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Tips from the chefs

WITH numerous books and TV shows on cooking, you would not be hard-pressed for tips on the subject. Still, there's nothing like tried-and-tested tips from chefs as Su Aziz finds out.

Chef Emmanuel Stroobant on appetisers

For clean cuts through fatty food such as foie gras or butter, Stroobant dips a sharp knife into boiling water after each slice.

To add colour and reduce the rich flavour of a foie gras appetiser, he spreads some thin pistachio paste over a horseradish one on a white appetiser plate.

Chef Frederic Cerchi on soups

Cerchi shows how by reducing salt in soups, the flavours of the other ingredients become prominent.

Cerchi's pumpkin soup was kept lightly salted, allowing for the smokey flavours of the creamy pumpkin to come forth. Smoking the pumpkin with star anise and cinnamon made for a flavourful and fragrant soup.

For a unique presentation, he served his soup in a thick clear-glass jar, making the dish as if it were a wrapped present holding a burst of flavours within.

Chef Bala Nanda on cooking with olive oil

When it comes to cooking with olive oil, Bala recommends slow cooking is best - though it sounds tedious to me!

This means constantly cooking under 60 degrees Celcius. So if your oven gets warmer, turn it off for a bit, and then turn it on again when the temperature drops.

Bala likes to drizzle olive oil over his salmon and thinly-sliced zucchinis and brinjals, which are favourite dishes of his diners.

Chef Antoine Rodriguez on making jus sauces

Jus is a terrific accompaniment for red or gamey meats. It enhances the juicy flavour of a steak.

Rodriguez's beef jus is nicely balanced with bitter, sweet and peppery flavours. This is the result of cooking on low heat.

You'll need a dollop of salted butter, two to three finely-chopped shallots, three tablespoons of truffle juice (which can be bought in a gourmet deli), three tablespoons of port wine, 10 tablespoons of juice from your braised steaks or meats and a few drops of truffle oil (also available in a gourmet deli).

Then blend all the ingredients together. The sauce is good for four main dishes of steak.

Chef Karamvir Singh Godrei on chocolate

Karamvir's advice is to always use good chocolate. It may cost more but the end result is worth it. Is it any wonder his chocolate mousse made from 66 per cent Varlhona cocoa is both light and satiating at the same time? And unsurprisingly addictive, I might add!

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