Thursday, July 9, 2015

Celebrating SG50 with a Commemorative Cookbook!

The 11 chefs who contributed to the SG50 commemorative cookbook
 To celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday, NYP  launched a commemorative cookbook at its very own L’Rez restaurant, on 10th June 2015. Called “The Singapore Heritage: Past, Present and Future”, the cookbook is co-authored by Dr Leslie Tay and features the recipes of two very talented NYP students and 9 renowned local chefs, including executive chef Tony Khoo.

The two student chefs, Mohamed Noorhadi Bin Habib Mohameed, 20, and Celine Lee, 20, both from the Diploma in Food and Beverage Business, contributed six recipes to the book, under the tutelage of the featured chefs. Noorhadi’s contributions included the Kampong Satay, open-faced Kueh Pie Tee with Crabmeat Salad, and Deep-Fried Sea Bream Two Ways. Celine’s recipes included the modernized Chye Tow Kueh, Hokkien Noodles, as well as Bak Chor Mee.

Both Celine and Noorhadi felt immensely privileged to be able to work on the cookbook with the various chefs.
Noorhadi working on his dishes
Said Noorhadi, “It was like a dream come true, because the chefs really know their stuff, and I was able to learn a lot from them. It was definitely a chance to improve my culinary skills.”

Celine said, “It was a great honor for me because we usually see them in TV shows. It was an unbelievable opportunity which I was not expecting.”

However it was not an easy journey for the both of them.

Celine working on her dishes
Said Celine, “It was difficult re-interpreting the dishes, but with the help of the chefs, I managed to create a different version of the Hokkien Noodles, braising the noodles while keeping its vibrant colors.”

Norhadi said, “The chefs helped us with re-creating the dishes because at first, we could not steer away from the original. They told us to keep the essence of the food even though we were re-inventing it in a healthier way.”

Norhadi believes his passion for culinary arts comes from his family, who has greatly influenced him.
He said, “My family is really passionate about food. I am also inspired by celebrity chefs on television. Cooking has always been a huge part of my life.”

However, for Celine, her passion was ignited from watching her grandmother cook.

She said, “My biggest inspiration has always been my grandmother. I used to watch her cook when I was still a child. She uses the old-fashion way of cooking, which is with the coal stove.”

Chef Tony Khoo was one who taught Norhadi and Celine several new techniques while they were under his guidance.

He said, “I taught them the basics of traditional cooking, and also modern day techniques such as the sous vide method. I also taught them how to make the dishes look presentable and attractive.”

It was definitely a beneficial and enlightening experience to have observed their culinary skills in such close proximity. The future of hawker food in Singapore looks set to evolve, and the launch of this cookbook is just the first step towards it.

By Nasruddin Islam Bin Ramli, Diploma in Electronics, Computer & Communications Engineering

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