Tag Archives: indulgence

What’s Cooking For Julie Song?

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With Gordon Ramsay...

Hobnobbing with two of the world’s ‘dishiest’ chefs is what she’s been doing recently. Not only did Ipoh’s own celebrity chef Julie Song get to be one of the judges of Gordon Ramsay (that ‘enfant terrible’ Celebrity chef or the one known for his ‘F’ expletives on his programme), cooking Nasi Lemak for one of his episodes in Kuala Lumpur where he competed against five other local experts on preparing the national dish and came in second; but she also had the honour of being guide and demonstration chef for Todd English the American Celebrity Chef who was in Ipoh in December on a shoot for his TV programme which  is regularly featured on Astro’s Asian Food Channel.

...Todd English

Todd, who has four restaurants in the US, was also shooting an episode on a food trail of Malaysia with Matrade in New York. This TV episode will be shown next summer in US.

Julie took Todd on arrival to Gua Tempurung, to check the fresh flowing waters which is credited with creating the delicacy of our Ipoh Hor Fun and the plump juicy crunchiness of our bean sprouts. Todd was fascinated with the natural cave and flowing waters which he actually tasted. Following this cave sojourn, Julie took Todd to the Clearwater Sanctuary where he learned how to make Rendang Tok of Perak from one of their chefs there.

Finally, a much needed rest at Indulgence where he stayed in the Modern Baroque room the Qatrynka. The following day, Julie set up a temporary kitchen table in the main restaurant (for the TV cameras) and since it was a local cuisine trail he wanted to feature, she taught him how to make Ipoh Chicken Hor Fun, using a few tips from Margarita Lee our Ipoh Echo’s Recipe columnist. Judy Chin kindly made her special nyonya kuih of Serimuka to serve him as dessert which he enjoyed. On tasting the Ipoh Chicken Hor Fun, he declared his conviction that the water is responsible: for the texture of the noodles as he had never tasted noodles that silky and smooth and bean sprouts so crunchy and plump.

In addition to playing host to celebrity chefs, Julie Song was happy to announce that she has won, for the second time, the HAPA (Hospitality Asia Platinum Award) 2010-2012 Best Western Cuisine Chef. This will qualify her for the Regional Series next year, a tough competition and one which she says will keep her on her toes.

During her acceptance speech for the award, she thanked the HAPA judges for coming from Singapore and KL to Ipoh adding that “Indulgence will always be Ipoh’s very own”.

See Foon Chan-Koppen

Julie Song Does Perak Proud

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By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

Julie Song

Well she’s done it again. Not one for resting on her laurels, Julie Song, Ipoh’s own restaurateur/chef extraordinaire has once again helped put Ipoh on the culinary and tourist map. Known for scooping up culinary honours at the Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards (HAPA) one of Asia’s most prestigious awards for the Food and Beverage Industry, Julie is now wowing Enrich Platinum passengers on board Malaysia Airlines around the world and hopefully have them burning up tyres in their haste to get to Ipoh for more of her Modern European cuisine for which her restaurant cum Boutique Hotel is famous.

Collaboration with MAS

Julie is known for her innovative and highly creative dishes, serving posh nosh to Ipohites and visitors who come from all over the world to stay at her luxury boutique hotel with its seven themed rooms. This latest collaboration with Malaysian Airlines will be yet another feather in her culinary cap, a secret which she has cherished since the beginning of the year, travelling to Kuala Lumpur on a weekly basis to work on the menu and train the chefs at both the Sky Chefs and Malaysian Airlines kitchens.

Julie, as a previous article in issue 65 has highlighted, is a self-made chef, whose passion for cooking has been honed to a fine art. An eclectic career saw her begin working life as a successful model, after having obtained a degree in mathematics. Marriage and three children later brought her often into the kitchen where she experimented and created her own unique dishes, fantasy concoctions that tease the eye and tantalise the palate.

Chef-On-Call Menu

Now that the Chef-On-Call menu with Julie Song is up and running, she is hoping that the resultant publicity and the taste and presentation of the various dishes will further heighten the curiosity of international gourmets the world over and nudge them to discover the culinary treasures of Ipoh and bring them here to taste not only Indulgence’s food but also the huge variety of delectable fare for which Ipoh is famous.

Lamb Loin with tomato-olive relish

Chef-on-Call as the service on Malaysian Airlines is called, is available to Enrich Platinum members flying Business and First Class between Kuala Lumpur and Europe and Australia. Passengers will have to call 24 hours before their flight to book their meal from a menu of 25 dishes. Top in her list of recommendations are the stuffed chicken roulade with caramelised onions, tender lamb loin with paprika-dusted pumpkin, and Miso soup with crab gnocchi and coriander. And of course there is a choice for different ethnic tastes as oriental dishes also feature significantly on the menu.

Avocado salad with caramelised pecans

Being a perfectionist at heart, Julie goes to great lengths to ensure that the preparation of her dishes is executed perfectly by the chefs at the catering kitchens. Chefs have been flying in to Kuala Lumpur from all over the Malaysian Airlines network to learn some of the cooking techniques and presentation of the dishes. She introduced new cooking techniques like baking fish in parchment paper and wrapping rice in lotus leaves to ensure that food stays moist during the reheating process on the plane. To this end, she has even flown many sectors just to check out the quality of her dishes when they are served to the passenger. Her other emphasis is on eye appeal of the dishes and she has also spent time working with the cabin crew who will be serving the dishes.

Creating Awareness for Ipoh

“I have often been asked why I haven’t opened a branch of Indulgence in Kuala Lumpur. I am an Ipohite and this is my way of creating awareness for Ipoh. Most of the top restaurants in the world are seldom at one’s doorstep. A little distance creates mystique, a frisson of adventure and a reason for an outing”, she said. “The more awareness I create for Indulgence, the more international travellers will want to visit Ipoh.”

She is correct in her assessment if we were to look at some of the Michelin-star restaurants scattered around the world. Build a reputation, serve superb food and the world’s foodies will beat a path to your door. “Look at Heston Blumenthal whose restaurant the Fat Duck has been on the number 1 list in the world for the past three years. It’s quite a drive to get out to Bray where the restaurant is situated and yet, the restaurant is booked out 3 months in advance”, Julie added.

Ipoh is proud to have Julie Song as an Anak Perak.