|'Felix at the Peninsula Bangkok'
|| Chef Bryan Nagao of Felix @ the Peninsula Hong Kong is town to showcase his special menu that fuses local Thai ingredients with his Pacific Rim cuisine. Nagao original from Hawaii, on completion of his apprenticeship on the island, spent three years in San Francisco specializing in Californian cuisine before returning home.
| The opening of Felix five years ago gave Brian his opportunity to work in Asia. The menu he created maintained the Pacific Rim concept, but was enhanced his own personal touch adding a lighter Asian, Californian and Mediterranean-style twists.
"I was always fascinated by Asia, and wanted to work here for a long time" he says "While Hawaii today is becoming increasingly recognized as a center for exciting new culinary ideas, Asia offers fantastic ingredients and local produce, and a fascinating blend of possibilities ranging from Pacific Rim to Euro-Asian and Fusion."
These are frequently grouped together under the same label, but Nagao maintains that each style is different. "Euro-Asian" tends to have a heavier European bias, with heavier sauces and using a lot of butter and fats, while "Pacific Rim" is lighter, more flavorful and spicy. "Fusion" is a mix of ingredients in one item - for example a French sauce with lemongrass. "My cuisine is Pacific Rim," explains Bryan "I try to 'layer' my dishes so that you can taste every ingredient clearly on the palate."
During his Felix Cooking Class held on three mornings in the Peninsula's Banquet Kitchen Chef Bryan
demonstrated the art of his Pacific Rim Cuisine. He started with Vine-Ripe Tomato Soup with Avocado and Cucumber, which is possibly the easiest way to understand this concept of layering of tastes, where by each is individual retain to be enjoyed (See the recipe Chef Bryan shared with us
below). This was followed by Tempura Lobster Tossed in a Chilli-Miso Aioli. For the main course he demonstrated Barbecued Roast Duck on Pickled Figs with Goose Liver and Ginger-Cranberry Sauce. And finally for dessert he demonstrated Mango with Macadamia Nuts Baked in Filo Pastry with Mango Sorbet. After each course had been demonstrate all the students were given a sample to appreciate the taste. Having been given an insight into how to prepare the delights of Pacific Rim cuisine, students were then invited to lunch at Jester's to enjoy more great cooking style.
Bryan's signature dishes are Main Lobster Cocktail done two ways with shaved Wild Fennel and Spicy Lemon Horseradish Vinaigrette, Seared Sonoma Foie Gras with Ginger Marinated Figs and Thai Chili Sweet-Sour Broth, Macadamia Nut Shrimps with Thai Cucumber Salad and Yellow Curry Orange Sauce, Felix House Salad with Fennel, small tomatoes and a Shallot Balsarnic Vinaigrette, Barbecie Free Range Chicken with fresh Waterchesnuts, Hawaiian Papaya and Cilantro-Mint Dressing, Barbecue Lamb Chops with Gorgonzola Risotto and Spicy Smoked Tomato Sauce and Citrus Miso Marinated Grilled Salmon with Japanese Cucumber Salad and Pickled Plum Vinaigrette.
If you miss the chance to sample the delights of Chef Bryan's creative Pacific-Rim cuisine during his short stay in Bangkok, you'll have to travel to Hong Kong and check it out at Felix atop of the Peninsula Hong Kong.
Vine-Ripe Tomato Soup with Avocado and Cucumber
Cube the tomato and fennel, then blend with basil leaves, garlic, chili until they have turned into liquid
Strain to remove the seeds and whisk in the olive oil.
Chill in a refrigerator.
Dice the avocado and cucumber and mix together with a little lemon juice.
Before serving spoon a small quantity of avocado and cucumber mix into a soup bowl, then pour in tomato soup.
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Civil is a Food, Travel & Lifestyle writer based in Bangkok
Thailand. Born in Kent in south of England, he started his working life in
the UK's airline industry in 1976. This allowed him to indulge his passion
for travel. In the early eighties, returning from a trip to the newly opened
China, he started to write about his travel experiences. (More
about this writer.)