World champion chefs add a touch of poetry to take Chinese cuisine to a whole new level
In the world of cuisine, good taste is worth replicating. In May, sauce maker Lee Kum Kee's dream team of Chinese chefs wowed judges at the 2011 World Championship of Cookery in Taipei, beating 27 other international teams to take home the champion's cup.
To give Hong Kong food lovers a chance to sample the glory, Lee Kum Kee Group chairman Lee Man Tat and sons David and Charles Lee hosted a banquet on Friday at the company's Tai Po headquarters, and invited the five mainland masters to recreate their award-winning dishes.
'The theme of 'Jiangnan painted in spring rains' came from a Chinese dance competition I saw that featured a couple dancing in front of a moving backdrop of a Jiangnan water village,' team leader chef Qu Hao of Beijing explained. 'It inspired us towards the concept of 'poetic cuisine' as a way to show the world the depth and creativity of Chinese cuisine.'
The dishes - a stuffed baby tomato appetiser, a consomme with an intricately constructed edible 'lover's knot', braised beef presented with coiled and golden-fried dough, salt-baked braised duck, velveted fish dice in bamboo and a delicately layered sweet pastry - not only tested the chefs' mastery of Chinese traditional techniques, but also their understanding of cutting-edge presentation.
Local gourmet William Mark Yiu-tong was just one of the satisfied guests at the three-hour luncheon. The veteran food critic said: 'For me, this meal embodies the idea that every cuisine is in fact a natural fusion of different cultures. What we experienced here is true fusion.'