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How to create the perfect wine dinner
Thursday 29 March 2012, 01:14PM
PHUKET: Following on the heels of a successful wine dinner at Mom Tri’s Villa Royale in Kata Noi, head chef Darren Wiper spoke to The Phuket News about the work involved in creating the perfect menu.  How long have you worked at Mom Tri’s? I have been working for Mom Tri nearly four years now. Prior to that I spent three years in Bermuda at a fine dining Mediterranean restaurant and wine bar, and before that three years in the south of France in a small 11th-century medieval village on the Côte d’Azur. If I had to specify my cooking style, I would say French cuisine with a contemporary element.  What is involved in creating a successful wine dinner? It is very important that the food and wine go up in stages with each course.Strong intense flavours with the food should be paired with a more full-bodied wine. The first thing is consulting with the wine director who points out the characteristics of the wine. He will suggest what flavours or ingredients will bring out the best for the wine. Often with our wine dinners the wine is selected by the wine companies or distributors, then we must pair the food to the wine. If the wine dinner has a theme we must also match the food to the theme. For example, for our latest wine dinner we had New Zealand wines so we served lamb.Once I have finalised a menu I pass it to Georges Ciret, our wine director.  What is your absolutely favourite dish to cook? I prefer braised slow cooked meats such as pork belly, lamb shank or veal cheek stew. These are more homely cuts of meat but can still be made into refined restaurant dishes. What is your signature dish at Mom Tri’s? Pork belly and sea scallop with a curried pumpkin puree, rhubarb and ginger chutney (B890++). Pork belly is a classic home cooked dish which we serve with a restaurant twist and presentation.
Kiwi wine makes a splash in Phuket
Friday 23 March 2012, 10:30AM
PHUKET: Pip Austin, General Manager of New Zealand’s Asia Pacific Sileni Estates wine company, was in Phuket last week to host a wine dinner in conjunction with Mom Tri’s Villa Royale in Kata Noi. She spoke to The Phuket News about the company’s ambitions and increasing involvement in Phuket. Tell us about Sileni Based in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, Sileni was founded by the Avery and Edmonds families. Graeme Avery’s former business was medical and pharmaceutical publishing, however his great love of wine led him to establish Sileni Estates with winemaker Grant Edmonds in the Hawke’s Bay area in 1997. Grant was the former chief winemaker of the Villa Maria Group (New Zealand’s second largest winery). Sileni’s first vintage was in 1998, and until 2002 all of Sileni’s wines were made from its own vineyards in Hawke’s Bay. In that year though, Sileni started making Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough today is New Zealand’s 8th largest wine company, currently exporting to 60 international markets. What wines does Sileni specialise in? The classic French varietals, including Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah. All of Sileni’s wines, with the exception of the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, are grown in Hawke’s Bay and are characterised by their food friendly style. At Sileni we like to describe our wines as having New World fruit with Old World elegance. We are also one of the founding winery members of the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand initiative and all of Sileni’s wines are sustainably made. This means that the wines are made in such a way that they have a positive impact on the environment both in the vineyard and the winery. What is Sileni Estates’ involvement in the Asian and Phuket markets? Sileni has been exporting to Asia for 10 years, and it has always been a very important market for us. As we were producing more red wines in the early years, Asia became a natural fit for us as red wine was more popular than white, and the fruit driven and elegant qualities of our wines appealed to the consumer, and worked well in the warm and humid climate. We have been exporting to Thailand for around eight years, and Phuket has always been a very strong market with many hotels featuring Sileni wines.We were one of the first New Zealand wineries to enter the Phuket market, and we see a natural fit between our wine and the relaxed alfresco lifestyle here. What are the key ingredients involved in hosting a successful wine dinner? A great wine dinner is about the wine and food matching seamlessly together.When selecting a wine to go with a particular dish it is always important to look for similar aroma, flavour and textural elements in the food. This often means that the old adage of white wine with white meat and red wine with red meat is completely incorrect. A great example of this is the barracuda fillet that was served with Sileni’s Cellar Selection Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir at the wine dinner on Saturday evening.Normally one wouldn’t expect a white fish to be served with a Pinot Noir, however this dish includes some complementary flavours in the cauliflower and beetroot purée and the wine is featured in Pinot Noir reduction.
Healthy eating and raw food workshop comes to Phuket
Friday 23 March 2012, 10:24AM
PHUKET: Phuket raw food consultant Sylvie Yaffe will host ‘Healthy Food 101: Introduction to health food and vegan-raw foods’ in Nai Harn next Thursday (March 29) evening. Sylvie hopes to educate Phuketians about the importance of making healthier food choices, and paying attention to the ingredients in everything we eat. Accordingly, the introductory workshop will include food demonstrations and help with reading food labels. A graduate from the Matthew Kenney Academy in the US state of Oklahoma, the only classically structured raw and living foods educational centre in the world, Sylvie has lived in Phuket for the last 11 years. She is also a consultant for the Good Karma Thailand health food store. “Because of my own relationship with food I’ve always been interested in health and nutrition”, says Sylvie. Sylvie eats an 80 per cent vegetarian diet, and about 50 per cent raw food, which is a plant-based diet consisting of nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables, with nothing cooked over 42 degrees Celsius. “Raw food is the solution for me. “It is guilt-free and every ingredient has nutritional value, when I first discovered raw food I knew this was the answer.” In 2010 she hosted a workshop with celebrity raw food chef Ani Phyo. So popular it was standing room only, she realised that there was local demand in learning more about healthy eating in general. Healthy Food 101 will be held at the Book Cafe in Nai Harn ( on March 29 at 6pm. Although free of charge, there is limited seating available, and guests must be over 15 years-old. To reserve a seat call 085-794-2371, or email The event is sponsored by Good Karma Thailand health food store ( and Pura Organic (