Monday, May 1, 2017

Working in Paradise

As a chef you can never complain about where you work as the world is literally your oyster and you can go out there and explore. I do that since nearly 30 years and I am not tired of it. So after working for three and a half years in a paradise called The Maldives, I changed location to an new paradise called Thailand.

Since beginning of February I work on Koh Yao Noi in a superb hotel as Executive Chef. It has been a complete lifestyle change as the hotels is a lot smaller than most of the previous places I worked but that is exactly what I was looking for.

Here we do things different. I am not just a paper tiger that sits in the office most of the day.....even so there is still a of of paperwork to be done, I am actually cooking a lot more than I did in the past couple of years. But now I am doing evenings at The Hilltop restaurant with a maximum of 24 guests (usually the full moon dinners. I am doing Chef's Tables cooking intimately in front of the guests and sometimes I just stand at the crepe section on the breakfast buffet doing crepes....something that is very calming I find...

But then there is a lot more to the job than just paperwork and cooking. We have an organic chicken farm, not under my supervision, but we need to make sure that we get enough eggs for our restaurants and breakfasts. We got a couple of goats, so in month to come we will start with goat milk, yogurt and cheese. Our mushroom hut has just been renovated and we got the first batch in....and of course the chefs garden that has increased in size over the last two month.

No worry you will hear a lot more about all these projects very soon. I actually have a little more time to write now, the stress level has gone down and the enjoyment of being a chef has gone up

We already had our first guest chef and there are more to come this year...of course you will hear about them too

So in summary I can say that I tremendously enjoyed the past two month and I am looking forward telling you a lot more about the happenings on this little sleepy island close to Phuket

Friday, April 14, 2017

Crispy Risotto by Chef Igor Macchia

Here is a recipe that I though many of you would like because even so it is a Michelin starred recipes, you can actually as well use your left over risotto and dress it up beautifully. Of course we made everything from scratch, but that should be like this in a 5 Star hotel.

This dish we served as a Canape during our guest cocktail which is part of the whole guest chef experience, like this all the guests have the possibility to have at least a taster of Chef Igor's fantastic cuisine

As the other dishes, this one has a couple of items that might be difficult to get. One of them is Stracciatella. Even I was not really sure what it was so I asked one of my best friends....Google! and the answer was pretty easy. It basically is a type of Burrata, a buffalo Mozzarella with a creamy interior. It is generally very difficult to find so take Burrata will work very well

Bottarga is a dried fish roe from Italy....depending on quality it can be quite expensive but as you don't need much, go for a really good really just need a sliver on top to give the lovely salty flavor to it

Ingredients for saffron risotto:
300 gr             Carnaroli rice
     2 lt             Vegetable stock
   30 gr            Olive oil
   50 gr            Butter
   50 gr            Grated Parmesan cheese
     2 gr            Saffron
Method for saffron risotto:
·         Heat olive oil in a pan, add the risotto and roast for about 2\3 min. Add boiling stock flavored with saffron and cook for around 13\14 min. Add all other ingredients and season with salt and pepper if needed.
·         Lay the risotto in a tray of about 2 cm thickness and keep cold. Once the risotto will be cold, cut with ring mold. Flour the risotto and pan fried in a non-stick pan with olive oil.
Ingredients for presentation of the plate:
  1 nr               Crispy saffron risotto
10 gr               Stracciatella di mozzarella
  3 gr               Bottarga (air dried roe)
  1 nr               Tahoon cress
  1 gr               Roasted barley malt powder
Method for presentation of the plate:

·         Plate warm crispy risotto, add the stracciatella, roasted barley malt powder and sliced air dried roe. Garnish with tahoon cress before serve.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Beef Tenderloin Recipe by Igor Macchia

As promised, here the first recipe in a long time. As we are talking about Igor Macchia, I have taken the liberty to share his recipe with you. It is a bit labor intensive than many others, but then, you want to cook one Michelin Star cuisine...then you have to work for it....Stars don't come just for a simple steak on the BBQ, no there needs to be more to it than that

It was so much fun working with Igor, he is totally down to earth and happy to coach the team, something they loved as the guest chefs are really changing the everyday routine, mine included. Often these chefs need specialized ingredients like the cassis and spinach powder for this recipe. Of course you can do it without it, but for us here, we want to be as close as possible to the original. So I contacted Igor and he happily shared where I can get all the special ingredients from, it took of course still a lot of mails with suppliers to get it finally delivered to us,..... but that is the fun part, the part where we have to source the best ingredients and then bit by bit actually have a web of suppliers where we can fall back with all the fancy foods....I just love that part

