a cuisine that is tasty and honest, bringing them the best flavours of the best products available.
Shiqin Chen, La Rei, Il Boscareto, Piedmont, Italy
An expert in Piedmontese cuisine, Shiqin Chen set out on his career as chef as a boy. Born in 1980 in Shanghai, his desire to travel spurred him to visit Europe where, by mere chance, he attended a course for foreigners at the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners. The course introduced him to France and Spain. Various internships followed, allowing Chen to come of age in some of Italy’s best Michelin-starred restaurants, from Il Pescatore in Cannetosull’Oglio to the Antica Corona Reale in Cervere, where he acquired 10 years’ experience working alongside Chef GianpieroVivalda.
Igor Macchia, La Credenza, Piedmont, Italy
After many years spent experimenting and creating his personal style, both as a chef and pastry chef, Igor Macchia finally began a co-ownership with La Credenza in 2005, and was awarded one Michelin Star the following year. Macchia also managed to find the time to nourish another great passion of his: the Eastern world and culture. He travelled through China and Japan, India and Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Maldives, not only to promote his culinary art, but also to learn more about Eastern cultures. The result is his original blend of colours and tastes, textures and shapes in the form of his most creative and ambitious recipes.
Masa Shimakawa, ONYX, California, USA
Hakodate, Japan may be an ocean away from Los Angeles, but it’s just a dinner seating away at ONYX at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, California, where chef de cuisine Masa Shimakawa holds sway. Born, raised and schooled in the port city noted for “perhaps the world’s greatest seafood” by Chowhound.com, Shimakawa has created Asian-style beauty with the pick of the Pacific since opening the restaurant in 2006.
Ever cognisant of the importance of innovation, Shimakawa creates thoroughly original dishes using western ingredients in eastern style, such as Maguro “Tataki” with seared Ahi tuna, spicy corn salsa and sweet sesame soy, and Miso Gin-Dara with Saikyo miso-marinated black cod and sweet soy drizzle.
Galvin Lim, Les Amis, Singapore
Les Amis’ executive chef, Galvin Lim, began his culinary odyssey as a student at the SHATEC Institute. After graduation, he worked his way up through the ranks at Shangri-La’s now defunct La Tour Restaurant, where he spent eight years under the tutelage of mentor-chef David Mollicorne, before joining the Au Jardin opening team as resident chef. Over the years, he has trained in some of the world’s most renowned kitchens, such as Lameloise in Burgundy, Le Gavroche in London, and Les Elyses du Vernet in Paris under Alain
Victor Quintill Imbernn, Lluerna, Barcelona, Spain
A Barcelona native, Victor Quintill Imbernn began his culinary journey at the Escolad’Hosteleria I Restauraci de Barcelona, after which he apprenticed and worked at some of the most important restaurants in the region, including the Michelin-starred El Reno and famed temple of modern gastronomy, El Bulli. His own restaurant, Lluerna, in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, which he runs with his sommelier wife, Mar, specialises in seasonal, Mediterranean-influenced degustation menus with dishes like beef entrecte with white eggplant; and dry aged ox with mustard parmentier and endives.
Diego Irrera, 1884 Restaurante, Mendoza, Argentina
The beloved Francis Mallman restaurant in Argentina’s Mendoza Valley, where Diego Irrera is head chef, is a tribute to the wines of the region paired with Andean cuisine, employing Incan clay oven cooking and grilling techniques for their exquisite meats. Italian-born Irrera has worked his way up the ranks at Francis Mallman establishments in Buenos Aires, Patagonia and Mendoza, coming to embody over time the wood fire and cast iron cooking style behind the earthy good food of Argentina’s Indians and gauchos.