A Legendary, Culinary Legacy
Throughout this year, a very special celebration is happening on Bali. 2014 marks the fifth anniversary for The St. Regis Bali Resort, and as one of the island’s finest addresses, the five-star resort is hosting a number of indulgent, year-long celebrations to mark five years of first-class luxury.
With a starlit sky twinkling above the resort’s beachfront Cloud Nine Terrace, 20th May saw what was perhaps the most lavish of the celebratory festivities. As a first for the island, The St. Regis Bali Resort hosted the highly-exclusive Midnight Supper; a legendary culinary legacy of the St. Regis brand.
One of the many cherished traditions of the St. Regis story, the Midnight Supper first came about thanks to Caroline Astor; New York’s social doyenne during the city’s gilded age and the mother of the St. Regis founder. Madame Astor would hold the supper as an after-party event for her coveted, intimate gatherings. The suppers traditionally commenced at midnight, however, the historical dinners now conclude at this hour, making way for long evenings of fine wine and world-class cuisine.
At The St. Regis Bali Resort, culinary connoisseurs were given the opportunity to partake in the elite celebration with a ten-course, ten-hand menu that saw the collaboration of five outstanding chefs from St. Regis hotels across Asia. Each of the five chefs created two dishes that represent their own style and their respective St. Regis hotels, and each dish was fabulously matched to an equally fabulous vino.
Impeccably orchestrated, the ten-course menu featured dishes from Chef de Cuisine Toshifumi Nakahigashi from La Veduta Italian restaurant at The St. Regis Osaka; Chinese Sichuan Chef de Cuisine Mike Li from The St. Regis Chengdu; Chef de Cuisine Carlo Valenziano from Jojo, the Italian restaurant at The St. Regis Bangkok; as well as Executive Chef Agung Ardiawan and Executive Sous Chef & Chef de Cuisine Agung Gede, both from the hosting The St. Regis Bali Resort.
Under the Stars
The evening kicked off with the symbolic Champagne sabrage, where Chief Sommelier Harald Wiesmann marched in with lit torches and a bottle of Duval Leroy Champagne, which he dramatically popped open with a swift swipe of the sabre sword.
The lavish dinner then opened with an amuse-bouche of “Fine de Claire oysters”, which saw the ocean delicacy filled with sea grapes, a Balinese pomelo salsa and a cool salted lime sherbet. Chef Agung Gede then set the bar superbly high with his Blue Swimmer Crab Tartare starter, which dotted the plate with a turmeric pickled daikon, a citrusy sour cream with classic sturia caviar and a lemongrass infused crab bisque with a petite salade crostini.
On to the next course and the spirit of Italian cuisine met a mixture of Japanese flavours thanks to Chef Toshifumi Nakahigashi. His Cold Smoked Yellow Fin Tuna came topped with a mozaic-like assortment of soy sauce flavoured caponata salad. With each bite of the cubed vegetables, fine slices of garlic were as crunchy as dehydrated crisps – full of flavour and a real contrast to the buttery tuna.
Perhaps the best wine pairing of the night, Chef Carlo Valenziano then served up his “Polpo e Patate” octopus, together with a glass of Shaw & Smith 2009 Sauvignon Blanc. The citrusy notes of the wine seamlessly matched the Mediterranean flavours of the traditional Italian dish, jazzed up by sweet and sour shallots, semi-dried organic tomatoes and a lemon-potato foam that made the sweetness of the octopus really shine.
The two big highlights of the night then came one after the other with the Milk-Fed Lamb Lasagne from Chef Toshifumi Nakahigashi and the Chengdu Marinated Fried Wagyu Beef Fillet from Chef Mike Li. The lamb lasagne wowed with its intense Pecorino cheese foam, so cheesy it almost tasted spicy. Beneath, a compact package of lamb broke open with just the edge of a spoon, revealing a rich, pink middle and all of its juiciness.
The fried wagyu beef fillet pleased every Asian palate in the house, as it came served with a fantastically spiced side of Dandan noodles that truly captured Sichuan cuisine and all the flavours that make it so popular. The wine pairing was also a show-stopper, as the deep spices of the Montessu Isola Dei Nuraghi Cabernet/Merlot seemed to mellow out the noodles’ heat while adding to the complexity of each bite.
Onto dessert and the Midnight Supper ended on a very delicious high thanks to the creative genius of Chef Agung Ardiawan. His Valrhona Caramelia Mousse was as stunning as it was flavourful, with the fluffy chocolate creation encased by a silver-coloured “cage”, complete with an edible St. Regis emblem. To the side, an exotic meringue, citrus sponge and a passionfruit sorbet ticked off all the elements you look for in a tropical dessert, luxuriously washed down with premium tea selections from TWG.
With the clock striking twelve, the legendary supper marked its end. The five chefs took a bow to rounds of applause, raised glasses of Champagne and spectacular memories that will last for another five years to come…
Meet The Chefs
Chinese Sichuan Chef de Cuisine
The St. Regis Chengdu
With a family catering business in Chongqing spanning three generations, Chef Mike Li comes from a long line of chefs and Sichuan cuisine enthusiasts. His early training included working with master Sichuan Chef, Du Fei, and prior to The St. Regis, Chef Li worked at two of the city’s most reputable hotels, where his talents impressed many celebrities, including actor Tony Leung and Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Long.
Chef de Cuisine
La Veduta Italian restaurant at The St. Regis Osaka
Chef Toshifumi began with St. Regis Osaka at the opening in 2010. With five years culinary experience in Europe and the secrets of his own father’s cooking (his father owned a Japanese fine dining restaurant) Chef Toshifumi superbly merges Japanese tastes into traditional Italian cuisine.
