The Great Food Festival. It’s a lofty title to live up to, but Resorts World Sentosa has ambitious plans in the works.
Billed to be Singapore’s largest food event, The Great Food Festival (TGFF) will be staged from 21 to 24 September at the heart of RWS. The statistics touted are mind-boggling: four days, 40 prominent chefs and bakers, more than 100 dishes and 300 desserts, and three themed zones (Star Chef Arena, Rollin’ Sweet Times, and Heritage Lane) sprawled across 20,000 sq ft of event space.
And with Savour Events – a trusted veteran in organising food festivals – as its partner, the bold vision might just pan out.
But numbers alone don’t mean anything, so we’ve fleshed out the highlights for you.
Load up on Michelin-starred cooking
For some serious Michelin star gazing, make a beeline to the Star Chef Arena, where you’ll get to watch some of the world’s most esteemed chefs in action and taste their signature dishes at very down-to-earth prices. We’re talking $10-$20 for a sampling portion, which is a downright bargain compared to the hundreds of dollars you would otherwise fork out to dine at the actual restaurants.
Among the Michelin-starred cast: Guest chefs Emma Bengtsson (from New York City’s Aquavit, which sings a modern Scandinavian tune), Florian Favario (from London’s Céléeste, which bridges French and British cuisine), Masayasu Yonemura (his eponymous restaurants in Kyoto and Tokyo lean towards Japanese-accented French cooking) joined by RWS’ own star-studded chefs such as Michael Michaelidis (Joël Robuchon Restaurant) and Douglas Tay (Osia Steak and Seafood Grill).
Naturally, exquisite presentation and prime ingredients are a given. Think along the lines of chef Bengtsson’s Crispy Pork Neck, plated over a verdant garden of sautéed cabbage and kale, and chef Yonemura’s show-stopping Fu no French toast to Foie-Gras, a luxurious sculpture of foie gras on French toast.
More than 300 desserts for your sugar rush
Got a sweet tooth? Fancy navigating your way through Rollin’ Sweet Times, the dessert zone at TGFF. Set to be Southeast Asia’s largest dessert showcase, you’ll be in a sugar-fuelled bliss with more than 300 treats (priced from $4) to choose from.
Headlining this section is Chris Thé of Black Star Pastry, who’ll be serving up his famous Strawberry Watermelon Cake as well as some very funky Glonuts – yuzu-glazed glow-in-the-dark donuts. He’ll be flanked by the who’s who in the social media world of baking, including Australia’s Andres Fatso (@bakedbyandres) who makes the cutest cartoon character-inspired macarons and mini dome cakes; and Malaysia’s Shaun Teo (@shaunteocreations) who has a real knack for whimsical cake pops (pusheen cats! minions!). Look out too for Min Chai, the maverick founder of Australia’s N2 Extreme Gelato will also be bringing his liquid nitrogen theatrics, outlandish flavours and over-the-top presentations to Singapore.
Chef Kenny Kong of Sessions at RWS will also be showing off some very mod Sin desserts, such as Asian Sweet Delicacies. Don’t be fooled by that yawner of a name, it’s a medley of sweet and savoury local flavours with peanut pancake, chilli crab ice cream, milky shaved ice, and pineapple chutney. There’s also visual flourish: chef drizzles hot lemongrass-and-coconut sauce over the chocolate “lid” to reveal the desserts hidden within the cocotte.
Heritage flavours, revisited
Over at the Heritage Lane, an international line-up of chefs will be presenting traditional and modern takes on cuisines all around the world. Repping Indonesian heritage is chef Eugenia Ong from Table at 7, and she’ll be serving up rib-sticking nosh like beef rending and char-grilled chicken satay. Chef Han Li Guang of Labyrinth is flying the mod Sin flag through dishes such as Rendang Quinoa Risotto with Bergedil, and Wagyu Shortrib with Satay Espuma.
Stephan Zoisl of Chef’s Table is also joining the fray, marrying French techniques and Chinese ingredients for Duck Rice ─ duck cooked in its own fat confit-style, braised with ginger and dark soya sauce, then served atop Japanese Kinmemai rice with sauteed shiitake and spring onions. It’s immediately reminiscent of Taianese lu rou fan (braised minced pork rice) but it’s also much lighter, almost summery – perhaps from the burst of fresh flavour from a handful of garden peas.
Feast like a king
Whether you’re a food history buff or just plain eager to hobnob with celebrity chefs, the Feast of King has style in spades. While details are still scant at this moment, RWS promises it’ll have you dining like kings and queens of yesteryear at a grand, medieval banquet.
Ticket prices to be announced.
Learn from the experts
Aspiring chefs and bakers, take note! There’s quite a slew of free cooking demos happening throughout the festival, fronted by the likes of Cat Cora (Ocean Restaurant, Singapore), Florian Favario, Ben Spalding (PuzzleProjects, UK), Benjamin Halat (Curate, Singapore), Ian Kittichai (Issaya Siamese Club, Thailand, and Tangerine, Singapore), Adam Handling (The Frog, UK) and Italian brothers, Enrico and Roberto Cereas (Da Vittorio, Italy, and Fratelli, Singapore).
Clifford Lu (@cakesbycliff) and Julián Ángel (@historiasdelciervo) who shot to social media stardom for their artsy bakes will also be conducting hands-on cake decorating workshops ($98 per session; you’ll also need to have admission to Rollin’ Sweet Times). For instance, the Chocolate Spikes session by Luu will have you learn how to layer tall cakes and create avant-garde decorative chocolate shards, and Ángel’s Tropical Print session will teach the finer points of swiss meringue buttercream frosting and how to apply tropical floral prints and gold details onto cakes.
Ticketing info: There are two categories of event passes. The TGFF Experience Pack ($78) grants admission to Star Chef Arena for either a lunch or dinner session on your preferred day, full-day admission to Rollin’ Sweet Times, $45 of food credits, access to masterclasses, as well as complimentary parking. The Rollin’ Sweet Times Pass ($22) grants all-day access to the Rollin’ Sweet Times zone on your preferred day, $10 of food credits for Rollin’ Sweet Times, access to masterclasses, as well as complimentary parking. Entry to Heritage Lane is free.