Residents of Hong Kong are obsessed with food. Create a new cuisine concept and we’ll be racing to try it; start a novel food trend and we’ll jump on it in the blink of an eye; open a brand-new restaurant and it will be written up in hundreds of foodie blogs. So the announcement of a food and wine festival is always greeted with excitement. This time, it’s the Asia-Pacific Food and Wine Festival hosted by The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong.
With a cameo cast of seven celebrity chefs flying in from China, Denmark, France, Italy and the United Kingdom to cook alongside the hotel’s own executive chef Peter Find, the four-day event will be full of meals and cooking classes — it’s about learning how to approximate what these experts are doing at home as much as savoring the results (right?).
One of the standout guests includes chef Mads Refslund of Denmark. How much further can you get from Hong Kong in terms of culture and cuisine? Find of The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong says, “Since it is really the first time modern Nordic cuisine is coming to town we have a lot of interest already.” They’re keeping mum about the dishes that will be served, but Refslund’s “Bonding Rawness” theme means that there will mainly be a healthy sounding of raw veggies and seafood.
Closer to home, a descendant of the Li Cuisine, chef Ivan Li, will be honoring the heritage of his family’s style of cooking thanks to recipes handed down from his ancestors. “My father was the founder of our restaurant and he wanted to use his family name for this special cuisine,” Li tells, “which is inherited from the Imperial Court fare of the Qing Dynasty.” He admits that inevitably the Qing Dynasty dishes can never be exactly the same, four generations later, because of the difference in key ingredients, but he is still managing to cook up deer tail sauce served with his handmade noodles. “Hunting was an essential hobby of emperors in the past, so their special cuisine reflected this habit,” Li adds. Luckily for us he isn’t going to be replicating other popularly hunted beasts of the time such as tiger, bear and swan.
Chef Franck Fresson of France, a Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, and one of the country’s most renowned pastry chefs, will be transforming the afternoon tea and its humble scone, sandwich and cake combination. Most of us are already in love with the regular comfort carbs, but it is likely to be a memorable departure from the norm as one of his signature cakes, the Citric de Santacreu Lemon Cake with seven different citrus textures, is just one of the pieces of confectionery perfection he’ll be serving.
And for a nation that has made great strides in upping its dairy intake in the last decade or so, the Cheese Fiesta will be a fun, and fragrant way for Hong Kong to taste up to 118 different cheeses from around the world. Two of the most unusual will be Résineux de Loubières, which has been described as a Mont d’Or but made of goat milk instead of cow, and Bleu de Séverac, which is similar to a Roquefort.
If you can’t work out which events to attend, the All Star Brunch sees all these chefs cooking at live action stations, peeling, chopping, frying and grilling their hearts out to impress our sophisticated and demanding palates (and you can purchase a ticket that includes unlimited Louis Roederer Cristal, which will cost you HK$2,880, as opposed to HK$880 just for the brunch). Let the gourmet fun begin.
Photos Courtesy of The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company LLC