Festival-goers, GastroBeats 2022 is well under way— and is bringing along a team of four local and international MasterChefs who’ll whip up a storm for your tastebuds.
These Culinary Masters have put their heads and palates together to create an exclusive collaborative menu that will only be available at GastroBeats 2022, so if you’ve always wanted to dine at the hands of a MasterChef, now’s the time, especially with next week being the festival’s last week!
The dream team was curated by international celebrity chef and former MasterChef Australia contestant Sarah Todd, and includes three other chefs, who will add new dishes to the menu each week.
Engineering student Derek Cheong, winner of MasterChef Singapore Season 2 was at the event from 6 to 12 June. Next on the line-up is talented baker Genevieve Lee, runner-up of MasterChef Singapore Season 1 and owner of Sourbombe Artisanal Bakery, who is whipping up her special bombolonis from now to 19 June.
Lastly, famed MasterChef Australia judge, George Calombaris will be showcasing his special dishes on the last week of the event, from 20 to 26 June.
Frankly, I grew up watching MasterChef Australia, so the hairs on my arms literally stood when I heard that George Calombaris will be cooking for GastroBeats’ Culinary Masters segment.
What I tried at GastroBeats’ Culinary Masters
When I popped by GastroBeats, the MasterChefs on the line-up were Sarah Todd and Genevieve Lee. Needless to say, I was a little starstruck, having watched these personalities on television and on social media.
Both ladies explained that the entire menu was a collaborative effort between all four chefs, who bounced ideas and inspirations off each other to create dishes that are a combination of techniques, cuisines and styles. Plus, they’re also a play on street food from all over the world— so you can expect to see familiar favourites that are zhng-ed up with some atas elements.
All dishes are à la carte and served to your table, with the friendly chefs walking around the event space to mingle and chat with you— so be sure to snag a photo while you can!
I started the ball rolling with the Nasi Butter Chicken (S$24), which is essentially what you’d get if you combined nasi lemak, butter chicken and nasi briyani together.
In fact, Chef Sarah was inspired by one of the opposite food stalls within the event— Nasi Lemak Ayam Taliwang.
“The first thing I like to do when visiting a country is to explore and take inspiration from its various cuisines,” she shared. “I tried the nasi lemak and decided to put my own spin on it, and made a butter chicken version out of it.”
I love butter chicken and nasi lemak, and marrying these two dishes might sound like an abomination to some, but I found it oddly natural.
The long grain basmati rice soaked up the butter chicken gravy well— it was creamy, rich and fragrant. To top it off, I really enjoyed how the ikan bilis, achar and cashew nuts added a crunchy texture to the dish.
This was a satisfying dish that carb-lovers will enjoy for sure— I know I did!
I moved on to the Loaded Chaat Fries (S$16), which are crispy, thick cut fries that are topped with a ton of ingredients— a curry emulsion, spicy hariyali, roasted “The Vegetarian Butcher” No Chicken chunks, fresh tomatoes and red onions.
This was my absolute favourite dish out of the entire evening (turns out, it’s Chef Genevieve’s favourite dish too)! Loaded fries are my guilty pleasure, and this bowl of Loaded Chaat Fries elevated it to a whole new level.
Indulgent and rich, this is what you’d get if you swapped out the nacho cheese on a plate of loaded cheese fries for creamy green curry. It was savoury and aromatic, with nice earthy notes from the curry emulsion and spicy hariyali, and went fantastically well with the thick cut fries.
I liked the addition of curry leaves and sour cream, which helped to offset the overload of carbs and strong flavours.
Next, I tried the Poppadams & Mushrooms (S$16), which came with a bowl of mushroom masala made from locally-farmed mushrooms and fresh poppadams.
If you didn’t tell me that there were mushrooms in the masala, I wouldn’t have known— the earthiness crept in subtly, but went hand-in-hand with the rich sauce, which was a tad spicy.
This was a nice snack that tingled my taste buds with its spice and creaminess, and I loved the little cubes of cucumber and fried onions, which gave a well-needed refreshing touch.
I definitely had to try Chef Genevieve’s Apple-Chai Sourbombe Bombolonis (S$16 for two), which were filled with chai-spiced custard, green apple compote and apple gel.
Each bomboloni was delightfully soft and pillowy, and biting into it was super satisfying. The filling was luscious and creamy, with a strong taste of chai that was smokey and rich.
Definitely something I’d order again. Chef Genevieve, please have this as a permanent item on your menu at Sourbombe Artisanal Bakery!
Curious to know what else is on the menu?
Kids will love the Cookie Crunch (S$8), a stick of Magnum White Chocolate & Cookies topped with mini Oreos and lemon curd drops, and Compressed Watermelon Pops (S$10 for 5), which are chilled Malaysia-grown watermelons that have been compressed with calamansi and topped with a citrus gel.
Personally, I enjoyed the Seafood Pani Puri (S$18 for 4), which were little bite-sized crispy puri shells filled with chilled crab, prawn salad and tobiko. My dining companions enjoyed the New Delhi Fish & Chips (S$26), a spiced espuma-battered barramundi that was served with curry aioli.
Being able to try actual creations from renowned MasterChefs was an enriching experience. Speaking to Chef Genevieve and Chef Sarah to learn more about what went on behind the scenes was even more enlightening, as it gave a nice personal touch that brought each dish to life.
Though the dishes are admittedly on the pricier side, you’re paying for a well thought-out menu that was put together by a team of MasterChefs, so think about it this way— if you’ve ever wanted to dine at a restaurant helmed by a MasterChef but was daunted by the month-long reservation list, you might just get lucky at GastroBeats’ Culinary Masters with their street food-inspired dishes instead.
Genevieve’s exclusive bombolonis are only available till 19 June, as George Calombaris’ special menu items will take over from 20 to 26 June, so be sure to check them out while you can!
Expected damage: S$8 – S$26 per pax
* This post was brought to you in partnership with GastroBeats.
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