Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hennessy XO Appreciation Grows 2013 Embarks On the Spirit Of Conquest

With a title like that, SPIRIT OF CONQUEST, images spring to mind, of an armada of battleships, loaded with barrels of Hennessy XO, sail ominously to the Far East, ready to intoxicate the hapless villagers with this divine nectar of the gods....

However, the next best thing, would be an upcoming Hennessy XO Appreciation Grows, 2013, to be held this coming 3rd of April, at ...tadah...the iconic Chin Woo Stadium. Coming along on this journey is Chef Lee Anne Wong, the first female chef for the Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows series of events. Chef Lee Anne has also found success around the world, as a finalist on Bravo TV network’s highly-rated Top Chef cooking competition and more recently, as the culinary producer of the series. Chef Lee Anne Wong is also the Executive Chef of Event Operations at The French Culinary Institute, a position she maintained while participating in the Top Chef competition and continues to hold. A culinary polyglot, in her personal time Lee Anne loves to travel and experience new cultures and flavors. Mexico holds a soft spot in her heart. For the past twelve years she has made a yearly pilgrimage to Oaxaca for the food, people and culture. In recent years, she has spent time traveling all over Japan, for personal and culinary growth, including her role as an honored chef for Sakai City’s Annual Hamono (Knife) Festival.

Like Hennessy X.O, Chef Lee Anne Wong seeks to bring guests who taste her modern-global fusion cuisine on a journey around the world. Her sense of resourcefulness and grounding in French culinary techniques, married with her ability to innovate and produce truly modern-global cuisine, makes Chef Lee Anne a prime candidate to approach the task of creating a menu that reflects the journey of Hennessy X.O not only across oceans and to different continents, but into the hearts and minds of cognac devotees and gourmands.

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Chef Lee Anne Wong demonstrates how to cut corn on the cob while Foo Ken Vin, Senior Marketing Manager, Moet Hennessy Diageo Malaysia, observes.

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Foo Ken Vin, Senior Marketing Manager, Moet Hennessy Diageo Malaysia, participates in the canapé masterclass

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Participants of the canapé masterclass enjoy a glass of Hennessy X.O cognac over a light moment

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Chef Lee Anne Wong, Foo Ken Vin, Senior Marketing Manager, Moet Hennessy Diageo Malaysia and Julie Woon, host of the canapé masterclass enjoy scallops in lime with water chestnut and corn, paired with Hennessy X.O

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Chef Lee Anne Wong and Foo Ken Vin, Senior Marketing Manager, Moet Hennessy Diageo Malaysia pose with the canapés prepared during the canapé masterclass

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Scallops in lime, water chestnut, corn, Paired with Hennessy X.O, “on the rocks”

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Seared beef tenderloin with cognac onion crème fraîche,Tomato and green mango
Paired with Hennessy X.O and water

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Curried pumpkin & sweet potato soup,Goat cheese beignet, Paired with Hennessy X.O, neat

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Press Release of Chef  Lee Anne Wong

