Tell us a bit about yourself and your experiences working in some of the amazing restaurants in Vietnam.
Hi, my name is Dat, I am a chef from Hanoi. I have been working in this role for over 9 years. I started when I was 16 years old in a Vietnamese Kitchen which had 3 outlets (buffet, a la carte & banquet) and served 700-1000 customers a day.
It was raw, I started as a cook's helper in the chopping area (we call the position ‘Thớt’) who does the preparation (mise en place) for the wok area. In the beginning all the cooks needed to learn how to be a butcher. We cooked wild meats so every member knew how to butcher and portion the wild animals like wild pig, crocodile, goat, porcupine, tortoises, stone fishes... some of which were needed to be killed at the table to show how fresh ingredients were! 😬
After 2 years at such a young age, I wanted to experience more cuisines and cultures so I decided to work at a Japanese restaurant called Asashi, which was where I first had an opportunity to cook with luxurious ingredients like JP tuna, cod fish and foie gras.
That was when I realized that I wanted to be serious in this field and study the foundational methods of cooking like hygiene and the traditional and modern cooking methods. I took part in a culinary course in Saigon and got a commis position at the renowned La Villa French Restaurant, where Chef Thierry Mounon taught me so much and I fell in love with ‘’haute cuisine’’ as well as French cooking. After finishing the program, I decided to return to Hanoi and for the first time became a chef de partie at The Clover At Ngoc Thuy under the guidance of Chef Denvers Rattan! I came back to Saigon briefly and also had the opportunity to create desserts for the ultra chic Blank Lounge, situated in Vietnam’s tallest building Landmark 81.
Why are you passionate about cooking?
I chose to become a chef when I realized the happiness and joy food provided people. I had a professor in the kitchen who taught me the importance of flavors, food scents and the warmth they can bring to others. The taste of simple recipes can remind people of their childhood, or multicultural dishes can make others think of their favorite country to visit. I enjoy seeing people feel happy when they taste each dish I create for them!!!
Tell us why this particular creation was sparked by the color palette of Wall #204.
The colors remind me of summer sunsets and the bright days living in SaiGon and Phu Quoc, when a young inexperienced cook like myself made many mistakes but still explored new beginnings and the joys of life. The dessert incorporates fresh tropical fruits and it makes me reminisce about those good ol days.
Thank you Chef Dat! Here is the recipe for the dessert by Chef Dat inspired by Color Palette #01 for you to try at home >>
SABLÉ AU SÉSAME WITH TROPICAL FRUITS
Coconut pastry cream, coconut water jelly and spirulina, tropical fruits, peanut sesame crumble and mango compote.
Sablés au sésame
3 Egg Yolks (room temperature)
50g Confectioner's Sugar
100g Salted Butter, soft
175g Plain Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
60g Sesame Seeds
Take the butter out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before starting the recipe and pre-cut it into small cubes. The butter needs to be very soft, but not melted.
Preheat your oven to 160'C/325'F. Prepare a baking tray lined with a baking mat or parchment paper.
Seperate your egg yolks and whites. Keep the egg whites in the fridge for another recipe.
In the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddle/leaf attachment, cream the very soft salted Butter and confectioners sugar for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
Add one egg yolk at the time while beating on low speed until all incorporated. Stop to scrape the edges of the bowl with a spatula if needed.
Sift and stir in the plain flour and baking powder and sesame seed. Stop as soon as the dough comes together.
Place the dough between two sheets of baking paper. Roll the dough between the two sheets with a rolling pin. The dough should be about 0.5cm to 1 cm / 0.2inch to 0.4 thick.
Remove the top baking paper sheet.
Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, then carefully place the cookies on a cooling rack until completely cool.
Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Coconut Water Jelly and Spirulina
200g Coconut Water
20g of Sugar
2g D’agar agar
Bring coconut water to boil and add sugar, agar cook about 1 min
Arrange the jelly directly on the plate
Coconut Pastry Cream
250g Coconut Milk
4 Egg Yolks
1 Lime Zest
Mix egg yolks, sugar and flour (**)
Bring to boil 250g of coconut milk and 250g of milk
Add boiling milk to egg yolks/sugar/flour mixture (**) and mix briskly
Return mixture and cook on low heat for about 5 mins till thickens
Add lime zest and cover with a cling film close to the surface, removing the air
450g of Ripe Mango
75g of Sugar
75 of Butter
5g of Cornstarch
Heat the butter and mango till soft, add sugar and cornstarch
Cool down and chill in the fridge for 1 hour before serving
10g Mung Bean paste
Pour spirulina jelly on a plate, let it cool.
Nicely crack 1 egg, wash the egg shell and dry them in the oven to sterilize.
Place round mold in the middle of the plate, crush cookies and scatter around it.
Fill mung bean paste, coconut diploma cream, mango confit in egg shell and place in round mould
Decorate with fruits and flower on the cookie crumble.
𝘈𝘳𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦, 𝘸𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 #𝘪𝘨𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘦, #𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘯𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 #𝘴𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘫𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘴 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘴𝘦 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘦 𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘭 𝘸𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘨. 𝘍𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘪𝘯 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘢 𝘸𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘥𝘦𝘴𝘪𝘨𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘶𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘮𝘪𝘻𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘮𝘦𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘧𝘶𝘭 𝘮𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘢𝘨𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘵 𝘸𝘸𝘸.𝘮𝘢𝘳𝘬𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘸𝘢𝘭𝘭.𝘤𝘰𝘮
𝙈𝘼𝙍𝙆 𝙔𝙊𝙐𝙍 𝙒𝘼𝙇𝙇