Bringing the world together at MIGF

THE Malaysia International Gastronomy Festival (MIGF) is back, and will take place from Sept 1 to Sept 3.

Throughout the festival month, Malaysia’s premier dining venues will serve special Festival Menus, at special Festival prices.

The theme for this year’s festival is ‘Muhibah Chefs! Good Food Brings Us Together.’

This year’s MIGF features cuisines from around the world, including Malaysian, French, Sri Lankan, Korean, Cantonese, Italian, South Asian, Western, Asian Fusion, and more.

Among the restaurants featured are Samplings on the Fourteenth Restaurant (Berjaya Times Square Hotel), e18hteen (Crockfords Maxims), and The Olive (Genting Grand).

The spectacular preview event of MIGF, Taste MIGF, will also be returning to Berjaya Times Square Hotel & Convention Centre for one gastronomic weekend on Sept 1 and Sept 2.

Restaurants taking part in MIGF will occupy a special dining area called the Theatre of Cuisines (open from 11am to 10pm), where bite-sized portions of food are on offer (you pay with special Gastro Dollars that you purchase at the venue or the Boost e-wallet) from the specially created Festival Menus.

There will also be an Epicure International Gourmet Village, Master Chefs cooking classes, wine appreciation talks, and a host of other informative lifestyle workshops.

Visitors to Taste MIGF will have the opportunity to take part in a Master Chef cooking demonstration with Chef Sandra Niza Barros, who will be showing guests how to prepare Macanese cuisine-garlic shrimp and Portuguese chicken. These sessions will take place from 1pm to 2.30pm on both days of Taste MIGF.

Barros’s special menu for MIGF will be also available at Samplings At the Fourteenth, throughout September.

Taste MIGF will also feature the LuxuryPlus showcase, which highlights the finest luxury options. The Macao Suite at the LuxuryPlus showcase will see a number of exciting activities lined up, including the opportunity to sample Barros contemporary Macanese creations – bacalhau (salted codfish) tart, orange roll made with fresh orange juice and genetes (a Macanese cookie).

At the same time they can check out various events taking place in Macau throughout the year, and test their driving skills on a Grand Prix simulator.

For more details, visit www.migf.com.

DreamWorks characters good enough to eat

NOW YOUR favourite DreamWorks’ characters come in the ultra adorable KouKou dim sum shape.

With its bite-sized shape inspired by the universal uniting factor that is food, DreamWorks KouKou gets its name from the word ‘mouth’ translated from Chinese.

These DreamWorks KouKou characters will be showcased for the first time in Malaysia at KouKou Fun Time festivities taking place from now until Dec 25 across five Sunway Malls.

From now till Sept 17, catch the likes of Po and Mei Mei from Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar’s Alex the lion, and more in KouKou transformations amidst iconic Malaysian delights at Sunway Pyramid Mall.

Sunway Malls & Theme Parks chief executive officer H.C. Chan along with other top management representatives from Sunway Velocity, Sunway Putra Mall, Sunway Carnival Mall, and Sunway Citrine Hub, joined Pacific Licensing Studio associate director Keith Ng to officiate the launch at Sunway Pyramid recently.

Chan said: “At Sunway Malls, we aim to provide quality and unique experiences in our malls that create special and unforgettable moments for our shoppers.

“Universal Pictures is behind some of the best-selling animated features of all time, helping families to dream and laugh together over the years with characters that are distinctive, relatable, and humorous.”

Speaking on the culinary theme Ng said: “We find that food is very easy to relate to … that’s why you see nasi lemak [and] ice kacang [sculptures] to commemorate this Merdeka Day.”

“The brand is inspired by food. We were inspired by dim sum first, that’s why when you [look at] the shape, it’s a bit sharp on top, [like] a bite-sized fun buddy.”

Visitors to the event can climb into a giant bubble ball for a game of bowling at the DreamWorks KouKou Bowling Challenge, or test their giant chopsticks skills with the Dumpling Challenge.

Children can flex their creativity over at the DIY Station, while the whole family can pose with scrumptious-looking KouKou characters at the exclusive DreamWorks interactive photo booth.

Shoppers can score a DreamWorks KouKou shopping bag when they spend RM500 (RM400 for HSBC credit cardholders) in not more than three receipts at Sunway Pyramid.

For more, visit koukou.sunwaymalls.com.

Sweet sips of elderflower

MALAYSIA’S favourite cider brand Somersby recently unveiled a taste of Europe through its latest flavour, Elderflower Lime, in one of its prettiest events yet.

The all-white launch at Morganfield’s, Da Men Mall, USJ, saw guests presented with fresh flower crowns, before walking through an impressive elderflower tunnel leading to a breathtaking Scandinavian-inspired garden.

The décor of the restaurant was accentuated with actual elderflowers to celebrate the latest addition to the Somersby family.

The miniature white flowers are native to the elderberry tree, and its blossoms are commonly steeped in food and beverages across northwestern Europe, and valued for their medicinal qualities.

According to Carlsberg Malaysia managing director Lars Lehmann, the flavour was launched in Singapore early this year where it became a fast favourite, and he hoped that Malaysians will share the same fond sentiments.

Lehmann said: “We are confident that this new variant will further strengthen Somersby’s foothold as the No.1 cider in Malaysia.”

Best served over ice, the Somersby Elderflower Lime concoction leaves a sweet, crisp taste on the palate, where the citrusy element lends just enough tartness, allowing for a refreshing accompaniment when dining.

Lehmann added: “By adding a twist of lime into the elderflower, this cider tastes simply refreshing and smells aromatic.”

The night included an elaborate dance routine and a live band performance, while guests mingled and sipped on ice-cold Somersby Elderflower Lime.

