The MICHELIN Guide Singapore 2019 Star Revelation and Gala Dinner was held on the evening of 17 September. Themed “Kitchens of Progression”, the gala paid homage to the global trend of sustainability, which also marks a shift towards sustainable dining and culinary practices. Together, a star-studded roster of chefs presented a six-course dinner inspired by an environmentally-friendly ethos.
Cooking with locally-grown ingredients topped chef Kelvin Au Yeung’s agenda when he received an invitation to present a dish at the event. For the classic Cantonese dish of braised fish maw, the executive chef of three-MICHELIN-starred Cantonese restaurant Jade Dragon has specially chosen to use the fish maw from barramundi, which is farmed off the coast of Singapore.
Au Yeung says: “I am using fresh fish maw from barramundi, which is reared in Kühlbarra, one of Singapore's best fish farms. The farms’ water quality and farming processes are all certified.” “I hope that diners will realise that the quality of locally-grown products are very good and give their support to local farms and fisheries.”
He recognises the importance of adopting sustainable cooking practices. He says: “I can see the impacts of the environmental degradation these days, especially when the supply of abalone and fish maw is diminishing these days.”
What is the dish you presented for the MICHELIN Guide Singapore 2019 Star Revelation and Gala Dinner?
This dish comprises fish maw from locally-bred barramundi, which has been braised until it softens and becomes tender, and to eliminate its fishiness. For the Nepal rock rice, I cooked it in chicken stock and topped it with Matsutake mushrooms, so that they can be cooked together with the rice.
What was the inspiration for your dish?
My inspiration for this dish is best and seasonal flavours of local produce. When I was first invited to cook for the event, I wanted to understand what local ingredients were available here and how they can be paired with seasonal produce.
This dish comprises Matsutake mushrooms, which are at their peak quality in July, August and September. Rock rice is a variety of wild rice that is grown in the mountains bordering Nepal and China and is known for its high nutritional content. I am using fresh fish maw from barramundi, which is reared in one of Singapore's best fish farms. The farms’ water quality and farming processes are all certified.
How does this dish embody sustainability?
Through this dish, I hope that diners will be able to taste high quality local produce, realise that ingredients grown locally are actually very good and give their support to local farms and fisheries.
Why is sustainability important to you?
I think that developing sustainable practices in restaurants is crucial. Besides reducing operational costs, they are also beneficial to the environment and ensure that marine animals and seafood species do not become extinct.
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