Hubert Burda Media

Cooking Up A Storm

What happens when two famed chefs work together? Culinary magic, of course.

Some chefs are reluctant — protective, even — of their culinary secrets, for fear of others stealing their recipes. But this isn’t the case for Matthew Orlando, chef-owner of Amass, a Nordic restaurant in Copenhagen. After all, he recently collaborated with Singapore-based culinary maestro Andre Chiang on a joint dinner menu and savoured every bit of the experience.
“As a chef, [cooking together] is the ultimate way to get to know someone you admire,” says the 38-year-old, adding that back in Copenhagen, the cooking community is tight-knit and often “shares ideas and purveyors”. So he teamed up with Taiwan-born, French-trained Chiang to put together a repertoire that merged their respective skills in Nordic and Nouvelle cuisine, while incorporating European and Asian flavours. Held over two nights at Restaurant Andre, the dinner incorporated ingredients such as root vegetables, black malt flour and bottled sauces — all exclusive to northern Europe — as well as Asian ingredients including wasabi root and bok choy.
The two chefs first met in Copenhagen a few years ago, but only decided to work on a meal collaboration last year after Chiang had dined at Amass. After months of planning, they came up with Nouvelle-meets-New-Nordic, a menu that married their culinary strengths and featured dishes such as raw scallops, aged beef with oyster and turnip, and lamb with black garlic. “It was important to have the progression of the menu in line,” Orlando shares. “Our main concern was that making sure that certain flavours didn’t dominate your palate and thus ruin the dish that followed.”
With some 22 years of culinary experience in establishments all over the world, the Californian is quite the seasoned chef. He started cooking at 15 and trained under American celebrity chef Charlie Palmer, moving through the ranks to work at Michelin-starred restaurants such as The Fat Duck in the UK, Per Se in the US and Noma in Copenhagen before setting up Amass in 2013 in the same city, which has become one of the hottest establishments in the Danish capital.
Despite having been to Singapore, Orlando isn’t planning to open a restaurant in Asia anytime soon. “I have my hands full with Amass right now. We need to make it strong and consistent before we think about branching out,” he says.
For now, here’s hoping that he swings by again for another epicurean event not to be missed.