The food trays were lined with banana leaves and Red Room volunteers poured the wine as guests rolled in for a very different evening at the Red Room. The kitchen became the stage for Aside 10, Red Rooms’ last event at the Learning Kitchen, our home for more than five years.
Aside 10 was in full heat as the chefs dazzled the audience with food, fire, and comfort inspired recipes.
The audience was seated in front of the kitchen, huddled around the crackling of oil, browning of pans and savory aromas. Andrew Chau the master of ceremonies introduced Ping Chu, who gave us inspiration and encouragement to take on the world with our visions. Pierre Loisel, a French Canadian who owns an organic farm in Toucheng, spoke about the benefits of composting from kitchen waste while handing out fresh green leafy vegetables from his farm for everyone to try. Pierre is also known as the ‘master of waste composting’ in Taiwan.
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Ivy Chen, a Taiwanese chef, lit the wok and began frying up one of her favorite dishes: three cups chicken, while she spoke about her choice of comfort food. Our staff passed around bite-sized crackers topped with Ivy’s signature dish and a chili for garnish. Smiles were contagious as everyone licked their fingers, eager for one more bite. For the vegetarians in the audience, Ivy fried up three cups mushroom. Ivy provides cooking classes for anyone interested in learning how to create scrumptious Chinese and Taiwanese dishes from scratch. 超級美味!
Our next chef Mayur Srivastava, originally from New Delhi, owns four Indian restaurants in Taipei. Mayur’s mother taught him everything she knew and his love for good food began at a very early age. First he served up an Indian snack, golgappas, crisp hollow pockets of wheat flour, filled with Indian condiments and topped with spiced tamarind water, fresh coriander chutney and yoghurt. Just pop them in your mouth and experience an explosion of taste! Mayur then demonstrated his version of vegetable Biryani, a rice pilaf prepared with many aromatic spices and vegetables or meat. This was served on fresh, green banana leaves, with natural yoghurt on the side. Plates clanked and smiles took over the kitchen as everyone enjoyed the complex flavours of this traditional Indian dish. Masha’Allah!
Justin Robinette, our final chef, fired up the oven and began preparing his comfort food: French toast topped with caramelized apples and whipped cream. The audience crowded around the kitchen as Justin whipped cream and flipped syrupy apples. Mayur and Ivy hopped into the kitchen and became Justin’s impromptu sous chefs while the audience awed at the flames and golden aromas filling the kitchen. Justin served up the French toast doused in hand-made chocolate sauce and sprinkled with apples and powered sugar. Finger-licking good!
The audience cheered on as all three chefs cooked together in the kitchen and concluded another successful night of laughter and sharing. With the kitchen as the stage, Aside 10 challenged how we view and interact with art forms as all three chefs came together to create lasting memories and comforting meals.
Many thanks to our partners whose support helped this evening happen. Canmeng Aveda, Nonzero, Gourmet’s Partner and Granola House.
By Alex Gilliam