So here is the recipe: Enjoy!
Ingredient for cherry marinated with ginger:
  400 gr. fresh cherry
  140 gr. brown sugar
    50 gr. fresh ginger
Method for cherry marinated with ginger:
season quartered cherry with sugar and ginger. Vacuum pack and cook in steamed oven at 80°C for 3 hours. Chilled and blend. Keep the sauce for presentation of the plate.
Ingredient for mashed potatoes:
1500 gr. potatoes
                Sea salt
  150 gr. diced butter
  150 gr. mascarpone cheese
Method for mashed potatoes:
wash potatoes and pierce with a fork. Cook with sea  salt in oven at 200°C for 1 hour.
Mashed potato and add mascarpone cheese and butter. Season with salt and pepper and keep for presentation of the plate.
Ingredient for watercress sauce:
250 gr. fresh watercress
Method for watercress sauce:
Cook watercress in salted water. Chilled and blend.
Add xantana and season with salt and pepper. Keep for presentation of the plate.
Ingredient for presentation of the plate:
480 gr. wagyu beef tenderloin
120 gr. foie gras
   30 gr. cherry pure’ from boiron or capfruit
   20 gr. beef juice
   10 gr. watercress sauce
     2 gr. cassis powder
     2 gr. spinach powder
   60 gr. mashed potatoes
   40 gr. cooked cherry
   40 gr. saute fresh spinach
               Extra virgin olive oil
               Maldon salt
               Sea salt
               Fresh sprout
Method for presentation of the plate:
Season beef with salt and pepper and cook in a hot pan with olive oil. Finish to cook in oven at 200°C for 5 minutes.
Garnish the top of cooked beef with all ingredient and plate in a hot plate garnished with cherry and watercress sauce.

Use cassis and spinach powder for garnish the plate.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Cooking with a Michelin starred Chef

Lobster Carpaccio
Today I just wanted to tell you a bit about our latest event we did with a Michelin starred Chef. His name is Igor Macchia and he traveled all the way from Italy to us in Maldives to cook with us and produce 2 amazing dinners. Igor usually works in "La Credenza" a lovely Gourmet Restaurant close to Torino in north Italy
The Canapes
We have cooked together a couple of years ago and I am really happy to have Igor over again, this time in a different hotel, and show us the art of Italian Fine Dining
Chef Igor and me
Busy Plating
As the hotel is pretty full, it is not always easy for the chefs to make time and come over to Naladhu, the private island, and cook with the master chef. That is why most of the chefs actually took a day off so they have time and invest it to learn something new
Caesar Salad
We started off with a cocktail at the beach for around 60 guests. An absolutely amazing event as we had. We finished off the canapes in a make shift kitchen at the beach, the chef went around to meet the guests and everyone had a great time having some stunning food and watching the sunset. Of course the dinner was sold out within no time and we had 2 evenings with 32 guests each time....booked to capacity.
Lobster Carpaccio
The dinners were great too, the setup was outside, next to the beach under the stars....could not be any better. Igor and the chefs all busy in the kitchen we sent out course by course, accompanied by wonderful Italian wines.....yes, each wine was sent to the kitchen as well for a taster...much appreciated
Wasabi Risotto
Wagyu, Foie Gras and Cherries
I have a whole load of photos, so you can see the food a bit and I will try to post some of the recipes soon, they are absolutely easy to do, especially if one thinks that this is Michelin star level cooking
Pre Dessert
Chocolate Mousse and Spice Cake
So next will be a nice wine dinner with wines from Antinori and then there are another 3 Michelin starred chefs on the program in the next three month....something really exciting...and lots to write about.
The Brigade at work

The Brigade after work

Sunday, January 1, 2017

It has been too long

As the title says, it has been too long that I have not written a single Blog and one of my new years resolutions is that I am writing again regularly, something that I actually always enjoyed but due to a really hectic time at work totally put on the back burner.
It has been a fantastic time here in Maldives, I am not complaining, we have done a lot here at Anantara and have now culminated on a fantastic New Years Eve buffet...not just one but we had on Dhigu one buffet, then another one on Veli and 2 of the a la carte outlets served set yes we were running a bit
One of the main attractions was the ostrich eggs that we had in Dhigu....something most of the team members here have never seen nor touched. So when I got up this morning I saw plenty of photos on Face Book with the ostrich eggs
It took me more than 6 month to get them here....from the initial idea to contacting a super supplier in South Africa to finding out that the supplier actually needs an export permit for the eggs. The supplier went onto it and obtained a permit from the South African government, then got everything in place to send them to us which again is a challenge as they need to be
fresh and sent between Christmas and New Year.
 They did arrive in Male airport in the morning of December 30...then customs and yehee....arrived safely with us late in the evening, just in time for the next days events
But of course not just the Ostrich eggs were a big attraction. As usual the pastry outdid themselves and every year got better....I have attached a couple of photos as I really like these pastries very much0 In future there will be again a lot more....not just promising, but really taking the time to write a little bit

