A Japanese chef trained in the fine traditions of French culinary art wowed members of the media at a special hands-on workshop on preparing “finger-food” held at Bonjour Garden Bakery and Café at The Intermark here recently.
Grand Chef Yukichi Matsubara showed how his easily-prepared yet delectable goodies could be ideal for a high-tea occasion. He also shared recipes that one could prepare quickly and easily at home without much preparation or hassle.
Baked goods made by Bonjour Garden lined the refreshment table, displaying various types of finger-food made with bread. The assortment gave a great example of the theme of conveniently catering for various types of parties.
Trained in the classic French techniques and with an added Japanese twist, Chef Yu, as he prefers to be known, exhibited his skills and knowledge with his simplified recipes. The master baker studied his craft in Tokyo and Paris, and earned the title of Boulanger, French for baker. Likewise, his title of Grand Chef denotes a “maestro” at his art.
Assisted by Chef Fun Jian Zhong, Chef Yu presented three different recipes: lavash, gougere and cheesecake. Media representatives present had the opportunity to try kneading, piping and rolling out the dough; as well as eating the results of course!
Throughout the demonstration, Chef Yu offered useful tips and answered questions that often arise when reading recipes. One such question concerned the egg yolks and whites; it seemed as if there would be leftovers. “Boulangers don’t waste food,” Chef Yu replied, adding that most recipes are made to use the whole egg, though separately, therefore no wastage.
Chef Yu’s recipes are easily adaptable as they are simple. He encouraged the participating media members to add their own personal touch by either adding ingredients or substituting them. His own recipes were simplified for convenience but he made sure it did not compromise taste.
Chef Yu’s preferred choice of flour is made of Canadian wheat processed in Japan. Japanese flour is difficult to obtain in Malaysia and costs twice the price of American flour. He doesn’t use preservatives and his recipes are not altered for the Malaysian palate. As such, Chef Yu insists on using certain specific ingredients to maintain the taste of his bread.
“To add more flavour to our bread, we make our own starters by soaking the flour in water with dry raisins and honey for three days,” said Chef Yu. Starters are a mixture of flour and water, with either added active dry yeast or allowed time to collect naturally occurring wild yeast from the environment. Left to ferment, these microorganisms act as a leavening agent that will make the dough rise and adding flavour.
“Making bread is very simple, and simple recipes require better quality ingredients. The flavours cannot be masked by other elements which is why good bread is so difficult to make.”
Try Chef Yu’s Japanese-influenced pastries at Bonjour Garden, located near Jaya Grocer at The Intermark.