Expect to feast upon nature’s bounty as the Gods would want you to at Dewakan by Chef Darren Teoh.
Whether you call yourself a connoisseur of fine dining or just a plain foodie, you would not have missed the name ‘Dewakan’ this past few years. A blend of the Malay words dewa meaning god and makan, Dewakan translates to ‘food from god’ and the deity in reference here is Chef Darren Teoh.
Celebrating nature’s produce in its purest form, Dewakan aims to serve patrons fresh indigenous ingredients that respect our region’s culinary traditions. The visionary restaurant plays up to its name with an interesting pair of menu, the Nusantara and the Kayangan; the former representing the Earth while the latter indicating the Sky and a heightened interpretation of the dishes.
Acknowledging the fact that gods do differ regionally – I’m just running with it here – Dewakan also actively feature collaborative offerings for patrons. Some of the industry heavyweights who have worked together with Darren Teoh include renowned pastry chef Andrés Lara, the speakeasy Omakase + Appreciate and rebellious Ross Magnaye of the Philippines.
The latest collaboration that diners had the opportunity to savour was by Danish kitchen maestro Kristian Baumann and the Dewakan team, who together crafted an elaborate 11-course sit-down dinner. Korean-born Kristian is currently the head chef and co-owner of Restaurant 108 in Copenhagen’s Christianshavn district and was attached various highly-acclaimed in the past including noma, Relæ, and 1 .th.
We had the opportunity to ask Kristian some questions before his debut about his intriguing two-day partnership with Dewakan, not only to get to know the chef but to further understand the collaborative ambitions of Chef Darren Teoh.
What have you learned so far from this collaboration?
Well, to me, it’s always been one of my great wishes to be in Malaysia – so to be here with Darren at Dewakan, it is a great experience for the team and for me, and it’s also something that can help us build in the future and help us a lot back home. I’m very grateful and honoured that we’re here; I think that seeing the produce here is going to help us a lot with how we hope to evolve in the future back home. This is my first time in Malaysia – I’ve been to Tokyo and to Korea, but I mean it’s very different in Southeast Asia, the climate as you know is very different too. I’m overwhelmed by the produce here, it’s very nice.
How has the experience been working with Chef Darren Teoh and Dewakan?
Darren has been so great at putting together a list of produce, and showing us what he thinks is interesting and showing us around the local markets, and introducing us to people (and the natives) who go out foraging produce – it would not have been possible to do this without Darren’s contribution to the dinner, he’s really shown a great hospitality and he’s been a great host. I’m very excited because Darren and the team at Dewakan have opened up the restaurant for us; it’s a rare honour.
What is your philosophy when cooking?
I grew up in a very traditional Danish culinary setting, and with a mother who was very good at sourcing potatoes from the one farmer, and strawberries from another farmer – so from the get-go, without me even realising it, she put a lot of effort into showing me the importance of selecting good produce.
There’s been so many great chefs in the generations before us that have paved the way for the generation that I’m in now; all the great people that’s come before us have made it easier for us to articulate who we are and what we can do.
One of the reasons we decided to come forward and spend time with Darren and at Dewakan, is because we share the same philosophy, to find a way to showcase produce and to meet the people behind that, which goes beyond respect for the ingredients, it’s so much more.
To keep tabs on Chef Kristian Baumann as he goes out and about cooking, follow his Instagram here. Likewise, stay in the loop of exciting new collaborations at Dewakan by following the restaurant here and here.
*Images provided by Dewakan.
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