By Khetsirin Pholdhampalit
The Sunday Nation
La Residence at the Intercontinental Hua Hin Resort recently held its first Sunday brunch with dishes prepared by Michelinstar chef Takagi Kazuo.
The Intercontinental Hua Hin Resort is tapping top chefs from around the world
THE INTERCONTINENTAL Hua Hin Resort has leapt into the luxury Sunday brunch market by inviting both celebrity and Michelin-star chefs to serve their finest cuisine in the seaside town.
The first in the series was Japanese chef Takagi Kazuo, whose restaurant Takagi in Ashiya, a city between Osaka and Kobe, earned two Michelin stars in 2010. His hotpot restaurant Kozithu owned another star in 2013.
Kazuo was in Hua Hin for the first time recently to present his refined Kyoto-style cuisine known as kyo-ryori at the resort’s La Residence, a two-storey beachside Thai-Victorian mansion.
Kyo-ryori brings together sophistication, artistic impression and subtlety of taste. Dishes are created with an emphasis on natural beauty and local and seasonal ingredients.
La Residence at the Intercontinental Hua Hin Resort recently held its first Sunday brunch.
“This is the first time for InterContinental Hua Hin and also for Hua Hin itself to welcome a Michelin-star chef,” said general manager Michael Janssen. “We believe it will make Hua Hin more attractive, along with the rest of its uniqueness as a beach resort not far from Bangkok, with a cosmopolitan ambience.
“We plan to collaborate with renowned celebrity chefs and Michelin-star chefs from all over the world, so stay tuned!”
La Residence was elegantly set with white chairs and white-linen-covered tables laden with bone china and silverware. The tall windows let light stream in while affording a sea view.
An amuse bouche of abalone, salmon, duck and pumpkin
Kazuo prepared a five-course Sunday brunch paired with sake, each dish beautifully presented to recall autumn colours in Japan.
Arriving first at the table was an amuse bouche of steamed abalone with seaweed, salmon marinated with kombu and oven-baked duck with teriyaki sauce served with pan-fried girolles mushrooms.
Pumpkin seasoned with dashi – a broth made of kombu and bonito – and sweet potato chips in the form of yellow, orange and brown gingko leaves were also presented to celebrate the arrival of another dazzling autumn.
Onsen egg in dashi jelly
As a starter, the dashi broth was turned into jelly and served chilled with an onsen egg and green asparagus topped with black truffle, egg-yolk powder and tiny greens.
Blue lobster in mushroom soup
Next on the menu was one of Kazuo’s best-known dishes, mushroom soup that’s quite complicated in the preparation. It featured Homard blue lobster with eggplant and edamame beans, topped with caviar and dressed with purple shiso flowers.
“Dashi soup is the hidden gem of each dish, making Kyoto-style food more fully flavoured,” he said.
Grilled wagyu beef marinated in teriyaki sauce
The main course was a choice between grilled wagyu beef marinated in teriyaki sauce and served with potato and green beans, or grilled gindara black cod with miso and yuzu citrus sauce served with spinach, dried chrysanthemum, tomato and Japanese pepper oil.
“Kyoto was Japan’s capital for many years, so that’s where the old Japanese culture has its roots,” Kazuo explained. “My kyo-ryori is based on the tea ceremony, which is part of that old culture. My final course is normally sweets with green tea.”
Raspberries and milk gelato with langue-de-chat green tea
His innovative dessert was a glass containing scoops of zesty raspberries and creamy milk gelato served with sake zabajoine mango. It arrived with langue-de-chat green tea.
“It’s very basic because this is my first time in Hua Hin and I had no idea what to expect of the kitchen, the staff and the situation. Most of the ingredients are available locally, such as asparagus, eggs and abalone. If I can come again, I’m sure I can make it better.”
Chef Takagi Kazuo
Kazuo believes that a good chef must be able to replace the usual ingredients to create even better dishes.
“If you have the best ingredients, you can cook well, of course. But it’s much more challenging to turn something simple into something extraordinary.
“Last month I went to a school to demonstrate cooking and I killed a fish in front of the students. I wanted to show them that we have to kill something to continue living. Every ingredient has a life of its own, so I have to cook carefully and create dishes that will satisfy my guests. There must be nothing wasteful about it – that’s my job.”
Grilled gindara black cod with miso and yuzu citrus sauce
To take authentic Japanese cuisine to the world, Kazuo encourages young chefs to visit his restaurants and learn the Japanese way.
“Several years back I went to a Japanese restaurant in France, but the staff was entirely Chinese. There was no one who deeply understood Japanese cuisine. In the past three years I’ve invited young chefs to my places to study cooking, staying for as long as they can. If my challenge to them succeeds, they can bring real Japanese food to the world.”
Asked to name his own favourite Japanese dish, Kazuo said softly, “I don’t know ‘this is my favourite and this is not’, but when I’m in kitchen, just miso soup and rice is enough for me.”
Keep updated about other chefs participating in the series at http://HuaHin.Intercontinental.com.
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