Get Cooking @ the Hilt

A few months ago I attended a cooking class at Senses, Hilton KL’s fine dining restaurant. Having learnt a few tasty recipes from the Sunday Brunch Cooking Class, I was eager for more.

E-Flyer

This time round, award winning Chef de Cuisine Michael Elfwing was presenting us with the Senses ‘Organic Cooking Class’. It was a good excuse for a girls-day-out so I gathered the ladies and their appetites.

He prefers to be called just Michael, and has a calm and gentle manner about him. He’s been with Senses from the day it opened its doors 5 years ago and constantly sources unusual ingredients and top quality produce from around the world to keep the menu interesting. The media has recently been flooded with information about Organic food, and Organic produce. Public awareness is at an all time high so Michael decided that this was the opportune time to give us a taste of what there is on offer, organically speaking, in Malaysia.

First things first – What is Organic food?

Michael explains more at http://www.staronline.tv/switchup. Watch the video here.

Organic food 101

Organic1

These are foods that are made according to certain production standards. To be classed as ‘Organic’, food must be free of artificial food additives, and are often processed with fewer, if none at all, artificial methods. Organic food can also be produced using energy-saving technologies and packaged using recyclable or biodegradable materials.

Does it taste better?

Organic2

Yes, it certainly does. Fruits like apples and pears have a more pronounced flavour, and as we discovered after the cooking class, are far more fragrant. Vegetables certainly look like they have more bounce and life to them, and upon tasting the dishes cooked on that day, I found they had more crunch and flavour.

You can also get Organic meat, but that gets a bit complicated, as whatever the animal eats need to be organic as well. It’s a story for another day, as I’m going to tackle the cooking class first.

We arrived at 930 am to a spread of fresh croissants, pastries and coffee and tea. Promptly at five minutes to 10 am, we were politely ushered to our seats in the bar area by the lovely Nina, Restaurant Manager at Senses. There were 26 people in total, and we were handed goodie bags with a folder containing recipes, a chef’s hat and apron, and a bottle of water.

Here was the menu for the day.

menu

Simple, fresh flavours that are in line with the style of cuisine at Senses.

Executive Chef Boni Mansi and F+B Director Gerard Walker welcomed us with a short introduction and some information on upcoming promotions.

Welcome

It was time to Get Cooking! Although we never actually did get our hands dirty, all throughout the demonstration, Michael was animated and detailed in his explanations of ingredients and cooking methods.

Michael Animated

He was more than willing to answer our questions with ease, a dash of humour and always with a smile.

Ratatouille was the first dish he prepared and it was interesting to see what is traditionally viewed as a French ‘Peasant dish’ prepared with finesse.

ratatouille

It was just like in the movie Ratatouille (minus the rats, but with the two chefs bearing a striking resemblance -*cheeky smile*).

michaellinguine

We also discovered it’s not that complicated to make a Country Style Terrine, which Michael joked is essentially a version of meatloaf. Surprisingly little effort is also involved in preparing the Stanbroke Beef, Onion, Potato + White Cabbage braised in Carlsberg Beer.

terrineandbeef

Learning a few tips along the way like how to slice your courgettes in equal size (cheat: use a Mandolin, which is a slicer), the class ended about an hour and a half later with us girls salivating in our seats. We were then moved to the main restaurant, offered a glass of wine and served each course to try.

served

There was more than enough for the four of us, and the taste and flavours of each dish, which he had made look so easy to do, was exquisite.

Finishing off with a rich Carrot Cake with Lemon and Cream Cheese Icing, it dawned on me that I could make this at home! Hey, if he could do it, I could do it! Ahem… stay tuned for ‘Disaster in the Kitchen with Aly’, coming soon…

At RM 160 for the class, goodie bags and lunch, that was a morning well spent. To make the experience even more memorable, we were each given an extra bag of Origins products to take home, as well as a voucher for a free skin consultation and 30% discount on a facial.

grils day out

A great day out for the girls, and we were already freeing up our diaries for the next one…

Upcoming Classes at Hilton KL:

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Gourmet Festival Cooking with Chef Lam Hock Hin @ Chynna

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Japanese Cooking with Chef Ricky Kamiishi @ Iketeru

For more info check out http://www.kl-studio.com

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