Friday, June 10, 2011

Cooking School: Cookyn at GardenHub

Cooking classes and demonstrations have recently caught on in Singapore...big time! A decade ago, this was the strict territory of ah sohs and aunties in Community Centers. But in the last 3 years, perhaps, they have sprouted everywhere. Shopping centers teaching kids how to bake, cook....mostly for fun, but also to put in a sense of responsibility and appreciation to the art of cooking. And even more recently, Sam Leong and his wife started a school, many home cooks started their own school. One such school used to operate from a residential flat, and went by the name of Cooking by Mervyn...but recently they decided to go big...and took up a nice, secluded block in Margaret Drive. The place has large grounds, and used to house a spa, a small cafe and a gold driving range. I think the driving range is still there, but the spa and cafe is now Cookyn Inc and another tenant. Right next to the Queenstown Remand Prison...which is also no more.

I met up with the chef in attendance, Mervyn himself, and Amanda who handles the business arrangements

We were doing the Connoisseur Akademie for A. Lange & Sohne No 2 at Cookyn (that's why Mervyn is spotted wearing the ALS corporate apron), and we were there to taste the food and inspect the premises...Nice dining area with the instructional kitchen:

Typically not run as a restaurant, Cookyn guests normally have to prepare the food they will eventually eat. For those of us who are horrendous cooks, and will spoil dinner...the chefs there will salvage the day....

And every good meal starts with fresh ingredients:

Raw scallops...later to be grilled with a bit of butter and a squeeze of lime. The scallop was obviously very fresh. And done in the grill with equaly fresh prawns...make a great starter:

Amazing dish this one...very nice indeed. But just before this grilled dish, we had some succulent, fat, Canadian oysters:

Also superb...would be fantastic with a nice glass of champagne...say a Bollinger or a Krug.

A third starter of salmon was served...grilled to perfection...note the grill marks on the bacon wrap around the fish:

Here, Mervyn demonstrated his superior skill on the grill. Superb does not begin to describe this salmon. Nicely done and slightly charred with grill marks on the outside, the inside remains superbly moist and tender. Almost like it was cooked sous vide, and seared just moments before serving. But Mervyn confirmed all cooking was done on his Porsche Design grill.

To cleanse the palate before the main course...home made sorbet...made by vigrously stirring fruit juice in a bown with dry ice. As the dry ice sublimates, the cooling freezes the juice...and with judicious stirring makes a sorbet.

We had pork as a main course...this was a slow roasted pork, with a puree of mashed potato:

Wonderfully cooked...tender...cut with fork tender...but still with flavours of the pork. Nice.

Getting your hands dirty and trying to cook the meal for yourself is commendable...and can be a fun activity...good for corporate team building. But this evening we just feasted. And the food was divine.

Cookyn Inc
Block O, Gardenhub
60 Jalan Penjara (via Margaret Drive)
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