Commitment is about doing whatever it takes.—Anonymous

When a comedian-chef holds a cooking class

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ikram Putra

It is a double delight to see in action a comedian trapped in a chef’s uniform because he will entertain us through good food and a good laugh at the same time.

This was the exceptional offering at the InterContinental Jakarta MidPlaza on last Thursday, when chef Bobby Chinn held a “master cooking class” for journalists. Bobby, who hosts culinary program World Cafe Asia on the Discovery Travel & Living channel, is in town to promote the exotic flavors of Vietnamese cuisine.

The program runs until time for Sunday brunch at the hotel’s Scusa restaurant.

The first “lesson” was in how to make “Bun bo wagyu beef with rice noodles and salad”. Before the class, French-trained Bobby said it was not an original Vietnamese dish but rather a fusion. And a fusion is something that people make “when they don’t know how to cook the original version of the food”, he said, adding that even the Indonesian semur was actually from the Netherlands.

He said that back in Vietnam, people did not use beef as the main ingredient for Bun Bo. “It is a war-torn country and you don’t want to kill a cow for food. You would eat pork instead,” he said.

Bobby marinated the beef in fish sauce, lemongrass and oil. Then he seared it, adding some garlic and glaze with the stock. He then mixed it with salad and garnished with sesame seeds and peanuts.

“You know, Wagyu beef is the best meat in the world because the cows receive the best treatment including a massage and sake. Even the lowest quality of this meat is still better than the ordinary American beef,” Bobby said, jokingly. “That message is brought to you by the American Beef Association.”

The second subject was “Clay pot caramel ginger chicken”. For this dish, skinned chicken breasts were marinated in fish sauce, garlic, black pepper, chopped ginger and ginger chilli. Bobby mixed the chicken into a caramel sauce and added some more chilli, lime juice, cinnamon and peppercorns. Lastly, he sauted the chicken in a hot pan, simmered it until cooked and then garnished with sliced ginger, spring onions and fresh coriander.

But Bobby could not cook the chicken in the clay pot because for the “class”, he was provided with an induction cooker — which only works with a steel pan. The 43-year-old chef got a bit tense about how fast the cooker heated the food (”it gives no time for talking”) but finally he managed to get it to work.

After about two hours, Bobby ended the lesson by demonstrating how to cook “tamarind-glazed crab cakes with chive flowers”. Although this was the shortest lesson, as everything had been prepared earlier, it was entertaining because the comedian-chef humorously played a mock cook killing a crab and then boiling it in sake, ginger, garlic and lemongrass with a steamer, before picking the meat from the shell and, of course, preparing the sauce.

It’s pretty hard to tell when a comedian-in-chef’s-uniform is serious. For instance, when asked what he liked most from Jakarta, the owner of Restaurant Bobby Chinn in Vietnam first said, “I love air-conditioned taxis. When the car doesn’t move because of the traffic congestion, you know, it’s still cool.”

But Bobby seemed to really mean it when he urged the journalists to “tell your readers that they should better appreciate the people who cook their food everyday, including their mothers.

“Because, you know, we could poison you whenever we want.”

#The Jakarta Post’s “On the Town”.

5 Komentar:

Anonymous AndreLinting »
11 January, 2009 00:01  

apakah sekarang ikram sudah bisa memasak resep di postingan tsb?

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