Sunday October 7, 2012
Beer-y royal feast from chef Anton Mosimann
By MICHAEL CHEANG
The chef who cooked for Will and Kate during their wedding serves up an exquisite beer-influenced meal.
IT’S not every day you get to eat a meal fit for a (future) king. So when I found out that Chef Anton Mosimann was in town to prepare an exclusive meal for the launch of the Malaysian International Gourmet Festival by Carlsberg Malaysia, I jumped at the chance to have a meal prepared by the chef.
After all, Mosimann was the chef who cooked for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Catherine Middleton, during the evening reception of last year’s royal wedding.
One of the most celebrated chefs in the world, the Swiss-born Mosimann has catered for the British royal family (having received the Royal Warrant of Appointment to HRH The Prince of Wales for catering in 2000), as well as for four British Prime Ministers, four US Presidents and countless other dignitaries and VIPs throughout his illustrious career.
In 1975, Mosimann was appointed the youngest Maître Chef des Cuisines at London’s famous Dorchester Hotel (he was 28 years old then). He stayed there for 13 years, earning it two Michelin stars during that period. The 65-year-old currently runs a private dining club in London called Mosimann’s, as well as a cookery academy and a catering service.
Although he is best known for his cuisine naturelle, which eschews ingredients like butter, cream and alcohol and focuses more on the flavours of individual ingredients, Mosimann decided on a different approach for the dinner, which was held at The Club Saujana Resort in Shah Alam, Selangor.
This being a Carlsberg event, he decided to make use of the brewery’s extensive portfolio and add them into some of his dishes that night, which were then paired with different beers. The result was a meal that went a long way to proving that wine isn’t the only alcoholic beverage that goes with fine dining – pairing food with beer turned out to be just as good, and probably not as expensive either.
The meal started off with the Fine Chicken Liver Parfait, Onion Compote with Asahi Beer and Pistachio Brioche, paired with Asahi Super Dry beer. While the beer itself isn’t exactly rich on flavour, its clean, crisp, refreshingly dry style went really well with the rich velvety textures of the liver parfait. Because the parfait was so rich and flavourful, the beer’s crisp clean flavours served to cleanse and refreshed the palate before every other mouthful.
The parfait was then followed by the Baked Crab Cake infused with Kronenbourg 1664 Herb Sauce. On their own, the crab cakes were delicious, but when paired with Kronenbourg 1664 lager, the fruitiness and long finish of the beer managed to bring out the seafood flavours of the crab cakes, giving it a lot more complexity.
Next up was one of my personal favourites (and apparently one of the late Princess Diana’s as well): Mosimann’s signature Risotto ai Funghi. Now, I’ve never been a big fan of risotto, but this was exquisite. It was delightfully rich, and had a myriad of flavours ranging from some great mushroom-y goodness to a subtle and not overpowering taste of cheese. When paired with the excellent Grimbergen Blonde (one of my favourite beers as well), the dish made the typically strong abbey ale so much softer and delicate than usual.
After the flavour fest that was the risotto, I was half-expecting the main course to be a little disappointing. Fortunately, I was proved wrong, as the platter of Lamb Loin and Shoulder Braised in Carlsberg Green, Pommes Anna and fresh market vegetables proved to be one to savour. The lamb, which was cooked for about five hours, was succulent and tender, and being braised in Carlsberg, it managed to capture some of the rich, malty flavours of the beer as well. The dish was paired with Carlsberg’s flagship Green Label lager, which helped to balance out the different flavours as well.
When the waiters started bringing out coffee cups after the main course, I was wondering why they had skipped dessert to go straight to the after-meal coffee. As it turns out, the dessert was in the coffee cups. The Cappuccino Crème Brûlée and Grimbergen Beer Sabayon were the perfect desserts to end the meal, with just enough creaminess and sweetness to offset the rich flavours of the previous dishes. Paired with a nice cup of actual coffee served with some Amarula cream liqueur and subsequently, a nice glass of Dalmore 15-Year-Old single malt whisky, it was a great way to wind down the night after a magnificent meal that truly was fit for a king.