Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows 2014 welcomes Chef James Won & 1-Stella Michelin Chef Accursio Craparo

I’m eagerly awaiting my 6th Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows experience in October.
A teaser of Chef James and Chef Accursio’s capabilities was demonstrated during a exclusive preview recently at an interactive workshop to explore the evolution of ingredients and food paired with Hennessy X.O.

Celebrating The Origins of Hennessy X.O In Good Company

Yes, this round of Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows showcases not one, but 2 chefs.
Each will bring his own mastery to the table; one a Malaysian who is currently the chef patron and owner of Brasserie Enfin- a full-fledged elegant French bar and restaurant; as well as Bad Boy Cooks – an American diner-style chain of eateries offering hearty burgers and hot dogs while another is a Sicilian who barely speaks ay English.
Fret not though, his passion and culinary skills spoke volumes of his food.

(L-R) Chef James Won and Chef Accursio Craparo

Malaysians and Sicilians share a very similar culture – a strong love affair for good food celebrated in good company, especially those close to our hearts.
This remains true to Maurice Hennessy’s original vision of Hennessy X.O to be shared in the company of family and close friends,” Foo Ken Vin, Senior Marketing Manager of Moët Hennessy Spirits had said.

Guests for this round of Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows can look forward to be mystified with food that are somewhat familiar, but done differently.
Think of a plate with 2 techniques and 2 cultures; with French and Asian influences. You will recognise the food served, yet you will still be surprised. Some may even come across as strange, maybe even weird.” And that was all both chefs were willing to divulge after much effort from the curious media to pry more information of the menu from both.

As a prelude to much anticipated dinner, we were treated to a Hennessy X.O technical tasting session led by Brand Ambassador of Moët Hennessy Brands, Chong Wai Keng.
A modular tasting workshop guided by both Chef Accursio and Chef Won followed shortly after. Both illustrated the depth and complexity of this superior cognac when paired with classic and unconventional ingredients.

Classic & Contemporary Food & Ingredients Pairing with Hennessy X.O

The contrast of style between Chef James and Chef Accursio became clear during the session.
I took my place at Chef Accursio’s station where the theme was “Contrast Contemporary” while at Chef Jame’s it was “Classical Complementary”.

Chef Accursio prepared “a pairing by contrast” concept where he matched delicate Asian tofu, salmon with cream fraiche and lastly Malaysian chocolate sprinkled with black pepper and salt.
Each of these canapes were paired with Hennessy X.O; either neat, on the rocks or mixed with water.
Though Chef Accursio wasn’t able to speak English, his translator did a fabulous in conveying his message to his audience. We were in turn encouraged to share our thoughts from each pairing.

At Chef James’ table the affable chef took us through an exercise of smell and taste. We begun with sips of Hennessy as Chef James described the nose and taste of the cognac.
Then we were asked to inhale a premium untreated cinnamon from Vietnam; subsequently breaking off a small piece for taste.
This was followed by 60% cocoa truffles and a sip of Hennessy.
All the while we were encouraged to examine the subtle development of flavour after each smell and sip.
Chef James went on to illustrate how each ingredient enhances the senses of another; demonstrating the sophistication of the Hennessy X.O bottle.
“It is a cognac that can stand up to soft notes, varying depth of flavours and bold tastes.”

The final element was confit mandarin orange peel which was dried, dusted with cinnamon powder, pepperino (chilli) and dusted again with sugar. We bit off the chocolate coated end and drank more cognac.
At this stage I remembered praising Chef James for the orange peel parcel with herbs and taking some with me home. I just couldn’t, for the hell of me remembered what was it for.

Too much Hennessy? Maybe.
And I’m looking forward to more in October and to seeing Chef James and Chef Assursio in action again.
Feed me! 🙂

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