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What would you serve Prince William?
Singapore chefs share the dishes they think the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge should try during their visit this week
Prince Harry might have grabbed insalubrious headline news when he flashed his crown jewels in Las Vegas last month, but come September 11 the spotlight shifts to big brother Prince William and his wife, Kate.
The royal couple, officially referred to as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, is due to arrive in Singapore for two days as part of a nine-day overseas trip to mark Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.
According to various media reports, they'll visit Singapore's Botanic Gardens and Gardens by the Bay, as well as Singapore's Rainbow Centre, which is a special needs community.
But what will they be eating? Tongues are already wagging among foodies and top chefs about what they would serve the man who's second in line to the British throne, if given the opportunity.
Frédéric Colin, chef/owner of Brasserie Gavroche
“For the royal couple, only royale dishes will do,” says Frédéric Colin, a French expatriate and the former executive chef of St. Regis Singapore who hung up his corporate apron to open Brasserie Gavroche on Tras Street in late 2011.
“I will first serve them a royale de homard [a lobster flan dish] prepared with French blue lobster from Brittany,” says Colin with a sparkle in his eyes.
“This will be followed by lièvre à la royale, a wild hare dish paired with truffle, foie gras and a rich wine sauce, a creation of the 19th-century 'King of Chefs' Marie-Antoine Carême.”
Trust Colin to know his haute French gastronomy. The Frenchman spent years helming the kitchen of luxury hotel chains and during his stint at St. Regis Singapore he once prepared afternoon tea for William's uncle, Prince Andrew.
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Lee Bennett, Chef de Cuisine, Equinox Restaurant
“I would like to invite the royal couple to the Private Saloon at the Equinox Complex,” says Lee Bennett, chef de cuisine at the Swissôtel The Stamford's Equinox Restaurant and the all-time youngest winner of the prestigious Craft Guild of Chefs’ "Restaurant Chef of the Year" award.
“The former personal chef to the royal family once shared that cottage pie is Prince William’s favorite dish,” says Bennett, who once competed –- albeit unsuccessfully -- in “The Great British Menu” reality TV show for an opportunity to serve a meal to Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
“It would be my privilege to present a Tadcaster ale-scented mini cottage pie with roasted Angus fillet of beef for the prince,” says Bennett.
“The Duchess of Cambridge enjoys a healthy lifestyle,” Bennete continues. “For her, I would prepare a low-fat and wholesome grilled Dover sole and Morcambe Bay shrimps with cucumber and radish salad and steamed Jersey Royal potatoes.”
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Benjamin Seck, chef/owner of True Blue Cuisine
But Benjamin Seck, chef/owner of True Blue Cuisine, begs to differ and feels local dishes would be more to Will's and Kate's liking.
“It would be an honor to serve Peranakan cuisine to the royal couple at our Intan private room,” says the bespectacled Seck, who also owns a souvenir shop and the Peranakan-inspired pantry at the Peranakan Museum.
“Peranakan food was one of the first fusion cuisines to be created through the intermarriage of Chinese traders to the local women in the Straits Settlement.
“I would serve up a Peranakan feast that begins with banana blossom salad with cucumber, starfruit, belimbing [wild star fruit], onions, chilies and coconut cream.
“This will be followed by ayam buah keluak [braised chicken with Indonesian black nut], chap chye [stew cabbage with dried lilybyds, dried mushrooms and black fungus with soy bean paste] and dessert of onde onde [palm sugar stuffed rice flour balls]."
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Jeremy Nguee, chef/owner of Preparazzi
“I also think some Singaporean dishes will be great,” says Nguee, autodidact cook/owner of Preparazzi who won a 12-month rental-free use of a shophouse space on Boon Tat Street as winner of Martell V.S.O.P’s 2011 Ultimate Start-up Space.
“I’d love to serve up some roast pork and crackling to the royal couple,” says Nguee.
“The addition of cinnamon and star anise in the roast pork will be a great Asian spin on an English flavor.”
“I would also like to serve up a bowl of la mien (Chinese noodles) with laksa cream and this will be accompanied by a jug of white wine sangria with tropical fruits like rambutan, lychees or pomegranate.
“For desserts, it’s chendol (a dessert made of coconut milk, rice flour and palm sugar) panna cotta with gula Melaka syrup and perhaps some durian puree.”
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Dr. Leslie Tay, food blogger
“I think the prince would be so used to high class food that he would enjoy some authentic hawker food,” says Dr. Leslie Tay, the man behind well-known food blog ieatishootipost.sg.
“For a change, I would bring the royal couple for bak kut teh [pork rib soup] as this captures what is uniquely Singapore.”
“I would set up a pavilion along Clarke Quay overlooking the river where the coolies used to transport goods into the godowns,” he says. “Bak kut teh was the dish that the coolies used to eat before starting the day’s work, there is no other hawker dish as closely associated to the founding of Singapore as a key trading port for the British Empire.
“We will have bak kut teh with red cut chili steeped in dark soya sauce,” says Tay. “This meal is best accompanied by a pot of Pek Sin Choon Chinese tea; just like wine with French cuisine, good Chinese tea pairing can elevate the flavor of the pork bone soup to the next level.”
What would you serve the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge if given the opportunity? Or would you rather just take Harry out for a wild night in the city? Share your royal picks in the comments box below.