Recipes for Success: Chef Kelvin Cheung offers advice, recipe for an Indian rice and lentil dish

Recipes for Success: Chef Kelvin Cheung offers advice, recipe for an Indian rice and lentil dish
Kelvin Cheung is the head chef at Jun’s in Dubai. (Supplied)
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Updated 28 October 2022

Recipes for Success: Chef Kelvin Cheung offers advice, recipe for an Indian rice and lentil dish

Recipes for Success: Chef Kelvin Cheung offers advice, recipe for an Indian rice and lentil dish

TORONTO: Chinese-Canadian chef Kelvin Cheung’s culinary journey started at the age of 12, working at his father’s restaurant in Chicago. He’s come a long way since then, with stints in Toronto, Vancouver, Delhi, Mumbai, and now, Dubai.

During his time in India, Cheung was a favorite of several Bollywood celebrities, and he’s becoming something of a celeb himself, thanks to social-media. His latest venture — Jun’s — is already making waves in Dubai’s culinary scene with its “elevated North American-Asian dining experience.”

If you’re not exactly sure what means, think tempura za’atar chaat — a surprising mélange of za’atar, tempura, tamarind, yogurt, and chaat masala or a lamb koobideh, which includes the traditional koobideh fixings, plus nikiri and egg yolk sauce, with kimchi jam.




His latest venture — Jun’s — is already making waves in Dubai’s culinary scene with its “elevated North American-Asian dining experience.” (Supplied)

Cheung says Jun’s is rooted in his Chinese heritage, North American upbringing, and French culinary training. And he stresses that he tries to source the freshest ingredients from local farms.

Here, Cheung talks discipline, noodles, and learning to lead, and reveals his “perfect Sunday brunch recipe.”

Q. What is your top tip for amateur cooks?
A. Cooking is a difficult skill that you never truly master, but discipline is the key. Expect to be a lifelong student.

Q. What is one ingredient that can instantly improve any dish?
A. Salt. You need to add salt to enhance and taste the rest of the ingredients, as well as balance the dish — particularly, desserts. A lot of inexperienced chefs find it difficult to (get the right amount of salt). It takes experience, muscle memory, and confidence.




Jun’s Wagyu Burger. (Supplied)

Q. What is your favorite cuisine to eat?
A. Japanese. Especially sushi.

Q. When you go out to eat, do you find yourself critiquing the food?
A. Never critiquing, always observing… I love to hear the story of what inspired a dish or how it came about. Being let into the mind of a chef is always so interesting to me.

Q. What’s your favorite dish to cook?
A. I love making noodles. My wife and son are obsessed with noodles, and I make them a bowl from scratch. I take a whole chicken and some beef bones to make a super-rich, power-packed bone broth. It’s nutritionally-dense, hearty, and delicious. Cook the noodles, prepare garnishes and sauces, and serve my loved ones a steaming, hot bowl of delicious noodle soup. It fills my heart.

Q. If you have to cook something quickly, what’s your go-to dish?
A. Eggs. They’re a staple in our house. They’re healthy, convenient, accessible, affordable, and something that we all love.

Q. What’s the most difficult dish on your menu?
A. The Jun’s burger. It’s simple and no-frills, but it has to be precise every single time. We weigh out the exact patty-to-bun ratio. We use four cuts of wagyu beef, which are then hand-diced to make the patty. The execution must be perfect. We cook the patties until the edges are crispy, while making sure the burger remains juicy.




Rainbow heirloom carrots on labneh. (Supplied)

Q. Are you a strict boss?
A. My leadership style has changed dramatically over the years. I was trained in Chinese and French kitchens where there were great expectations and no room for errors. So it took me quite a while to train myself to be a less reactive leader. Becoming a father and reading about parenting styles was a big catalyst for deep change.
While I run a very tight ship in terms of organization and output, I believe in teaching and modeling, rather than barking orders. I’m very proud to say some of my team members have been with me for almost a decade now, moving cities and countries to continue on my team.

Chef Kelvin’s Pumpkin Congee

Serves: 2-4

INGREDIENTS:
1 kg fresh pumpkin — seeded, peeled, and diced
8 cups of water or vegetable stock
1 knob ginger, peeled and sliced
¾ cup jasmine sweet rice, rinsed well
Salt, white pepper, and light soy sauce for seasoning
1 cup pumpkin seeds, roasted
½ cup chili oil (for garnish)
½ cup scallions, chopped
¼ cup fresh coriander, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a pot, bring the water or vegetable stock to boil. Add the pumpkin and ginger; simmer until the pumpkin is tender.

