Friday, September 19, 2014

Epicurean Market 2014 Review

Epicurean Market 2014 at Marina Bay Sands

As I have always been a foodie on my travels, I never did really cover food reviews or anything related but hearing about the Epicurean Market and how this gourmet food festival was different, it was a good time to explore this event.

The unique Epicurean Market is held at the Sands Expo at Marina Bay Sands. Mind you this is my first ever food festival event that I have attended as usually, I attend travel and trade shows or events.

Epicurean Market Review

Coming back for the second time around, the very unique Epicurean Market by Marina Bay Sands offered a fresh new theme and participation by celebrity chefs as well as the country’s finest wine distributors and food suppliers, all here under one roof.

As for me, everything was alien as I did not know what to expect. Yes, I have been to Marina Bay Sands on many occasions but for a food event, this was quite interesting for me so this is my experience here at the Epicurean Market in Singapore.

Epicurean Market at Marina Bay Sands

My journey began with a nice, easy and casual flight from Subang's SkyPark Terminal where I boarded a FireFly flight to Singapore and upon arrival, our media team was whisked away to the Marina Bay Sands resort by a private van.

Coming back here after three years brought back some good memories of this very impressive integrated resort.

The check-in had already been arranged so it was straight to the room to unload all that luggage and this time around, I got a room on the 42nd floor in tower 3 of the resort with a stunning view of the Gardens by the Bay. 

As the Epicurean Market took place for three days over the weekend here in Singapore, Friday was the official opening launch where the media was given access before the public so that we could walk around the massive convention hall to explore the indoor picnic theme with a beautiful garden setting.

To me, the first things that caught my eyes were the many wine suppliers who had all their wares placed to impress the soon-to-come visitors.

From a quick glance, French, Italian and South American wines caught my eye as they were comfortably seated next to bottles of bubbly. Mind you these were not the usual run-of-the-mill champagnes but more of the exquisite ones.

Epicurean Market Celebrity Chefs
Epicurean Market Celebrity Chef's at the launching
Chefs at the Epicurean Market

Heading to the main stage area where the official launching was to take place, I was reunited with the rest of the media group that I arrived with.

Official speeches were conducted by the many important people, especially the organizers followed by an introduction of the celebrity chefs that were there.

Since I have been to The Shoppes of Marina Bay Sands a few years ago, I vaguely remembered some of the celebrity chefs on stage.

Popular names like Justin Quek who runs Sky of 57, a Chinese fusion restaurant on the SkyPark of Marina Bay Sands and Tetsuya Wakuda, a well known Japanese chef who runs Waku Ghin, a Japanese Celebrity Chef Restaurant at The Shoppes. 

David Thompson aka Long Chim
Chef David Thompson aka Long Chim at his booth
Other celebrity chefs were newcomers to me, they included the young and handsome David Myers who is an award-winning chef from Los Angeles and the rugged David Thompson aka Long Chim, another award-winning chef who has restaurants in Bangkok and a few other cities around the world.

For some strange reason, I could not picture Nancy Silverton, another award winner who runs Mozza, an Italian restaurant at The Shoppes even though she has been there for almost three years.

Anyway, everyone gave their short speeches where mentions of excitement were in the air and to sum it all up, the champagne was brought in for a toast and to officiate the second Epicurean Market 2014.

The crowd of media from around the world together with suppliers and guests welcomed the opening with applause before seeing the chefs hurriedly run back to their individual booths.

Chef David Myers Singapore
Chef David Myers shows his creations 
Now my culinary journey begins - A group tour to each of the celebrity chefs showcasing their special menu's created for the Epicurean Market. First stop - handsome boy David Myers.

As we approached his booth, cameras started clicking away while he was obviously pleased with the excitement and welcoming everyone to sample his very interesting food creations.

Not that I am going to drill deep into the food dishes, but you can imagine the passion and art combined to deliver something unexpected for the guests.

Basically, it's all excellent food - with a twist as these award-winning chefs know how to explore with different herbs and spices that somehow creates something so exquisite and unique.

Don't get me wrong, but by looking at the dish, it looks so simple - even I could make something like that, but then again, after the chef explains the technique and items used, suddenly it doesn't seem so simple.

For example, David Myers made some popcorn, yes... how hard is that? But then again, he infused it with a local Asian spice that gave the popcorn a brand new taste and feels.

So, there you go - and this is one of the reasons why these chefs win awards.

Nancy Silverton Epicurean Market
Chef Nancy Silverton conducts her Masterclass session
After a couple of hours moving from booth to booth and sampling the gourmet food, it was soon time for one of the celebrity chef masterclasses.

Yes, the event saw these chefs conducting a 60-minute masterclass which has limited seating, based on a first come first serve basis.

At the classes, simple signature dishes were taught through a simplified method as the chefs walked the participants step-by-step. A must-attend if you are a serious foodie. As for the image above, you see Nancy Silverton demonstrating how to make some egg dishes.

Overall, I must say that the Epicurean Market introduced me to the world of gourmet food and wines as this kind of specialized event has never been done on such a large scale over here in Malaysia, well not that I have heard off.

For Marina Bay Sands, they were the perfect organization to do this as they have heavily invested in the shopping, food and beverage and convention center not forgetting the resort, therefore the tenants in their premises were more than enough to host such a lavish and exquisite event here.

Crowd at Epicurean Market in Singapore
Visitors lining up to get tickets to the event 
Singapore Epicurean Market Ticket Prices

Ticket prices were a steal where a 3-day pass only cost S$23 and visitors also received a pair of wine glasses and a selfie stick.

From what I saw, this was a tactical move to promote the event via popular social media channels by getting the visitors to post under the hashtag of #EpicureanMarket.

The MC's for the day kept on reminding guests about this too while there were ad-hawk questions and answers where guests could win vouchers and so on.

As for the music, I really liked this as the organizers got Ku De Ta to have their DJ's spin music throughout the event.

What I liked most was the chill-out and mellow music they played and it was not blaring unlike a lot of events I attend here in Malaysia. In simple terms - The DJs had sound etiquette!

Epicurean Market Singapore Crowd
The crowd at the Epicurean Market 2014
Among all the booths I liked personally was the Ku De Ta booth. They had done a 3-themed booth where at different hours of the day, they served different menu's and in the evenings from 6 to 9pm.

Ku De Ta also served some of the signature cocktails where award-winning mixologist was flown in from Bangkok to create these specialized cocktails.

And the beauty of this - they were promoted with a 50% discount from what you would pay at the actual club. Prices ranged from S$12 per cocktail compared to S$24.

Overall, the entire concept of this was to introduce the gourmet range of food and beverages to the general consumer and by doing so, they had offered very reasonable prices overall.

A very good tactic to tackle the mass market if you ask me. I mean, how many times can the general consumer dine at these upmarket restaurants and bistros and by having this event, you could see all walks of life coming to find out more about this level of gourmet dining.

Vendors at the Epicurean Market
A view of one of the sections here
As I try not to clutter this article with loads of images, you can also visit my Malaysia Asia Facebook Page to view more photos of the Epicurean Market.

Conclusion

The Epicurean Market showcased exquisite dishes, fine wines, and fresh gourmet produce from over 50 restaurants, wineries and leading brands here at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Singapore and was held from 12-14 September 2014.

This is the second year of the gourmet food and wine festival which saw a very large turnout of visitors. From my judgment over the three days there, I would easily say that over 5,000 people turned up for the Epicurean Market 2014 at Marina Bay Sands. 

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