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Fruit Bread

We have started an amazing little cheese board in one of our outlets, called The Living Room. Here we serve a cuisine which we like to call personal dining. This means, the chef goes to see the guests during breakfast, asks them what they like to have and then will cook a personal menu for them for either lunch or dinner or both. Of course there are many guest that still like to opt for the normal a la carte, but the personal dining gives a whole new dimension to the experience here
So with the cheese board that has mainly European cheeses on at the moment, I needed a bread that compliments it to perfection and I started digging in my old recipes.....what I found you can see below and of course I am happy to share the recipe

I am very happy now with the cheese board, it reminds me of home and sometimes I can't stop but have a little nibble
200 g Dried Pears
300 g Dried Figs
200 g Dried Prunes
200 g Dried Apricots
200 g Dried Apples
1000 ml Water
600 g Flour
40 g Yeast, fresh
 Salt and

120 g Almonds
160 g Hazelnuts
100 g Walnuts
150 g Raisins
Cut the dried fruit in cubes
Leave in the water over night Add yeast and flour
 Add nuts let the dough rest for at least one hour
Form the loafes proove them for another 20 min before baking

Monday, November 23, 2015

Break time is over

Looking for stories? Found them!!!
It has been a while since I have published a blog, it has been a busy time here in Maldives and the writing was not high on the priority list....but I think I can make a little time to publish a blog from time to time

Maldives are amazing, the islands, the sunshine, the snorkeling and of course the amazing hotels. The three hotels I am in charge for the kitchen have kept me nice and busy and so much happened in the last 12 month, so I think it is time to tell you a bit about the happenings here

So you can expect new posts, new recipes and of course a lot of new stories with photos. It has been far too long since you heard from me last and there is so much to tell you about

There was the chef competition in Colombo, my first time as a judge, then the 2 cooking competitions in Male, one of them was a great success, then of course the recipes, we have changed a lot of menu and of course some which we cooked at home, was real fun

There were guest chefs coming to cook with us, highly decorated ones with loads of Michelin stars, all of that I need to tell you and not just keep for myself

So stay tuned.....the channel
is open again with loads of interesting stuff

Monday, April 13, 2015

Tagliolini with Green Asparagus and Black Truffle

We do have a daily special in our Italian Restaurant, Terrazzo and we do serve it as well in our second restaurant, Sea-Fire-Salt. It makes sense as both restaurants are actually served out of the same kitchen, so the special is easy to be prepared for 2 restaurants
We like to make some nice homemade pasta dishes, they are usually so tasty and one can immediately spot the difference between bought and homemade.
For me to make pasta is totally relaxing, it is fun and I love to see how the dish comes together. Yes it is a bit more work than just buying pasta, but at the same time it is much more rewarding to eat it as well. If you don't have the time or the patience to make your homemade pasta, then go and buy some high quality chilled pasta which is available in good supermarkets
This is id a bit on the rich side, with the creamy sauce, but it is really simple to make
The recipe is for 4 friends as a main course or for 6 friends as a starter

500 g (1 lb) Flour
5 Eggs
25 ml (1 oz) EV Olive Oil
5 g Salt

500 g (1 lb) Green Asparagus
200 ml (5 oz) cooking liquid of the Asparagus
50 g (2 oz) Onions
100 ml (3 oz) Cream
15 g (0.5 oz) Corn starch
30 g (1 oz)Black truffle
70 g (3 oz) Parmesan shavings

For the pasta dough mix all the ingredients together to a firm dough
Knead well
Let it rest for at least 2 hours before rolling out

For the sauce

Clean the green asparagus
Cut the heads off and then cut the stems in small pieces, keep some asparagus to cut into slivers
Blanch the Asparagus in a small amount of water which can then be used for the base of the sauce
Fry the onions in the melted butter without color
Add the asparagus and then the cooking liquid and cream
Bring to the boil
Thicken with corn starch which has been mixed with some cold left over cooking liquid
Season to taste

Toss the pasta in the sauce

Drizzle the pasta with truffle oil and generously slice fresh black truffle and Parmesan shavings on it

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