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People 2 minutes 04 October 2018

What I Think About My 4-Hands Partner: Vicky Lau & Mathieu Escoffier

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

French 4-hands wine

Great gastronomic stories will be told through fine French cuisine and wine when chef Vicky Lau hosts Mathieu Escoffier of Singapore’s newly minted one-Michelin-starred restaurant Ma Cuisine for a four-hands dinner on 9 October and lunch on 10 October at the elegant Tate Dining Room & Bar in Hong Kong.

At Michelin-starred Tate, Lau composes a refined French-Asian menu in a poetic series of odes a la Pablo Neruda. As the meal unfolds, each course is revealed as a celebration of the individual ingredients and their origins. These edible stories embody her artistic expression, marrying Chinese ingredients with classic French techniques.

Over at gastro wine bar Ma Cuisine in Singapore, Escoffier is also in the business of storytelling, turning out rustic French fare to complement carefully chosen wines. For him, every bottle tells a unique story which he recounts with colourful anecdotes of the winegrowers, vineyards, grapes and histories.
Co-owners of Ma Cuisine, Anthony Charmetant and Mathieu Escoffier. (Pic: Ma Cuisine)
Co-owners of Ma Cuisine, Anthony Charmetant and Mathieu Escoffier. (Pic: Ma Cuisine)
Their four-hands collaboration will be a one-of-a-kind wine and food programme, carefully curated to showcase Ma Cuisine’s gastro wine bar approach with Lau’s feminine creative vision. Here, we invite the duo to talk about their upcoming collaboration and what they think about each other.

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

VL: Four-hands collaborations are a great opportunity for chefs to explore the boundaries of ingredients, techniques and the art of cooking itself. I believe it is an invaluable experience and I look forward to the working with chef Mathieu Escoffier.

ME: They’re a fun challenge — they challenge one to think creatively, adapt one’s approach and do something completely different in a new territory. It’s a great opportunity to explore a different style in a collaborative nature, with the desire to surprise your guests with a new and exciting experience. It is a chance to showcase something beyond what might usually be expected of you.
Vicky Lau's presents a refined French-Asian cuisine at Tate (Pic: Tate)
Vicky Lau's presents a refined French-Asian cuisine at Tate (Pic: Tate)
How do you usually select your four-hands partner?

VL: If my schedule allows, I am always keen on collaborating with chefs who share the same vision as mine. I do not have any particular requirements as long as we are both working towards providing our guests with a gourmet experience.

ME: This is the first four-hands I’m taking part in. As Ma Cuisine does not fit the typical restaurant mould, I looked for a four-hands partner who respects our gastro wine bar approach where wine comes first and foremost. It has to be someone I admire in terms of culinary style, who understands fine wines and whom I can be inspired by.
Lau's Ode To Chinese Yam (Pic: Tate)
Lau's Ode To Chinese Yam (Pic: Tate)
What do you think about your four-hands partner this time?

VL: My four-hands partner has extensive knowledge of wine as well as French culinary skills, both qualities which resonate with my cuisine. Chef Mathieu Escoffier believes that every bottle tells a unique story and I believe every dish at Tate Dining Room and Bar does too. Together, we are merging our passions to create a special story for our guests.

ME: I had heard of chef Vicky’s inspiring work as well as her collaboration with Jeannie Cho Lee, a renowned Master of Wine, who curated Tate’s impressive wine list. When Tate approached me, I was honoured and knew this would be a partner who I could align with. Wine will set the scene as chef Vicky brings her eclectic approach to marrying Asian cuisine with French sensibilities, together with our classical French style that revolves around wine.

Please tell us more about the menu you’re presenting together.

VL: Despite the differences in our cuisine, we have created a menu that best reflects our favourite ingredients. Chef Mathieu is famous for his terrine of pork shoulder so for our menu, we have added a slight twist to the flavours, giving it an East-meets-West play on the dish.
Rustic French fare like La Pissaladière (caramelised onion tart) and Le Jambon Persillé (terrine of pork shoulder) at Ma Cuisine. (Pic: Ma Cuisine)
Rustic French fare like La Pissaladière (caramelised onion tart) and Le Jambon Persillé (terrine of pork shoulder) at Ma Cuisine. (Pic: Ma Cuisine)
ME: It will be a creative showcase of our personalities and how Tate and Ma Cuisine are able to explore cuisine in different ways, while reflecting our utmost respect for wine, quality ingredients and seasonality. I will take cues from chef Vicky’s template and vision, which is quite comparable to mine in terms of celebrating produce. Her cuisine is brilliant, set as a series of “odes”, recognising that product quality is essential. Guests can look forward to an impressive line-up of unique wines with at least an above 90 rating from Robert Parker to match, prepared by Cho Lee.

One tip for guests to enjoy this collaboration to the fullest?

VL: Come with a hungry stomach and be ready for a scrumptious meal.

ME: I’d encourage our guests to come curious, hungry and thirsty as they compare our two visions. It will be an inspiring experience where guests can consider why each dish was crafted and how it matches beautifully with the wine.

People

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