They are famed for their battles in the original Iron Chef arena, and Iron Chefs Hiroyuki Sakai and Chen Kenichi will soon show off their culinary skills right here in Singapore, at the open-concept kitchen at Me@OUE. Here for a one-night dinner, the two celebrity chefs will each present a five-course menu featuring some of their most daring and creative dishes.
Being an expert in Sichuan cuisine, The Weekly asked Iron Chef Chinese Kenichi to share the five most important things he needs when cooking. The Sichuan Sage reveals:
- THE LADLE
“The ladle I use has been passed on for generations. This traditional ladle was used by my father Chen Kenmin, founder of Shisen Hanten restaurant in Japan. Other than it being passed down the line, it is very useful as it can be used as a measuring spoon!”
2. HANDMADE WOK
“To make the wok, we have taken into account the perfect thickness, and the depth for the perfect penetration of heat. The wok I use has been designed to be compatible with my ladle.”
3. FIRE FROM THE CHINESE STOVE
“The taste and outcome of each Sichuan dish may be competely different even if the heat is off by a degree. The chef must be able to control the fire perfectly.”
“Mastering Sichuan cuisine is only possible if the spices are in perfect harmony. A lot of the time, it’s about the taste, feel and experience of how much of a particular spice to use, which will result in perfect Sichuan flavours.”
5. DOU BAN JIANG
“We use our three-year matured dou ban jiang paste – which is made from fermented broad beans and spices. The dou ban jiang is indispensable to Sichuan cuisine and its aroma and flavours are key to a great Sichuan dish.”
Iron Chef Sakai may be Japanese but he is famed for his French culinary skills. When asked how being Japanese makes him a better French chef, he says, “I believe I have better dexterity and adaptability.” His kitchen must-haves include:
“I need one that fits my grip perfectly. The length and weight is critical. Without the perfect, sharp knife, the taste of each ingredient can’t be fully realised.”
“A good pot is essential for French cuisine – especially for cooking meat and fish to a perfect consistency and of course the French sauces.”
“It’s not a cooking utensil or equipment but I strongly believe that you cannot produce good food if your tools and environment are not clean.”
We also asked Chef Sakai to share a recipe he loves to do at home. See his Pot Au Feu recipe here.
• 4 pcs chicken leg meat
• ½ pc cabbage
• 1 pc carrot
• ¼ pc daikon
• 2 pcs onion small size
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1 pc celery
• 200 g bacon
• 4 pcs Japanese Satoimo taro
• Whole pepper, to taste
1. Cut cabbage in the size that is to your liking and tighten up with string.
2. Peel carrot and cut into few pieces, peel daikon skin and cut large pieces. Peel onion,
peel and cut celery and tighten up with string.
3. Cook chicken in salted water. Remove when cooked and soak it into cold water
immediately. Then move it into water filled pot with bacon and turn on high heat.
4. Add garlic, carrot, onion, celery and cabbage.
5. Once carrots and vegetables are cooked, add Satoimo taro, daikon and pepper
and lower the heat.
6. Take out ingredients to soup dish and pour soup.
7. Serve it with mustard and rock salt.