One of them is the Stellar Dining Series by The Ritz-Carlton, an annual gourmet extravaganza that features chefs from MICHELIN-starred restaurants in the luxury hotel group.
Returning for its second edition, the Stellar Dining Series will be held from 11 September to 13 October in three Ritz-Carlton hotels in Asia-Pacific. This year’s line-up of events will make its debut in three gourmet cities — starting with Tokyo from 11 to 15 September, then Kyoto from 18 to 19 September, before concluding in Guangzhou from 9 to 13 October.
Gourmands can look forward to interacting with chefs, sommeliers and mixologists at one-off chef collaborations, champagne brunches, themed afternoon teas, handcrafted cocktail experiences and masterclasses.
The dining events align the schedules of seven chefs from MICHELIN-starred restaurants in The Ritz-Carlton for gastronomic experiences that are held for a limited period and at specific locations.
More than 5,000 guests guests attended the inaugural edition of the Stellar Dining Series, which was held in Singapore, Osaka, Hong Kong and Beijing, last year. Bruce Ryde, Vice-President, Luxury Brands and Brand Management, Asia-Pacific at Marriott International, which manages The Ritz-Carlton hotels, says the event last year garnered a positive response.
He says: “Most of the sessions were fully booked. Guests discovered unique experiences and creative ideas that brought culinary talents together so they could taste their creations in one go and engage with them.”
Ryde adds that guests are looking for extraordinary and transformative experiences that go beyond good food. He says: "The Stellar Dining Series is a celestial journey that celebrates The Ritz-Carlton’s culinary craftsmanship and innovation and we have continued to evolve this series, designing it to create memories that will remain with our discerning guests forever."
Petr Raba, Vice President, Food and Beverage Operations, Asia Pacific at Marriott International, says: "We celebrate these incredible chefs as they shoot for the stars and beyond every day, help make Ritz-Carlton hotels around the world sought-after gastronomic destinations, where locals and visitors go to eat, meet and drink."
Bask In Basque Cuisine
This year’s edition sees an expanded line-up of chefs from MICHELIN-starred restaurants. Fans of Basque cuisine are in for a treat as Erlantz Gorostiza, head chef of the two-MICHELIN-starred M.B by renowned Spanish chef Martín Berasategui at The Ritz-Carlton, Abama in Spain, will make his maiden appearance at the Stellar Dining Series.
At Tokyo, Gorostiza will be part of a star-studded six-hands dinner event that is a marriage of French and Basque flavours by chef Christophe Gibert of one-MICHELIN-starred La Baie in The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka and chef Shintaro Miyazaki from one-MICHELIN-starred Azure45 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo.
Gorostiza will inject innovative Basque influences into the eight-course menu. Some of his dishes include a paella cracker, which incorporates flavours of saffron and shellfish that are reminiscent of the hearty rice casserole dish. Other dishes will centre around pigeon, wild mushrooms, oranges and olives, which are staple ingredients in Basque cuisine.
In Kyoto, Gorostiza will team up with sushi chef Katsuhito Inoue at Italian restaurant La Locanda in The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto to craft a menu that weaves elegant Kyoto-style plating with prized Kyoto produce such as kamo eggplant and manganji peppers.
On what diners can expect from his cooking collaborations in Japan, he says: “This is an excellent opportunity to taste the mix of two culinary worlds. I love Japan and Japanese ingredients, so I will do a mix of these excellent ingredients with Japanese and Spanish cooking styles.”
In the lead-up to this multi-country cooking stint in Asia, Gorostiza adds that meticulous planning is involved. He says: "We have to be precise in planning the ingredients list and sending over the recipes, coupled with food photos, to the respective resident chefs of the hosting The Ritz-Carlton hotels. Then, we will discuss the preparation details via multiple conference calls before the events to ensure we deliver the world-class dining experiences to our guests."
Besides French, Basque and Japanese cuisines, Cantonese cuisine will be out in full force at a six-hands dinner by three top Chinese chefs at one-MICHELIN-starred Lai Heen at The Ritz-Carlton, Guangzhou. Lai Heen’s chef Gordon Guo will partner with chef Paul Lau of two-MICHELIN-starred Tin Lung Heen from Hong Kong and chef Jackie Ho of one-MICHELIN-starred Lai Heen in Macau (above) to craft lunch menus and dinners that are paired with Château Margaux wine and Perrier-Jouët champagne.
A Hands-On Dining Experience
Besides tucking in to scrumptious food, diners can also learn more about the provenance of the produce from artisans through masterclasses and workshops. Those with a sweet tooth can see how Pierre Hermé Paris pastry chef Régis Demanet at The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto crafts the 2000 Feuilles. It is a flaky caramelised puff pastry crust laced with praliné mousseline cream and hazelnuts that was created by famed French patissier Pierre Hermé .
Over in Tokyo, fromager Jeremy Evrard will conduct a workshop on exploring eight types of cheeses and share insights on pairing them with wine.
In Tokyo, cocktail connoisseurs can clink their glasses at a Four-Hands Mixologist Night co-created by 2018 Chivas Masters global cocktail competition winner Kentaro Wada, who is the head bartender at The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo, and Oscar Mena, bar manager of Ozone at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong.
Wada will later travel to The Churchill Bar in The Ritz-Carlton, Guangzhou to showcase his Japan-inspired cocktails. World-class mixologists Yosuke Asano of The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto and Mena will also share tips on crafting cocktails at a cocktail masterclass in Kyoto.
Recognising the importance of stellar dining offerings to build customer loyalty, The Ritz-Carlton has been enhancing its culinary and hospitality experiences and improving the innovative design strategy of its restaurants and bars through the years. The hotel brand is keen to position itself as a dining destination through the Stellar Dining Series, given that dining experience is an important part of the travel journey in Asia.
With a constellation of MICHELIN stars from restaurants that will present multi-sensory dining events at the Stellar Dining Series, gourmands can look forward to a glitzy gastronomic treat.
For more information on the Stellar Dining Series by The Ritz-Carlton, visit www.ritzcarlton-stellardining.com