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Bachelor’s Banquet

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Launched in mid-September in Singapore, Bachelor’s Banquet is a cookbook skewed at the male species looking to impress their date with hip and sophisticated meals that are not only full of flavour, but easy to make.

An Article by Penny V

Bachelor's BanquetConceived in New York over a bowl of congee and fried intestine, the young duo behind Bachelor’s Banquet are full of passion for food and the drive to see anything through. After that one meeting, production on the book was started with just a single frying pan and a tiny kitchen, just a week later.

Targeted at the Asian market, Bachelor’s Banquet was produced by two real life bachelor’s who understand the problems when trying to recreate a fancy sounding dish from your mum’s stash of cookbooks or a recipe found off the internet. In a word: disastrous.

Sleek and contemporary, the bachelor’s progressive cookbook is a mix of western and Asian recipes that appeal to the younger audience, with prices and ingredients being accessible and preparation methods within easy grasp of any first time cook. Plus, it even has a bonus section on in-bed aphrodisiacs that are designed for intimate sharing. How about that you horn dogs?

All of us at Penny, had the pleasure of meeting the business-savvy duo comprising of Nicholas Lin, 25 and Adhika Maxi, 24, over a cup of tea. Once you get them started talking about food, it’s all systems go and their work chemistry is practically brimming over as they finish each other’s sentences.

Bachelor's BanquetThe conversation was never dull from retelling their experience of food-tasting and experimenting to producing the most awesome Chicken Rice in 16-hours – take that for flavour. Both friendly and easygoing their personalities balance each other out, where Max is laidback and Nicholas is a little more staid.

Think they’re too young and don’t have the star power behind their names to come up with a cookbook like so many others these days? Unconventional as it may seem, their age belies the wealth of experience they have under their belts.

Both armed with business oriented degrees from top-notch universities, Max attended the French Culinary Institute in New York City before advancing through his culinary journey to become a chef de partie at the Michelin 2-star Restaurant Gordon Ramsay at the London Hotel in New York City.

Not short of passion for creating interesting dishes, Nick was a freelance photographer for the New York Fashion Week and Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine. Upon graduation, he started work as a marketing consultant and a private chef, while attending various courses at the French Culinary Institute and at the Gohan Society.

Piqued your interest? We did a quick interview with these fine looking boys to get you the scoop.

Getting down to it, what was the process like while putting the book together?

A: Making the book wasn’t an easy process but it was definitely a memorable experience.  I would finish service at Gordon’s at 1AM; Immediately after we would start cooking and taking pictures until well over 4AM. Plenty of sleepless nights.

N: Overall, I think that one of the reasons why we actually finished this cookbook instead of leaving it as a “to-be-completed” project was because we planned out very systematic route-maps and time-lines towards its completion. Our business school backgrounds really aided in its project management.

Bachelor's BanquetSome traditionalists scoff at these types of easy-to-prepare recipe books because they see it as taking away the very essence of cooking with all these shortcuts – almost “dumbing it down” if you will. What’s your counter to this?

N: This is a book where we take complicated recipes and simplify them for the home cook. I believe that as long as the integrity of the flavours are in the dish there is nothing wrong with it, we are not dumbing it down in anyway.

A: The way I see it, we’re simplifying the techniques and letting the ingredients speak for itself. Meal in a can or a microwave dinner I feel is “dumbing it down”

For a budding cook trying out your book for the first time, what’s a dinner and dessert combo suggestion for a date?

N: Bacon and Egg Risotto; it’s a unique breakfast-themed dish, which is a definite conversation starter and for dessert: Pound Cake Garden; allows your guests to get playful with food.

A: I strongly recommend Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes for dinner and Vanilla Panacotta for dessert. Chicken legs are very forgiving – an extra 3 minutes won’t over cook them and the Panacotta is done before hand so you can just serve it right away, no slaving away on the stove.

(To prove how easy it is, we’re trying out the Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes recipe! Head on over here, to see how it all turned out.)

Now we know your M.O to get it in with the chicks is with your cooking – what’s your signature dish that you know will seal the deal?

A: Chocolate is always a favourite. I would melt it as a fondue or mix them with some fresh whipped egg white to create chocolate mousse

N: A 2-layered white chocolate trifle, with fresh fruits and a glass of muscato. Max would probably opt for 2 bottles of champagne though.

What’s in store for the future? I hear there are already 2 more cookbooks in the works for 2010! Is it all hush-hush or can we have a sneak peak?

A: We’re actually creating a blog where people can send in their bachelor-banquet related questions and potentially a few more cookbooks

N: We’re also in the process of starting up a food business centred on dessert.

Nick’s Top 3 Restaurant Choices for a Date in Singapore / NYC

Nicholas Lin1. Corton (Tribeca, New York) – My best New York meal of 2008. Perfection on a plate.

2. Kuriya (Singapore at Shaw) – I recently discovered Kuriya’s set lunches at Shaw, amazing value and amazing quality. It’s a perfect second or third date spot, quiet and within budget for great Japanese food.

3. Jean-Georges (Upper west side, New York) – One of my first fine dining experiences in New York; beautiful setting by the park and a great mixologist at the bar.

Max’s Top 3 Restaurant Choices for a Date in Singapore / NYC

Adhika Maxi1. Ippudo Ramen (New York) – This Tonkotsu Ramen house is always full and waiting list is up to 40 minutes. There’s something romantic about waiting in the cold for that long and finally getting to eat hot ramen with your date.

2. Jaan (Singapore) – The view is spectacular, the food is refined, and you can’t go wrong except that it’s a little pricey, that is unless you go dutch.

3. Newton Circus (Singapore) – I like girls who are not too uptight about eating seafood with their hands – it shows that they really like food and getting their hands dirty while eating doesn’t matter.

Grab a copy of Bachelor’s Banquet at any Kinokuniya outlet in Singapore at S$29.95.

Join their Facebook Group, find out more about Bachelor’s Banquet or take gander at their own publishing company, 20 West.

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