Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Grilled: AFC Presents Chef Sean Connolly and Glenfiddich at Edsa Shangri-La

An elegant five-course dinner prepared by one of the Asian Food Channel's top chefs paired with the world's best single malt Scotch Whisky in one of the premier hotels in the metro...it seems the stars have aligned for one special evening. 

Edsa Shangri-La, in cooperation with the Asian Food Channel, recently hosted one of Australia's top celebrity chefs, Sean Connolly, with a one-night special dinner pairing Chef Sean Connelly's signature dishes with Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Chef Sean Connelly is no stranger to the Asian Food Channel, starring in popular programs Under the Grill and On the Grill which both premiered on the channel earlier this year. Chef Sean Connelly's special five-course dinner consisted of two appetizers, soup, entree and dessert, paired with Glenfiddich's 12, 15 and 18 Year-Old Single Malt.

After a few more cocktails, it was time to go for another shot of Glenfiddich Single Malt, straight and neat, just the way it should be.

Then, the first of Chef Sean Connelly's appetizers arrived. Raspberry and White Pepper Gravlax of King Salmon with Creme Fraiche, clean and fresh flavors elegantly plated. The plate just says premium, and the King Salmon, with its subtle flavor, simply melts in your mouth.

Next, Chef Sean Connelly's New Zealand Scampi Sashimi with Chili, Baby Coriander and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, simple fresh flavors kicked up with a surprising punch from the chili. Pure, fresh flavors, proving once again that you don't need much when you have the best and freshest ingredients. Best paired with Glenfiddich 12 Year Old's subtle notes of pear and oak.

Mushroom 'n Miso Broth with Coriander and Daikon, a sharply flavored soup with fresh vegetables. The sharp hint of miso provides the flavor base for this refreshing and comforting broth.

Another shot of Glenfiddich 12 Year Old, smooth and refined, the brand that pioneered the premium single malt category. Aged in American and Spanish oak casks for that distinct smooth and mellow finish, just can't get  better than that. Distilled in the legendary Valley of the Deer in Scotland, in the same distillery since it was founded in 1887, each shot is a signature expression of the most rewarded collection of single malts. Another shot? Make that two more...

Chef Sean Connelly then prepares his signature dish on stage, showcasing his culinary skill with Grilled Eye Fillet with Miso Hollandaise, Fondant Potato and Water Cress in a cool cooking demo.

Each component of the dish is prepared with Chef Sean Connolly's meticulous attention to detail, and finally, after I go for a few more shots of Glenfiddich Single Malt, Chef Sean Connolly begins plating his signature entree.

And like clockwork, the team at Edsa Shangri-La led by Chef Warren Brown begin serving Chef Sean Connolly's entree, Grilled Eye Fillet with Miso Hollandaise, Fondant Potato and Water Cress, premium beef with Chef Sen Connolly's signature miso hollandaise. The richly flavored miso hollandaise provides a unique layer of flavor that just works beautifully with the premium beef. The fondant potato, with its rich buttery flavor and the refreshing watercress salad complete the dish. Best paired with Glenfiddich Solera 15 Year Old, with its complex notes of honey and raisins, created with Glenfiddich's pioneering technique called the Solera Process for the subtle blend of influences. An excellent entree paired with Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Single Malt...absolutely perfect.

But Chef Sean Connolly has one more surprise up his sleeve, as dessert is served. Chef Sean Connolly then goes from table to table to add the finishing touch to his indulgent dessert...

...as I go for another shot of Glenfiddich 15 Year Old and watch my dessert slowly transform with the addition of a rich strawberry soup.

Wild Strawberry Sorbet with Strawberry Soup and Goats' Milk Jelly, elegantly finished with gold foil. Rich, creamy and indulgent, paired with Glenfiddich 18 Year Old with its rich notes of baked apples and cinnamon, produced in batches of no more than 150 casks. A fitting end to cap an elegant dinner.

Bravo to Chef Sean Connolly and Edsa Shangri-La's team for an awesome dinner. And cheers to Glenfiddich for one of the best pairings yet. Chef Sean Connelly's love for food started at a young age, as he recalls how his grandmother ignited his passion for cooking with her talent for making cakes and pies. Many years later, Chef Sean Connelly was recognized by both Morning Herald and GQ magazine as Chef of the Year, 2008. Chef Sean Connelly is the culinary force behind some of the best restaurants in Australia and New Zealand, including The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room in Sydney and The Grill by Sean Connelly in Auckland. For a taste of Chef Sean Connolly's signature dishes, catch his show on the Asian Food Channel, or you can replicate his special entree at home with the recipe below.

