Elevating the dining experience at The Datai Langkawi in Malaysia, the resort is delighted to welcome Chai Chun Boon as Senior Chef de Cuisine. Founder and Head Chef of renowned European restaurant Copper in Kuala Lumpur, Chef Chai brings his trademark farm-to-table approach to the resort’s all-day restaurant, The Dining Room. Showcasing the natural bounty of the island, Chef Chai has also created a new nine-course degustation menu for The Datai that embraces both the technical and experimental aspects of gastronomy – skills gained through working with esteemed chefs such as Sergio Herman, Xavier Pellicer, and Jason Atherton.
A Malaysian national from Sarawak, Chef Chai graduated from DCT International Hotel and Business Management School in Switzerland in ‘European Culinary Management’, before working at two-Michelin Star ABac in Barcelona and three-Michelin Starred Oud Sluis in the Netherlands. In 2011, Boon moved to Singapore where he worked at restaurants such as acclaimed fine-dining tapas restaurant, Santi, alongside three Michelin star Chef Santi Santamaria, and Pollen Garden by the Bay, before rising to Head Chef at modern Australian restaurant, Graze. In 2014, he returned to Malaysia, launching his casual fine dining Copper restaurant a year later.Chef Chai’s culinary philosophy is based on working with the best of locally-sourced ingredients from responsible producers, espousing a farm-to-table approach to guarantee natural freshness. He is delighted to find an extensive garden at The Datai Langkawi, with essential ingredients such as chilli, turmeric, ginger, ulam raja, and more grown for the resort’s dining services and ripe for the picking. Taking full advantage of local resources, the culinary team at the resort has long practiced sustainable purchasing and has been supporting local producers wherever possible.
A crafted nine-course degustation dinner premieres Chef Chai’s arrival at The Datai Langkawi, taking guests on a gastronomic journey, traversing inspirations and influences from near and far. Believing in a multi-sensory culinary approach, the menu bridges the fundamentals of contemporary European haute cuisine with cross-cultural techniques and the sensibilities of the Asian palate. Chef Chai’s culinary style amalgamates a breadth of textures, aromas and ingredients, artfully innovating through more expanded range of flavours and intensities than a traditional degustation menu. Dishes, such as black & white Iranian Sevruga Caviar served with scallop umai, sago pearls and kaffir coconut dressing, are elevated or imbued with piquancy through the addition of aromatic herbs and spices like kaffir lime, chilli, lemongrass and masala spice. The flavours of each dish resonate like a chord of notes – each note quite distinct, cascading effortlessly in layers, complementing or counterbalancing other flavours in a harmonious whole.
The sequence of courses is in turn perfectly modulated to create an overarching balance in the menu. Each is paired with fine wine or Champagne, such as the 48 hours slow cooked oyster blade with parmesan cream, charred aubergine pegaga shade and Andaman aromatic juice, which is expertly matched with a Château Sociando-Mallet from Haut Médoc that brings out the aromas of the meat with its leathery deep cru notes. With a range of non-alcoholic beverages as well, ranging from teas to light mocktails, the menu offers a thoughtful and innovative alternative to the wine pairing. The curation of this extraordinary tour de force of a degustation menu reflects a further evolution of Chef Chai’s cuisine, effectively creating a unique signature style with verve.
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