From 10 to 14 September, Origin Grill at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore plays host to chef Pablo Oazen, winner of the 2017 Brazilian version of MasterChef: The Professionals.
It’s his first visit to Singapore, and Brazilian chef Pablo Oazen, chef-owner of gastrobar Garagem and sandwich shop Bull & Beer in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, comes bearing gifts. Think native Brazilian ingredients such as jambu, a flowering herb that leaves your palate numb the way a Sichuan pepper might; artisanal chocolate from Combu Island; Brazilian fruit and nuts such as Pequi and Baru; and flame-red urukum oil, derived from the plant used by Amazonian tribes to make face paint.
Putting a contemporary spin on native Brazilian ingredients is something Chef Oazen does on a daily basis at Garagem, and it is also what helped him win the second season of Brazil’s MasterChef: The Professionals, a 2017 MasterChef spin-off pitting professional chef contestants against each other.
This week, he teams up with chef Heidi Flanagan, who also loves working with seasonal native ingredients, in presenting Brazilian flavours on a plate. Choose from two- or three-course set lunch menus by chef Pablo (from $54), a set dinner menu by chefs Pablo and Heidi (from $178), or a masterclass and three-course lunch by chef Pablo on 14 September (from $98). All meals come with the option to enjoy South American wines selected by head sommelier Britt Ng.
If you opt for the five-course dinner menu (which is really eight if you count the extra middle, pre-main and pre-dessert courses thrown in), expect to start with a selection of snacks that sets you on your Brazilian escapade right away. You’d be served morsels such as pao de queijo mollet, shrimp and pumpkin, a cheese ball snack commonly found in Minas Gerais state featuring the region’s Canastra cheese. Another kicker of a starter is Eva’s Bite, or apple soaked with jambu and cachaça, a popular Brazilian spirit distilled from fermented sugarcane juice, paired with a milk-Malibu coconut rum.
Next it’s on to green apple cannelloni with oyster, cucumber and coriander, a semblance of the dish chef Pablo put up in the molecular gastronomy challenge of MasterChef: The Professionals. This refreshing, well-balanced appetiser featuring Tsarskaya oysters from France whets the appetite for courses to come.
Which is just as well, as for mains, you’d be tucking into hearty dishes such as snapper marinated with urukum oil, which is then wrapped in banana leaves and grilled. This is paired with okra, kale and a banana puree for a plate of myriad tastes. More along these lines, there’s also a sizzling pork belly paired with corn grits, socarrat akin to the crunchy burnt bits at the base of a paella, and a watercress, green peas and bacon puree.
End on a sweet and satisfying note with milk jam, coffee’s tuile and roasted bread ice cream, a dessert that helped chef Pablo win in the finale of his Brazilian MasterChef: The Professionals bid last year.
Lobby Level, Tower Wing, Shangri-La Hotel. 22 Orange Grove Road. Tel: 6213 4595