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One-stop gourmet delights
WHEN you're living in a food-obsessed country, organising a stand-out food festival alongside countless other F&B events from pop-up guest chef dinners to food expos can be a bit of a mammoth task.
Unless of course, you're Marina Bay Sands (MBS), and have a well-stocked arsenal of award-winning celebrity restaurants at your disposal.
Hence, this weekend, they'll be holding the fourth edition of their annual Epicurean Market, which boasts gourmet produce, exclusive wines and spirits, and celebrity chef appearances and workshops from the likes of Daniel Boulud, Nancy Silverton, Tetsuya Wakuda, David Myers, and more.
Aside from these culinary bigwigs, there will also be new entrants such as John Kunkel, who will introduce his upcoming celebrity restaurant Yardbird Southern Table & Bar ahead of its official launch here in the first half of 2017; as well as guest restaurants from an MBS sister property - The Venetian Macao's classic Indian restaurant Golden Peacock and Chinese restaurant North.
Sean Newman, executive director of F&B at MBS, explains: "The Epicurean Market has certainly come a long way. From the early years of experimentation, we have a tried-and-tested formula that works very well now ... We're selective about our vendors because space is valuable and we want to ensure an experience that is consistently high across the entire festival."
Their efforts seem to be paying off too, since they counted about 15,000 visitors last year and are expecting even more with this edition.
But running an event isn't as straightforward as it seems as Mr Newman explains that many elements had to be adapted along the way.
Lots of pre-planning
One example he highlights is how to replicate the same high standard of food that the celebrity chef restaurants normally serve, with a temporary kitchen in an events hall. "It boils down to a lot of pre-planning and over the years, we've certainly learnt a thing or two about serving restaurant-quality food in a festival setting," he shares.
They've also created new elements such as the Sands Signature Series - where an entire space will be dedicated to intimate premium classes featuring rare vintage wines and spirits.
Other aspects that have also been tweaked include the extension of opening hours - till 10pm for the Market and 2am for the After Parties on Friday and Saturday; moving the entire event from the basement of the Sands Expo to the first floor; and doubling the seating capacity for customers to dine in.
- The Epicurean Market 2016 is on till Aug 14 at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre. For more information, please visit www.marinabaysands.com/epicurean-market
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
IF you love the sweet-savoury combination of chicken and waffles, then be prepared for the debut of MBS's latest upcoming celebrity restaurant - Yardbird Southern Table & Bar. It serves a mean crispy fried chicken brined for 27 hours, alongside savoury waffles with cheddar, watermelon with mint, and a bourbon maple glaze at S$12 a pop.
The restaurant brand was started by CEO John Kunkel, with inspiration from his Southern roots and family recipes. The first Yardbird opened in Miami in 2011 under his company 50 Eggs, and the upcoming one in Singapore will be his third.
Five Decades of Penfolds Grange
Aug 14, 12pm - 1pm
Take a guided walk through five decades of Australian wine brand Penfolds's most iconic wine - the Penfold Grange, at its masterclass this Sunday. This tasting will feature the Penfolds Grange 1978, 1988, 1999, 2004, and 2010 - some of which have been awarded a perfect score of 100, in a one-hour session conducted by Penfolds winemaking ambassador Patrick Dowling.
During the session, Mr Dowling will also share the story behind the Penfolds Grange, and how creator Max Shubert came to produce it.
New products from Mozza
Take home a little bit of Mozza with you this weekend, as it debuts its range of in-house products at this year's expanded Farmer's Market section.
For instance, add its freshly-baked pecan raisin bread (S$26 for whole loaf, S$13 for half) to your breakfast menu, or get a box of the Mozza caprese salad (S$10) made up of hand-pulled burrata, pesto, and tomatoes as a quick snack.
For the home cooks, there's also the in-house porcini rub (S$12) which is good for red meats like beef and venison - used in the restaurant but normally not sold off the shelf, or the fresh tagliatelle (S$6 per 100g) that's usually available as an oxtail ragu at the restaurant.