Since she traded her burgeoning fashion career for the culinary world, Chef Lee Anne Wong, has been bringing her modern-global fusion cuisine to the people. Born and raised in Troy, New York, Lee Anne, a 2nd generation Chinese- American, was not drawn to the kitchen, favoring sports –softball and ice hockey – instead. Though her mother encouraged her to eat unique cuisine, Lee Anne’s tastes were intrinsically tied to American favorites such as pizza, jalapeno poppers, and burgers. Lee Anne’s passion for cuisine ignited during her first year studying Fashion Design at FIT when she started cooking for friends. Once she donned her chef whites she never looked back.
After graduating from The French Culinary Institute (The FCI) Chef Wong jumped into the restaurant world. She immersed herself in New York’s fusion cuisine – working for several years at Marcus Samuelsson’s Aquavit, later serving as an integral part the opening staff at Jean Georges Vongrichten’s Chinese venture, Restaurant 66. She has also cooked and staged in kitchens all over the world, including The French Laundry, Charlie Trotter’s of Chicago, Nobu, The Four Seasons, Trio, Casa Oaxaca in Mexico and Cap Jaluca in the British Virgin Islands – picking up global flavors and techniques along the way.
Lee Anne’s skills go beyond the stove. She returned to The FCI as the Executive Chef of Event Operations –where she honed her event production and recipe development skills, customizing unique menus and events for the clients of the school’s International Culinary Theater. While at The FCI she coordinated the Chef Demonstration program, working alongside culinary heavy-hitters such as Jacques Pepin, Andre Soltner, Ferran Adria, Tyler Florence, and Martin Yan.
Chef Wong brought her culinary skills to an even wider audience when she appeared as a cheftestant on Season One of Bravo’s Flagship Series “Top Chef.” A fan favorite, Wong’s fusion of flavors took her to number four in the competition. The show’s producers saw her innate talent and media experience, and brought her on as the crucially important Supervising Culinary Producer on Top Chef, and its spin-off Top Chef Masters. Working on Seasons Two through Seven, and also Masters One, she was integral in shaping the show into the powerhouse that it is today. She also made the show more accessible, demonstrating the winning recipes on’s popular webisode series “The Wong Way to Cook.” She has also worked as a culinary consultant on Warner Brother’s “No Reservations,” as well as PBS’ “Chef Story”, and most recently Bravo’s “Rocco’s Dinner Party”. Lee Anne has also garnered attention from numerous publications, including People, The NY Daily News, Food & Wine, National Geographic, and
While developing a media presence, Lee Anne continues to cook: participating in countless events and competitions. Recently, Lee Anne was featured as a chef at the CIA’s World of Flavors: Japan, and the 2011 Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival– where she connected with her audience during a weekend of cooking demos, wine, and tastings. She is an active member of the James Beard Foundation and has hosted and cooked many events at the James Beard House -- including an extravagant New Year’s Eve 2006 dinner. A guest chef at The Celebration of Vegetables at The Culinary Vegetable Institute at Chef’s Garden, Lee Anne has been a friend of Chef’s Garden for over 8 years and maintains a close relationship with Lee Jones. She has also used her culinary skills to help further charitable causes. She participates in Women Chefs and Restaurateurs (WCR), Project By Project – a volunteer based organization that supports Asian-American Non-profits, and she currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Gohan Society, dedicated to fostering US-Japanese culinary and cultural relations.
A culinary polyglot, in her personal time Lee Anne loves to travel and experience new cultures and flavors. Mexico holds a soft spot in her heart. For the past twelve years she has made a yearly pilgrimage to Oaxaca for the food, people and culture. In recent years, she has spent time traveling all over Japan, for personal and culinary growth, including her role as an honored chef for Sakai City’s Annual Hamono (Knife) Festival. Chef Wong also has a deep love for everything porcine – many of her recipes incorporate pork in its many incarnations. Even with all of her haute-cuisine experience, she is at heart the same girl from Troy – with a passion for all things fast food – including tacos, hamburgers, and fried chicken.
Chef Wong’s role in the culinary industry continues to evolve. She is working on a food art book – Sexy Food – with noted photographer John Mark Sorum. She has recently been tapped as the Editor and Culinary Director for Maker’s Mark Bourbon’s first-ever online Virtual Recipe Cookbook, compiling, testing, and editing recipes from the culinary world’s top chefs, mixologists, and industry professionals. Chef Wong also continues to work with The FCI as a visiting chef and alumni ambassador. She can also be seen on The Cooking Channel’s hit series “Unique Eats”, currently filming its fourth and fifth seasons, featured as a contributor who has traveled all over the U.S. to sample some of the country’s most unique food and dining experiences. She will also be featured in her own cooking web-series on, slated to launch this Fall 2011. While she’s keeping a foot in the media world, Lee Anne has several exciting projects on the horizon that are going to put her back in the kitchen, continuing to consult and develop various restaurant concepts in New York City, while writing her business plan for her own establishment.
Whether via TV, web, in print, or in person, Chef Lee Anne Wong will continue to bring her global cuisine to the public as she explores new, exciting areas of the culinary world.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

New Balance Lending Gear Run At Westin....

Okay, a strange post to be appearing on a FOOD inclined blog, but since my gym blog is dead, (yes, I did have one), and there was food after the event, I guess I have no choice but to slot it here.  Actually, I was also surprised at receiving the invitation from the Westin PR team, afterall, the event called for a 5km run at the crack of dawn, on a WEEKDAY.  I mean, who invites FOOD BLOGGERS for a 5km run right,'s a good thing I am hmph, STRAPPING FIT, and frankly, was more than a little intrigued as to the logistics of the whole exercise, ...were they actually going to CLOSE roads in the middle of Jln Bukit Bintang, on a weekday morning?

So here we were, with a free New Balance T Shirt, (drat, I was hoping for shoes, shameless as I am), before the sun rose, (which is 2 hours too early for me, normally), in front of the Westin KL, doing some senamrobics, ala 1 Malaysia style....some celebrities like Xandria Ooi, and Reshmonu, and err.. Sarina, I think, were also there to glamourize the event.  

