Monday, June 04, 2012

AFC's Chef Sara La Fountain In Malaysia

all images by Ms Teri Wong with kind permission of AFC

At a recent cooking demo and food sampling session organized for the press by the Asian Food Channel (AFC) and American Express, American-Finnish celebrity chef Sara La Fountain proved that she’s not just another pretty face. The guest star of “Perfect Day” and “New Scandinavian Cooking” whipped up uniquely Scandinavian dishes and had her enraptured audience of food writers and critics literally eating out of her hands with her deadly combination of brains and beauty.
Sara’s a chef, model, entrepreneur, author, columnist and blogger all in one mighty tasty package. Now based in Finland, she is a popular media personality who hosts her own cooking show, Avec Sara.

She also finds time to run a catering service and a cooking school and maintain her blog - Passion for Fashion & Food and is a food columnist for several newspapers and magazines in Finland. Sara has also published several  books  –  A  la  Sara,  her  first  book,  earned  her  the  prestigious  Gourmand  World Cookbook Award in the “Best First Cookbook” category.

Sara has also released a recipe book, Perfect Day, which features three other Scandinavian chefs from the popular television show of the same name. After four years of hard work, Sara launched her second cookbook titled Passion for Food, which focuses on food that is easy to prepare and influenced by the different seasons in Finland.

Sara trained at The Culinary Institute of America, the world- renowned culinary school in New York.

For the cooking demonstration and sampling, Sara effortlessly conjured up Goat Cheese Salad with Beetroot, Dark Sweet Bread Croutons, Marinated Red Onions and Blueberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette, also known as “Forest Salad” in short, for her 1st dish.

Finland’s seasons influence the type of food eaten at different times of the year. The blueberries (a Finnish favorite) and beets are an indication that the northern summer has finally arrived and are a great addition to the salad that “looks like a painting”, to quote Sara.

She followed this up with Fried Fish with Summer Potato Vegetable Salad and then ended on a sweet note with her Summer Pavlova with Passion fruit Cream served with Strawberries and Pistachios

The main course looked deceptively simple but hid a subtle blend of flavors where the diced potatoes were hugged by a creamy horseradish and mayonnaise dressing. The fried fish fillet was crunchy on the outside and juicily moist on the inside.

The sprig of dill as a garnish complimented the horseradish to provide an aromatic thrill. A clever topping of luxurious Salmon roe led to fireworks of flavor in your mouth. The Finns are avid seafood eaters due to the many lakes found in Finland.

As Sara crafted the meringue for her Pavlova she recalled the anecdote where it was actually invented in Australia when Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova visited. In their search for a light and dainty dish reminiscent of the diminutive ballet dancer the Aussies created this desert from meringue and fruity toppings. Of course Sara’s creative take on it resulted in a riot of tastes, colors and textures that flirted with the palate.

Sara’s focused approach to cooking is best summed up in her philosophy: “The ideas must be clear and distinct; with clear themes suited for the type of person. Food must be easy to prepare, shared amongst friends, with the most important spice being love.”

So what does Sara do when she’s not cooking? Why she is designing a signature line of dinnerware called Á la Sara for the Finnish kitchenware company Luhta Home and also a line of professional kitchen shoes with colorful prints for the Swedish company, Ejendals, of course!

If you think Sara keeps herself busy, her casual comment about intending to take up DeeJaying and then simultaneously cooking, dancing and playing music for her audience on day would have sent multi-taskers and overachievers into a paroxysm of ecstasy.

Surf to to check on what she’s up to currently.

No prizes for guessing which writer’s television set is going to be permanently set to the Asian Food Channel, 703 on Astro henceforth.


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