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Dishing out the
taste of diplomacy
ishing PowerPoint presentations?
Pizza and burgers.
BY JOHN LUI But to knock the socks off the very
top people, you need to call in the
CORRESPONDENT best. Yesterday, the Apec organising
committee unveiled a group of
white-smocked stars.
Their food will not only have to
THIS is what economic cooperation taste good, but must be able to tell
tastes like: it has eggs, flour, onions, the highest-level officials – at two
garlic, just a hint of cinnamon, and is lunches at the Istana and a dinner at
absolutely packed with mashed sweet the Esplanade – something about
potato. Singapore.
It is the small things that count In the words of Mr Soo Siew
when you are preparing meals for the Keong, programme chair with the
10,000 officials at the Apec meetings hospitality arm of the Apec Singapore
– such as making sure that one of the 2009 Organising Committee, the
smallest member economies, Papua food has to be a “flavoursome
New Guinea, gets a place on the concoction blending the country’s

Learning at the loo menu, same as the big boys.

Hence, the kau-kau pie, or sweet
potato pie. It is the result of much
colourful multicultural heritage with
a dash of its global and cosmopolitan
recipe Googling and taste testing by Quite a mouthful to say, and more
(From left) Trade and Industry Minister Lim many dotted throughout the Apec venue – the chefs at Suntec Singapore. so for a bowl of soup.
Does it taste authentic? No one is But chef Otto Weibel, director of
Hng Kiang, Economic Development Board explains how Singapore met its water needs kitchens at the Fairmont Singapore
sure – there are no Papuans among
assistant managing director Quek Swee Kuan despite having limited natural resources. the kitchen staff. But as with much and a team member, thinks his
and MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC Baey Yam The series, known as the Singapore in diplomacy, it is the thought that consomme is up to the job.
Keng watch a multimedia display in a Suntec Showcase, aims to help Apec delegates learn counts.
So for Mexico,
Singapore washroom. more about the host nation. there will be fajitas.
The motion-activated installation – one of ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN Ceviche will remind box
guests of Peru. Dim
sum, Hong Kong.
Singapore will have

116 youths to rub

laksa, and Malaysia,
rendang. The
Canadians may
recognise hotcakes,
and for their
neighbours to the
south, it will be

shoulders with VIPs burgers.

