THE     FEAST     66   Double Vision          Twin chefs at Bangkok’s Mezzaluna talk food          and passion, past, pres...
THE FEASTHELLO CHEF             DOUBLE             VISION             Text by Korakot Suriya-arporn                       ...
Home cuisine gave them a sense of good food andcooking — the fundamentals of cooking and how to deal with                 ...
PRESENT: Arctic CharIngredients: serpent gourd, aloe vera, watercress, cucumber,horseradish, dillElaborate palettes of man...
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1Twin chefs at Bangkok’s Mezzaluna talk food and passion, past, present and future. by Lifestayle and Travel

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Text by Korakot Suriya-arporn
Photos by Rachapant Sukrattanachaikul

Three-course menu ‘Culinary timeline’ Mathias and Thomas design and create three mouth-watering dishes that represent their life path in three chronologically ordered sequences: past (their prior experience or childhood), present (their current project) and future (their ambition).


Ingredients and procedure of Carbonara ‘explosion’ Food .

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1Twin chefs at Bangkok’s Mezzaluna talk food and passion, past, present and future. by Lifestayle and Travel

  1. 1. THE FEAST 66 Double Vision Twin chefs at Bangkok’s Mezzaluna talk food and passion, past, present and future. 72 Come Zen With Me Count your stuff and see how you can let go of things and keep only the ‘right’ things.64
  2. 2. THE FEASTHELLO CHEF DOUBLE VISION Text by Korakot Suriya-arporn Photos by Rachapant Sukrattanachaikul Twin chefs at Bangkok’s Mezzaluna talk food and passion, past, present and future. A s you indulge yourself with a tasty creation in the fine-dining venue Mezzaluna atop the 65th floor of The Dome at lebua in the heart of Bangkok, it is hard not to stare — though the city and river view from up above can be stunning — at the open kitchen area, where the kitchen brigade puts on a spectacular show. Look for the ringleader — the head chef — and you begin to think you have suffered a bad case of diplopia. It may take a while before you realise that, yes, they are actually twins. At 34, Berlin-born identical twins Mathias and Thomas Sühring might not be the spitting image of each other, but their passion for food is clear. “We always look for ways to be better each day we work,” says Thomas, who alongside his brother has been running the Mezzaluna kitchen as chef de cuisine for four years. In most kitchens, having co-leadership with two competent chefs, whose egos are usually as big as their talents, often ends up with a fracas, or incredibly ugly cases of bridge burning. That, however, is not the case for the twin brothers. “We never fight in the kitchen,” says Thomas, to which Mathias later adds, “Whenever we have a problem, we always talk it out. But that rarely happens.” On a daily basis, the twin chefs create new dishes inspired by and designed upon seasonal ingredients under the concept of ‘modern innovative gourmet cuisine.’ Guests can choose to dine on the six- course chef’s degustation menu, or an optional three-course menu. Such hard work requires much brainstorming and a solid base of culinary experience. For this, two chefs are better than one. Their passion for food has been accumulating from the time they were young. “We would go to our grandmother’s farm on summer break for three or four weeks. She always cooked and she had a nice garden with vegetables. She also had pigs, ducks, chickens, everything that she used for cooking. We went to pick mushrooms when the time was right and gather blueberries, strawberries or white strawberries,” says Thomas. “I loved to be in the kitchen when I was young and watched what they were doing.”66 67
  3. 3. Home cuisine gave them a sense of good food andcooking — the fundamentals of cooking and how to deal with Three-course menu • When the gelatin melts, add the cheeses and mix everything together. Remove from the water bath and let cool. Carefully fold the whippedingredients. ‘Culinary timeline’ cream into the carbonara mixture. “My mom always made very nice solyanka. It’s like a stew Mathias and Thomas design and create three mouth-watering • Season with ground pepper and salt and place in a piping bag. with sausages, paprika and a lot of vegetables. The spices are dishes that represent their life path in three chronologically ordered Keep it for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.there and the taste is a little bit sour. The flavour is not too sequences: past (their prior experience or childhood), present (theircomplex, actually. It’s tasty and really simple to cook,” says current project) and future (their ambition). Pasta doughThomas of his favourite dish. 180 g Pasta flour “The best thing for me was we had a baker right beside 90 g Semolina flourus, and we had this nice farmer’s bread,” Mathias adds. “My PAST: Carbonara ‘explosion’ 1 pc Fresh egggrandmother would buy them for dinner. She would cut the Ingredients: guanciale bacon, pecorino cheese, black pepper 3 pc Fresh egg yolkbread slice by slice. Just the bread with some tomato, coldcuts, cucumber or cheeses. It’s pure in flavour. And fresh.” Freshly made fagotellis — a kind of pasta dumplings — are quickly • ombine all ingredients in a food processor and process for 30 seconds. C The brothers got off to an interesting start in their sautéed in olive oil, butter and small dices of guanciale (cured pork Check the consistency and add, as necessary, a small amount of flourculinary endeavours. After some time in Germany training as cheek). Each velvety-soft pasta parcel is filled with creamy ‘Carbonara’ if the dough is too wet, or a small amount of water if it is too dry. Processapprentices and competing together on the German national liquid full of Pecorino and Parmigiano richness that explodes in your another 30 seconds to incorporate any additions.cooking team, they went their separate ways to work with some mouth. It’s like a reverse Carbonara without Algin and Calcic. • urn dough out to work surface sprinkled lightly with flour and Tof the finest Michelin-starred chefs in Europe. Thomas went to knead by hand for a minute or two, until smooth. Place the doughHeinz Beck’s La Pergola in Rome, Italy while Mathias worked Mathias: This dish