Chef Hideaki Sato arrived in Bangkok in early July, his verve evident from the moment he set foot on the ground. With a team from his brand-new Ta Vie, the latest project kick-started by the acclaimed Ryugin group, he soaked up the sights like any good tourist, diving in to street food, taking photos with a Ronald McDonald in wai pose, and more or less painting the town red. But the chef wasn’t any regular tourist. Eager and impassioned, he was here on business, working on the second instalment of the Fine Dining Lovers guest chef series.
Chef Sato played an integral part in a water and wine pairing event at KU DÉ TA, a collaborative effort with Sanpellegrino and Acqua Panna, G Four fine wines, and Bangkok 101. The event sought to educate a savvy crowd of journalists and top local chefs on the intricacies of Acqua Panna’s natural mineral water. The group known for its industry-leading Fine Dining Lovers web platform also brought in the award-winning chef — who led Tenku Ryugin in Hong Kong to its 24th place rank among Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2015 before opening Ta Vie, a restaurant defined by his innovative French-Japanese style — to illustrate the role high-quality mineral water plays in the dining experience.
The afternoon started with impresarios leading a water and wine pairing course. Then, Chef Sato provided a live cooking demonstration, crafting three plates from a six-course degustation menu he would prepare later that evening, which featured dishes such as “surrealism,” a poached oyster wrapped with wagyu and finished with grated celeriac and ponzu jelly; braised pork belly with beetroot, cherry compote, and pickled onion, served with beetroot mustard; and Japanese snow crab “alla carbonara,” served with cauliflower. Diners enjoyed top-shelf wines and sake with their dishes, including a Bellavista Cuve Brut 2007 Magnum and a Kotsuzumi Rojoh-Hana-Ari Tohka.
From the water and wine pairing to the masterclass and through the six-course dinner, Chef Sato exuded palpable élan, a reflection of the warm welcome and support he and his sous chefs received from the world-class team at KU DÉ TA. His energy elevated the experience for the guests in attendance, pairing perfectly with the philosophy of Fine Dining Lovers. In fact, thanks to this culinary teaser, many of the guests are now licking their chops to get to Hong Kong to savour more of Chef Sato’s menu at Ta Vie.