People 3 minutes 07 May 2019

What I Think About My 4-Hands Partner: Leong Chee Yeng And Kelvin Au Yeung

The duo talk about their upcoming collaboration and what they think of each other.

Fans of Cantonese cuisine are in for an epicurean treat as two maestros — Kelvin Au Yeung, executive chef of three-Michelin-starred Jade Dragon in City of Dreams in Macau, and Leong Chee Yeng, executive chef of the Michelin-Plate Jade in The Fullerton Hotel Singapore are teaming up for their debut cooking collaboration.

Both chefs will kick off the first International Chef Showcase of the year on 16 and 17 May. The event is part of The MICHELIN Guide Singapore 2019 Dining Series that brings top chefs to local restaurants so diners here get to experience some of the world’s best cuisines without having to travel. The event is jointly organised by Michelin and Robert Parker Wine Advocate, and the four-hands collaboration between Au Yeung and Leong will be held at Jade at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.

Although Leong’s culinary training is steeped in Cantonese traditions, he is open to incorporating inspiration from diverse cultures in his “multifaceted culinary style”. One of the dishes that he will showcase is the Sautéed Diced Kagoshima Wagyu Beef In Wasabi Premium Soy Sauce. Although the well-marbled meat is cooked in a classic Cantonese style, Leong serves the meat with a wasabi-infused premium soya sauce to give a touch of Japanese influence.

Jade Restaurant in The Fullerton Hotel Singapore will host the International Chef Showcase between Jade and Macau's Jade Dragon. (Photo: The Fullerton Hotel FB Page)
Jade Restaurant in The Fullerton Hotel Singapore will host the International Chef Showcase between Jade and Macau's Jade Dragon. (Photo: The Fullerton Hotel FB Page)
Leong, who has helmed Jade since it opened in 2008, says: “I draw inspiration from different sources that are not necessarily from the Chinese kitchen. When it comes to the ‘eureka’ moment, it is all about being at the right place at the right time for ideas to spark.”

For Au Yeung, the inspiration for his much-acclaimed cuisine stem from Cantonese culture and age-old ingredients. For this collaboration, he is using prized ingredients such as 25-year-old aged tangerine peel and an aged huatiao wine sauce. Au Yeung is a familiar face at Jade Dragon, having started out as a sous chef as part of the restaurant’s opening team before taking over the top position from former chef Tam Kwok Fung last year. Jade Dragon received its third Michelin star last year.

Au Yeung says: “I seek inspiration from looking at the creations of my peers, reading up online and cooking books, and heading to the market to source for fresh seasonal ingredients.”

The menus in this edition of ICS will be paired with Old World wines that are rated 90 points or more by Robert Parker.

What do you think about four-hands collaborations in general?

Leong: I believe that four-hands collaborations are an excellent way for chefs to learn from one another and exchange ideas. It is important for a chef to get out of the kitchen and experience what the rest of the world is doing. Working closely with another chef in the same kitchen can spark new ideas and new creations.

For diners, it is also an excellent way to experience two sets of culinary styles and dishes by two chefs in one place. In this instance, you don't have to travel to Macau to experience Jade Dragon, you can do it right here in Singapore at Jade. I do not limit the number of chef collaborations in a year; it boils down to finding the right chef and restaurant.

Au Yeung: During the collaboration process, I can observe the skills of the other chefs and, more importantly, learn from their experiences and elevate my culinary standards.

How do you usually select your four-hands partner?

Leong: I am open to suggestions. I choose someone whom I admire — in terms of culinary creativity, style, expertise, etc. Age, nationality and gender do not matter.

Au Yeung: I look out for chefs who share the same culinary styles as me, but they utilise different cooking techniques and methods, which can spark off a good chemistry in this cooking partnership.

What do you think about your four-hands partner this time?

Leong: Chef Au Yeung is very talented and he is definitely a rising star. I admire his culinary style and techniques and would like to learn from him.

Au Yeung: Chef Leong is an excellent and sincere chef, who has a high standard for food quality. I hope we can both create an epicurean feast that will give diners a beautiful memory.

Share with us what can diners can expect from this four-hands collaboration?

Leong: Diners can expect top-notch ingredients that are beautifully presented in unexpected pairings in this special collaboration.

One of the dishes that I will be presenting is the Stuffed Chiffon Fish Mousse Egg. It is not a run-of-the-mill dish that you find in Chinese restaurants. It looks just like a pristine white fishball, but its texture resembles that of a chiffon cake. Bite into it and you’ll find a surprise inside.

Another of my dish is the Sautéed Diced Kagoshima Wagyu Beef In Wasabi Premium Soy Sauce. It is a variation of my signature dish at Jade, which has a touch of Japanese influence. I use fresh wasabi as its flavour is more complex and subtle, and pairs incredibly well with superior soya sauce to give a depth of flavour. Again, this is not a common dish you’ll find in Chinese restaurants.

Au Yeung: My cuisine places emphasis on traditional ingredients and food heritage. For this four-hands collaboration, I will be using a prized 25-year-aged tangerine peel in my dish of Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek With Port Wine. Soup is an important element in Cantonese cuisine. For this collaboration, I will showcase and accentuate the freshness and essence of the fish through a fish maw soup.

Share with us one tip for guests to enjoy this four-hands collaboration to the fullest?

Leong: Come with an open mind and, above all, with a healthy appetite.

Au Yeung: Enjoy and experience the various cooking techniques from chef Leong and I, and appreciate how the dishes have been specially curated for this event.

The MICHELIN Guide Singapore 2019 International Chef Showcase is on 16 & 17 May at Jade Restaurant in The Fullerton Hotel Singapore. Prices start from $195 for a four-course Lunch Menu with wine pairing. Ticketing information can be found here.


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