Precision is Andre Chiang’s not-so-secret key to success. You glimpse this when dining in the elegant space of Restaurant Andre. It is also all over the pages of Octaphilosophy, Chiang’s new cookbook, where you gain a deeper insight.
(RELATED: Andre Chiang was Guest Editor of Gourmet & Travel – read the stories the chef has to tell.)
Our dinner falls a day after the book launch, so the menu deviates from the usual eight core elements that grounds it. Instead, the meal highlights dishes from within the tome’s 300 pages.
Kaia Toast, for instance, is a petit four sitting pretty besides warm mini madeleines in a wooden box, and easily disappears in two bites. But a glance at the recipe, now made public, shows it takes 17 steps spread across two days to get this delectable morsel right. The shells have to be lightly dusted with toasted breadcrumbs, then the kaya and butter-filled macarons frozen for 48 hours before they are toasted minutes before appearing on the table.
Regulars will also be familiar with Memory, a foie and truffle custard that was the very first creation Chiang could call his own while serving as a commis to the legendary Pourcel brothers at Le Jardin des Sens in 1997.
Here, foie is slowly torched while being whipped into fluffy cream, then topped with a coulis made from wild mushrooms and Perigord black truffles. Usually served in a clear glass cup that magnifies the decadent layers, it arrives at our dinner table in a vaselike cup – so all its richness is revealed only in each spoonful. It is something we savour slowly, because it’s a memory for keeps.
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