Chef de Cuisine
Jojo at The St. Regis Bangkok
Originally from Malo in Northern Italy, Chef Carlo Valenziano began his culinary career in 1992, working throughout Europe and into Australia. He once trained as a Pastry Chef to broaden his repertoire, and since arriving at The St. Regis Bangkok, Chef Carlo has quickly earned a reputation not only for his innate ability to conjure up creative Italian cuisine, but also for his affable personality and charm.
The St. Regis Bali Resort
Chef Agung Ardiawan began with The St. Regis Bali at its opening following ten years of senior kitchen positions throughout Bali. He brings to the table his creative ability to reinvent and add new recipes to the restaurants at The St. Regis Bali. This year alone, Gourmand Deli has added a full lunch and dinner menu with French and Italian epicurean delights, and Boneka has extended to the lush tropical gardens that surround Dulang, the resort’s astounding Indonesian restaurant.
Chef & Chef de Cuisine Agung Gede
Kayuputi restaurant at The St. Regis Bali Resort
Bringing over ten years of professional experience, Chef Agung Gede continues to amaze all who embark on the truly unique culinary experience at Kayuputi restaurant. Chef Agung masterfully orchestrates a daily, award-winning eight-course degustation menu, together with world-renowned wine dinners and the distinguished Astor Champagne Brunch. With Chef Agung’s refined culinary talents, Kayuputi continues to reign as the finest restaurant on Bali.
The Chefs’ Perspective…
Once the aprons were set aside following the Midnight Supper at The St. Regis Bali Resort, we caught up with the five chefs to hear their thoughts on the legendary dinner.
ASIA DREAMS: What inspired the dishes that you created for the Midnight Supper?
Chef Mike Li: I wanted the guests at the Midnight Supper to experience the most authentic and exceptional Sichuan cuisine possible, so I chose the Dandan noodles because it is a signature favourite in Sichuan cuisine, and the highlight at Yan Ting, the Chinese restaurant at The St. Regis Chengdu.
Chef Agung Gede & Chef Agung Ardiawan: Our recipes for the Midnight Supper were born out of creatively mixing our favourite foods and flavours, to then recreate a memorable place or moment within the dish. This involves a lot of experimenting, perseverance and creativity. Cooking for us is not an obligation, but an inspired, creative art form.
Chef Carlo Valenziano: For me, every time I create a new recipe, I think back to the past and the fond memories I have of my beloved country, like its wonderful markets, landscapes and flavours. My octopus dish therefore came about from thinking back to a day in Sicily with my father at the Ballaró market in Palermo. It was summer season so all the vendors had the best of the best that the land could offer. Market-fresh octopus paired with young lemon, capers and tomatoes – it’s all so refreshing, just like that day, and the ingredients work perfectly together.
ASIA DREAMS: So how did your dishes represent your own style or the St. Regis property in which you work at?
Chef Toshifumi Nakahigashi: Having lived, trained and worked in both Italy and Japan, my Midnight Supper dishes represented my spirit for food – the spirit I have felt throughout my culinary career in these two food-famous countries.
Chef Carlo Valenziano: I think my dishes align with The St. Regis Bangkok and the great country of Thailand in the sense that there was no compromise when striving to be the best. My cooking involves incredible attention to detail, great balance and a lot of passion!
Chef Agung Gede & Chef Agung Ardiawan: Our dishes aimed to reflect the St. Regis 5th Anniversary itself; elegant, simple and comprising of five premium elements!
ASIA DREAMS: Which dish were you most proud of that evening?
Chef Mike Li: I am proud of both dishes I created for the Midnight Supper as they not only represent “The Pursuit of Legacy” for which the St. Regis brand is known for, but the dishes also captured the true spirit of Sichuan.
Chef Toshifumi Nakahigashi: I would say I am most proud of my lamb lasagne. The reason being, the dish really represents a fond memory of mine from Toscana in Italy, which I then tied together with a presentation inspired by the beautiful landscapes of Japan.
Chef Carlo Valenziano: For me, I’m most proud of my octopus dish, because I love the combination of the fresh flavours; it was a great expression of the Mediterranean.
ASIA DREAMS: Apart from your own, which dish served that night was your favourite?
Chef Carlo Valenziano: The “Fine de Claire oysters” amuse-bouche was an explosion of freshness and set the dinner off to a great start. I was also extremely impressed by the Cold Smoked Yellow Fin Tuna presented by Chef Toshifumi – his ability and creativity to perfectly combine Italian and Japanese flavours is fantastic.
Chef Mike Li: The dessert created by Chef Agung Ardiawan from The St. Regis Bali Resort was beautifully decorated with the St. Regis logo on it. It tasted great and looked elegant; a truly exceptional culinary experience, just like the St. Regis itself.
ASIA DREAMS: And what was it like working with the four other chefs?
Chef Mike Li: It was a great pleasure and honour for me to work with the four other chefs who come from such different countries, backgrounds and working experiences. Although we all work for The St. Regis, the guests we meet and the style of our cuisine is quite different. We all helped each other and I feel so inspired by the new skills and ideas that we shared.
Chef Toshifumi Nakahigashi: Throughout the experience, we were able to have deep understandings of each other through cooking; an understanding that went beyond boundaries, cultures and languages. It really broadened my horizons to work with chefs who have such different approaches to food.
Chef Agung Gede & Chef Agung Ardiawan: Working as a team to assemble all of the different menu items with wine pairing was a real challenge, so we exchanged ideas about indigenous foods, cultures and ingredients, and in the end, we created something fantastic.