[Hong Kong] South American Chefs Collaboration at MONO
January has been a month of collaboration meals in Hong Kong (I went to 5 at least!) and it culminated with the impressive 8 hands between Ricardo Chaneton of MONO with Virgilio Martinez of Central (#6 on World's 50 Best), Pia Leon of Kjolle (#21 on Latin America's 50 Best) and Agustin Balbi of Haku where we got to try dishes influenced by the four chefs’ shared South American roots! Virgilio and Pia are back again after their collaboration meal with Agustin at Haku last year, and it was great to be able to try Peruvian ingredients that we don't see very often here. What an interesting meal as each chef has their own style and interpretation of their South American background!
The meal started with canapés from each of the chefs including a Purple Sweet Potato with Cured Duck, Escabeche Sauce and Panca Chiles from Virgilio & Pia, Tuna with Matcha Soy Sauce from Agustin, and Sea Urchin Arepa from Ricardo.
Followed by the first course from Virgilio & Pia - Scallops served with ceviche sauce, kiwicha seeds (aka mini quinoa), barnacle & seaweed cracker and on the side, purée of Maca root (aka Peruvian ginseng).
Continuing our Peruvian journey with the Local Root / Avocado / Carabinero with avocado, Carbinero prawn, Hicama root and Peruvian grains from the Andes Mountains.
Another dish from Virgilio and Pia was the Lentils / Amazonian Palm / Mushrooms with purée and foam of lentils, heart of palm shaved into “noodles”, oyster mushroom and shimeji mushroom.
From Ricardo, we had the delicious Foie Gras with his signature mole sauce, Mukago potatoes, marigold leaves, tarragon powder and toasted buckwheat. The second dish was one of my favorites from my last meal at MONO - Monkfish with green curry sauce and salsify root vegetable.
Lastly, we ended the collaboration meal with the Elevation of Cacao dessert from Virgilio and Pia where we enjoyed all parts of the cacao with absolutely no wastage including the skin, pits, flesh and nibs of the cacao. It was amazing how they managed to turn all parts of the cacao pod into different textures and flavors!
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