BMW Cooking Experience 2009: LaFite

“Wow! You’re kidding, right?”
“What? You’re for real?”
“Wow! Wow! Wow!”

I couldn’t believe it when I was first invited to participate in the cooking class at LaFite (HELLO, it’s LaFite!). A very good friend of mine knew exactly what my idea of joy is, and if you’ve not figured it out by now – it’s good food and good company. And that was exactly what this class was all about.

This Cooking Experience 2009 was in its third installment and it was part of the many fantabulous events organised by BMW Malaysia for its White Card members. And what’s a White Card you ask? Well, it’s this über cool club where only Beemer owners can join. Own a BMW and gain a complimentary 3-years membership. It’s that simple. BMW has always believed that when customers purchase its vehicles, they are not just buying a car but a lifestyle. And with its BMW White Card program, their customers are given the opportunity to live the ultimate BMW lifestyle – one that is custom towards high-end activities usually associated with very affluent individuals. Not just limited to food, White Card members can also participate in exclusive fashion, travel, health & beauty, sports, and other likewise luxurious events. And as a member, you’re entitled to invite your family or friends any of the special events like this one. Hooray, lucky me!

Well, Lady Luck didn’t shine for too long anyway. I found out that I had to show up at 7.30am on a Saturday morning for the class. But yet I still chose to happily stay out late with other food bloggers (and toy fans alike) the night before. McCutie reckons I’ve got bananas for brains! Anyway, let’s start with the cooking class already.

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Walking into Shangri-la Hotel in the morning, I was glad to know that the class will be conducted by none other than Chef Damon Campbell, the resident Chef de Cuisine (or executive chef) of LaFite. I’ve met the bubbly, laid back and funny Canadian Chef about 8-months back during one of my company’s PR events at the restaurant. He reminds me of a certain Naked Chef. Anyway, it was nice meeting up again and finding out what the day was going to be like over morning coffee.

After breakfast we made our way to the TTDI wet market in a convoy of BMWs (what else?!). I was actually half expecting them to bring us to the Pudu market for an authentic market experience. But I guess the TTDI was a more sanitary option for many participants.

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It was to our great delight that they gave us authentic chef whites with our names stitched on it. Like real liddat! Now that we look the part, we have to work the part too.

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The class was intimate with only 12 lucky students (participants were chosen on a first come, first serve basis. As this was a very popular event among the members, I felt privileged to even be there). It’s important for a class like this not to get overly big in size, so everyone can get the share of attention they deserve. Speaking of attention, boy were we showered with plenty that afternoon. Just between slicing, filleting, skinning, and flavouring our market-bought fish, we had 4 glasses of wine offered to us and plenty of kitchen helpers to clean up after us! Heck, there was a long buffet of breads and pastries laid out by the side of the kitchen (just in case we get hungry apparently) and there was even a bar serving every juice, coffee and wine imaginable. Now, that’s what I call a royal treatment!

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It was well into the afternoon by the time we were done with our souffles. We were each given a nice big room to just chill and freshen up. Ahhdas ist gud, ya? This is the life. And before I can ask if this can possibly get any better, it was time for lunch. It was Chef Damon’s turn to cook for us. We made our way to the restaurant with great anticipation (and appetite too).

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As the restaurant do not normally operate on Saturdays for lunch, so, we were the only patrons in the restaurant. And naturally we were promptly seated. On the table was this beautiful menu, personally handwritten by the Chef himself. And there it was listed under the mains, the magnificent Melt-In-Your-Mouth Beef (the other option is fish). It’s my favourite dish here. I got to have it. I was actually just telling my friend about this super yummylicious beef dish in the morning. And I’m happy to see it listed down as it’s not on LaFite’s regular dining menu. Slowly cooked for 48-hours using the sous-vide* method, the meat holds its shape when served but literally melts into meat juice upon touching one’s palate. I don’t think there’s a word to truly describe this dish. It’s no wonder that the restaurant used such a literal name for it. If you ever want to try this when you’re dining there, do no hesitate to request for it. Another highlight came in the form of a shot glass containing coconut juice and a delicate egg-yolk-looking bubble which exploded in a wonderful tropical mix of mango, passion fruit & pineapple juice right inside my mouth. The Exotic Explosion was a great burst to start off the lunch.

By the time we were done it was almost 4pm and we were beat from all the ‘hard work’. Made me really appreciate the hard work and long hours real chefs put in to make our food. As we walked leave we were handed a goodie bag each. A very heavy one to say the least. I took a peep and saw our chef whites cleaned and nicely folded, a group picture & my professional head shot as a chef (could one day appear on the cover of my cookbook or comic should I have one), and a nice BMW notebook which I’ve been eying on for a very long time now. Finally! But those aren’t what’s making the bag heavy. The weight actually came from a nicely wrapped hardcovered cookbook by famed Singaporean Chef Justin Quek entitled Passion & Inspiration. It was even autographed by the chef with a note saying, “Live Life with Passion!” How inspiring!

The Cooking Experience was a great way to spend half a weekend-day doing something productive yet fun. It may not have thought me much in terms of cooking as I felt the class was catered more for beginners; but the Cooking Experience 2009 has taught me to enjoy the finer things in life and it has sparked an interest in baking. Perhaps, I should start taking baking classes too. That’s the one kitchen skill that’s still alien to me. Hope I get to do this again sometime soon. It’s been a real pleasure.

