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TASTE OF EDESIA: Bugnand’s Golden Touch

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Vida Rica’s Executive Chef Dominque Bugnand is one of the very few French chefs in Macau who has a deep understanding of the Asian palate. With 14 years of legendary experience at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, he began his career with the company at the flagship Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok in 1998. Having lived in Asia for many years, even Chef Dominique himself has told me that when he goes to France, the tastes of the dishes back in Europe are too intense for him.
In most of Asia, we are more into subtle nuances than intensity. While Chef Dominique’s dishes are authentically French, his culinary executions in bringing out French elements are unique and diverse. Everything is lighter, softer, fluffier, prettier, and more colorful. Keen to build on Vida Rica’s reputation as one of the best dining experiences in Macau, he revises the restaurant’s menu regularly, making sure that discerning diners are constantly surprised by new concepts.
Sophistication and attention to details are obviously reflected in the characteristics of Chef Dominique’s creations. The spider crab wrapped in lobster jelly, avocado and mango sauce with Sturia caviar is the epitome of umami. Sea flavors are arranged to contrast the tangy, sweet aroma of mango. The play of texture is remarkable, as the crabmeat is enveloped in the essence of lobster. The refreshing manner in which ingredients are put together also exudes the chef’s savoir-faire and one-of-a-kind skillfulness.
An innovator who thinks of ways to connect modernity with traditional recipes, Chef Dominique reinvents the French onion soup in a way that one has never seen before. In my opinion, his onion soup served with Gruyere cheese espuma and onion jam on toast is the embodiment of modern French gastronomic elegance. Delicately placed in a clear glass bowl, the onion jam is served alongside a cheese form. As the beef stock is poured into the bowl, the ingredients start to merge. The result is an onion that delivers traditional flavors, but in a particularly exquisite style.
Refinement is again epitomized with the main course, titled “About Wagyu beef.” Served in bone, the Wagyu strip loin steak comes with a shallot sauce, beef tongue gribiche sauce and braised beef cheek. Carrot mashed with orange dust and grilled shallot banana are set on the side. Shallot is sweeter than onion and it brings out the flavor of the beef. The simplicity of beef is heightened with the different textures available.
A chef who knows how to win and woo the palate of diners is one that keeps stretching themselves to try new ways of doing things. Creativity is mandatory for success. With a relentless quest for innovation, Chef Dominique prepares polished dishes for cultivated individuals. And yes, if you cannot tell by now, I am a big fan of his cuisine.

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