As part of a continued campaign to help people get the most out of their shopping and kitchen experiences, world renowned chef and star of Yan Can Cook Martin Yan teamed up with c!ty’super’s star executive chef Charmaine Cheung to host a complimentary cooking exhibition, featuring “East meets West” style delicacies with stock from the high-end grocery chain.
According to Yan, the main goal of the demonstration was to show people that food is not just energy to be digested, but a way of life. “Food is a reflection of history and of culture,” explained Yan. Then, animatedly gesturing toward some nearby tanks of gelatinous grouper, he exclaimed, “For the Chinese, fresh fish is a lifestyle!”
The official show kicked off at 6pm with both culinary all-stars in their element, furiously seasoning, tenderizing, and hacking away at whatever gastronomic gem happened to be on the chopping block. Between butterflying bell-peppers and dicing meat with the speed and precision of a wood-chipper, Yan charmed the audience with anecdotes regarding his food-world exploits and his famous sense of humor, displaying the 100-watt personality that earned him a host of television accolades, including a 1994 James Beard Award for Best TV Cooking Show.
Zen Cooking Skills
In the middle of one account, Yan held up a toothpick-sized piece of bell pepper, and joked that if Westerners could divide food into slices that thin, they wouldn’t wonder how China feeds its massive population. Ever the humble character, Yan also stated, “I’m just here to wash the dishes and wipe down the counter. Charmaine is the real star.”
Finally, after everyone was wowed by a blade display enviable of a samurai on meth, it was time to enjoy the ever-so-scrumptious fruits of the Yan-Cheung duo’s labors. Up first were quivering French Gillardeau Oysters with Kaluga Queen Oscietra and a dollop of Black Truffle Foam, or the culinary equivalent of dipping pearls in gold and then encrusting them with diamonds. Hard go wrong there. This was followed by predictably juicy Australian Waygu steak bites, served medium rare with Modena balsamic vinegar aged 15 years and Tartuf White Truffle Oil. Good steak, but hey, it’s to be expected from chefs of this caliber.
Yan Can Cook more than just Chinese!
More surprising were the ruby-red morsels of champagne lobster bathed in roquefort fondue, a dish any East coaster from the United States would be skeptical of (we tend to frown upon the heinous practice of combining seafood and cheese). However, in keeping with the spirit of the showcase, the freshness of the ingredients propelled the dish past your midwestern cheese-crusted fish, and into the realm of delicacy. “It’s all in the quality of the cheese,” observed Yan with a grin.
But the showcase’s crowning achievement was the carved-on-site acorn-fed Iberian ham, a simple but classic dish marbled like pork-belly that had every European in the room struggling to remember when they last had ham that delicious in their motherland. Not bad for a Spanish cured meat in China.
As the evening simmered down and the champagne-saturated guests drifted off the premises, I was fortunate enough get some one-on-one time with Martin Yan. When asked if he felt that China’s dining scene was starting to break tradition and become more innovative and adaptive to foreign concepts, he stated, “The world has become a global village. An event in once place affects another across the globe. Like the 2008 Beijing Olympics slogan says, ‘One World One Dream.'”
All aforementioned items available for purchase at c!ty’super.
City’super // Telephone: 5012 0998 // IFC Pudong, B/F2, 8 Shiji Da Dao, near Lujiazui Huan 世纪大道8号, 国金中心IFC商场B2楼, 近陆家嘴环路
By Benjamin Cost