We were given the option of speed, medium and snail, ...actually, mediocrity doesn't pay,'s a lonely world, contrary to popular belief.  You see, I am neither fast nor slow, and I found out, most people who do these things, at dawn, are generally fast, and those who are there because they have to be there, were literally strolling in the park.  The park, yes, that brings me to the route.  We were police escorted, (no roads were closed or harmed) from Westin, through Jln Conlay, onto the KLCC Park, which is actually rather pleasant in the mornings. 

As you can see, the moon was still hanging I made my way around the park, two loops, we had to do, the sun slowly appeared.  I was amazed at the number of healthy people walking the park in the morning.  Not many.

We reconvened at the rendezvous point, and did some cooldown stretches......

Free Revive drinks from err...Hitz FM, I think it was...

See la, those celebrity types, barely break into a sweat, and can probably still pose for Tatler after a 5km run.  Tsk....

After the run, a breakfast of SUPERFOODS.... yummeh....

And after that, the press conference.  Basically, New Balance has initiated this program with Starwood hotels, whereby you can RENT your workout gear, ie, sneakers, socks, clothes, for a very nominal price, at participating hotels, which actually, is a brilliant idea, because let's face it, sneakers sneak up on your luggage weight like ubiquitous chinese new year cookies....

The New Balance /Westin people telling us about the program.  Can't remember why the Executive Chef was in the panel...

Ooh, after that, them celebrities were flown off to Langkawi to do another 5km run.  I thought me driving to Bukit Kiara for a walk was quite a long distance to travel, I guess flying to Langkawi for a 5km trumps my drive any time.

So remember, if you are in a Starwood hotel, and find that you need to workout, get the New Balance Gear.  Oh, and before you gawk at the thought of sharing sneakers, they do have a disposable inner thingie for hygiene purposes, so the likelihood of contracting Singapore foot is almost zilch.

Monday, March 11, 2013

YTL A Perennial Feast

Gosh, with Chinese New Year, and an almost detached retina, I have been ghastlily slothful (and paired with gluttony, making it two out of seven) and my fingers weigh a was with abject horror that I realised I have yet to post this lovely event that was held on 30th January, at the hallowed halls of the MUSE floor in Starhill Gallery.  Now, what makes it "hallowed" is the fact that the entire floor has been converted to something like a culinary school, and is every cook or chef's dream kitchen.

The event itself was to launch the book "A PERENNIAL FEAST", a collection of recipes, and narratives on all the F&B Outlets of the YTL group, from Beef Rendang in Tanjung Jara, to Hokkaido Scallops in Niseko. 


Present at the launch were Dato Yeoh Soo Min, Executive Director of YTL Corporation Berhad, and the author, Kim Inglis. 

Chefs representing the various outlets were also present ...whoever said that too many cooks spoil the broth obviously has never been to one of these gliterrati events. 

Dato Yeoh exudes an elegance, modesty and humility that is very becoming.  She regales us with stories of her own dining experiences at the YTL establishments around the world.

The lovely Tracy (in the background) from whom my invite came.

The author telling us about the book.  Unfortunately the photographer Jacob Termansen could not be present with us that night. 




Ta dah, a book is launched. 

This was followed by a lovely dinner at the THIRD FLOOR GALLERY, previously the Third Floor Restaurant, now an area that can be used to host events, and the like. 


Chef Matthew Ona and Chef Wai



Snow White Dancing Prawns with Hot Mayonnaise and Honey Glazed Walnuts from Shook! Kuala Lumpur.  Plump succulent prawns in a sea of mayo, perhaps too much, but nevertheless, as the first dish, usually one is allowed more leeway. 

Soft shell crab maki and kaki agebonoyaki- which I am assuming, since I don't speaketh the Japanese, is the large oyster that is crusted with cheese.

Our mains were Steamed Fillet of Saltwater Barramundi, Bird’s Eye Chilli, Roasted Baby Eggplant and Pumpkin Sauce and a Pressed chicken saute with grilled asparagus, jasmine rice and lime coconut veloute.

I loved the pressed chicken, although not everyone in my vicinity did.  The fish was also cooked well, and I loved the tanginess with the hint of heat from the chilli padi.

Food writer Alice Yong with Siobhan Odea, of YTL...

Aja & lucky to be facing all these leng luis...

Gariguette Strawberries in a crunchy pastry with light vanilla cream, from Muse Saint Tropez - Only superlatives for this gorgeous looking dessert, light puff like pastry, fresh dairy cream, summer fruits ....a most refreshing dessert. 

Chocolate Truffle with err...Pistachio macaron, if I remember correctly.

While us lucky attendees got the book in our party packs, you will be glad to know that it is available to the public, retailing at RM125, at most major bookstores.  A lovely coffee table book, with a good range of delicious recipes.  I can't wait to try some of them.