Make a date with us on November 13 and 14 when 12 culinary trailblazers in Malaysia pair up to present a menu of crossover creations in partnership with HSBC Premier
Twelve celebrated chefs in Malaysia will be showcasing their culinary wizardry this November in Tatler Dining's pop-up food and drink festival called Off Menu. Like its name suggests, this unique dining experience will feature a one-of-a-kind crossover menu with dishes crafted specifically for the event. You won't be able to taste them anywhere else but here, not even at the respective chefs' establishments. Already a great success in Hong Kong and Taiwan, Off Menu will make its highly anticipated debut in Malaysia at our venue partner Pavilion Hotel Kuala Lumpur on November 13 and 14, 2021.
Meet the 12 chefs set to wow you with their talents in the kitchen.
1. David Dahlhaus of Ambara, One&Only Desaru Coast
Having cooked alongside some of the world's most notable chefs, including René Redzepi at Noma, David Dahlhaus is no stranger to the kitchens of Michelin-starred restaurants and ultra-luxe hotels, which brings us to his present position. Ever since becoming the executive chef at One&Only Desaru Coast, Dahlhaus has been pushing the envelope at farm-to-table Mediterranean restaurant Ambara. The chef, who is fluent in English and German, says that the most exciting part of being in Malaysia is exploring its wealth of ingredients.
2. Diego Reali of Natalina Italian Kitchen
A third-generation chef from Italy, Chef Diego Reali credits his culinary expertise to his mother and mentor, Stefania Cristofari, who presides over Rome’s seven-decades-old Hosteria Amedeo. Reali's relationship with his mother is reflected in the concept of Natalina Italian Kitchen, which is named after Frank Sinatra's mother. Tradition reigns supreme in the cooking here, which is informed by time-tested Roman recipes. Get ready to be moved by Reali's cooking, an exercise in emotion.
3. Jeff Ramsey of Japas by Jeff Ramsey
Japanese-American Chef Jeff Okada Ramsey earned his first Michelin star at the age of 32 in Tokyo, became the first Certified Master Sushi Chef by the All Japan Sushi Association, and won a world sushi title, all in the early days of his career—achievements that have shone a spotlight on his comings and goings in F&B ever since. Ramsey has opened a slew of restaurants in Asia, from the now defunct Babe, a modernist Japanese restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, to Japas, an Izakaya, to Kintsugi, which was recognised as one of the best Japanese restaurants in Bangkok within mere months of opening.
Did You Know: Ramsey was trained under Masayoshi Kazato, known as the official Sushi Ambassador of Japan.
4. Junious Dickerson of Curate, Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Chef Junious Dickerson's dishes have been featured in glossy magazines and cookbooks; he has appeared on TV and radio, served royalty and dignitaries, chaired food festivals, judged cooking contests—and it all began with a part-time job washing dishes at a members-only country club to pay his parents the monthly instalments on his first car. Dickerson attributes his ever-evolving cooking style to his life experiences, both the hardships and the highs. He has brought his "food is life" philosophy to the Four Seasons brand for the past six years, and is raring for a challenge.
5. Kenny Lee of Jade Pavilion, Pavilion Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Like many chefs the world over, Kenny Lee's prowess at the stove is closely tied with maternal love and his mother’s cooking. The Chinese Masterchef at Jade Pavilion, a new Cantonese restaurant at Pavilion Hotel Kuala Lumpur, believes that clean, natural flavours lie at the heart of great Cantonese cuisine. Nevertheless, he enjoys imbuing his dishes with modern twists. Chef Kenny has had the pleasure of heading banquets with as many as 6,900 guests, a task that has honed his skill as chef and manager to perfection.
6. Mandy Goh of Kayuputi, The St. Regis Langkawi
In 2019, Mandy Goh made waves when The St. Regis Langkawi named her its first female executive chef. But her ascent to the top wasn't an overnight phenomenon. Goh earned her stripes at The Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, The St. Regis Macau, The Sheraton Grand Macau, and was part of the only first all-female team to take home the gold at the Bocuse D’Or Asia—not bad for a young chef from Prai, Penang. Kayuputi, The St. Regis Langkawi's signature restaurant that sits over the ocean and offers a magical man-made coral reef above the water, serves as Goh’s culinary playground.
