Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Roger Mooking and Flavors From Around The World

Roger Mooking served delicious dishes combined with easygoing personality on a special dinner with Asian Food Channel at Bluegrass Bar & Grill last month. The Man Fire Food host cooked his special creations to special guests from Indovision and bloggers.

We didn’t know what to expect when the invitation reached us a while back. Being a fan of Asian Food Channel, we’re definitely curious about this one chef. Our little research pointed out that Roger Mooking is a Canadian chef as well as recording artists and book author. He’s the host of Man Fire Food and co-creator of Everyday Exotic, both are food TV shows aired in North America.

The list of dishes, expected to be served in the next hours got us excited. It’s a personalized 5-course meal with vegetarian option. Then we get glimpses of the chef as he made final preparation for the night’s event. He was vibrant, lively and seemed to be excited about everything. Then he finally stepped out into the spotlight.


He admits he enjoyed encountering new ingredients. “Duck egg, for example, is something familiar in Asia, but in the U.S., we have to look around for it.” But cooking often placed people together in one plate. He pointed out the pillow bread (we assumed he’s talking about kue bantal) that is also a common dish on a different side of the world under another name. “I love how everyone in different parts of the world are doing the same thing.”

So here are what’s on our menu that night:

First Course: Steamed Duck Egg with King Oyster Mushroom, Sesame Oil and Razor Herbs
Hold the crackers, spoon the soup (which is actually the steamed duck eggs) over the mushroom and crackers before you let them all inside your mouth. The first bite, with all the flavors coming together on your taste buds are incredible. But overall, we would love to have more bread to finish the duck eggs. The eggs are too simple and lack of textures when they are eaten alone. The first course really set the base of what we expect from Roger’s around the world experiments.

Steamed Duck Egg with King Oyster Mushroom, Sesame Oil and Razor Herbs
Second Course: Green Coconut Curry, White Fish and Moo’s Chutney
Soup is a surprise because it comes as fish curry. Served by pouring off the kettle, this “soup” has strong spicy flavor that amazingly doesn’t kill the fish and noodle flavor. Easily washed down with water, its Asian taste makes the second course a real complementary for the first one.

Green Coconut Curry, White Fish and Moo’s Chutney
Third Course: 5 Spiced Floats Salad of Micro Greens, Pickled Carrots, Ginger and Braised Lambs
When the menu said salad, we expected a bowl full of greens with colorful garnishes on top. Instead, a sandwich sitting comfortably on a bed of greens is served on our table. So this is where the pillow bread is used. Stuffed with greens, carrots, lambs and a hint of ginger, everybite is heavenly. “These are things I never cooked before,” he admitted. Somehow he has succeeded in infusing an Asian flavor on every dish.

5 Spiced Floats Salad of Micro Greens,
Pickled Carrots, Ginger and Braised Lambs
Fourth Course (Main): Beef Tenderloin with Blackbean Shrimp and Broccoli Dust
It’s just natural that we expect a lot from this Man Fire Food host. Grilling and meat are supposed to be his specialty. And this one is specially prepared too because he showcased the process in front of us. “Surf and turf Chinese Style,” he described the dish as he combined the meat and seafood in one plate. Chinese fermented black beans are used along with sweet soy sauce. Another surprise because even in Indonesia, we didn’t encounter much of sweet soy sauce being used in Western style steak. 

Broccoli dust is a compelling concept. Peel the skin off, dust and break up the larger pieces with hands into crumbs and dice the stems. “You’ll notice that when you cook vegetables, there’s a change from pale green to bright green. That’s when you get the maximum color, maximum flavor and maximum vitamins,” he shared. This seemingly simple main course is apparently rich in flavor. But Roger insisted that “simple is always the best.” If simple is like this, then we couldn’t agree more.

Fifth Course: Mango Lassi Ice Cream, Honey Rosewater, Pistachio and Indian Puffed Rice
Whoa Lassi! Yes, we both love lassi. So when the soft-textured dessert arrived covered half in pistachio and half in puffed rice (which is familiar to us as Jipang the puffed rice cakes), we were overjoyed. A sweet and sour ending to the feast. We’re glad Roger decided to go with something light to close the dinner with.

Mango Lassi Ice Cream, Honey Rosewater, Pistachio and Indian Puffed Rice
Roger takes everything into perfection. From the first to the last course, we saw him pushing every details and hands on to fix things. Watching him preparing each dish in the kitchen is indeed another pleasure. He was throwing instructions to the Bluegrass team, making sure that everything from plating to garnishing goes on smoothly. Roger seems to always go with texture and color with his dishes, adding his cheerful personality as he stopped by each table to greet the guests and gather feedback.

We can safely say that it was a 5-course dinner well done.

1 comment:

  1. Its a super dinner for me. My stomach was so fulland so happy :D