Hennessy Appreciation Grows Gastronomy 2012 featuring celebrity Chef Edward Lee!

Last year, I missed the Hennessy Appreciation Dinner by Chef Alvin Leong, of which I was naturally extremely disappointed about. Same sentiments applies to the Penang event where Chef Cheong Liew showcased his delicious culinary works at the beautifully restored Suffolk House of Penang.
Thankfully, my good friend Ling of Mezze was kind enough to invite me to be her guest for the Hennessy Appreciation Dinner by Susur Lee, else I would have missed out on it again.

Below: High on Hennessy; Ling of Mezze Restaurant, Jalan Kasah and Frederic Noyere, the managing director of Moet Hennessy Diageo in Malaysia.

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The pictures for the post sat in draft for quite some time, but then I wasn’t invited as a blogger but as a guest, thus I was free from any datelines.
But with the next Hennessy Appreciation Dinner coming up TOMORROW; memories took me back to my sublime dinner that night; and of my virtual tour of the cognac house where it all began…..

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It’s always a happy occasion to see Will Quah. Sauve demeanour, clear dictation coupled with a sharp wit, Will is my pick for the best emcee/host in Malaysia (other than veteran Raymond Goh) at the moment.

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Hennessy Appreciation Grows Gastronomy 2011 is not just about arriving, drinking Hennessy and savouring dinner; though that is encouraged of course. Our night started with a virtual tour with an insightful narration of the cognac making process followed by a simple tasting session.

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Then we were ushered into the dining hall, which was furnished with only 8 (can’t recall the exact number) exclusive tables with a large stage and projected screen.

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Chef Susur Lee is a man of few words; obviously prefering his culinary creations to speak for him. The 1st course aptly named “Sashimi Exquisite” told me what I wanted to know.

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Sashimi paired with sea urchin in edamame sauce. This was truly sublime, with full flavours of the ocean in each mouthful. I love how each element of the dish contributes its own taste; plump and sweet scallops, briny sea urchin and firm tuna paired with creamy avocadoes.. brilliant!

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Allure of The Orient.
Wok fried king prawn served with steamed pumpkin, deep-fried noodles and savoury tomato jam.

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This was almost ordinary, but I’ll allocate full marks for presentation. We had this matched with Hennesy XO on the rocks.

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Quesso Ambrosia.
Susur has a knack of naming his dishes just the way they taste. This was ambrosia alright; goat cheese tart with red capsicum and jalapeno flavoured in tomatillo sauce and garnished with minced wax duck sausage.

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Oh my, why hasn’t anyone thought of it before? Wax duck sausage with creamy pungent cheese and fiery pepper. I almost wished there were second helpings! At this juncture, the waiters came around with a glass of Hennessy neat, advised as the best pairing for this dish.

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Tenderloin Ardour. 
Pan grilled Australian tenderloin with polenta cake and Chu Hou sauce. Paired again with Hennessy neat.

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I think a little faux pas here was that we were not asked beforehand how we would prefer our meat done. Guests were given the choice of beef or fish as main, and for an event like this, though it may be tedious, it’s certainly doable to ask the guests for their preferred choice of doneness. But I won’t want to be overstepping the hospitality of the host, and though I would have enjoyed my beef medium rare rather than medium done, the tenderloin was still good.

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Sable Sensation – the fish dish.
Specially marinated sablefish and radish cake, served with unique miso-flavoured mustard and chinese mui choy.

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I poked my partner at my side and asked her opinion on her fish. “It’s very good“, she mumbled between bites. This was accompanied by Hennessy XO on the rocks.

Hennessy flowed freely all the while and silent attentive staff whisked away empty plates and set down course after course with precision. The large projector screened some pretty interesting clips; including a sand illustration by a very talented artist that did a time lapse narration of Hennessy, keeping guests entertained and well informed.

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Pannacotta Serenade.
Sweet and creamy vanilla panna cotta comes together with a fruity symphony of raspberry, pineapple and wondrous  passion fruit coulis. Pairing Hennessy with desserts is possible too, as I discover that night.

Our milky, firm with a slight wobble panna cotta worked well with Hennessy on the rocks. The fruit coulis & slim slices of fruit imparted a refreshing tang to the richness of the “custard”.

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I wonder now what to expect for tomorrow’s event, with this installment of Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows featuring Chef Edward Lee, a James Beard finalist for Best Chef and winner of the American Iron Chef, among many other accolades.

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At Susur Lee’s dinner, Frederic Noyere, the managing director of Moet Hennessy Diageo demonstrated the using of the pipette to extract the precious nectar from the Mathusalem.

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Yes, a raise of glass to MHD and all for the wonderful experience.

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As a foodie who’s constantly seeking new exploits and who’s always in awe of such culinary maestros, any opportunities to meet and savour their creations are highlights of my life! 😀

So yes, I’ll see you tomorrow Chef Edward Lee!

chef Edward Lee & Frederic Noyere, Managing Director of Moet & Hennessy Diageo.

One last picture, I will always remember this dish.

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So who’s as excited as I am for Chef Edward Lee? Have you guys seen him on TV??

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