Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Maria, I Just Met A Girl Named Maria

I've just met a girl named Maria,
And suddenly that name
Will never be the same
To me.... -

From The Bernstein Musical - Westside Story

When I got a call from Mae Ho, the Lady Boss of the Berjaya University College of Hospitality, (why didn't they have such interesting tertiary education places when I was growing up?! I might have been a local celebrity chef by now, ahem!) inviting me to a food demo by Maria Cordero, I was thrilled. Again, the invitation was thanks to Eu Hooi Khaw..... that dear lady who has been so very nice to us group of food bloggers, as she had given my name to Mae. Thanks so much Mae, if you are reading this. It was a fabulous event.

Yeah, so anyway, as it was a Selangor holiday, I thought I should not risk being late, ....I take these appointments with celebrities, ahem, very seriously, so I braved the masses and the threat of H1N1 and took the MONORAIL. Very convenient.

I had NO idea that Berjaya had such a grand set up in Times Square. After meandering to and fro in a maze, I finally found the venue for the event. Very la di dah, the press, very important looking people, the AFC rep, the Hong Kong Tourism Director, the Berjaya who's who....

I didn't get the name of the local emcee fella, but I have to say he did a fantastic job. Articulate, witty, and speaks well. With the local standards of English plummeting faster than the new depths our politicians sink, its heartening to see eloquent and grammatically correct emcees. The suave director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, David Liu (I think) certainly made us want to hop onto the next flight to Hong Kong. And the affable AFC rep, Simon, must have one of the best jobs in the world. When I mentioned this to him, he said, "nooo, not at all, it makes you hungry all the time". Or something to that effect.

The cooking island was laid out, like a concert stage awaiting the arrival of the Diva.

The event organisers. AFC, Hong Kong Tourism Board,


Star Quality. Some people obviously have an abundance of it. Be it when they sing, or act, or cook, and this lady here is one such person. She radiates such a charming persona, it is impossible not to be taken by her. And her recipes make you feel that yes, I want to make that, it looks so easy.

Her tip for wives out there, don't call your husband and say, "oi, where are you ah? what time you coming home?". Instead, lovingly coo, "dahling ah, I am cooking your favourite dish tonight, are you coming home for dinner?". I would pay heed to this wise woman's words of wisdom. She runs a large household, with 4 generations under one roof and cooks for her grandchildren even. She is a SUPERWOMAN.

One of the things about Maria that struck me is how friendly and affable she is. I've seen some celebrities who are so up themselves, their a** is almost coming out of their mouths, but Maria is a people's person. Not an air of pretentiousness. She is seen here feeding her assitant the mushroom cappucino she just whipped up in a jiffy.

While waiting for the Rice Cooker Chicken to cook, she obliges us with her really powerful voice.

The chicken is ready. No need for formalities. She pierces it with a fork, lifts it and plunges the cooked chook into a waiting tub of ice water, to make the skin nice and firm. I shall try that in the shower too, after a hot shower, run myself under cold water to keep my skin nice and firm.

This innovative Diva made these Bitter Gourd Pickle in her hotel room last night. Apparently you just chop up the bitter gourd, boil a rock sugar solution with some sour plum, cool the solution, and chuck in the gourd, and voila, SWEET gourd the next day. The gourd was nice and crunchy, and not a hint of bitterness. Well, I personally like my bitter gourd to be ...well, BITTER, but hey, a lot of people don't like it bitter, so what better way to eat Foo Gwa.

She obliges to take pictures with individuals. Featured here is The Nomad Gourmand. Food bloggers also present were Boolicious, my blogging idol, Superwilson and Sid of Big Boys Oven. Oh, and Jason Mumbles was the photographer for the event.

After the cooking demo, we were treated to lunch at SAMPLINGS ON THE 14th. I am not sure if it is a restaurant or a simulated restaurant for the culinary school.

The yam puff was yummy and yammy.

Very healthy Maria Cordero Styled food. Steamed chicken, stir fried vegetables, a more watery version of her mushroom cappucino, and the mushroom rice.

Red Bean Soup for dessert. Blended smoothly. Not heavy, not sweet.

The organisers of the event, watching Maria perform. David tries to scuttle away as Maria invites him to join her in a song.

That's the boss of the University. What an elegant looking lady! I think I want to enrol in a course here.

The AFC fella.

The many faces and talents of Maria Cordero.

Well, the objective of the event was to promote Hong Kong as a tourist destination, but really, do they need to promote Hong Kong? Food is excellent there, the nightlife pulsating, shopping a paradise to the shoppers... and air asia flies there too!!!! Now, if only I can find some cheap accommation, I am soooo there!!!!!


Sean said...

the emcee is melvin aeria, my ex-classmate from malacca. really nice guy, always a chatterbox and the class clown.

thule a.k.a leo said...

Maria Cordero... a fab singer and my mom adores her very much!!! But I only remembered vaguely that she used to act in those HK drama... coz I barely hit puberty at that time... lol!!!
Cheap accommodation in HK is hard to find... those clean ones cost more than RM300 a night! What to do.. different country, different standard

UnkaLeong said...

Stand too long under cold shower = wrinkled skin ;P She looks so vibrant and full of energy in the pictures!

thenomadGourmand said...

LOL. She's so full of life isnt she??
But cheap accomodation in HK..can find if you dont mind the YMCA. I stayed at the YWCA when i was there and it was very clean and well..reasonably priced.

Alexandra@Chefspiration said...

OMG! Looks like it was a great event...I was supposed to be there but got caught up with too many deadlines here at the mag...damn!

qwazymonkey said...