has a lot of our childhood memories in it. We did under a bowl to rest for 20 minutes before rolling, or tightly wrapat Jonnie Boer’s De Librije in Zwolle, the Netherlands. not like what was served at school very much, and we lived quite in plastic and refrigerate, if not using right away. “It was a hard time, but also a good time,” Thomas says of close to the school. So we always cooked pasta for ourselves at home, • oll pasta out using a roller machine, beginning with the widest Rhis experience in Rome. “Nobody spoke English or German. and we enjoyed that. Then Thomas went to Rome to learn cooking setting. Fold dough over and roll through again, gradually decreasingEveryone was under great pressure because it’s a three pasta from professionals. It was also one of the dishes we presented the roller setting as the pasta becomes smoother. When pasta isMichelin-starred restaurant. Everything had to be perfect; at Mezzaluna when we started the Italian concept. thin enough, it is ready for use in making fagotelli.otherwise they were all screwed up.” • rush the pasta sheet with egg wash and pipe 10 g of carbonara B For Mathias, the language barrier wasn’t much of a problem stuffing in the centre of the pasta sheet. Close the pasta byin the Dutch working atmosphere, as Dutch people grow Carbonara ‘explosion’ overlapping. Remove remaining air pockets and portion eachup accustomed to speaking bilingual. “The kitchen was in Ingredients: guanciale bacon, pecorino cheese, black pepper fagotelli with a pasta cutter.the basement of a cloister for the priests. I remember going Servings: 10downstairs and it’s a whole different feeling, different smell, Cookingand then you see people running around,” he says with a smile. Carbonara stuffing 50 g Guanciale bacon, diced The friendly attitude that Dutch people have definitely 2 Egg yolks 5 ml Extra-virgin olive oilrubbed off on Mathias, as now he seems like the more relaxed 2 sheets Gelatin 10 g Butterand open-minded pair of the two. The ‘more serious’ Thomas, 20 g Pecorino Romano, freshly grated 2 g Black pepper, freshly groundon the other hand, says he improved his palate while working 10 g Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated 1 g Fresh parsleywith Chef Heinz Beck, and that he absorbed the sense of 150 g Whipped creamsimplicity in cooking as evident in Italian cuisine. 3 g Ground black pepper • Cook the fresh pasta in salted water for 2 minutes. Asked what he thinks his brother’s strengths are, he says, 1 g Salt • auté the guanciale bacon in the pan with some olive oil. Add to S“Mathias is very good at preparing fish,” alluding to his brother’s the pan the fagotelli with some pasta water, finishing up by stirringexperience with the fish-loving Dutch people. • Bloom the gelatin sheets in ice water for 5 minutes. in the butter. “He’s much, much stronger in Italian cuisine,” Mathias says • lace the egg yolk into a bowl and whip slowly over a 60-degree P • ress the pasta nicely on the plate, about four fagotellis per one portion. Dabout Thomas. “With the pasta, I always step back and let him Celsius water bath. Squeeze excess water from the gelatin sheets Cover each fagotelli with a fresh slice of guanciale bacon and seasondo it because he’s an expert [in that regard].” and add to egg yolk. with freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley. The brothers’ love for their craft hasn’t waned. To them,every day is a chance to triumph over what they achieved theday before. Now, they say they are trying to grasp the essenceof Thai cuisine. “I ask my staff every week to make one dishfor me and I watch what they’re doing and try to understandthe flavour they put in it,” says Thomas. “We love learning from people,” adds Mathias. “One of mystaff members is from Isan (northeast Thailand) and I askedher to bring me huad (a basket made of bamboo commonlyused to steam sticky rice), and some rice as well. It’s nice anddifferent — something I haven’t done before. It’s always veryinteresting to me how it all works.” It’s rather odd for two chefs to be on the same managementlevel in the kitchen. Yet the combination of these two brothersworks — they fulfil each other in a way that no other relationshipcould. Identical, yet different — perhaps it’s miraculous bondof twins that can’t be understood by outsiders. “I’m not saying I want to stay with him forever, but he andI are a good team,” says Thomas. “And good teams neversplit up.” 68 69
  4. 4. PRESENT: Arctic CharIngredients: serpent gourd, aloe vera, watercress, cucumber,horseradish, dillElaborate palettes of many little things are arranged on a plate: halvedserpent gourd (a local vegetable usually boiled and served with namprik, or spicy dip), diamond-shaped and rich-flavour arctic char, freshdill, watercress leaves, nasturtium, radish, horseradish, dehydratedcapers, Oscietra caviar and salted aloe vera. The dish is dressed àla minute with fresh cucumber juice mixed with dill-infused oil, andliquid nitrogen-frozen horseradish ice.Mathias: The presentation is based on raw food, as nothing isprocessed or cooked. We want to do something that is healthy andtasty. What I have learned from my job with Chef Jonnie Boer is thatcooking is not about using premium items on the plate, but somethingthat originates in your region. Like serpent gourd, you won’t find it inEuropean cuisine. We are honoured to source locally and get on ourcreative side using local ingredients. FUTURE: Kagoshima Beef Rib Eye Cap Ingredients: forgotten vegetables, parsley AD. Rib Eye Cap or ‘Calotte de boeuf’ is probably the most marbled piece of rib eye, and this juicy chunk of meaty greatness hails from Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan, best known for its free-range black cattle. Once fed with rice and barley straw, the beef is cooked sous-vide with rich stock flavoured with hay, and then finished in the oven nestled in dried hay — talk about hay fever! Mathias: We are trying to revive ingredients once popular in 1700s or 1800s — like parsley root, crosne (or Chinese artichoke), broccoli leaf, or salsify and black quinoa. We try to learn and be better every day. We want to know more. We want to reach out to farmers, and see what they are doing. I would love to push Mezzaluna to be on ‘the map’ and not just in Thailand. 70 71

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