7. Otto Tay, world pastry champion
An admired pastry instructor and a coveted corporate pastry chef, Otto Tay has played an active role in the development of the Asian pastry market. Tay's first foray into the Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie (also known as the World Pastry Cup) in 2015 saw joyous results—the team captain of Malaysia's squad finished an impressive fourth out of 21 countries in the ice sculpting segment—but it wasn't until his second time at the renowned pastry competition in 2019 that Malaysia took home the gold, emerging victorious over other competitors such as Japan, Belgium and Italy.
Did You Know: Tay gets his inspiration from luxury brand boutiques' window displays, and when he gets an idea, he will start "sketching" with his fingers in the air, often to his friends' amusement.
8. Raymond Tham of Skillet at 163 and Beta KL
No longer a pastry chef per se, Chef Raymond Tham was, nevertheless, smitten by patisserie from a young age; hence his becoming a chocolatier for the prestigious Barry Callebaut and working under some of the world's finest pastry chefs. After passing on his knowledge to the next generation of culinary students at KDU University College, Tham turned his attention to Skillet at 163 (Tatler Dining’s Top 20 Restaurants 2021) and Beta KL, where he displays a soft spot for sweet-savoury crossovers creations. He reveals many of his inspirations for Beta comes from his childhood ("by mum and grandma") while Skillet benefits from his time studying and working in Europe.
9. Chai Chun Boon of Copper
This Swiss-trained chef cut his teeth at the three Michelin-starred Oud Sluis in the Netherlands. He’s worked in places like China, Spain and Singapore before eventually deciding to return to Malaysian shores, to contribute his talents here. In 2015, he and his wife Zeehan Zahari opened modern European restaurant Copper in Kuala Lumpur, serving chic and affordable cuisine. Copper is closed, but Chai still operates under its name for events and 'chef for hire' dinners.
10. Johnny Au Yong of Ebisu at Altitude, Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur
Chef Johnny Au Yong has spent 29 years in the culinary world mastering the craft of Japanese cuisine. He was an apprentice of Chef Matsuura, a highly skilled fugu chef from Tokyo. Au Yong travels to Japan annually to cultivate new inspirations and further refine his art, in particular Japanese Omakase Kaiseki. His signatures include integrating dry ice into his presentations and a delicate process of searing fish live which requires immense skill and technique.
11. Azli Ahmad of OpenHouse KLCC
At 24, Chef Azli Ahmad packed his bags and moved to Cape Town to work in a restaurant. He adapted quickly, moving up the ranks to become a sous chef at Johannesburg Hilton. When then Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi visited Lesotho in 2003, Azli served as his personal chef. He returned to Malaysia in 2006 and is now championing Malaysian flavours based on beloved recipes handed down by mothers and grandmothers at OpenHouse KLCC. A firm believer in only the best ingredients, Azli makes it a point to visit Datuk Keramat Wet Market early in the morning to secure the freshest produce.
12. Jun Wong of Kikubari
Jun Wong never planned to be a chef. In fact, she had no idea what to do with her life for a long time, only signing up for a hospitality course in university because her best friend did so. Fortunately, she discovered a passion for the kitchen there. The feisty young chef worked under the famed chef Takashi Kimura at Sage and Cilantro for about five years before heading to the three Michelin-starred Robuchon au Dome in Macau. Her last overseas stint was head chef at Le Petit Flot in Sydney. Wong's mantra is "never use more than you need", in line with the growing consciousness for a more sustainable approach in the food industry.
Off Menu Kuala Lumpur is strictly by reservations only. To make your reservations, click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Only two sessions are still available:
Nov 13 (Saturday): 2pm - 5pm
Nov 14 (Sunday): 2pm - 5pm
For more info, visit Off Menu Kuala Lumpur's official website. Off Menu Kuala Lumpur is supported by Moet Hennessy Diageo Malaysia, Heineken, and San Pellegrino.