Big Success for Nosh Food Week
Chu Hospitality Company (CHC) are fast gaining recognition as a premier event organising company and venue managers. In addition to organising events they also operate and run Xu Restaurant Lounge, Grain Cooking Studio as well as Nineteen 11 Restaurant. Their contributions to Saigon Food week was a terrific example of what they can achieve. Some of the highlights of the Nosh Food Week Saigon were their cookery exhibitions, staged at Grain on Hai Ba Trung. The events were held in Grain’s excellent facility three floors up in the centre of town. Nosh Saigon will continue developing these type of events and more. You can keep up to speed with developments either by contacting them at firstname.lastname@example.org or following them on Facebook.
Grain is a superb facility especially designed to allow chefs to showcase their talents to an appreciative audience. The room is bright and airy, with tables on wheels allowing the layout to be changed to suit different seating plans and functions.
The main chef station consists of a huge wooden table with portable hobs that again can be swiftly altered. Above the chef station is a large angled mirror which means that guest can look down and see exactly what the chef is doing. CCTV cameras and large flat screen TVs add yet another dimension to events.
I attended the opening night on Monday 16th November and was very impressed by CHC’s organisation, the brilliance of the chefs and the quality of the food. The evening got off to a flying start with the meet and greet. Superb oysters on ice, chicken liver pate accompanied by a divine raspberry sauce on bread and great wines provided by The Wine Embassy, as well as other drinks. People mingled instantly and the conversations were easy and vibrant. The room was buzzing with anticipation.
And so to the main event, we took our seats and waited for the first chef. The theme of this night’s fare was “Cruising the French West Coast”. Three chefs were displaying their talents on the evening with each taking on one course. We started with May Alexandre, a young man who has spent 15 years working in various high end restaurants in Southwest France. He is now chef at the Mach House. He prepared a stunning trio of seafood using Salmon, Prawn and Scallop. As beautiful as it all was, the highlight of the dish for me was an unbelievably smooth foam-like pate made from carrot. One part of the process is May’s closely guarded secret. All three items on the plate were cooked to perfection.
Next up was David Colpart from Le Bouchon De Saigon who prepared two wonderful pieces of veal topped with Foie Gras, served over green beans with a rich creamy potato puree and mushrooms. Again the dish was beautifully presented and tasted superb. The veal was tender and delicious, the foie gras cooked just right and the accompanying vegetables perfectly suited to the protein. I could have eaten this all night.
The third chef was Thierry Faburel, the flamboyant Frenchman normally found working his magic in Dailo’s, the new gastro pub in District 1. Thierry is a showman and had the enthusiastic audience laughing in moments. He prepared Seared Duck Fillet with a Honey and Balsamic Reduction and Provencal Tatin Tian. This had qualities that belied its simplicity, beautifully cooked rare duck meat, amazing tastes from the reduction and the cleverly presented Tatin Tian which had been individually cooked in small tinfoil cups.
All the courses had wine pairings expertly chosen by those clever people at The Wine Embassy. Serving the right wines is one of those things that one takes for granted until someone gets it wrong. This simply flowed, wonderfully balanced with each dish and extending the palate as the evening progressed.
The one thing that the chefs all had in common was the ability to demonstrate their skills in a way that was unhurried and made to look effortless. It really made amateur cooks like myself feel that I should stick to my day job. It was entertaining and humbling to see experts at work. A rather strange sensation on the night was watching the TV screens as one would with the many TV Chefs these days, but having the accompaniment of amazing aromas wafting through the room; Smellyvision has arrived!
One improvement that could be made was the sound system in the room which made the commentaries given by the chefs hard to hear. In Fact Thierry simply took his microphone off and shouted, much to everyone’s amusement.
This really was a tremendous event, sold out and enjoyed by an enthusiastic room. I would certainly attend further events of this nature. Chu Hospitality Company got this dead right. They pitched it perfectly at their intended audience, the venue was excellent and the chefs chosen to compliment each other. It was both entertaining and informative and got the Nosh Saigon Food Week off to a flying start.