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Top Chef Whisks through TEDA
Published on: 2010-04-15
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His was a whirlwind schedule through Beijing and Tianjin, but as any Top Chef worth his tall pleated hat, Chef Tam Sek Lun delivered the bottomline - the culinary goods.  Jetting from one cooking demonstration to another, preparing dinner for a select group of guests to answering media questions, he didn’t even have time to stop and try the local food. 

The Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau 2010 has recently been released and as Michelin Stars are not easy to come by, the interest generated by Michelin starred Chef’s Tam’s tour bordered on the electric.  People always love a great meal and there are those who are obsessed with cooking shows and competitions on television and are eager to meet awarded chefs live.

Not everyone is given the opportunity to taste and learn from a master so Tianjin Plus rushed to the occasion and witnessed Chef Tam skillfully working the wok in the kitchen of the TEDA Renaissance.  Six of his signature Michelin dishes were served on the night of April 12 – the same dishes that Dynasty Restaurant guests enjoy at the Renaissance Hong Kong Harbour View Hotel.  

Our group relished the mouth watering pan-fried scallops with ginger and the sautéed prawns with XO sauce.   The Hong Kong style deep fried crispy chicken brought us back to the island territory and made us miss the cooking from the south of China.  More foreigners are familiar with this style of cooking rather than the northern methods so Chef Tam made us all the more hanker for Cantonese cooking.   The dinner was capped off by the creative ‘piece de resistance’, sweetened chilled mango cream with pomelo.  I have an undeniable bias towards mango but pairing it with pomelo was quite unique.

Chef Tam believes one should cook with the heart.  For anyone learning to cook Chinese cuisine or any cuisine for that matter, he shares that the most important attribute is imagination.  “Without this, you won’t get any fruitful result,” he related to Tianjin Plus as translated by his childhood friend from Hong Kong, General Manager Steven Yao of the Renaissance Lakeview Hotel.

Indeed Chef Tam’s imagination has been nurtured through over 30 years of experience in the best kitchens of the former British colony.  We are only so lucky to have gotten a seat at his table.

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