Executive Chef, Kevin Cape, with 20 years experiences in Asia, about fusion and “confusion” cuisine
Today you are the Executive Chef with 2 decades experience as chef in Asia. Where did all began for you/ when did you decide to become a chef?
Actually, it was not my original intention. As a young man, I was working in hotels to earn extra money, the chef explained I had a natural ability to copy that’s where it started.
Which cooking school did you visit initially?
Crawley college of higher education.
As a young chef you found your mentor in the legendary Michel Bourdin, the Executive Chef from who you learned the fundamentals of classic French and British cooking. From a culinary point of view; what was your greatest learning out of this time?
Learning to respect the quantity ingredients and traditions in classic cuisine / If you can master the classics. You can diversify into any style of cuisine.
You worked 14 years as Executive chef at the legendary Eastern & Oriental Express. How was this time for you? Did you create some of your own/ special dishes for this particular place?
I tried to introduce flavors and techniques of the areas the train visited.
Previously in Vietnam, you worked as chef at the PRINCESS D’ÂN NAM, which is known for it unique style ‘”Dining without Borders”. What was the culinary aspect behind?
To be honest I was fed up with the label of fusion, the term dining without borders, which really migration, which is the correct terminology, people migrate as they do they bring a part of the heritage, that’s what inspired me.
You have worked as executive chef in Singapore, Thailand, Shanghai and Vietnam: Did these different places inspire you for some very own/ combined fusion dishes of yourself; and if so, can you share some examples with us?
As I said the word fusion leaves slightly a bad taste in my mouth is a difference between confusion, and understanding and blending from different regions in different countries; Simple example Lamb shank with a Thai Massaman sauces, Just one of many
Fusion cuisine, the big topic. Did you offer as well French/British fusion dishes, and if so, do you have some examples?
How does one interpretation fusion. Now for example, in Vietnam, the classic dish, Hanoi beef, which is one of my favorite originally. It’s based on the French classic beef. Bourguignon, but with the addition of local spices, cinnamon, star ansies , soya sauce, is a fusion or adapting to local tastes.
You are known for your permanent research into Western & Asian cuisine. What are your latest creations/ dishes out of it?
Well. Just recently taking some of the finest coffee beans in Myanmar ( some people referred to Burma) infusing with butter slow cooked at 90°. This I used to infuse beef, which is again is local, creating a great combination
You did represent Britain as a National Chef in several competitions: what have been your master dishes at this time?
Well that was a long time ago, it would’ve been sweetbreads studded with red pimento, light cream sauces , with the essence of pimento.
The Vietnamese kitchen is so popular today. What is the “secrete” of the Vietnamese kitchen?
To be honest I found no great secret in Vietnamese cooking, just a high importance on freshness, great herbs.
Thai and Vietnamese food; are there fusion dishes out of both?
I would say with all Asian cuisines, stick to the authentic tastes and work on presentations.
With lots of experiences in different kitchens of the world and now in Vietnam, how would you describe your culinary line today?
Today I would say. My style is more simplistic working on true nature of flavors and textures