MIGF Chakri Palace (Chef Mama Nippa) by The Sun Daily

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THE 13th Malaysia International Gourmet Festival (MIGF) had its gala launch recently at the Sunway Pyramid Conference Centre, which had been turned into a carnival-like atmostphere featuring dancers, musicians and stiltwalkers to entertain the guests.

The event was declared open by MIGF ­patron Tunku Naquiyuddin Tuanku Ja’afar in the company of 28 of the chefs who were from some of the best restaurants in the country.

Together with MIGF organising chairman Datuk Steve Day, they stormed through a giant chef hat to receive a chefs’ welcome, first in the Epicure International Gourmet Village and then at the Theatre of Cuisines.

The Theatre of Cuisines comprised individual booths for each participating restaurant to featur bite-sized tasting portions of its signature dishes that will be served in its restaurant’s festival menu next month.

This year’s festival theme is Cool Chefs – Cooking with Attitude. However, as in previous years, nobody really cared about the theme: it was all about the food.

Members of the media were allowed into the ballroom a little after 5.30pm although some participants were still busy getting things ready. This was our opportunity to sample the food, talk to the chefs and take pictures of the displays before the VIPs arrived.

While some participants seemed to be at a loss at how to promote their restaurants, several other restaurant representatives took full advantage of the media presence to talk about the food and dish out samples.

Unfortunately, the extreme cold in the air-conditioned venue did not help to make the most of flavours in the food served.

Unlike previous years where there were more elaborate displays, this year’s biggest draw was a buxom ‘mermaid’ who became the most photographed person in the room.

At the booth featuring Samplings on the Fourteenth restaurant from Berjaya Times Square Hotel, chef Valmurugan Subramaniam and his merry men displayed great skills in drawing guests to sample their food.

Val (as he is popularly known) spoke about his dishes, explaining that it only took him a couple of hours to decide on the menu which comprised sabayon of pearl tapioca with poached oyster and trout caviar; seared foie gras with mango puree and roasted Atlantic cod served with honey glaze, daikon, lemon; and fennel puree with passion fruit emulsion.

The other establishments that got our nod included Nook of Aloft Hotel for its local-meets-western style dishes, Sagano and Dynasty from Renaissance Hotel for giving a special touch to familiar dishes, Nero Vivo for its delicious Italian cuisine, and Arthur’s Bar & Grill for showing us that simple food like Yorkshire pudding can be an excellent fine-dining dish.

Situated next to the Theatre was the Epicure Gourmet Village, where several booths were selling foods, drinks, cigars and even kitchen appliances.

Nonetheless, this village was an eye-opening experience where we learnt more about the newest in kitchenware and about a dairy farm in Kuala Selangor that raises imported Jersey cows, and supplies fresh milk (with no preservatives) under the Bright Cow brand to supermarkets.

This same company supplies milk to a homegrown ice-cream manufacturer called Vedablu from Sabah who offered us a taste of the high-quality ice cream that can rival the imported brands.

There was also a bakery in Brickfields called CakeShop.com.my which had some lavish cakes on display and served up some really top-of-the-line desserts.

In its own way, the MIGF has played a part in promoting the F&B industry in this country.

 

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