Friday, August 1, 2014

Chefs for a Cause 2014: please go!

Hello everyone!

Am very very grateful to have been invited to this media preview of this event which I must say, humbled me a lot and made me rethink a few things in life. I'm also very heartened after attending this talk that there are still many good souls out there who are willing to sacrifice for others. I was very touched by the efforts of all who are involved in this event. So what IS this event?

Project Happy Feet's Chefs for a Cause started out in 2009, conceptualised by Chef Jimmy Chok. He roped in 9 other local chefs for his cause and together they executed the inaugural event for Chefs for a Cause. Firstly, they contributed recipes to a cookbook "Recipes from the Heart" where 100% of the proceeds were donated to the beneficiaries namely MILK (Mainly I Love Kids) and Project Happy Feet's beneficiaries. The highlight was whipping up a 3-course meal for 600 underprivileged children at Swissotel Merchant Court. They showed us a video of that event and I smiled numerous times while watching it :) "this is my first time having a meal in a hotel" "I loved the magic show" were what the kids were saying. Seeing the kids facial expressions in response to the magic show, the food etc really just put a smile on my face. 

So why did Chef Jimmy Chok think of starting Chefs for a Cause? Well because he wanted to give back to society while doing what he loved, and what he was good at. So naturally cooking! Hence this idea was born and acted upon with amazing results! 

So this year, the event is coming back bigger!

Chefs participating this year

13 local chefs from Singapore's Top Restaurants are coming together for the first time ever to present this gastronomical event in hope of raising $50, 000 in support of Children's Cancer Foundation. The chefs will be serving their signature dishes and newly conceptualised dishes for this event happening on 24 August 2014!

Now why should you go? 
1) More than 35 mouth-watering dishes will be served - mixture of local delights and new creations such as sea urchin chawanmushi, salt-crusted stripling, nasi lemak sushi, white truffle cookies etc. More details below!
2) ALL and I mean ALL proceeds, 100% go to Children's Cancer Foundation why?
3) Because everything is sponsored. Yes the chefs sponsor the ingredients, the cooking, the prep, everything to do with preparation of the dishes. The venue is sponsored by Swissotel Merchant Court once again. The PR is also done pro-bono. Basically, all the costs have been covered by sponsors hence 100%, all of your money WILL SURELY go to Children's Cancer Foundation!
3) You get to speak to and rub shoulders with some of Singapore's top chefs
4) You get to watch your food prepared live in front of you!

Okay so now I'll talk more about the food that we had the privilege of trying during the preview.

Seabass ceviche, coriander, shaved asparagus, pomegranate, ginger
Chef Robin Ho

This was very refreshing and a great starter to our wonderful evening. The sea bass was really well marinated and had a slightly chewy texture. The sauce was great - not too tart, tones of sweetness, spiciness from the ginger, some creaminess. The pomegranate lent a nice contrast of textures. 4/5

Chef Forest Leong Inspired Pomelo + Coconut salad with Prawn
Chef Forest Leung

Now I don't like pomelo actually because my luck with them have been really bad - almost always bitter and yucky. So I stay clear of them and never eat nor order dishes with them in it. However, the boy tried this and told me it was good so I decided to take a leap of faith and try it. Turns out? It was good! The pomelo honestly, wasn't bitter but neither was it very sweet. The salad was refreshing with citrusy tones, crunchy nuts, fresh pomelo, and a crunchy prawn :) 4.2/5

Pissaldiere - onion, anchovies, black olive tart
Chef Daniel Sia

This was the highlight for me! I've never eaten such a combination of savoury ingredients and the taste was very unique! I can't exactly articulate it so you've gotta try it for yourself. Its served on a crispy puff-pastry look alike layer with caramelised onions and the aforementioned ingredients. I wanted to take another slice but there were none left! Also I saw people taking seconds as well :) showing how yummy it is! Sweet salty crunchy all mixed together but no one overpowers any and they all blend and merge beautifully 4.8/5

Deep Fried Seafood Cake with Lemon Mayo and Mango Salad

We didn't manage to try this cos it was already all taken by the time we got there!


