This year marks the 11th year that Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur is participating in the Malaysian International Gourmet Festival (MIGF) 2011 with their signature Mandarin Grill restaurant (along with the hotel’s Cantonese kitchen, Lai Po Heen). The festival cannot come at a better time as Mandarin Oriental has just appointed a new Chef de Cuisine to their prestigious line-up.
Taking centrestage at the Mandarin Grill is a very young Chef Reto Weber. One look at his pale-skin, scrawny-frame and geeky outlook and you wouldn’t put it pass him to serve you a meal, let alone at the Mandarin Oriental. But to my surprise, his background is impressive and his recent appointment to the Grill speaks volume of his calibre.
Chef Weber hails from the country side of the Swiss Alps in a town called Davos. At a tender age of 16, he decided to leave his home to be an apprentice in a small fine dining restaurant. Later, at the turn of the millennia, Weber’s interest grew in the culinary aspect when he was offered to join a 2-Michelin star retaurant, Walserhof as a Commis. He was subsequently promoted, rather quickly, to Demi Chef de Partie.
While working at Walserhof, he was inspired by the Executive Chef who was passionate about fresh quality products and perfection in every dish. Weber learned never to compromise on the quality of products and during his tenure there, he would follow his shifu on his many quests for fresh ingredients like wild berries, wild mushrooms, flowers and herbs.
His career has since brought him to various countries across Europe, Asia, Australia and most recently, the Middle East – in Dubai where he was part of the opening team of not one, but TWO 5-star hotels including the world’s very first Armani Hotel designed by fashion maverick Giorgio Armani. He also had the pleasure of opening At.mosphere, the world’s highest restaurant located on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa. That was perhaps his most memorable experience right before coming here to Kuala Lumpur.
Having a humble and shy personality, Weber insists that he does not thrive on recognitions and awards but rather let his artful and flawless dishes shine and do the talking. In the coming months, as the Chef de Cuisine of the Mandarin Grill, guests can look forward to a new menu and have an opportunity to sample some of his signature dishes. He is also keen to introduce more seasonal menu changes incorporating more locally grown ingredients for guests to explore the flavours of his new “home“.
The 2011 MIGF, which is happening from now until 31st October 2011, is a good platform to get acquainted to what the new chef has to offer. And from the invited sampling session two weeks ago, things seems rather promising. Highlights on the Festival’s dinner menu include a sinful Foie Gras and Confit Smoked Duck Leg, brilliantly paired with a caramelised orange vinaigrette. And satisfyingly washed down with the sparkling notes of grapefruit, melon and lime of the 2009 Michel Lynch Sauvignon Blanc, I’m sure it will bring you much oral pleasures as it did for me. Do look forward to the Divers Scallop with Ricotta Dumplings and Tomatoes with Olives too.
The festival menu is priced at RM258++ per person for 5 courses; and RM328++ for the 7-courses. All prices excludes wine.
Special thanks to Mandarin Oriental for the invitation.
Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
50088 Kuala Lumpur
For Reservations, please contact +603-2179 8960 or email firstname.lastname@example.org