Because of time constraint, we can’t go to every food tasting but whenever we receive an invitation from SHATEC students opening their own eateries, we would surely make time to visit. Because if Singaporeans don’t support local talent, then who will support them?
SHATEC has seen more 30, 000 graduates past through its door in the past 30 years, producing luminaries such as Ignatius Chan, owner of world-renowned restaurant, Iggy’s; Justin Quek, owner of Sky on 57; and Arthur Kiong, CEO of Far East Hospitality.
SHATEC trains its students with the most up-to-date skills. For instance, students are trained in gueridon service or tableside service, that is when the servers prepare food by your table, which was once a hallmark of fine-dining and is making a comeback. But what impressed us most about 19 year-old Nicodemus Gan Jia Wei (in the photos), as he was mixing us a mocktail, was the way he answered our questions with ease and composure when 20 cameras were flashing in his face.
I teased him, “Are you the top student in your class? That’s why you’re doing the demonstration.”
He gave the perfectest reply, “SHATEC is like any other tertiary schools, in that we are graded with A, B, C, etc. So we don’t know who the top student is. A student can be top in one module but not do well for another module.” Great answer! Humble, modest, and informative. And in other words, since there is no top student, all SHATEC students are equally good.
Besides watching Nicodemus’s wonderful bartendering act, we were invited to taste the tribute to SHATEC menu ($42++). In lieu of SHATEC’s 30th anniversary, SHATEC has invited four former students to create a dish each to be placed on the tribute menu, which is available on two nights only, 7th Jun and 14th Jun at Recipes. Although the menu was created by four eminent chefs, the cooking was entirely done by SHATEC students and what a great achievement it was.
After a year of learning, tests and training, the students go to Recipes Restaurant to put into practice what they have learned. After Recipes, they will be sent to various job attachments at hotels and restaurants. And I’ve to say, the service at Recipes was first-rate, fine-dining standards. They served the ladies first and men last. They served the food from the right of the customers. And they remembered who ordered what. All these are trademarks of fine-dining service.
Created by Chef Randy Chow, who is a lecturer of culinary arts at Temasek Poly now, this slow-cooked pork belly and apple salsa was our least favorite dish. The pork needed to be more tender and the crispy rice wasn’t crispy enough.
This was the star of the night. Celebrity Chef Eric Teo, who always appears on TV and owns his own F&B consultancy, lives up to his name. The mushroom coffee soup was intense and thick and yet, light at the same time, as it was loosened up by the foam and a light sprinkle of chocolate. Was it coffee? Was it mushroom soup? Was it mocha? The elusive flavors was entrancing. The accompanying stick was prawn paste in a crispy cinnamon roll, delicious on its own, but even better when you dip into the soup, like dipping youtiao into coffee. Like coordinating colours of clothes, the more colors the harder it is to pull off an outfit, food is the same. The more ingredients, the harder for it to taste good. And yet, Chef Teo managed to combine so many different kinds of ingredients in a bowl of art. Truly remarkable.
I was shocked when this dish of sous vide chicken breast and foie gras was served. Because this dish alone was worth the price of the set menu. It was created by Chef Tony Khoo, currently Executive Chef at Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The chicken breast was huge and tender, and with the thyme jus, very delectable. The foie gras was a little overcooked but who cared? We were all distracted by the great portions.
Last dish was created by Chef Pang Kok Keong, who conceptualized Canele. When he was still at Canele, we visited three times a week! He left Canele to set up his own shop, Antoinette (see our reviews here and here). Given his talent, I was slightly disappointed in the fondant au chocolat. Don’t get me wrong, it was very, very good. It was bold and strong and yet, light and teasing, so you’d want to take another bite and another bite and you could finish an entire one by yourself. In fact, this was one of the best lava chocolate cake I’ve eaten. But lava chocolate cake is quite passe, and it’s Chef Pang. I wanted to be surprised. For those who are fans of lava chocolate cakes, this is one of the best you can find.
Overall, the food was good, the value was better, but the best of all was the experience. THe dinner gave me a fizzy feeling when I saw all these young people striving to be the best they could. Ganbatte! And don’t forget to support them by going to the dinner on 7th and 14th Jun.
100 High Street
#01-03 The Treasury
(beside Funan IT Mall, park there.)
T: 6338 2798
closed on Sun & Public Holidays
Rating: 3.500/5 stars
PS: Thanks Veron, Betty and Chenyze for the invite and hosting us.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.