The World Gourmet Summit (WGS) returns for its 22nd edition as a firm advocate for some of the world’s hidden gastronomic gems.
Themed ‘The Discovery’, this year’s WGS explored some of the world’s lesser known cuisines through a plethora of activities and specialty events held across the island from 2 to 29 April.
“We are taking a journey of gastronomic discovery, presenting unique cuisines that are starting to trend globally but have yet to come into the spotlight here in Singapore,” says Peter A. Knipp, CEO of Peter Knipp Holdings, which manages WGS. “To appreciate food and drinks is one thing, but we can only truly be enriched by digging deeper into the roots of the world’s cuisines and the DNA of food.”
In addition to celebrity chefs like Raymond Blanc and Akira Back, the food and wine festival featured headliners like Hispanic and Mexican food expert Juan Pablo; Artur Moroz, chef-owner of Poland’s Bulaj restaurant; Yaroslav Artuykh, a young Ukrainian chef who’s making waves back home; and Patrizia di Benedetto, Sicily’s first and only current female Michelin-starred chef.
Here are some event highlights.
Awards of Excellence 2018
3 April, 5.30pm
One Farrer Hotel & Spa
WGS’s signature Awards of Excellence (AOE) ceremony kickstarted the almost month-long festivities, with His Excellency Dr István Szerdahelyi, Hungarian ambassador to Singapore, in attendance as the guest of honour.
Now into its 18th year, the ceremony commended over 30 F&B and hospitality professionals for their contributions to the local and regional F&B scene. Daisuke Kawai of wine and whisky bar La Terre took home three nods for Bar of the Year, Bar Manager of the Year and Old World Wine List of the Year, distinctions that come just on the heels of his recent win at Asia’s Best Sommelier Competition in French Wines last December. Additionally, the night’s highest honours, Swiss Education Group’s Lifetime Achievement Award (Singapore), went to culinary doyenne Violet Oon and Singapore Chefs Association’s Edmund Toh.
AOE 2018 HIGHLIGHTS
Swiss Education Group Lifetime Achievement Award (Singapore)
For the full list of award recipients, refer to WGS’s AOE website.
15 April, 4pm
Held on the central lawn of CHIJMES, this year’s United Nations Gastronomic Assembly (UNGA) event featured a melting pot of cuisines. Over 20 restaurants and F&B partners set up booths, dishing out bites and beverages that ran the gamut from familiar to exotic. Think jellied Arctic char by chef Péter Szabó of Budapest’s La Parrilla, and braised beef brisket kong bak buns with kimchi and daikon slaw from Singapore’s Coriander Leaf restaurant, accompanied by sips of Italian wines, Polish ciders and Indonesian craft beers.
The Ottomani’s Bayram Dinner
10 April, 8pm
Middle Eastern restaurant The Ottomani is best known for bringing a fresh take on traditional flavours, utilising a charcoal grill and wood-fired earthen pit to slow roast its dishes overnight, thereby creating a unique depth of flavour. Situated along Peck Seah Street, the restaurant entrance opens up into a walkway that leads diners to a cosy modern Persian set up, complete with luxe leather sofas and dim hanging lamps.
As one of WGS’s partner restaurants, the restaurant served up a one-night only, three-course gastronomic speciality menu. Dinner kicked off with three starters: Ottomani bread with smoked dates; spinach and cheese triangles with kale and smoked manouri cheese; and Adana “kebab” tartare. The tartare comprised grain-fed beef mixed with traditional spices and topped with vintage caviar, then placed atop a mini pita and finished with a sprinkle of matcha powder.
Diners were given a choice of pork or lamb for their mains, of which the kurobuta collar was the star. First marinated with Turkish coffee, palm sugar and Szechuan pepper, the pork was then smoked overnight in the wood-fired pit, resulting in a tender meat chockfull of flavour with a delicious crust of burnt sugar. To balance this out, the dish came with three sides of charred corn with bulgur wheat, salt and inked potatoes, and overnight squash with smoked labneh. The meal finished on a sweet note of chocolate date ganache with orange coulis, almond, and slated labneh sorbet.
Ishikawa Prefecture Dinner
11 April, 7pm
Japanese-French fusion restaurant Lewin Terrace, another WGS partner restaurant, played host to an intimate dinner at its gorgeous black & white colonial bungalow location along Hill Street. On this occasion, critically acclaimed chef de cuisine Hiroyuki Shinkai prepared a special seven-course menu that showcased exceptional produce from Japan’s Ishikawa Prefecture.
Of particular note during this kaiseki-style dinner were chef Shinkai’s Fukui amaebi tartare amuse bouche, comprising exquisitely fresh amaebi prawns, raspberry-tomato sauce, and lobster jelly; a sushi-inspired appetiser featuring Ishikawa sayori (Japanese halfbeak fish); and Sawara (Spanish mackerel) with vanilla bean sauce and parsley purée.
Spotted Around Town
Plus, a lucky few were treated to special WGS events starring some of these masterchefs.
Hommage À Paul Bocuse with Julien Royer
12 April, 7pm
In celebration of the late chef Paul Bocuse, one of the forefathers of French nouvelle cuisine, chef Royer served up an extraordinary re-interpretation of French cuisine at his two Michelin-starred restaurant.
Hungry For Hungary
A four-hands wine pairing dinner presented by gastronomic expert Csaba Harmath and guest chef Péter Szabó, this unique culinary experience gave diners a glimpse into Hungary’s robust cuisine in seven courses.
Peck @ Geese With Artur Moroz
17 April, 7pm
Geese took centre-stage at this WGS event with visiting chef Artur Moroz, chef-owner of Bulaj in Sopot, Poland. A chef with a strong ingredient-focus, he took diners on tour of his country’s culinary culture featuring this Polish staple.
A Taste Of Ukraine
20 April, 12pm
Rising Ukrainian chef Yaroslav Artuykh led guests through a delicious cocktail pairing dinner of his native cuisine at Grand Copthorne Waterfront’s Grissini restaurant.