Rising to the Top: 2011 World Gourmet Summit

Just when you thought your bulging bellies could take a break after the inaugural Asian Masters in Jan, followed swiftly by Restaurant Week last month, the next big food event is all set to hit our shores. 2011’s World Gourmet Summit (WGS) rolls around from Apr 25-May 8. This annual epicurean festival needs little introduction, and brings to town celebrated chefs from all over the world, as well as internationally-acclaimed vintners. But what do those involved actually think?

, Rising to the Top: 2011 World Gourmet SummitRyan Clift, chef and co-owner of Tippling Club (8D Dempsey Rd., 6475-2217), feels, “Every country should have a big food festival; it’s important for the industry and general public. Plus, it adds a new dimension to the city for two weeks. You’ve got some big name chefs who come to town. If you haven’t got the chance to travel and try their food, it’s great.” We certainly agree. The existence of festivals such as WGS still inspires confidence in the dining landscape of Singapore (ignore the protests of jaded food critics), and offers an even broader range of cuisines and experiences than what is usually available. If you’re a true gourmand (all our favorite people certainly are), you’ll want to attend everything. But unless you’ve got deep pockets and a whole lot of time, it’s probably wiser to stick to a few choice events.

While there’s no doubt that the novelty of WGS has worn off since its launch (they’re in their 15th year after all), there’s still a good deal of anticipation from foodies about the announcement of the chef line up. This installment of the popular food event will see culinary heavyweights such as three-Michelin-starred Bruno Ménard and Luisa Valazza; two-Michelin-starred Norbert Niederkofler, Ramón Freixa and Kevin Thornton; Paul Wilson (three chef’s hats) and Brent Savage (two chef’s hats) stopping by our tiny isle and crafting indulgent gourmet creations for your hedonistic epicurean pleasure. That’s not all. There will also be a number of culinary workshops, as well as wine dinners and tasting events for you to choose from.

Despite its roaring commercial success, it’s heartening to discover that several visiting chefs aren’t just included on a purely business basis. A few actually have long-standing, ongoing friendships with hosting chefs.

Case in point: Chef Rosio Sanchez of noma and Janice Wong, hosting chef-owner of 2am:dessertbar (2/F, 21A Lorong Liput, 6291-9727). “I had met Janice a few years before back at WD-50 in NYC, and thought the idea sounded like something , Rising to the Top: 2011 World Gourmet SummitI would like to participate in,” says Sanchez. Janice’s admiration and respect for Rosio is clearly evident. “I think her style is unique, so I really wanted to bring her here to showcase that.” The sweet-toothed should check out Rosio Sanchez’s unique creations from May 3-7 at 2am:dessertbar ($25 per dessert, $90 for four-course degustation), featuring winter’s version bitters dessert (whey discs, bitters syrup, milk crumbs and sorrel), huldreost brown cheese custard with beet granite, and milk and grains (milk ice cream, birch syrup and biodynamic grains).

, Rising to the Top: 2011 World Gourmet SummitAnother collaborative partnership is that of Tippling Club’s Ryan Clift and Bentley Restaurant & Bar’s Brent Savage. “This year, as always, I’ve brought a chef, Brent Savage, with a similar style to what we do here. We always approach chefs ourselves as we steer towards the avant-garde, progressive side of things,“ he says. “In fact, Brent was actually my competition back in Melbourne. But that was a long time ago.” Savage has fashioned a seven-course menu with wine pairing ($230) from Apr 26-30 at Tippling Club, that features ocean trout with ocean trout mousse and fennel pollen, pork belly with wattleseed, garlic milk and rhubarb, and roasted duck breast with cuttlefish and mushrooms.

Aside from several hard-to-find food items, all these chefs are keen to source for produce locally. In a bid to introduce different flavor profiles to diners here, Savage , Rising to the Top: 2011 World Gourmet Summitwill only be bringing wattleseed (which is native to Australia), while Sanchez is packing dry goods like birch syrup, biodynamic grains, and Norwegian brown cheese. One-Michelin-starred masterchef Tam Kwok Fung, whose modern Chinese culinary style is centered around the philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), meanwhile is confident he’ll be able to find the ingredients he needs for Weingut Markus Molitor Wine Dinner on Apr 27 (from $228) hosted at Cassia (4/F Cappella Singapore, 1 The Knolls, Sentosa Island, 6591-5045): “I know Singapore as a world class gourmet destination and am sure everything I use can be sourced locally,” he says.

To reserve a space, call 6270-1254 or email [email protected]. For more details, log on to www.worldgourmetsummit.com.

Check out I-S Picks for WGS 2011