JAAN’s four-hands collaboration with chef Joachim Wissler of three-Michelin-starred restaurant Vendome celebrated a deep sense of origin.
It all began from an email pinged halfway across the world from Singapore to Germany. JAAN’s executive chef Kirk Westaway had heard much about chef Joachim Wissler, executive chef of Vendome at Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg in Bergisch Gladbach near Cologne. The latter had never been to Singapore, and cherished the opportunity to widen his culinary map.
Enter a two-day lunch and dinner collaboration at JAAN on 10 and 11 October featuring some of the two chefs’ signature dishes. Both chefs espouse locavore-minded, produce-driven cooking with a sense of place, in what they respectively term modern British and new German cuisine.
For Westaway and the Reinventing British menu he recently launched, this has meant putting up dishes inspired by his native Devonshire, using ingredients from the UK and elsewhere. In the collaborative menu, he showcased dishes such as a trio of British-inspired snacks—fish and chip tartlet, Devonshire cheddar cheese and buckwheat pancake, and ‘chicken curry’ on a rice cracker—and English Garden, a salad of over 20 elements such as purple carrot and romanesco broccoli served with a light Scottish seaweed and herb broth.
Wissler says his message is simply to think about the history and taste of ingredients from one’s own country and apply them in the kitchen. He reasons, “If Wissler can cook in a three-star restaurant, using good-quality local trout, one or two star chefs would think they can do so too. We don’t have to use turbot from France. This is the idea of new German cuisine.” At Vendome, he works with local produce such as trout, pike-perch, wild venison, deer, pork and elderberry flowers. At JAAN, using what he had on hand, he showcased the detailed touches he brings to every plate.
Oysters with caviar, green apple and wheat beer foam for instance, is a dish Wissler usually serves at Vendome around this time, in a nod to Germany’s well-known Oktoberfest. Served with Majestic oyster and Kristal caviar at JAAN, the earthiness of the wheat beer foam contrasted beautifully with the punchiness of fresh green apple and the sweet-savoury notes of the tapoica pearls and caviar.
Another memorable dish was the suckling veal tartare with char caviar. Little elements on the plate such as Spreewald gherkins from Brandenburg, shimeji mushrooms and char-grilled mayonnaise made each bite a burst of umami. Says Wissler, “The veal itself is deliberately kept very simple and clean, not too spicy or sweet. The idea is how you can then combine this with all the different flavours you can have from the capers, small wild garlic sprouts, pickled iceberg lettuce etc.”
This collaboration is just one of several JAAN’s rolling out. On the back of hosting a slew of recent four-hands with chefs such as Neil Perry of Australia’s Rockpool Dining Group, and Luca Fantin of Il Ristorante – Luca Fantin at Bulgari Hotel Tokyo, chef Kirk plans to keep up the momentum, starting with a return visit to Il Ristorante – Luca Fantin on 1 and 2 November.
Says Westaway, “I love to continuously evolve and take inspiration from other incredible chef around the world. I particularly love working with ones that share my culinary philosophy and approach that focuses on organic produce and seasonality, sourcing from small producers that care for their products. The chefs I’ve collaborated with so far all presented unique four hands opportunities. I have a couple of exciting chefs that I am speaking with and look forward to revealing them early next year.”
Level 70, Equinox Complex, Swissotel The Stamford. 2 Stamford Road. Tel: 6837 3322