Monday, April 05, 2010

A Spanish Cultural Experience @ AFC Studio, Orchard Central

Two weeks ago, I was invited to attend "A Spanish Cultural Experience" hands-on cooking workshop at the AFC Studio. It was one invitation that I gladly say yes!

I said yes because so many things "Spain" were popping in my conversations and emails.
- Few weeks earlier, we got notified that our El Bulli reservation did not get through. They are 'overwhelmed' again. Sigh...
- Mum, sis and I were discussing our trip to UK in the middle of the year. We were thinking of detouring to Spain again!
- "Spain on the Road" has been on the TV when we turn it on!
- Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmare was showing an episode at Costa de Sol in Malaga, Spain!
- I was sorting out old holiday photos, and my Spain photos are all still in a mess. I have so far only managed one post here.

Anyway... back to the event at AFC Studio...

This photo shows Chef Joseba Jimenez de Jimenez, our star of the day.

The cooking class was very hands-on. Participants were invited to "share the stove" with Chef Joseba. The young boy was his best apprentice!

Doing an online search, you can see that Chef Joseba is one of Seattle's most loved Chef! From the Seattle folks too, I found out that he is opening a restaurant in Singapore soon!

Chef Joseba Jimenez de Jimenez & participants

Oh, Chef Joseba was such a nice person. He walked around showing the ingredients and posed for photos too! While most people of us were sitting in front, this lady was 'hiding' behind. Chef Joseba noticed her and went to say hi! She is so happy!

Chef Joseba Jimenez de Jimenez & participant

For most cooking demonstrations, you got to wait till the end of the session before you get to try anything.
Chef Joseba's session was different. He started by pan frying some Chorizos for us! The smell filled the whole studio and we could not wait to try them! That made our saliva glands start flowing! 
(You can get Chorizo from Cold Storage in Singapore)

Chorizo - so delicious!

The "A Spanish Cultural Experience" was a demonstration of 3 recipes from the "Basque Country" which is a region sandwiched between north-eastern Spain and south-western France.

The featured recipe were:
1. Paella al estilo Navarro (Paella in the style of Navarra)
2. Gambas al txoko de Inmanol (Shrimp sauteed with onion and garlic)
3. Tostada de Mojama (Cured Tuna on Toast)

For the first dish, the Paella, Spanish Rice was used. Spanish rice absorbs liquid 3 to 4 times its own weight. That is why Paella is so delicious. It absorbs the essence of all the ingredients into itself!

(Solymer Asia, one of the sponsors of the event brings lots of Spanish ingredients into Singapore. I remember my mum bringing this out of Spain the last time! No need to risk excess baggage now!)

Spanish Rice

This is the white asparagus. Using the bottled version means less work! Use it straight from the bottle.
(I do realize that we can get fresh white asparagus now in Singapore. Fairprice Finest near my home stocks them!)

White Asparagus

This is the Spanish Olive Oil. I bought a bottle of this from the AFC Studio.
I was told this is the same oil that Ferran Adria uses in his cooking! With that statement, I think many of us placed our order for the oil! haha....

I was told this is the Olive Oil they use at El Bulli

Back to the paella dish. The paella was cooked in a paella pan. (left) and also an ordinary pan. (how many of us will have a paella pan at home? :-) )
The broth had to be added slowly. You need patience to cook this!

Cooking the Paella

Around 30 mins later, the Paella is almost done. It was smelling really good!
(I walked to the front to take this photo and I wanted to pinch some to eat!)

Paella al estilo Navarro (Paella in the style of Navarro)

When they says it's a hands-on session, they really mean it!
Chef Joseba invited everyone to take turn putting the final touches for the dish. Lemon slices around the pan!

Ganishing the Paella

What's a cooking show without tasting food?
If only you can smell and taste it. :-)

Paella al estilo Navarro (Paella in the style of Navarro)

The second dish was the Sauteed Shrimps.

Chef Joseba says you got to use Spanish Shrimps. We argued that these can't be from Spain. He said they were Spanish prawns without a doubt. Why? He said he spoke Spanish to them and they understood him! That guy's a joker!

Fresh prawns for the Gambas al Txoko de Inmanol

The Chinese have a dish called drunken prawns. Chef Joseba prepared the Spanish equivalent.
There was lots of Scotch Whiskey used in this. It was for the "flambe".

Did I hear you say 'yum'?

Gambas al Txoko de Inmanol (Shrimp sauteed with onion and garlic)

The delightful Gambas al txoko de Inmano.

Gambas al Txoko de Inmanol (Shrimp sauteed with onion and garlic)

The 3rd dish was the Cured Tuna on Toast.
Chef Joseba cured it earlier in the morning. It's sashimi grade tuna cured in salt. (and I think also the extra virgin olive oil)

Curing the tuna in salt

After half a day of curing, knock off the salt and slice the tuna thinly. We were told: "Use a very sharp knife".
(If you watch AFC, you can guess what brand of knives they recommended. "The XXX knife is now available at xxx dot com slash shop" sounds familiar? haha...)

The Mojama (Cured Tuna)

Something so simple yet so delicious. The Toastada de Mojama.

Tostada de Mojama (Cured Tuna on Toast)

For every dish that was served, it was paired with Spanish Wine.
We had 3 different wines. This was the 'bubbly' we had with the Paella.

Spanish Wine

This is the red wine paired with the cured tuna.
If you want to know where to get Spanish Wine, visit Solymer Asia's website at:

More Spanish Wine

It's an event by the Asian Food Channel after all. Let me show you some behind the scene photos.
The camera man is busy filming.  Chef Joseba's assistant scooping food into plates for us.

It's a food channel after all. They film food! :-)

Another behind the scene photo. The two important people of the day.
Chef Joseba and the big boss at Asian Food Channel, Mr Hian Goh.

The Chef and the AFC Boss

AFC Studio is Asian Food Channel's (AFC) first retail store. Located at the 7th floor of Orchard Central, it has a state-of-the-art kitchen outfitted by SignatureKitchen and has LG's first built-in concept showroom in Southeast Asia.

AFC Studio offers both hands-on cooking classes and demonstrations and serves as a studio for filming of original AFC productions. You can visit their website: for cooking workshops schedule.

(Hmm.. I wonder if AFC might want to do a local production on this KL Baker. Many people raves about his cake and I want to try it! He is known as Fat Boy Bakes. An Asian version of Anna Olsen's "Sugar"? )

For those in Singapore and you like the food at Wild Rocket. This weekend, (10 April 2010), there's a "Wild Weekend with Willin!" workshop at AFC Studio.

If you have been watching AFC, you would have seen the trailer of "Chef Bruce Lim Cooking Workshop". That's on the 18 April. There's a competition to win 3 pairs of tickets to the workshop. Details of the competition here:

A fellow food blogger, Camemberu was also there. Hop over to her blog to read her account of the event. :-)

181 Orchard Road,
#07-02 Orchard Central,
Singapore 238896
Tel: +65 6834 4829
Opening Hours: 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

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fatboybakes said...

BLUSH! awww, thanks bro.

Maxine said...

Looks like a great cooking class! I hope you get to go to Spain.

jenna said...

The paella looks so good! Tried cooking one myself the other day too and it was so awesome! I've got the recipe here if you wanna try it out too,

Or we could exchange paella recipes, cos yours just looks so yummy((:

only thing was that i used USA Arborio rice which tasted really good too.

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