Wah Ah Pa, your montages getting better and better la! Good stuff

And I agree with you, ur no celebrity chef. Just a celebrity baker-blogger. A very humble one at that too *ahem*


550ml jar of faith said...

Wha-?? She's a grandmother? You're shittin me!! She looks so charismatic, way better than she did in those CNY movies we used to watch as kids! Hey lemme know if the shower skin firming trick works. It might just be the beauty tip of this century! :-D

Life for Beginners said...

"I shall try that in the shower too, after a hot shower, run myself under cold water to keep my skin nice and firm."

Oh. Right. Ahem. Hee.

She's one hot grandmama. ;)

On HK accommodation: An alternative is to do what the Devil and I did, and just stay in Macau, where you can prolly stay in a 5-star hotel like we did, for about the same or less than a 3-star in HK methinks, and ferry over to HK when you feel like it. All promotions of HK aside, I *heart* Macau more. :)

worldwindows said...

You have outdone yourself with words and pics. Lovely.

gfad said...

I like her voice - deep and husky. And she lost so much weight! A glamourous Grandma who cooks. Don't even know if I still have my teeth and tastebuds when I'm her age, let alone her kind of looks!!

Isn't that what spas in Russia do? They whip you with a tree branch while getting you really hot in the steam room, then make you jump into a semi-frozen pond.

Mmm.. the HK fler does look kinda dishy despite the greying hair, receding hairline and ahpek glasses. Now who can carry off such a description like that?!

Oh, Mr Gere just popped into my mind!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

I might have been a local celebrity chef by now

You're not just a celebrity chef, you're also a celebrity blogger, tangechi, since you get invited to la-di-da events like these. One can only salivate from afar. Nice collages.

ToyGirl said...

You are definitely a celebrity FBB. I thank my lucky stars there wasn't any chef schools in those days. Else, we wouldn't have met you hor? Your path would have been so different. hehe...

BTW, some spas here do the hot and cold water treatment. You jump into a freezing pool for 5 minutes, then jump into the hot jacuzzi. Its supposed to help improve blood circulation.

fatboybakes said...

gfad, yeah, she's got real star quality. she lost 80 lbs just by eating right. so there's hope for me yet. i'll wait till i become a grandfather la. then can do all the tummy tuck all one shot.

worldwindows, thanks so much dude.

kenny ma, dont you sneer at the wisdom of grandmothers. actually the trick with the pak cham kai isnt new la, even my grandmother told me to dip my chicken in cold water to keep skin taut. and in one of jackie collins trashy novels, i remember reading the same thing for skin treatment.

fatboybakes said...

toygirl, indeed, there is wisdom in the theory. as for our paths crossing, well, if its fated its fated, you might have met me at my restaurant...with the 5 month wait list to enter one.

thamby, so sarky, as usual. chis. go take a cold shower. or coldplay.

550ml, looking at me, you wont think i am a day over 43, and i use the exact same trick. ahem. hahahahaha.

fatboybakes said...

monkey, echerlly i am very shy one. dont really like the limelight. people scoff when i say that, but its true.

alex, yalar, would have been nice to see you again.

TNG, i tell you, if she lived here, i'd want her as my friend of the year. she'd be the life of any party i tell ya. are only females allowed in the YWCA?

deii, unkaleong, just a quick dip in the cold water la, not soak in it. duhhhh..... soak long enough in any water oso sure wrinkle one la. what's the process ah? osmosis?

thule, i shoulda gotten her autograph for you hor.

sean, wow, you seem to be seeing a lot of familiar faces on blogs and facebook hor. found your pound er flesh yet?

rokh said...

running self under cold water after warm shower sounds like a really good idea haha

Life for Beginners said...

You read Jackie Collins???

fatboybakes said...

LFB, yar, why? ...those days la, in my youth, when there was a dearth of good writers. not much choice. sidney sheldon, jackie collins, harold robbins....who else ah? what's that soppy romance writer...oh, danielle steele. and jackie collins was one of the few books that had hints of porn.

ROKH, as i said, it is. i do it all the time. hence i dont look a day over 43.

Julian Si said...

A brilliant write-up, felt I was there .. but of course I was 7 hours away in the blardy desert!

Cheers bro :-) Glad you had fun!

Precious Pea said...

Who said you are not a celebrity?? Just look at the number of fans you have!

What a cool event. Anyone asked her the secret to lose weight ar? She is so fit now.

Rosalind said...

Wah! Fatboy meets Fatma!!:) Very envious of you!I live in Europe but watch her cookingshow all the time
But I agree with you, bitter gourd must be bitter...stuffed bittergourd...yum!

Anonymous said...

cheap accomodation? got one ... if you dun mind guesthouses lah. :)
she looks so much different than her persona on TV. somehow, more mature, and so much slimmer!

fbb said...

j1kfm, her weight loss has given people like me hope.
and as for guesthouses, i'd be game. got double bed one ah?

rosalind, hahah, yup, except fatma is no longer fat, but fatboy still is. long live the bitter in bitter gourds!

precious peaaaaa! long time no see, hugs hugs. how's melbourne? according to her, the secret was just eating healthily... no/less oil, more veg, more steaming. amen, i am a believer sistah.

jules, you too kind la. brilliant is hardly an adjective that springs to mind.

spunkz said...

she just oozes Karisma..

ooh and thanks for sharing the tip to keep the skin firm and supple. trust u to come out with wits liddat. huhu..

The Duo Dishes said...

We're there too. Where are the cheap flights??