To date, I’ve attended quite a number of Hennessy organised events and I always look forward to them as we are always spoilt with good drinks and performances – unlimited pouring of Hennessy and keeping our feet off the ground dancing and partying the night away with performances by distinguished DJs and artists.
This time round, I had the honour and pleasure to be attending one of the most outstanding and gastronomic events organised by Hennessy, the Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows Gastronomy 2012. Unlike the drinking and party events, the Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows event is more exclusively on outstanding cuisine cooked by Asian superstar chefs.
What is Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows?
With appreciation comes true knowledge; quality cues are discovered and connoisseurs created. This is true of luxury products, including cognac and Hennessy X.O. This journey towards understanding the quality of Hennessy X.O begins with Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows – a series of events related to gastronomy, where at every stage the potential connoisseur will further his understanding of the making of cognac, the understanding of the history of the Hennessy brand and the quality of Hennessy X.O, a result of which would be his greater appreciation of Hennessy X.O.
As this is my first time to be attending in such gastronomic event, I don’t know what to expect but I got some idea about it from last year’s Hennessy X.O Penang dinner which was held in May 2011 at Suffolk House Penang.
Guests from last year’s Hennessy X.O event. Seeing their dressings, says a lot about how exclusive and grand this event is!
A little history about Hennessy X.O
The starting point for true originality is 1870, when Maurice Hennessy created Hennessy X.O, the first in the category of X.O cognacs. Elegant and complex, Hennessy X.O is the result of the blending of one hundred eaux-de-vie with an eXtra Old character, laying the foundation for a rich heritage from which Hennessy X.O continually innovates to be at the forefront of modernity.
While the spirit of Hennessy X.O remains immortal, Maison Hennessy takes care to inspire it with a spirit of timeless modernity that defines the contours of its decanter, which was refined this year. Its generous forms have been slightly extended and the base widened, to emphasize the statutory strength of this emblematic cognac. The decoration sheds the superfluous and gains in purity. The precise, sleek lines approach perfection. After creating a new world in 1870, Hennessy X.O is still today shaping the world of the future.
The previous Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows Gastronomy 2012 was held in mid-April, Korean-American Chef Edward Lee, who has challenged culinary royalty on Iron Chef America and won, spent a week “eating his way through Kuala Lumpur” to develop a new menu with inspirations from the heritage and cultural diversity of Malaysia.
This notion of modernity from heritage extends to the second Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows Gastronomy event for the year, slated to be held in Penang within the chapel of St. Joseph’s Novitiate from September 26th to 28th 2012.
Flanked by Gurney Drive and Kelawai Road, the historic building was built in 1925 as quarters for novices for St. Joseph’s Training College. As part of its restoration process, emphasis was given to stabilizing the foundation. The whitewashed and terracotta-tiled building has been faithfully restored and updated in keeping with its contemporary surroundings at Gurney Paragon, a physical embodiment of the values that encompass Hennessy X.O.
Penang cuisine is a melting pot of diverse, varied influences, and it is certainly ripe for reinterpretation and deconstruction. It is with this intention in mind that Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows invites celebrated Singaporean Chef Michael Han of FiftyThree to Penang to “deconstruct” local Penang favorites to a privileged audience of gourmands. Sourcing from the heritage of Penang cuisine, Chef Michael’s innovative cooking techniques is expected to break new ground.
Chef Michael is no stranger to Penang culture and cuisine, having grown up with a nanny from Penang and “a steady diet of Penang Laksa”, these influences can be found in his cooking today. Michael’s upcoming menu at Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows 2012 in Penang is highly anticipated as he will be utilizing local Penang favorites, deconstructing them in a modern way while maintaining the essence of what is already familiar.
Who is Chef Michael Han?
This fine young handsome chap is Chef Michael Han. He may be soft-spoken and shy, but he holds a law degree! When asked about his restaurant, FiftyThree, and why he decided to pursue a career in cooking and you will find the commitment, passion, and above all, dedication to excellence in his answers about good food and cooking that define all the great chefs of the world.
Chef Michael Han began his career in cooking gradually, starting at Singaporean fine dining restaurant Au Jardin before moving on to stints at world-renowned restaurants such as The Fat Duck, L’Enclume and Anthony’s in England, Mugaritz in San Sebastian, Spain and Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark. Michael has been nominated for the World Gourmet Summit Awards of Excellence ‘Rising Chef of the Year’ in 2010 and 2011, with FiftyThree nominated as ‘Best Restaurant’ in 2011. Notably, FiftyThree was featured as one of World’s 50 Best Restaurants ‘Regional Spotlight – Singapore’, and on CNNgo.com’s Best Eats 2010 as Singapore’s Best Gourmet Restaurant of 2010.
Like Hennessy X.O, Chef Michael is constantly in search of innovation, refining time-honoured skills and techniques for a modern audience. His broad range of training, coupled with his knowledge of local Asian cuisine, makes him a prime candidate to approach the task of deconstructing Penang cuisine with an inspired sense of originality.
In the coming weekend, I’ll be joining Chef Michael Han for Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows Pre-Event Food Trail in Penang!
Watch these Hennessy X.O KL Travelogue of Chef Edward Lee’s Food Trail back in March 2012 with Will Quah. This is what we will be expecting to experience during the Pre-Event Food Trail with Chef Michael Han in Penang!
Hennessy X.O KL Travelogue with Chef Edward Lee – Episode 1
Hennessy X.O KL Travelogue with Chef Edward Lee – Episode 2
Hennessy X.O KL Travelogue with Chef Edward Lee – Episode 3
Hennessy X.O KL Travelogue with Chef Edward Lee – Episode 4
Hennessy X.O KL Travelogue with Chef Edward Lee – Episode 5
Enjoy watching these videos and stay tune to the next Hennessy X.O. Travelogue 2012 in Penang with Chef Michael Han! I’m so looking forward to this weekend and Penang, I WILL SEE YOU SOON AGAIN!