Commended for his talent and expertise in transforming basic ingredients into gastronomic sensations, Voon continues honing his craft in the Kowloon Bay French restaurant, Le Pan.
His creations have been hailed as magical, with diners praising a luminescent plating of what appears to be a Ferrero Rocher chocolate wrapped in gold leaf – but is, in fact, a piece of foie gras. When he’s not inventing something new with fellow culinary panjandrums or receiving awards, his palate craves for simpler, easier delights.
We ask him for his best dinner-party secrets.
Dinner parties: casual/formal?
“When I’m away from Le Pan, I like to be very casual. A good dinner party is all about the company and the champagne. The food’s less of a priority.”
What’s on the playlist?
“I would start with jazz and finish with rock. Rock music works best when you’ve had plenty to drink … ”
And your must-have dish for a dinner party?
“Seafood from Brittany and a great piece of prime steak.”
Your three favourite Asian dishes?
“I’m from Singapore, so the three tastes of home are essential at my dinner parties. There should always be Hainan chicken rice, spicy hot pot and mie goreng. Those are my ultimate comfort foods, full of palate-tingling flavours and powerful aromas.”
What are your must-try restaurants in Hong Kong?
“A friend of mine used to own a restaurant called Hot Pot Lovers – it felt just like going home. It was a place for me and my friends to let loose as we liked and not have to worry about it. Now that it’s closed, I’d recommend Congeodle in Goldin Financial Global Centre, Kowloon Bay. It has the same energy as Hot Pot Lovers and serves fantastic, quality, Cantonese-style hot pot in the evening.”
What’s the secret to hosting the perfect dinner party?
“First of all, it’s about knowing your guests and understanding the dynamics of the group of people you’re assembling. You need to know each individual very well, their likes and dislikes. Everyone has to be in sync and on the same wavelength.
Secondly, make sure everyone’s drinking. The more guests drink, the more relaxed the atmosphere. To me, the brand of champagne the host serves is critical – I’m a Krug dude.”
Any particular Singaporean traditions at dinner parties?
“It’s customary for each guest to bring a bottle. You might say that the most important tradition we have is that everyone should get thoroughly smashed!”
If you could invite any three people to your dinner party, who would they be?
“My trio of inspirational figures: Bruce Lee, Lee Kuan Yew and Sir Alex Ferguson.”
Back to work, who are you collaborating with next?
“Dutch master chef, Sergio Herman, is coming this May to do a three-day guest appearance. That’s definitely one for the books.”