Electrolux Newsroom Asia Pacific

Fusing the best of east and west at mealtime

If you’ve ever had a California roll, a chili con carne or tried Electrolux resident chef’s unique smoked salmon in pie tee shells, you’ve enjoyed fusion cuisine. Fusion cuisine is a popular way to serve a dish with a difference, and many professional chefs have used it to make their mark.

But while fusion cooking is a way to add new life to classic dishes, there are times when these experiments have failed the taste test as well. Knowing which ingredients pair well together can be tricky, and require some understanding of the different cuisines and how the ingredient will influence the flavour of a dish.

That’s why professional chefs draw inspiration from their own travels and experiences with different cuisines, dining habits and cooking habits. Low, also known as Chef E, does exactly this by harmonising his experience with his knowledge of food science, flavour building and the compatibility of ingredients into new dishes. He shares more of his secrets for experimenting with your own culinary creations at home.

 

1. When do you feel the need to change your menus?

In my experience in private dining, menus change every day, guests do not. Planned menus may not necessarily be executed, as factors such as the condition of ingredients when they arrive, logistic difficulties and human preferences may call for last minute menu changes.

Weather changes also play a part as other activities may affect the dining mood of the individual, and expectations can change from wanting something new to a craving for simple comfort foods.

 

2. How do you figure out what ingredients go together with each other?

In every type of cuisine, there is a somewhat established list of ingredients which are “marriages made in heaven”. This knowledge can be found in many cookbooks and in learning from experts. Many of these ingredients overlap in different cuisines around the world. 

However, this is only 50 per cent of the knowledge that most chefs have. What I’ve learnt from the food science dimension when I worked in R&D previously was that certain ingredients from different cuisines also have compatibility with one another from their own naturally occurring chemical components.

These components are what make up the flavour or aroma of each individual ingredient. Thus, with guidance from professional flavour food science specialists, I was able to learn many new combinations, such as bananas with rosemary, ginger with rosemary and chili with chocolates.

 

4. How do you come up with fusion cuisine combinations?

The danger of fusion cuisine is confusion itself. To attempt fusion cuisine, the fundamentals of traditional cuisines must be there first. This is where we draw inspiration as the first step.

Then we look for cross-cuisine ingredients with similar natures and apply the ideas from there. Most importantly, the chef must be able to explain where the inspiration for the new dish came from, the key fusion cooking ingredients and techniques, and how the dish was composed to achieve harmony and balance of taste.

5. Any other tips?

Guest must always be able to relate to the new dish and identify where the inspirational elements came from when they read the menus or taste it. Taste always leaves a stronger impression than fancy arrangements.

So keep everything simple and flavours clean. If there is complexity, it should show up on the guest palate as one significant combined flavour profile.

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