It's been billed the dining event of the year. Others call it Singapore's crowning moment as it takes its place on the world stage among an elite group of cities with Michelin-starred restaurants.
But what goes into the planning and flawless execution of such a high stakes evening? A massive exercise that requires incredible co-ordination and a sharp eye for meticulous detail is just the start. This, is after all, the launch of Singapore's inaugural Michelin Guide and it's guaranteed to draw top international and local chefs as well as restaurant owners – gourmands with exacting standards.
From food preparation to wine selections, we trace the intense hard work and co-ordination that culminated into an unforgettable night at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) on 21 July.
A Banquet Army
In the days leading up to the gala dinner, no less than 75 round tables that can seat a total of 600 guests were carried in as staff bussed about draping black table cloths, arranging elegant Narumi plateware and neatly positioning Zweisel wine glasses. No last detail was overlooked.
Running an event that sees this number of guests means nothing less than a small army is required to execute impeccable service. For this, RWS mobilised a 150-strong team for the banquet just for this special night to showcase its expertise and commitment in delivering excellent service befitting prominent events.
And The Planning Begins
Elaborate as the table setup is, the real test in preparation lies with the evening's culinary team. The task of menu development began three months ago, and it involves planning by some 30 chefs of different nationalities from across its hotels and celebrity chef restaurants. Together, they conceived a menu fit for a nation of foodies: guests were to be treated to a sumptuous six-course meal starring the who’s who of Singapore’s restaurant scene, many of whom have represented Singapore in prestigious overseas culinary competitions.
A Treat For Gourmands
The gala dinner started with an amuse bouche of salmon tartar with caviar and saffron crisps prepared by Joel Robuchon. Next came two appetisers; the first was by Malcom Lee from Candlenut, who dished up an aromatic concoction of blue crab with lobster, fermented rice noodles and turmeric coconut curry. The second appetiser was by Sam Leong of Forest, who prepared baked codfish glazed with Manuka honey and served with brill fish barbecue sauce.
The main course was a triumph of Angus beef with black truffles and bone marrow – the result of a collaboration between Yew Eng Tong of Ocean Restaurant and Douglas Tay of Osia Steak and Seafood Grill. The meal ended off on a sweet note with a delectable dessert of cherries on an almond blanc manger by Les Amis’ pastry chef, Cheryl Koh.
Working closely with its partners Robert Parker Wine Advocate, the RWS culinary team handpicked the champagnes and wines to pair with the fine cuisine served at the event. That night, a total of 576 bottles of premium red and white wine and 209 bottles of champagne was brought in.
The Belle of The Ball
Despite the sheer number of guests, the space felt airy and comfortable as RWS’s East and West ballrooms are combined to form a palatial dining room that spreads over 6,000 square metres with a ceiling height of 11 metres – making it one of the largest column-free ballrooms in the region.
No stranger to hosting large scale events of all stripes from grand banquet dinners to international business conferences, the premier resort destination in Singapore has truly seen it all.
A Resounding Success
At the end of a glamourous night, some of RWS' culinary team comprising of Joel Robuchon and his chefs, Sam and Forest Leong of newly one-starred Forest, Douglas Tay of one-starred Osia Steak and Seafood Grill, Curate restaurant's Lee Boon Seng, and Ocean's Yew Eng Tong pose with RWS chief executive officer, Tan Hee Teck.
It was a successful evening and the guests left not just full, but entertained and deeply satisfied. All in a day's work.
Watch this delicious recap of the dishes served at the 2016 Michelin Guide Singapore Gala Dinner: