The Datai Langkawi continues The Chef Series; This year the focus is on Malaysia, bringing the best of eclectic Malaysian dining experiences to guests of the resort. The Chef Series is a signature dining experience of The Datai Langkawi, it has previously welcomed culinary luminaries such as Michel and Sébastien Bras, Michel Roux, Nils Henkel, and other acclaimed Michelin-starred Chefs from around the world, showcasing their peerless talent to guests in the beautiful setting of the resort’s ancient rainforest.
‘Eclectic Malaysia’ takes its cue from the Malaysian fine dining scene with a programme featuring six local and international Chefs with restaurants in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, representing the acclaimed and the vanguard in the multi-ethnic country. This distinguished selection not only reflects the diversity of cuisines and cultures so alluringly characteristic of Malaysia, but also incorporates more recent gastronomic and cultural influences from abroad, with culinary styles spanning traditional, modern and new wave Malaysian as well as creative takes on international cuisine.
The six Chefs that will take residence at The Datai Langkawi over the course of 2022 are:
- 6-7 January: Chef Johnson Wong from Gēn restaurant in Penang
- 25-26 February: Chef Masaki Arakawa from Sushi Azabu in Kuala Lumpur
- 22-23 April: Chef Azli Ahmad from OpenHouse in Kuala Lumpur
- 17-18 June: Chef Raymond Tham from Beta and Skillet in Kuala Lumpur
- 18-19 August: Chef Masashi Horiuchi from Entier in Kuala Lumpur
- 6-7 October: Chef Lee Zhe Xi and Chef Soh Yong Zhi from Eat and Cook in Kuala Lumpur
Each Chef will deliver intimate dining events to guests of the resort, creating specially crafted menus that fully embody their unique culinary style and philosophy. For their exclusive menus, the chefs will focus on local ingredients, especially what they can hand-pick from the resort’s own permaculture garden where the resort team grows turmeric, chilli, lemon grass, pandan and many more ingredients essential to authentic Malaysian fare. Fresh fish and seafood will be predominantly sourced from local fishermen and organic chicken is available from a kampung partnered with The Datai Langkawi. Some of the chef residencies will be accompanied by cooking demonstrations and a cooking class, where guests will be able to enjoy a unique hands-on gastronomic experience creating and enjoying their very own culinary creations, under the guidance of the Chefs themselves.
The Datai Langkawi has a beautiful variety of settings to impeccably host and create the perfect ambience to augment these different cuisines: from The Dining Room overlooking the rainforest with views of Tarutao Island in the distance, to the oceanfront at The Beach Club against the backdrop of the mountains, to the award-winning The Gulai House, built in the traditional Malay kampung house style for an authentic dining experience.
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The ‘Eclectic Malaysia’ edition of The Chef Series launches in January with Chef Johnson Wong, one of Malaysia’s most innovative and exciting young talents. Chef Wong will take up residency at The Datai on 6 and 7 January 2022 to present a gastronomic menu in which he imbues new life into traditions and tastes from the past through a deft infusion of contemporary innovations.
Chef Wong is the Head Chef and owner of Gēn, which he opened in 2017 to critical acclaim at the young age of 26. His recent accolades include the Golden Chef Award of the Malaysia International Gastronomy Festival in 2018 and the feature of his restaurant Gēn in William Reed’s Asia’s Extended 51-100 Best Restaurant 2021.
Chef Wong’s philosophy is to combine exceptional local ingredients with subtly nuanced flavours derived from Malaysia’s diverse cuisines. Uniting flair with invention, his culinary creations are unexpected and entirely refreshing, creating a sophisticated taste that is at once novel, yet hints at joyous nostalgic flavours and memories from the past.
Graduating from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu School in Sydney in 2008, Chef Wong’s career trajectory included Rockpool in Sydney, Joel Robuchon in Macau, and the 2 Michelin-starred Noma in Denmark, as well as stints in Dubai and Paris. In 2015, he returned to Malaysia to undertake the role of Head Chef at Macalister Mansion hotel in Penang.
6-course dinner at The Dining Room on 6 and 7 January 2022:
MYR 480* per person | MYR 850* per person (including wine pairing)
*All prices are subject to 10% service charge.
Chef Masaki will bring his Michelin one-starred Sushi Azabu Omakase to The Datai Langkawi. His Omakase involves authentic Edo-mae style sushi – a traditional preparation method for sushi fish that was developed in Japan about 200 years ago, when there was no refrigeration and transportation was not well developed. Nowadays, Edo-mae is not just for preservation, it is changing into a technique to elevate the taste of the fish used for fresh sushi. Chef Masaki and his team embody Japan here in Malaysia by continuing the techniques passed on by Japanese ancestors.
Chef Masaki joined the F&B industry at the age of 16 years as a bartender in one of the famous bars in Osaka. He then moved to Melbourne, Australia, and started his career in Japanese cuisine. When he decided to develop his skills further, so he would be able to delight guests around the world, he went back to Japan and worked in a sushi restaurant in Osaka, before finally moving to Kuala Lumpur five years ago.