Special thanks to the Asian Food Channel, Chef Sean Connolly, Edsa Shangri-La and Glenfiddich for a truly memorable evening, and probably one of the best dinners this year.

Grilled Eye Fillet with Miso Hollandaise, Fondant Potato and Water Cress
Serves 1

Eye Fillet
  • 220g of beef eye fillet (tenderloin)
  • 1g of sea salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 100ml of red wine jus
  • 1 Portion of Miso Hollandaise
Fondant Potato
  • 1 Large Potato
  • 200ml of chicken stock
  • 80g of French butter L'escure
Watercress Salad
  • 20g of watercress
  • 5ml of Forum Chardonnay Vinegar
  • 10ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Miso Hollandaise (makes 10 portions)
  • 10 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
  • 166g of miso paste
  • 100ml of Hollandaise reduction
  • 100ml of water
  • 420g of clarified butter
Hollandaise Reduction
  • 100ml of white wine vinegar
  • 300ml of white wine
  • 100g of shallots, sliced
  • 10 black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1/2 bay leaf
Red Wine Jus (makes 10 portions)
  • 20 kg of veal neck bones
  • Olive oil, as required
  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 3 brown onions, peeled and halved
  • 1 bulb of garlic, skin on and halved
  • 1 tbs of black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 bunch of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 150g of tomato paste
  • 1.5L of red wine
  • Red wine vinegar, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Method (Red Wine Jus)
  • Preheat the oven to 190C
  • On a roasting tray, spread the bones evenly and roast on the oven for 1 hour.
  • In a pot, heat the oil, then add carrots, celery, onions, garlic and peppercorns. Saute until caramelized.
  • Add thyme, bay leaf and tomato paste into the pot and continue to saute for 1 minute or until all the moisture is cooked out.
  • Add the red wine and deglaze the pan.
  • Continue to cook until the wine reduces and thickens slightly.
  • Remove pan from the heat and place on one side.
  • When the bones are roasted, place them in a stock pot and cover with cold water.
  • Place over moderate heat and bring to a boil, then add the vegetables and reduce the heat.
  • Simmer for 8 hours, regularly skimming to remove any fat or impurities.
  • When the stock is cooked, pass the stock through a fine chinois into another saucepan.
  • Over medium heat, simmer the sieved stock until the stock thickens.
  • Pass the stock through a muslin cloth and add red wine vinegar to taste.
  • To season, add salt and pepper.
Method (Hollandaise Reduction)
  • In a heavy bottomed saucepan over a moderate heat, add the vinegar, white wine, sliced shallots, peppercorns and bay leaf.
  • Bring the mixture up to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer until the liquid has reduced considerably.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and pass the reduction through a fine sieve, discarding the solids and retaining the liquid reduction. 
Method (Miso Hollandaise)
  • In a saucepan over moderate heat, add enough water to cover one-third of the pan and heat until is is gently simmering, creating a bain marie.
  • Place a mixing bowl on top of the saucepan (without touching the water) and add egg yolks, eggs, miso paste, Hollandaise reduction and 100ml of water and whisk continuously for 10 minutes.
  • When the sauce thickens, add clarified butter slowly and continue whisking.
  • If the mixture is too thick, add a little more warm water so that the Hollandaise sauce is of a pouring consistency.
  • Keep warm.
Method (Fondant Potato)
  • Slice potato into large rounds and set aside.
  • In a heavy based saucepan, add butter and place potato rounds into the butter.
  • Cover the potato rounds with chicken stock.
  • Place a round piece of baking paper on top and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-high and continue to cook until all the stock has reduced and the potatoes start to color around the edges.
  • The butter will also start to color in the bottom of the pan and deglaze the potatoes.
  • Remove the heat and allow to cool.
  • Once cooled, use a steel scraper to remove the potatoes.
Method (Watercress Salad)
  • In a large bowl, add vinegar.
  • Using a whisk, slowly pour olive oil into the vinegar and whisk continuously until the mixture has emulsified.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Dress watercress just before serving.
Method (Eye Fillet)
  • Allow the steak to come to room temperature.
  • Add 1g of sea salt and pepper to taste.
  • Heat a grill pan or heavy bottom pan on high heat.
  • When the pan is very hot, add a small amount of oil and grill the steak on each side until desired doneness.
  • Remove from pan and rest for at least 5 minutes.
  • Plate steak, fondant potatoes and watercress salad and serve. 
Chef Sean Connolly's On The Grill TV show airs every Thursday at 9pm from 26 September onwards on the Asian Food Channel.

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