Creating simple, familiar fare is often the hardest because there’s not a lot for the flavours to hide behind. With a tight menu, dedicated to the most authentic of flavours laced with stories of a proud Polish heritage, Chef Anthony Yeoh’s Belle Pierogi hardly covers much ground. But to be clear, his delicate touches of subtle gastronomy leave little room for disappointment.
We catch up with Chef Anthony to find out how his newest venture stands head and shoulders above the rest, and here’s what he has to say.
What inspired you to launch Belle Pierogi?
Comfort food that makes you think of big family dinners is where the love comes across, and Belle Pierogi is all about bringing that story forward. Making and eating pierogi together is one of my fondest memories with my half-sister Belinda (“Belle”!) – and how we bonded despite having different mothers. It’s an experience that’s special but also shared with families who make and eat pierogis together.
How do Polish dumplings differ from the Asian ones?
They’re much thicker in the skin and as traditional “poor man’s food”, they’re carb heavy with lots of vegetables and very little meat to provide energy for long days of manual work, especially during the freezing winters. But just like Asian dumplings, Polish dumplings are something that the entire family gets together to make.
Do you plan on expanding Belle Pierogi’s menu to beyond just pierogis?
Yes! There are so many other Polish and Eastern European dishes to explore and bring to the table.
What is it about Polish and European cuisine that fascinates you so much?
The structure of the cuisine and how it organises everything into this wonderful world of rich, buttery sauces, roasts, and terrines.
Has it been easier to make the pierogis as compared to your signature Poulet Roti?
Both took a long time to test and get right. I’d say pierogis are much more finicky as it takes time to nail the ratios of the dough.
Share with us the biggest takeaways from your ventures thus far.
To stay authentic and true to my own cooking while pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Every time I’ve tried to create a dish that’s too finicky or chichi, it always comes across as overly contrived.
Any dumpling-making tips to share for the amateur home cook?
Use a curry puff mould for an easy way to crimp your dough. Also, it’s a family activity not a solo one, so get everyone to gather round and help.
What’s an unpopular opinion about food that you stand by.
Store-bought is fine! This may take some romance out of the whole process, but you do need to think about time and cost when you’re cooking at home. If I need breadcrumbs for a fried croquette, should I bake bread to gather the crumbs? If I need stock to make soup for my kids’ lunch on a random weekday, do I roast beef bones and make it from scratch? No one has that luxury of time, all the time.
Store-bought is fine.
Find out more about Belle Pierogi and their authentic offerings on the website here.