The Grand Hyatt Hong Kong had promised a surprise. And the surprise was being handed a chef's apron and hat with a bunch of other journalists and being told to cook our own lunch. As the Tatler journalist fussed that the hat might squash her hair, Hyatt International area vice-president Gordon Fuller (far left) quickly assured everyone that they were just there to taste the food and drink wine - a journalistic art form. German executive chef Marcus Mathyssek (second from left) then presented the new a-la-carte menu for the Hyatt's Grand Cafe, which will be available from today. 'We wanted you to come and taste the food, and also to say what you like and have your views on the food,' said Mathyssek, which was sweet considering he and executive sous chefs Andrew McKee (second from right) and Raymond Cheung (right) had been working on the menu for the past two or three months, and we'd been working on the wines and antipastos for two or three minutes. The staples of the Grand Cafe - the ever-popular Hainan chicken rice, prawns and won ton noodles - are there to stay, but the chefs wanted to change from a buffet back to ? la carte. 'We were keen to bring plenty of fresh ingredients to the dishes,' said McKee, 'and while we tried out a few things, we wanted the tastes and freshness to come out, and not to play around with it too much.' Fuller said that while the buffet format had worked well, in 'these crazy times' of economic see-sawing, it was important to introduce something new. Next time you read 'surprise' on an invitation, take a chef's outfit, just in case.