By GEETHA KRISHNANgeetha@thestar.com.my
THE annual ode to food inMalaysia has arrived in theform of the Malaysia InternationalGourmet Festival (MIGF.
Thirty restaurants are participating this year, and the task of deciding on whom to place the mantle falls on celebrity chefs like Cheong Liew and Emmanual Stroobant who sit on the panel of judges.
It is an enviable mission be-cause they get to award marks for the work of culinary maestros like Avanti's chef de cuisine, Stefano Maccagno. The young Italian from Piedmont came on board the restaurant around two years ago after stints at leading city hotels.
The MIGF 2007 offers Mac-cagno his first shot at the coveted title but the chef is determined to remain focused.
“I aim to go with the flow and if anything, participating in the MIGF in itself is a revealing experience. But, I have done my homework for the festive menus,” he said with a smile when asked whether he was prepared during a recent media preview.
The Flavourlicious four-course dinner menus consist of Gusto Menus I (RM138++) and II (RM188++), paired with New World wines, and Sapore Menus I (RM88++) and II (RM138++). The menus will be available till Nov 30.
“Both menus reflect current culinary trends like serving warm jellies,” said Maccagno, referring to the Smoked Truffle Flavoured Tomato Jelly, Herb Goat Cheese and Rucola appetiser available on Gusto I and Sapore I.
Well aware that media members would not be able to do justice to all four menus, Maccagno prepared miniature versions so every dish could be enjoyed and dissected.
One of the starters was Con-some Pavese with Braised Veni-son Ravioli, Parmesan Crouton and Egg Yolk. It was an enlightening experience.
Maccagno said it was common practice in Parva to slide the yolk into hot consomme and savour the delicate liquid seconds afterward. The consomme had to be dangerously hot for the yolk to cook, so no precious time was wasted.
Those familiar with Italian food would know that risotto is made with arborrio rice. A different sort of rice was used in the patty that came with the Pan-seared Fillet of Turbot, Flower Capers, Berh Farroto and Homemade Sundried Tomato Salad.
“Farroto is a type of grain used for rice dishes and it has a texture different from that of arborrio,” said Maccagno.
Whole Grain Mustard Mari-nated Sirloin Steak with Artichoke Romana Style, Olive Oil, Mashed Potato and Black Pepper Jus is the other main course option for Gusto Iand Sapore I.
The epicurean feast celebrated its finale with gusto with Saffron Cream Brulee on Berry Moelleux with Caramelised Baby Apricot and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream for dessert.
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