Remove half of the pumpkin. Mash or purée, and set aside.

In the same pot, add the rice and simmer until fully cooked. Now stir in the pumpkin purée.

Season with salt, white pepper, and light soya sauce. Mix well.

Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds, chili oil, scallions, and green coriander. Serve.


Canadian model Winnie Harlow spotted at Formula E Diriyah E-Prix in Saudi Arabia

Canadian model Winnie Harlow spotted at Formula E Diriyah E-Prix in Saudi Arabia
Winnie Harlow attends the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Scott Garfitt)
Updated 29 January 2023

Canadian model Winnie Harlow spotted at Formula E Diriyah E-Prix in Saudi Arabia

Canadian model Winnie Harlow spotted at Formula E Diriyah E-Prix in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: Canadian model Winnie Harlow was spotted in Saudi Arabia this weekend attending the Formula E Diriyah E-Prix.

 The model was part of the thousands of fans who watched on as 22 of the fastest electric race cars ever built raced for the second time this weekend.

 “The experience at Formula E is unmatched and I’ve really enjoyed the vibe, people, atmosphere, and racing. I’ve been to Saudi Arabia a few times and always have a great experience, so I love that Formula E is in Diriyah,” Harlow said in a released statement.

“Living in a more sustainable world and being able to enjoy motorsports at the same time is incredible,” she added. 

Harlow rubbed shoulders with the likes of John Legend, Martin Garrix, Miguel and French Montana, who performed at the event’s after-race concert series.

Netflix series “Emily in Paris” star Lucien Laviscount was also in attendance.

“I’m a massive fan of motorsport and anything to do with cars. Seeing the new GEN3 race car on track for the first time was insane,” he said in a released statement. “It looks like a fighter jet on wheels and sounds like it’s from a sci-fi movie. Formula E are leading the world in electric car innovation. I’m in line for an electric vehicle and this has really given me a taste.”


Review: More dungeons and more dragons — ‘The Legend of Vox Machina’ season two is a ‘critical’ hit  

Review: More dungeons and more dragons — ‘The Legend of Vox Machina’ season two is a ‘critical’ hit  
Updated 29 January 2023

Review: More dungeons and more dragons — ‘The Legend of Vox Machina’ season two is a ‘critical’ hit  

Review: More dungeons and more dragons — ‘The Legend of Vox Machina’ season two is a ‘critical’ hit  

DUBAI: It would not be an understatement to say that we are living in the golden age of television when it comes to sheer diversity in terms of content. That much is evident when a Dungeons & Dragons game that started out in someone’s living room is now a full-blown animated series on a massive streaming platform — and it has returned for a second season.   

 “The Legend of Vox Machina” is based on the hugely successful D&D actual play series Critical Role, in which players livestreamed themselves playing the tabletop game. The adult animated series made fans in its debut season for its ability to carefully balance juvenile humor with immense character depth, set against a lore-heavy fantasy setting.   

Season two builds on that promise and comes back even stronger with greater character arcs for its seven main characters: Half-elf rogue Vax’ildan (Liam O’Brien), his ranger twin sister Vex’ahlia (Laura Bailey), half-elf druid Keyleth (Marisha Ray), gnome bard Scanlan (Sam Riegel), goliath barbarian Grog (Travis Willingham), his BFF gnome paladin Pike (Ashley Johnson) and human gunslinger Percy (Taliesen Jaffe). This is an impressive feat to achieve given that the episodes have a run time of under 30 minutes.   

The new season picks up exactly where season one left off — with a group of large and ancient dragons attacking the city of Emon. Our motley crew of mercenaries/heroes, clearly underqualified for the job of defeating these powerful beings, must now go on a continent-hopping jaunt to retrieve magical artifacts that will help them in this mission.   

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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It is helpful here to remember that “TLOVM,” unlike any fantasy series or movie that you may have watched so far, is not based on a book or video game: It is based on a story created by a group of friends as they played a game over several years, albeit with an audience watching on Twitch and YouTube.   

