Was thinking back on the process behind creating this dish and it's actually quite a fun little tale so... Story time! 👇
I had first become enamoured with Troisgros during a binge of Chef's Table. It's a fascinating story of one of the most prolific families to grace culinary history.
The restaurant started in 1930 under Jean-Baptise Troisgros, and is now operated by his great-grandson, Cesar Troigros. A 4-generation restaurant that still operates at the top of its game. The restaurant has held 3-Michelin stars since 1968. That's more than half a century!
The one dish that caught my attention was Escalope de Saumon à l'Oseille. It seems like a simple dish now, but it was groundbreaking when it was conceived. Salmon lightly pan-fried so it's still rare in the middle, with a light acid-forward cream sauce

This was a time where French food was extremely rich and heavy, and this was the beginning of a movement towards lighter dishes that put top ingredients front and centre.
Like a little brain parasite, it wouldn't let go. I kept thinking about the dish. Perhaps it was because salmon was one of my first forays into cooking, and having sous vide salmon done rare was one of my first food epiphanies.
I had to try it. I had to have a taste of culinary history. So I did what any sensible person would do. I booked a flight to France, and subsequently booked myself in for lunch at the restaurant.
Now, the restaurant used to be right next to the Roanne train station. But the family eventually decided they wanted a more spacious luxurious surrounding for both the hotel and restaurant and moved to close by Ouches.
I was a poor university student on a shoestring budget, and when I asked for quotes for taxis I was flabbergasted. 25 euros each way?? Maybe they figured if I could afford to eat at Troisgros I could afford the taxi fare.
Poor university student me did the back-of-envelope math and realised the taxi fare could pay for at least 1 extra dish at the restaurant. So I decided I would... walk.
This was not the first or last time I would make really dumb decisions for the sake of paying for food I couldn't really afford. What can I say, the follies of youth.
The walk was without incident, and I made it there early so I had some time to wander the grounds and cool off a little. It's really quite beautiful.
As for the food? Spectacular. They truly do deserve the accolades and reputation they have and more. One of the best meals I've had.
The salmon and sorrel dish hit differently though. The way the fish paired with cream sauce was uplifted by a subtle acid struck a chord within me that I wouldn't quite make sense of until a few years later.
You see, it brought together elements of two subtly different dishes that I grew up eating: Fish head steamboat and fried fish soup. The former was a clear fish broth boiled with sour plum, while the latter typically had evaporated milk added to make the broth thick and rich.
On the other side of the world where I had grown up, I had experienced a flavour profile that was a deep part of my childhood. When I realised that, I started to think of how I could marry the two.
I bought a vintage copy of Pierre Troigros' cookbook off Amazon and started to match elements of the dishes. White wine and vermouth to be substituted with yellow rice wine and cognac. Sorrel to be replaced with preserved sour plum. Creme-fraiche with evaporated milk.
I swapped out salmon for sea bass, although I would probably use grouper now (I was still experimenting then and sea bass is much cheaper). I picked up the dry-aging technique from a sushi chef and decided it would be a good way of enhancing the flavour of the fish.
Deep fried egg floss is often added to fried fish soup here, and so I included that too. It provides a nice textural element together with the crispy skin.
The entire dish worked out surprisingly well. A sauce that distilled my childhood memories into a concentrated essence, and paying homage to one of the most iconic French fine dining dishes of all time.
This sums up my cooking philosophy. I want to bring together the techniques of haute-cuisine and the memories of what I grew up eating. But I don't want to do generic Asian flavours in European food.
What I aspire towards is to encapsulate the spirit of the Singaporean dishes within the vessel of Western haute-cuisine.
It's something that I've seen maybe one person do successfully. Will I succeed? Who knows? But I'm certainly having quite a lot of fun trying.

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More from @shrinetothevine

21 Nov
Some leftover truffle from last night so of course I had to make the One True Pairing from truffle canon: Truffled Scrambled Eggs Image
Keep your truffle in a sealed container with some high quality eggs for a few days to infuse the aroma. Crack the eggs into a cold pan with butter. Image
Start the fire at medium heat, keep stirring until the butter melts and the eggs start to just about set at the bottom. Take it off the heat and continue stirring till it stops setting. Put it back on the heat and repeat until your egg turns into a soft custard.
Read 5 tweets
20 Nov
Ingredients for dinner tonight: Handmade pasta, alba white truffle, ricotta salata cheese
Did I go overboard? Yes. Was it glorious? Also yes.
Alright at the suggestion of @GeniesLoki let's talk a bit about the dish. First off, the pasta base. The traditional pasta that goes with white truffles are tajarin, a thin pasta made with a lot of egg yolk. And when I say a lot, I mean a lot. I used 2 yolks/100g of flour.
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29 Sep
What ABCs don't understand is that Mooncakes are basically used as a flex in most of Asia. Both for the gifter and the receiver. No one really cares how it tastes.
My girlfriend sent me a photo of this and joked that this is what social capital looks like. But she's right. Not everyone cares, but for those that do a photo of mooncakes from Ultraviolet (most exp rest in SH, starts from 700pp) is a lot of fucking clout points.
You can't even buy them if you wanted to, it's a gift from the restaurant. Which makes shit like that all the more valuable in social terms.
Read 5 tweets
19 Sep
Had an interesting dream last night that was basically a fully formed story: The Landmark Chronicles, a story of a washed up once-rich family gathering back in Landmark city for a reunion, so-named because of the family's claim to fame of Landmark luxury watches
Landmark Watches as a company had been acquired long ago by an unamed multinational, and the family's wealth has been squandered to the point where only Landmark Mansion, taking pride of place in the center of the city, is left.
The matriarch of the household is the only one that still lives there, and for the rest of the family, the memories of the house were best forgotten. I play the narrator, a personal chef that is there as a favour to one of the grandsons of the matriarch.
Read 5 tweets
11 Sep
The spicier take: Peranakan food exists because Chinese people want pork in their halal food
Fun fact: Nasi lemak is an integral part of the traditional Peranakan wedding ceremony. The groom's family would send a lacquer box with nasi lemak the 12th day after the wedding, signifying that the marriage has been consummated and the bride is accepted into the family.
Obviously no longer applicable in this day and age, but clearly it would be wrong to state that the dish isn't a fundamental part of the cuisine. The white rice symbolises the purity of the bride and the red sambal is the blood spilled during the bride's first act of sex.
Read 4 tweets
20 Aug
Ok I actually really enjoyed the 1 like = 5 pull-up challenge so I'm gonna try this again with stuff I should be doing but definitely don't do enough of. No upper-body work this week for obvious reasons. Vote for my mode of suffering below. Poll closes in 48 hours.
For the record, all of the above feel to me like more effort than pullups, so this is probably be a more painful grind to get through. You know, if it matters to you guys 🙃
Final tally:

95 minutes active stretching
80 sets breathwork
198 reps pistol squats. (99 reps per side)

Doable all things considered, I suppose. I'll see if I can knock them all out in a week.
Read 5 tweets

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