Grand Opening - Masters of Food and Wine, Park Hyatt Chennai

Park Hyatt Chennai's Masters of Food and Wine programme for 2015 started with the Grand Opening Ceremony on February 21st at the Apartment. It was a soiree of sorts with guests from different countries, wine, cocktails and canapes doing the rounds and the sultry voice of a singer adding to the charm of the evening.

It was then time for introductions and we met visiting chefs Eunseok Yang and Kyuchon Lee from Grand Hyatt Incheon, here to showcase Korean food, and Park Hyatt's rockstar chefs headed by Executive Chef Grzegorz. We were told there were 6 live stations, among them cuisine specialties from Korea, France and Mexico.

At Chef Megha's French station, there was nicoise salad - baby potato, green beans, cured olives and cherry tomatoes in an anchovy dressing and topped with seared tuna. It was a beautiful amalgamation of colours and flavours.

Chef Rathina was busy at the cold counter making wafer thin slices of Indian snapper which he proceeded to wrap around green apple batons and orange segments in a lime dressing. Micro greens, dill and baby coriander were artfully arranged as a garnish. Sublime!

Platters of cold cuts sat pretty at their stations. Tomato slices and mozzarella cheese with basil pesto sauce found their way into my plate.

There was plenty of bread and cheese on display along with palate cleansing green apples, grapes, dry fruit and fruit spreads.

Kimchi and squid pancakes

At the Korean counter, Chef Lee and Chef Greg were flipping over haemul pajeon - squid pancakes and kimchi jeon - pancakes with fermented cabbage (kimchi), the national dish of Korea. Of the two, I preferred the one with squid.

On the other side, bowls of bibimbap were being readied. Originally a royal dish, this was a vegetarian version - sesame oil infused rice topped with finely cut and cooked vegetables and a spicy red sauce spooned over. I was transported to food heaven in an instant.

Cinnamon punch topped with pine nuts was served in little glazed jars. I was hesitant to try it but did after gentle coaxing by the chef; just one sip and I was hooked. There was also sweet pumpkin porridge and it was all that it promised and then some more. The colour of burnished gold, it was smooth and had peas for texture. Delicious.


Cha cha cha-ing over to the Latin American station, it was a sight to see the mound of tamales. I got mine topped with cumin flavoured pulled chicken braised stew, refried beans, sour cream and salsa pico de gallo. This was another of my favourites of the evening.

And for those who wanted it all, there were plantain enchiladas and tacos as well. Mama mia!!

Back to Chef Megha for the main course that everyone was raving about - beef bourguignon. Fork tender beef cooked to perfection with a pearl onion confit, orange zest and served with Jerusalem artichoke foam and an achingly delicious brown sauce deep with flavour. Micro greens completed the plating and it tasted every bit as good as it looked.

The Indian counter had some aromatic biryanis, among them kattal (jackfruit), Banjara lamb and Malabar prawn biryani.  At another counter, the chef was pan frying some interesting looking tikkis. They turned out to be patties made of turkey, chicken and fig - bhatak aur anjeer ki tikki. It was served on a mini taftan, saffron flavoured leavened bread and topped with a tomato onion gravy with a scattering of shredded carrot and capsicum strands. The tikki was melt in the mouth soft and the bread soaked up the flavours. This was one other dish that was a straight trip to food heaven.

I loved the way the the desserts had been arranged - on tables, in alcoves and some even in drawers! Chefs Dinesh and Prabu must have had a whale of a time doing these treats. There were beautifully presented coffee pavlovas topped with fruit slices, chocolate decadence that tasted of Bounty bars, macarons, exquisite chocolate & coffee tiramisu mini domes, mango cremeux coconut parfait, mandarin & passion fruit meringues and sliced pears belle Helene served with ice cream and various toppings. There were more including a raspberry and coffee frozen yoghurt. 

The good news is that The Flying Elephant is the venue for A Taste of Korea that will be on till February 28th. There's plenty of Korean delights on the menu, including the jeons and bibimbap that we had a taste of.

If you love your biryani, do get your fill of it at the Dining Room. The Biryani Bouquet is also on till February 28th. The bouquet comprises biryanis in the Lucknow, Hyderabad, Dindigul and Ambur styles...and round it off with lip-smacking Indian desserts, of course.


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