This was a very light bowl of laksa! The noodles were very very smooth and extremely slurp-worthy! Love such perfectly cooked noodles! The broth could've a tad stronger coconut taste but it was alright! Spicy level was mild. Prawns were fresh. The egg was slightly molten which I liked. The boy who doesn't like laksa, tried this and said that it was q good! The other chefs also tried this dish and had good comments about it! Also I kept hearing people attending the event saying that the laksa's good :) Sorry but am not sure which chef this came from! 4/5

Compressed watermelon with prawns salad
Chef Yen Koh

This was my 2nd fav dish that night! Sweet juicy watermelon paired with creamy crunchy cubed prawns. I love the taste contrast between the watermelon and the prawns. This was a sweet savoury dish done well! Pity it was such a small portion :( 4.5/5

Pull pork sandwich and wasabi mayo
Mohammad Shahrom

The boy thought that there was a little too much bread for this one. However the pulled pork was flavourful, with a smokey taste that was balanced out by the tangy creamy wasabi mayo. 3.2/5 

Chawanmushi with sea urchin, ikura and chives
Chef Jimmy Chok

The egg was so smooth and I quickly slurped it down along with the uni and the ikura! I really love this chawanmushi! The eggy taste isn't overly strong which is a good thing imo. The uni was okayish sweet but didn't do much for the dish I feel. The ikura gave it texture but again, taste wise nothing to shout about! The egg's really good though by itself :) 3.9/5

Black Forest
Chef Pang Kok Keong

We didn't manage to try this!

Matcha and red bean butter cake
Chef Christopher Tan

This was a little little bit too dense for my liking as I like fluffy, loose cakes. The matcha flavour didn't shine through nor did the red beans have much taste :/ 2.9/5

Okay so that was all the food presented to us at the food tasting, there's still 20+ more dishes we've yet to try! So to try these dishes and to find out yourself how the other 20+ dishes taste like, do make it down for the event!

Now let me give you more information about the beneficiary and Project Happy Feet.

Project Happy Feet is a not-for-profit organisation, started off in 2009 with the aim of empowering underprivileged youths and children by supporting their education and training so that they can break out of poverty. It was established because the two founders, Grace and Deborah, went on a holiday to Cambodia and visited a few schools there. They brought over slippers and stationery for the kids. The response from the kids was extremely heartwarming and it touched their hearts deeply. They came back and told family + friends about their experience and subsequently managed to get 800 pairs of slippers for the kids there. Soon they were receiving more and more money and they decided that they needed to set up a company to maintain transparency, and to embark on greater projects. 

At this point, I must say I am really humbled and inspired by them. I myself have been on OCIP trips quite a few times, but the spark and the experience lingers for awhile and then it dies down in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life. There's no lasting flame that spurs me on to do what they did. Same for my friends. I think its very encouraging and heart-warming to know that people actually do stuff about the things they've seen or felt after an overseas community experience. So they pride themselves on carrying out a signature event per year and their events must be fully sponsored so they actively look for and rope in sponsors for their events! Theirs is a 100% volunteer based organisation and most of them are working with full-time jobs! They now raise funds for mainly kids in Singapore who are under meaningful and sustainable education-related initiatives and programmes run by local non-profit organisations. They have not forgotten their Cambodian roots! They fly back annually to check on the organisation they've selected to benefit in Cambodia and the people involved.

Children's Cancer Foundation is a non-profit organisation with a mission to improve the quality of life of children with cancer and their families through enhancing emotional, social and medical well-being. It is founded in 1992 and they help about 2000 children and their families each year. They have an integrated hospital-home-community service model catering to the symptoms of each patient and their time of presentation. They also conduct therapeutic play, back to school programmes, caregiver/sibling support and many others! Honestly, cancer at such a young age, has many repercussions and it is definitely not something easy to deal with so they really need your help :)

How will this event be carried out? It will be held on 24 August 2014, 4-6pm. So basically 300 tickets will be sold. Each chef will have their own station in the ballroom of Swissotel Merchant Court and they'll be cooking their dishes on the spot! So you just walk around and get whatever you want :) free & easy! I think its amazing that its live cooking and its kinda like a mini market with 13 pop-up food stations!

So in summary! Savouring good food while knowing that the money you paid, 100% goes to Children's Cancer foundation, what could be better than that? You're effectively not paying for your meal but making a donation with a free meal added upon! 

I'm definitely going on the 24th, and hope to see you there! May I also ask a favour from you? Even if you've read this and can't go, please do spread the message!

To read more information or to buy tickets, please visit 

Thank you!

Also thank you to Amantha from Nuffnang who invited me for this media tasting event where I met so many inspirational people :)

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