When stars align: The Ritz-Carlton Stellar Dining Series takes us on an gastronomic adventure
Given all the fanfare surrounding the Michelin Guide every year, it's safe to say that dining at different accoladed restaurants around the world ranks highly on a foodie's list. And what's better than checking things off your meal-of-a-lifetime bucket list? The chance to witness the coming together of three chefs — who happen to share a total of four Michelin stars amongst themselves — and enjoying a curated six-hands dinner.
To launch this year's Stellar Dining Series by The Ritz-Carlton, chef Christophe Gibert of La Baie at The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka; chef Erlantz Gorostiza from M.B at The Ritz-Carlton, Abama; and chef Shintaro Miyazaki from Azure 45 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo, worked hand in hand to present a stunning six-course dinner at one-starred Azure 45 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo. Given chef Gorostiza's Spanish roots, one of the things we were most eager to find out, was if his Basque influence played well with chef Miyazaki and Gilbert's flair for French-Japanese cuisine.
To start, a turnip consommé delicately enhanced with yuzu and olive oil from Provence, a 'Botan' prawn tartare dressed with basil, salted lemon, caviar atop a cracker, and a bite-sized Paella cracker inspired by the hearty Spanish staple. Together, the expertly balanced flavours were a thrill for the tongue — alternating between sweet, sour, and savoury. This was easily one of our favourite courses for the night and set the tone for what was to come.
A duck foie gras terrine, simply executed with red wine jelly and sherry vinegar, was given an unexpected twist with the addition of a gingerbread crust by chef Gilbert, reminding us of Christmastime and the glee of unwrapping a present. Another deceptively straightforward but noteworthy dish that was his brainchild: the seaweed Kihata fish, fennel and shellfish compote which sat delicately atop an inky black truffle coullis.
On the topic of umani, no other dish burst forth with a rich savoury flavour quite like the abalone course by chef Miyazaki. Seasoned with a vivid green sauce made with Madagascan black pepper, the shellfish was presented in an encrusted crab shell and sat atop a bed of pink salt and red peppercorns.
Just before dessert, the roasted pigeon with mushrooms, spring onions and truffle made its appearance. It was perhaps the most polarising dish of the night, with many guests easily counting it as their favourite course, while some were a bit hesitant to sample the medium-rare bird.
But one thing's for certain — when it comes to playing with flavours, chef Gorostiza is a master. After all, who else but a confident man would pair pumpkin and vanilla cream with black olive sand and liquorice ice cream? The artfully plated dish was rich and creamy, but went fantastically with chef Miyazaki's sweet-sour mini lemon tart and chef Gilbert's light meringue with black fruit compote and grape.
If you're a Marriott Bonvoy member who happens to be travelling to Guangzhou between 9 to 13 October, you may use your membership points to bid for a Stellar Dining Series experience at one Michelin starred Lai Leen, where the restaurant's chef Gordon Guo, alongside chef Paul Lau from Tin Lung Heen at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong and chef Jackie Ho from Lai Heen at The Ritz-Carlton, Macao, will present their own six-hands collaboration.
The gourmet journey doesn't end there, with The Ritz-Carlton, Guangzhou marking the occasion with a Champagne Brunch that will take place across three restaurants and bars: Lai Heen, Limoni and the Churchill Bar. Diners can expect a multi-facted experience, with mixologist Kentaro Wada of The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo, creating six unique cocktails at the Churchill Bar, and beautiful pastries by Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Luc Vasseur from The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong, at the Pearl Lounge.
To find out more about The Ritz-Carlton's Stellar Dining Series, click here.