Cider fans around Peninsula Malaysia can join in the fun when the unmistakeable Somersby Kombi mobile bars make their way to selected tourists spots, night markets, supermarkets, and hypermarkets throughout September.

There, the roving teams will be offering samples of Somersby Apple, Blackberry, and Sparkling Rosé, as well as the new Elderflower Lime.

Purchase a four-can or four-bottle pack of any Somersby flavour from participating hypermarkets, supermarkets, and convenience stores, and receive a complimentary can of the new flavour from now to Sept 30.

This promotion is also applicable for the Carlsberg six-can pack, and Carlsberg Smooth Draught.

Check out more foodie-related deals at participating outlets – like the Morganfield’s Baby Back Ribs promotion – from Sept 1 to Oct 31, to savour the new Elderberry Lime flavour.

For more, follow Somersby Malaysia on Facebook.

Bang Aug 23

St: Chazelle still processing

Damien Chazelle is still processing the Oscars 2017 Best Picture mix-up.

The 33-year-old director’s movie La La Land was initially called out as the winner of the prestigious award when presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope but Damien says he knew immediately something was wrong.

He told The Hollywood Reporter: “[After the announcement] I was confused because I couldn’t actually hear anything. You’re surprised how little you hear onstage, even if you’re right behind someone who’s speaking at the microphone. I couldn’t hear a single thing. I could just see some commotion happening and I thought, ‘Oh, OK, there must be some –whatever.’
“Then it became clear that there was some sort of mistake. The whole thing was very odd. A bunch of the folks from Moonlight started coming up, and a lot of them were people I had gotten to know through the season or friends from years ago. In a way, through the surreal-ness of it, there was also something nice, that kind of overlap.”

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St: Winfrey’s frozen pizza

Oprah Winfrey is launching her own line of frozen pizzas.

The 64-year-old media mogul is expanding her O, That’s Good! food range from grocery-store refrigerated soups and side dishes to the freezer section and is starting off with pizzas with a crust that is one-third cauliflower.

Winfrey said in a statement: “Pizza is a favourite, fun and easy food to share with family and friends. I am always looking to add a nutritious twist to my foods, so we made part of the crust in my new pizza with cauliflower while maintaining that classic, cheesy pizza flavor you and your family love.”
There are four different types of pizza in the range and the 11-inch dishes will each serve five people.
Last month, Winfrey invested in True Food Kitchen, which was started by Sam Fox and Anti-Inflammatory Diet pioneer Dr. Andrew Weil in 2008.

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St: Raising daughter with pets

Ian Somerhalder is keen to raise his daughter around pets, because they will shape her life.

The 39-year-old actor and his wife Nikki Reed welcomed their daughter Bodhi into the world 13 months ago, and the star has now said that raising the tot in an environment with a total of nine pets– including dogs, cats and horses – is important to him, as the compassion she will learn from them will inform who she becomes as a person.
He said: “I was just sitting with her on the floor having a cup of coffee and watching the interaction between the cats and her. Our little young kitty is just in love with my daughter, and my daughter is the same – just so in love with her kitties. Three of the biggest things in the world that can heal so much are things you can’t teach, but things you can show, which are reverence, gratitude and compassion.”

Chua’s passion takes him to World Sushi Cup

THE NORWEGIAN Seafood Council recently announced Chef Chua Kok Hua as Malaysia’s representative for the forthcoming World Sushi Cup 2018.

The prestigious sushi-making competition, which takes place today, brings together 40 of the top sushi chefs from around the world in Tokyo to battle it out for the top spot.

The qualifying competition was held in conjunction with the Global Sushi Academy training, a collaboration effort between Norwegian Seafood Council and World Sushi Skills Institute – the only officially recognised sushi body in Japan.

Chua together with 19 other participants from various Japanese restaurants in Malaysia went through rigorous training held in Malaysia.

Conducted by well-known sushi expert Hirotoshi Ogawa, they touched on topics such as mastering sushi making skills and knowledge, as well as critical concern about the hygienic handling of seafood for raw consumption.

Chua shared his experience: “The training has opened my eyes to every little detail in sushi making and I can’t thank the Norwegian Seafood Council enough for giving me this opportunity.”

His success to date was not easy, in fact, he started off not as a sushi chef but instead worked in the Chinese kitchen at age 16 at a five-star hotel in Singapore.

Life was tough though not for long when his golden opportunity came when he was offered a
position in the Japanese restaurant of the same hotel.

So why did he switch from Chinese to Japanese cuisine?

Chef Chua explained: “I grew up in a fishing village, and have a close affinity with the sea; it’s a natural choice for me. I’ve always wanted to work with fish.”

In the Japanese kitchen, he learnt about the different varieties of fish and their seasons.

Having to master a completely different skills set requires discipline and perseverance, he also had to adapt to a whole different culture in terms of food contact regulation.

After all, Japanese cuisine is built on unparalleled quality and absolute hygiene during preparation, especially when it comes to handling raw food.

“It took me four years to perfect the art of tempura and robatayaki,” he said.

Then in 2016, Chua together with his wife Lily, and fellow chef Edmund Chong started their very own restaurant named Two Chefs Lab in Sungai Long, Kuala Lumpur, offering fusion Japanese cuisine and good coffee.

“There were constant challenges but I’ve always been a proponent of life-long learning and this helped get us through.

“Now, we are looking into expanding into the second outlet in the Klang Valley,” he said.

“My wife was my biggest supporter when my business partner Edmund convinced me to run for the qualifying competition in World Sushi Cup last November.

“Never in my wildest dream did I think of winning the qualifying round as all the other competitors are much more experienced and skilful than me.”

Since then Chef Chua has been making frequent trips back to Singapore, to the restaurant he used to work for, to train under a previous World Sushi Cup competitor.

He is determined to come back from Tokyo with a medal.