9-course dinner by the beach on 25 and 26 February 2022:
MYR 750* per person | MYR 1,100* per person (including sake pairing)
*All prices are subject to 10% service charge.
Chef Azli Ahmad will bring genuine authentic Malaysian cuisine to The Datai Langkawi for his residency at The Gulai House. At his restaurant OpenHouse he and his team have been reintroducing heritage dishes to a new audience. Recently, they partnered with Jabatan Warisan Negara (under the aegis of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture - MOTAC) to revive “almost extinct” recipes and nationally gazetted dishes to their guests. With access to over 200 recipes from their archive, they have a lot to explore and Chef Azli Ahmad and his team will be bringing some of these recipes to The Datai for the event as part of this year's The Chef Series. Some of the ingredients are from the Malaysian jungles and he works closely with villagers and orang asli to source these unusual and hard to find items for his dishes. The menu at The Datai Langkawi will be a taste of the past brought to the present with a focus on elevating local cuisine into a finer dining experience.
Chef Azli Ahmad looks back on three decades of culinary experience, both locally and abroad. At 24, he packed his bags and moved to Cape Town to work in a restaurant. He adapted quickly, moving up the ranks to become a sous chef at the Hilton in Johannesburg. When then Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi visited Lesotho in 2003, Azli served as his personal chef. He returned to Malaysia in 2006 and is now championing Malaysian flavors based on beloved recipes handed down by mothers and grandmothers at OpenHouse KLCC.
When Chef Raymond Tham invites guests to his tables at The Datai Langkawi, he will serve his very own take on Malaysian cuisine, pushing the boundaries with creativity and innovation, and twisting familiar flavours into an entirely new representation of modern cuisine.
Chef Raymond is a cook with a strong passion for the dishes he grew up eating. He graduated from the oldest culinary college in Westminster Kingsway London which was founded by Auguste Escoffier and César Ritz. He trained under Chef Pascal Cialdella who was the disciple of Chef Jean Jun, the finalist at the 1987 MOF Meilleurs Ouvriers de France. With experience as a chocolatier for the world’s biggest cocoa manufacturer Barry Callebaut and a lecturer at KDU University College teaching culinary arts under his belt, Tham went into creating his own kitchen first at Skillet KL and later taking a more local route with Beta KL.
He also has international experience, having cooked in restaurants in London and Bermuda before coming back to Kuala Lumpur. Chef Tham takes inspiration from his travels around the world, marrying global cuisine influence with uniquely Malaysian flavours while utilizing sustainably sourced ingredients.
Chef Masashi Horiuchi will bring his famous 'nose-to-tail' dining concept when he takes up residency at The Datai Langkawi's fine dining venue The Dining Room. This concept is a celebration of the produce he works with and enjoys on the dining table. Chef Masashi Horiuchi will serve French cuisine, essentially die-hard French in techniques, involving excellent produce with a focus on quality local ingredients where applicable from near or far, with a touch of Chef Masashi’s personal flair developed from his two decades of culinary training.
Fresh out of culinary school at 20 years old, Chef Masashi Horiuchi is a Japanese-born Chef who joined a bistro in Switzerland, where he began his eager and conscientious learning from the industry experts he met. Having spent over 20 years in Europe, he has worked alongside esteemed chefs such as Philippe Groult, Adolf Blokbergen, Gerard Rabaey, George Blanc and Antoine Westermann. Before coming back to Asia, he held the knife for five years as Sous Chef at two Michelin-starred L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in London.
Chef Lee wanted to become a chef ever since he was 10 years old. His childhood years were spent in enjoyment standing next to his grandmother in the kitchen, prepping and cooking together. With such a strong family bond, strengthened by cooking and sharing meals, he values food as more than something that fills the stomach, but as a gesture of love taught by his parents. He worked part-time at a noodle stall in his Kampung. However, he got a taste of what it’s like being a chef since cooking with his grandmother for his family and carries this passion over into his adult life.
Having graduated from Berjaya University as a certified and professional chef, he seized the opportunity to work with masters of the fine dining scene. With his keen eye for detail, he excels in the kitchen, where he ensures everything under his radar is performed seamlessly.
Chef Lee believes food is representative of culture and places great value on respecting ingredients. For him, food has to be delicious which he aims to achieve by focusing on his customer's palate.
Chef Yong was born in the peaceful town of Taiping which is known for its kopitiam culture. He often revisits the memory of a wanton noodle stall next to a Chinese Temple run by twin aunties and the curry chicken and nasi kunyit from the kopitiam in town. Up till now, he can vividly recall the smell of burning charcoal and spices when cooking chicken in his grandmother’s kitchen.
Once he moved to a big city, he came to find that people are truly spoiled for choice when it comes to food. But to him, nothing compares to what he grew up with in Taiping. To pursue his culinary passion, he enrolled in Berjaya University, and fell in love with cooking when he mastered the art of filleting fish and meat.
Chef Yong’s cooking philosophy is influenced by Japanese craftsmanship, each dish is prepared very carefully in pursuit of perfection. When Chef Yong plates his dishes, it is not just about making it look perfect, but every single aspect in-between. The flavours, colour pairing, textures, temperatures, and the pure dedication he puts into every single dish.