And, hence, what makes the animated show such an engrossing watch, despite having a story that may seem familiar to most fans of fantasy media, is that “TLOVM” manages to accurately capture the bond between the players and translate it into endearing television.   

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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And while the personal stakes are dialed up to 11 this time around, the larger plot is not ignored either. As big as the emotional punches are, they are matched in intensity with the beautifully realized action scenes and set pieces, which will again feel familiar to anyone who has ever played a role-playing game with their friends.   

With Critical Role announcing that they will also be animating their second campaign, Mighty Nein, for Amazon, and if you are a fan of all things magic, camaraderie and epic battles, there has never been a better time to tune in and let “Vox Machina” enthrall you. 


‘Star Wars’ C3PO actor Anthony Daniels to attend MEFCC 2023 in Abu Dhabi  

‘Star Wars’ C3PO actor Anthony Daniels to attend MEFCC 2023 in Abu Dhabi  
Updated 29 January 2023

‘Star Wars’ C3PO actor Anthony Daniels to attend MEFCC 2023 in Abu Dhabi  

‘Star Wars’ C3PO actor Anthony Daniels to attend MEFCC 2023 in Abu Dhabi  

DUBAI: The force is strong with “Star Wars” fans in the Middle East.   

British actor and mime artist Anthony Daniels, best known for playing the lovable golden droid C3PO in the “Star Wars” franchise, is headed to the Middle East Film and Comic Con, set to take place in Abu Dhabi from March 3-5.   

He is the only actor to have either appeared in or been involved with all theatrical films in the series, having starred in 10 “Star Wars” films, apart from being involved in several TV shows, video games and radio serials.   

It has also been heavily hinted at that British actor, writer and filmmaker Andy Serkis will be in attendance in Abu Dhabi at the three-day event. Serkis is best known for his performance capture roles comprising motion capture acting, animation and voice work for computer-generated characters such as Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings” franchise, Caesar in the “Planet of the Apes” reboot trilogy, and Supreme Leader Snoke in the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy   

He most recently portrayed Kino Loy in the “Star Wars” Disney+ series “Andor.”  

However, Serkis’s attendance has not been confirmed by the organizers as of yet.  


UAE’s Blackpink fans enjoy birthday surprise at Abu Dhabi concert  

UAE’s Blackpink fans enjoy birthday surprise at Abu Dhabi concert  
Blackpink performs onstage at the 2022 MTV VMAs at Prudential Center on August 28, 2022. (AFP)
Updated 29 January 2023

UAE’s Blackpink fans enjoy birthday surprise at Abu Dhabi concert  

UAE’s Blackpink fans enjoy birthday surprise at Abu Dhabi concert  

ABU DHABI: Fans of K-Pop supergroup Blackpink were treated to a concert and surprise birthday celebration for band member Rose at the group’s performance in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night.

The chart-topping group hit the stage and performed a number of their greatest hits — including “Pink Venom” and “Lovesick Girls” — before Korean-New Zealand singer Rose, whose birthday is on Feb. 11, was surprised with a multi-tiered cake on stage. She is set to turn 26.

Bandmember Jennie was also spotted visiting Abu Dhabi’s Grand Mosque before the show.

Abu Dhabi is the second Middle Eastern stop on the “Born Pink” world tour after the group performed in Riyadh on Jan. 20.


US singer John Legend closes out Diriyah E-Prix 2023 with a bang 

US singer John Legend closes out Diriyah E-Prix 2023 with a bang 
Updated 29 January 2023

US singer John Legend closes out Diriyah E-Prix 2023 with a bang 

US singer John Legend closes out Diriyah E-Prix 2023 with a bang 

DUBAI: US singer-songwriter John Legend made a resounding comeback to the Middle East with his performance at the final day of the Diriyah E-Prix races in Saudi Arabia. 

From up-tempo, dance tracks like “All She Wanna Do” to his famous ballad “All of Me,” Legend had the packed audience screaming for more and singing along to every word. 

Moroccan American rapper French Montana and Egyptian singer-songwriter Mohamed EL-Hamaki also took to the stage on Saturday night. 

Returning for its ninth season and after a two-week break following an opener in Mexico City, the Diriyah E-Prix kicked off on Friday in the Saudi capital with two days of racing on the Diriyah Street Course.