Updated: Dec 19, 2019
Last night marked the fourth annual Michelin Gala dinner, this time with the theme of Sustainability in Motion. The event was held at the Grand Hyatt Macau ballroom, where hundreds of familiar faces from the industry gathered to celebrate the newly launched 2020 Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau.
Flying in from all corners of the world for one night only was a brigade of prominent chefs (pictured above), including Alain Ducasse, best known for 3-starred Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée in Paris and 3-starred Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester in London, Kunio Tokuoka of revered 3-starred Kitcho Arashiyama Honten in Kyoto, the formidable Alex Atala of 3-starred D.O.M. in Sao Paolo, and legendary French patissier, Pierre Herme, whose macarons need no introduction.
Course 1: Chilled Blue Lobster, Rich Nage, Gold Caviar by Alain Ducasse | 2-starred Alain Ducasse at Morpheus. A dish that exhibits balance and poise, with all the various flavours and textures - from the gold caviar, poached Brittany lobster and creamy base - melting into each other in harmony.
“The blue lobster in the dish is sustainably sourced from Brittany, and the caviar that I have selected as sustainably farmed is from China,” says Alain Ducasse.
Course 2: Lightly Smoked Salmon, Watercress Cream, Acidulated Beetroot by Fabrice Vulin | 2-starred The Tasting Room. Chef Vulin smokes farmed Scottish salmon in-house, which is then coated in watercress cream. The light buckwheat tuile and crunchy swirls of pickled beetroot added a nice texture to the dish.
“Sustainability is very important for all the chefs. We have indeed a major role. I think this is the right moment to explain this is a rare product, and a product to keep, for future generations to discover,” says Fabrice Vulin.
Course 3: Umami Vegetable Soup by Kunio Tokuoka | 3-starred Kitcho Arashiyama Honten. While I heard a few rumblings about the presentation, I thought the soup was actually quite impressive. Maybe it was the feeling of nostalgia, as to me this dish represents what Japanese home-cooked food is all about. Soothing, nourishing and delicious - with an umami-rich dashi base.
"Sustainability is not a suggestion, it’s necessary. I would like to offer healthy cuisine while conserving the environment. I strive to make food that tackle concerns such as [waste-heavy] food supply chains,” says Kunio Tokuoka.
Course 4: Steamed Pork Dumpling with Sea Urchin & Bird's Nest in Pumpkin Broth, Alaskan King Crab Leg by Lau Yiu Fai | 1-starred Yan Toh Heen. This was an amalgamation of so many components - sea urchin and pork in the dumpling, bird's nest topping, Alaskan King Crab meat, and pumpkin in the broth. What a feat serving such a complex dish to 500 guests.
“I have topped up the dish with sustainable Alaskan King Crab. Whether it’s food, the environment, or how I live my everyday life, being sustainable is about finding a balance between it all,” says Lau Yiu Fai.
Course 5: Baroa Potato, Chocolate and Beluga Caviar by Alex Atala | 3-starred D.O.M. My first time ever trying 'fine' Brasilian cuisine. Baroa potato was the highlight, a type of thick-skinned potato with a nutty flavour native to Brasil. It was turned into a buttery mash, combined with sweet white chocolate and topped with salty Beluga caviar. Paired nicely with a glass of Domaine Arlaud Gevrey Chambertin 2016.
“Sustainability to me is about creating an ecosystem that flourishes between nature, food and ourselves. By protecting the environment, the animals and the people who live on this planet, we can all flourish together,” says Alex Atala.
Course 6: Slow-cooked Wagyu Beef Cheek, Dried Abalone, White Truffles by Kelvin Au Yeung | 3-starred Jade Dragon. The most boujee surf'n'turf. The beef cheek was slow-cooked for over 24 hours in soy sauce and rock sugar, and elevated further with white truffle shavings. Paired with the exquisite Alter Ego de Palmer 2014.
“To me, the implication of sustainable development is protecting the environment we live in. We are doing this not only for ourselves, but also our next generation. We have sourced the finest ingredients only from sustainable farmlands and fish farms for this dish,” says Kelvin Au Yeung.
Course 7: Ultime by Pierre Herme. Pastry chef superstar Pierre Herme wowed us again with this one. A dessert that was four years in the making, due to the amount of work needed to bring out the rich and decadent natural flavours of chocolate and vanilla. The chocolate used is a single origin from Norandino Plantation in Peru, and the vanilla is organic from Madagascar.
"With this dessert, not only are the key ingredients organic, but thanks to its chocolate cultivation assistance program, the Norandino cooperative in Peru offers families access to drinking water and supports the reforestation of the region. The inspiration behind was to create a celebration of taste and delicacies with sustainable resources so that awareness around this cause can grow and that we can enjoy it all together,” says Pierre Hermé .
Find the full list of Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau 2020 awardees here.
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