Richard began his illustrious career in Holland as an apprentice under Michelin-starred chefs Hans Snijders and Robert Kranenborg. Today he holds the position of Culinary Director at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong, and under his guidance the hotel’s modern French restaurant Amber has not only been awarded two Michelin stars for the fifth consecutive year, but has also been placed at 36 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards list. Amber’s cuisine is built on a solid foundation of traditional French cooking, with a light and contemporary touch coming through each dish. The focus is on superior ingredients and, says Richard, there is no compromise. “At Amber, we are committed to using the finest and freshest ingredients sourced from all parts of the world. Great emphasis is also placed on beautiful, creative presentations employing varying food textures and colours.”

Sea urchin in a lobster jell-o with cauliflower, caviar and crispy ‘seaweed’ waffle

6 sea urchins from Hokkaido, cut open neatly with scissors, the tongues taken out delicately with a teaspoon, the shells well rinsed/dried and then placed in the refrigerator.

Cauliflower mousse

300g cauliflower, cleaned and cut into small pieces
1 litre milk
3g gelatine sheets, soaked in ice water
200g cream
Fine sea salt

‘Sea weed’ waffle

50g spinach leaves, stems removed, washed and dried
20g nori sheets
5g unsalted butter, melted
20g organic egg whites
20g All Purpose flour, sieved through a fine sieve
0.5 g fine sea salt

Lobster consommé

1X500g Blue Lobster, separate the claws, split in two and cut into 8 regular pieces
1 vine-ripened Italian tomato, chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ stem celery, washed, peeled and diced
1 white onion, preferably cevenne, peeled and chopped
20cl Cognac VSOP
1 litre dry white wine
1 litre chicken stock
12g gelatine sheets, soaked in ice water

Garnish

40g caviar, preferably Ossetra or farmed Kaluga Schrenki
1 gold leaf
50g Dulce seaweed, rinsed and dried

Lobster consommé: In a heavy bottomed saucepan heat the olive oil, add the lobster and colour golden brown, add the vegetables, sweat until all juices are evaporated, deglaze with the brandy and flambé the pan until the alcohol has been burned off. Add the white wine and reduce until it reaches a syrupy consistency. Add the chicken stock and bring to boil. Just before it reaches boiling point, skim off all impurities (repeat this during the cooking process to obtain a clear bouillon). Keep just under the boiling point and simmer for 20 minutes. Take off the stove and leave to set for 30 minutes. Pass the lobster bouillon delicately through a sieve covered with a pre rinsed mousseline cloth or kitchen towel. Reheat 1 litre and resolve the gelatine. Check the seasoning and adjust with salt if needed. Cool down delicately over ice until the gelatine starts to set.

Cauliflower mousse: Boil the cauliflower in the salted milk, until the cauliflower is well cooked and fondant. Purée the cauliflower in a blender until it reaches a smooth consistency, then pass through the sieve. Take 100g of cauliflower purée and heat in a small heavy bottomed saucepan and resolve the gelatin, cooling it down over ice until the gelatine starts to set. In the meantime loosely whip the cream with a pinch of salt, then incorporate the half-whipped cream and mix delicately. Check the seasoning and adjust with salt if needed. Place the mousse in a pastry bag, place the bag in the refrigerator until needed.

Seaweed waffle: Blanch the spinach leaves in salted boiling water. Cool down in ice water, squeeze out the excess water. Mix the spinach and nori in a blender until it’s reached a smooth consistency, then pass through the sieve. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and then add the butter and mix until smooth. With the help of a spatula spread the waffle mix on silicone mats in regular shaped circles of 10 cm diameter, ensuring you spread as thinly as possible to obtain thin, delicate waffles. Preheat the oven to 180°C and bake for 8 minutes until crispy, cool and serve.

Montage sea urchin: Select the 20 best and most perfect looking sea urchin tongues, the ones less pretty can be used in the bottom of the shell. Place 2½ of these tongues in the centre of the cooled shells, cover with a half sphere of 30mm of cauliflower mousse, place on each half sphere with 5 tongues neatly arranged. Then cover each with 2 tablespoons of almost set Jell-O and place in the refrigerator for one hour to set.

To serve: Place the sea urchin shell on shaved ice, garnish with the dulce seaweed, garnish each sea urchin with a quenelle of 10g caviar and add the gold leaf on the top. Serve the crispy waffle on the side.

*Article from The Culinary Artist, Issue 2

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