*Glossary: Sous-vide (pronounced /su_’vid/) [taken from wikipedia] French for “under vacuum”, is a method of cooking that is intended to maintain the integrity of ingredients by heating them for an extended period of time at relatively low temperatures. Food is cooked for a long time, sometimes well over 24 hours. Unlike cooking in a slow cooker, sous-vide cooking uses airtight plastic bags placed in hot water well below boiling point (usually around 60°C or 140°F).

*Disclaimer: All conversations featured on this comic is a complete work of fiction and does not represent any individuals, their personalities, or identities whatsoever.

20 Responses to BMW Cooking Experience 2009: LaFite
  1. burpandslurp
    June 1, 2009 | 1:14 am

    oh my god! you've found a FAN in me! I LOVE the way you write your posts! it's darn entertaining! I'm mad jealous of your skills!
    and oh my god…your description of all that food…I'm drooling like a mad cow…YUUUM!

  2. PureGlutton
    June 1, 2009 | 1:25 am

    Wow… that must be one of the most fun and exclusive activities anyone could have! The food looked so yummy!

  3. UnkaLeong
    June 1, 2009 | 2:58 am

    Ah Pa would be proud! Hahahah…Souffle’s for the next gathering, k?

  4. Life for Beginners
    June 1, 2009 | 3:17 am

    Methinks your Ah Pa will be very, very proud… And as for the rest of us, know we know who can cook and cater for our next gathering… ;)

  5. fatboybakes
    June 1, 2009 | 3:28 am

    [stabbing motion….this time outward]

    gufffaw, hilarious posttttt!!!! made my monday!

  6. thule a.k.a leo
    June 1, 2009 | 3:37 am

    SIGH!!! Bought a bimmer but not from AB, Ingress nor Sapura hence no White Card for me :(
    missed out on such an interesting event…

  7. boo_licious
    June 1, 2009 | 3:51 am

    “sniff, sniff” I also want to go!! FBB, when you switching to a beemer so we can tag along? So do we get to try yr newly acquired cooking skills soon???

  8. qwazymonkey
    June 1, 2009 | 5:39 am

    @burpandslurp: thanks for dropping by. It’s always a pleasure to see new faces around.

    @pureglutton: it was a wonderful event and the food were really yummy

    @unka: need equipments! No oven or any other baking tools. Care to donate?

    @ah Pa: don’t jeles lah. If u start Bake With Chengs, I’ll sign up too. As for the Beemer, u can get Leo to pick ya up. LOL. Plus, what the hell can you stab outwards?

    @Thule: go get another one. Maybe a 5 or 7? Then yo
    u can be White Card Elite member. Got more terra privileges!

    @boo: yea, we wait til Ah Pa gets his Beemer then he can invite he all!

  9. qwazymonkey
    June 1, 2009 | 5:40 am

    @LFB: me cater? Wakakaka! U are such a joker

  10. thule a.k.a leo
    June 1, 2009 | 5:48 am

    I’m on 5… 3 too small, 7 too big… thinking of X6 but price tag too high!!! lol…

  11. thenomadGourmand
    June 1, 2009 | 7:00 am

    Now i'm running thru my HP contacts tryin to rmbr if any of them has purchased a BMW within the last 3 yrs! LOL!
    eh, cooking's fun..if someone else cleans up for you & wash yr apron aft tht, like in this case!

  12. CUMI & CIKI
    June 1, 2009 | 8:49 am

    bakes wiv chengs and mosh with monkey! so cute!!

    (i also want my own show.. **Stabbing motion**)

    hehe – the munkey in the apron.. so handsome.
    BEH TA HAN..

  13. qwazymonkey
    June 1, 2009 | 4:07 pm

    @thule: Yea make sure u get X6 from an authorized dealer than can invite us to cool White Card events too!

    @NomadGourmand: Yeah, love cooking but not the cleaning. Any volunteers?

    @Cumi&Ciki: Since you're a brave and sexy monkey, your show will be called "Mei Try Any Dish Once"

  14. Nic (KHKL)
    June 1, 2009 | 5:44 pm

    woah, to dine at lafite is already a privilege. and to COOK there as well??? coolness to the subzeroness…hehe..what’s more if one arrives in style, in a beemer. so, when u cooking for us ar? :D

  15. thule a.k.a leo
    June 2, 2009 | 2:54 am

    for a cool 700k, I can get myself another piece of property :) my priorities have to come first!

  16. qwazymonkey
    June 3, 2009 | 1:29 am

    Thule: The X6 is so huge that you can actually live in it. ;)

  17. "Joe" who is constantly craving
    June 3, 2009 | 5:24 am

    aiyohhhh looks so good..make me regret when my friend ask me to go last year..but i remember the dear price was like rm500?? well worth the money i must say..

  18. "Joe" who is constantly craving
    June 3, 2009 | 5:26 am

    oh yeah loved the gossip girl bits in the post haha

  19. Sin Tai Lim
    June 3, 2009 | 3:03 pm

    So comical, I like it aha aha aha.
    Keep it up my friend…

  20. qwazymonkey
    June 3, 2009 | 11:17 pm

    Joe: What lah you! This is I think the bill was about RM350 only. A regular meal at LaFite also would have set you and your gurl back more lah! :) Next time go ok. But must invite me too. You know you love me XOXO, Fatty Monkey

    Sin Tai Lim: Not a regular face around. All is welcome and hope you enjoy your stay with us. Thanks for dropping in. Cheers!