Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fusion or confusion, it's all perspective isn't it?

Perspectives from Anderson Ho of Le Papillon, courtesy of Wine & Dine Asia. I personally think perspective could be everything. It has to be managed. No Jedi mind tricks are required here.

'To me, it doesn't matter if it is fusion so long as the taste is there,' says Ho. One of the dishes he served at Le Papillon was a laksa cappuccino served with crabmeat salad, but he took it off the menu after some comments from diners about 'why should I pay top dollar for something I can get at a hawker centre'.

He adds that while some do appreciate the flavours, most don't. However, when he did a cooking promotion overseas and served the laksa cappuccino, it was a great hit.

He reckons that Singaporeans are generally biased towards chefs cooking Western food with local flavours. 'If fusion is done by a Western chef, people go 'wow'. But when a Chinese guy does it, they don't like it. I'm sorry, but that's a fact.'

For example, he referred to Saint Pierre's Emmanuel Stroobant who created an entire molecular gastronomy menu in April for the World Gourmet Summit based on local hawker food. His deconstructed versions of kaya toast, nasi lemak and chicken rice won raves. 'But if I do that at my restaurant, do you think people would come?' asks Ho. we're pointing fingers.

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