Suntec executive
chef Jess Ong,
whose team is
whipping up the
killer kau-kau pie,
says it is all about
Young delegates from making sure the two
classes of officials –
Apec region will mingle “the VVIPs and the
VVVIPS” he says,
with leaders and CEOs half-jokingly – get
what they need to He is whipping up soto ayam for
make it through the long hours of the dinner the 21 economic leaders
BY LEE SEOK HWAI panels, forums and sessions. will have at the Esplanade on
The bags under his eyes come Saturday.
CHINA undergraduate Chen Jing, 22, from the 6am to 9pm workdays he The spicy Malay chicken broth can
feels very lucky to be visiting Singapore has been putting in.“My wife doesn’t be found at any hawker centre.
this week, even though she has been here recognise me anymore,” he quips. However, your $3 version is unlikely
twice in the past. Mr Ong’s team of 95 will be to have been clarified in the French
She is among 116 youths who beat tens working round the clock, taking in a style or come with a dollop of scallop
of thousands of young people from 18 couple of tonnes of fish, prawns, mousse, as Mr Weibel’s does.
economies around the world for the scampi and scallops, eight tonnes of Meanwhile, lunch for the leaders
chance to pick the brains of leaders and chicken and other meat and 40 at the Istana on Sunday will feature
businessmen – and vice-versa – who are tonnes of fruit. Singapore favourites, but in styles no
here for the Asia-Pacific Economic Coop- It is full-on slicing, dicing and coffee-shop cook would recognise.
eration (Apec) Leaders’ Week. caramelising in the 140 sq m halal What, for example, is cooked crab,
They will also visit Singapore attrac- kitchen on level two, where they will served cold, with mango salsa and
tions like the Night Safari as well as talk Voices of the Future delegates Chen Jing, 22, (left) from China and Patricia Barrios Verand, 21, be elbow deep in knocking out more caviar? It is chilli crab, in the opinion
to movie star Jet Li and Olympic from Peru are among 116 youths selected to meet Apec leaders. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM than 4,000 meals and countless of executive chef Wolfgang Ranner of
pole-vaulting legend Sergey Bubka. buffets. the Conrad Centennial Singapore.
The youths will describe their experi- That is just the full meals. During Following that appetiser will be a
ences online on Facebook and Twitter. “It’s my first visit to Asia. I’m very ex- For many participants, the VOF is also the meetings, guests will down main course of lobster, baked in a
Describing the selection process in Chi- cited,” said the 21-year-old. an opportunity to experience the host 20,000 cups of coffee and tea and rendang crust.
The VOF, organised for Apec youths country’s culture. Mr Jagathan said he chomp through 20,000 muffins and It is diplomacy at the end of a
na, Ms Chen, who is studying journalism
aged 18 to 25, has been held regularly bonded over roti prata with 10 others pastries. fork. In the end, the food that goes
and English literature in Beijing Foreign
since 1998, with the annual summit of from Japan, New Zealand and Peru on According to Mr Ong, judging into a delegate’s mouth should be in
Studies University, said the contest was Monday, the night the guests arrived.
reminiscent of the American reality show the 21-member grouping. from the lines forming at the sync with the words that come out of
This year, the number of economies “They wanted to try Indian food, so it.
The Apprentice. “hawker stalls” for stand-up meals
taking part is the highest. we took them to an Indian Muslim restau- Chefs Ong and Ranner sing from
There were about 30,000 applicants outside the meeting rooms, the front
Today, the young delegates will visit rant in Bugis,” he said with a grin. the same hymn book: The menu must
for eight spots, vying to ace in pub- runners for the favourite breakfast
the Singapore Youth Olympics learning Yesterday, they had a session with be fair, so all cuisines have a say. The
lic-speaking in English and interviewing Minister for Community Development, food are waffles and laksa. A more
skills. On top of that, the winners had to centre, where they are scheduled to meet perfect – or unlikely food must be safe to consume, so
Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan goodbye, potentially allergenic
conceptualise and implement a profit- Mr Bubka, who is visiting with other and entrepreneur Ho Kwon Ping at Singa- – combination of
making business plan with a capital of members of the International Olympic East and West peanuts.
pore Management University (SMU). And if it cannot impress, at
just 2,000 yuan (S$406). Committee Coordinating Commission. Dr Balakrishnan, in opening the VOF would be
“I feel very fortunate to be picked,” Tomorrow, they will meet Mr Li, hard to find. least it must not offend.
programme, talked about global challeng- Anything spicier than a mild
Ms Chen told The Straits Times yester- founder of the One Foundation, to dis- es like climate change. He said: “The The top
cuss his philanthropic work and views. comfort heat is not welcome on the
day, at the opening ceremony of the most important question you can ask is
At the two-day Apec CEO Summit this foods, the menu.
one-week networking programme, called for yourself: What can I do?”
weekend, the VOF representives will in- kind stressed Mr Ong, sounding more
Voices of The Future (VOF). Mr Ho, who founded the Banyan Tree
officials like a seasoned session
Competition was no less tough in the terview and mingle with captains of indus- hotel and lifestyle group and also heads
order in the chairman than a cook, might
other participating economies. try. Singaporean delegate Haridharan Jag- SMU, said: “Leadership is the ability to
dead of night just have the perfect recipe
Ms Patricia Barrios Verand, a fi- athan, a cerebral palsy sufferer and active think for yourself, to believe in what you
while for Apec harmony.
nal-year law student from Peru, said she volunteer with the disabled, said he have finally figured out to be the truth for
refining “I tend to focus on
and three others from her country were would ask the CEOs about employing and yourself, and act on that.”
speeches neutrality. It’s a universal
chosen from a field of 1,000. working with the handicapped. audience, so we can’t have too
pol- much of one or the other,” he says.

Suntec cook Cai Bing Xiang

prepares dessert (left),
while Mr Weibel displays
the main course choices
for the Singapore Evening
on Saturday: chicken stuffed
with mushrooms (left plate)
and braised beef short ribs.