On June 5, though, it seems that Saigon’s culinary stars are going to put their rivalries and egos aside. Not that they have any, of course. The head chefs from four of the finest dining establishments in the city will join forces at the Saigon Summer Ball to present possibly the best meal to grace a table here in Saigon. Fortunately, all the chefs involved are remarkably humble and pleasant. So, forget tempestuous images of hot oil flying about in even hotter kitchens. This one’s for real.
For a Cause
“It’s an event for charity and not a competition,” says Timo Reuss from the Caravelle.
Asif Mehrudeen, executive chef at Park Hyatt agrees. “There’s no room for rivalry in a small community such as this and the hospitality industry is a remarkably open-minded and social industry.”
With no fighting expected in the kitchen, the best reason to get excited is the meal, itself and the menu has been specially designed by chefs from the Sheraton, the Caravelle, Park Hyatt and Cepage, each person creating a dish for the four-course dinner.
Egos will be left at the door and, as Asif puts it, we’re “just there to cook, forget about the dollars, and make sure the guests have a good time.”
Bringing it All Together
What has brought these four big names in the food industry together? The Saigon Children’s Charity (SCC). One of Vietnam’s best known charities, SCC supports underprivileged kids through essential education and training skills that will enable them to gain employment and sustain themselves and their families.
The idea for the event came from a meeting of two like-minded individuals - Lisa Tobin and Paul Finnis, director of the Saigon Children’s Charity - who wanted to host a gala that would go above and beyond the norm in Ho Chi Minh City. The ball will be held at the Sheraton Hotel and is the first event so see various establishments lending the services of their chefs.
That’s not the only thing making this event unique, however. From the beginning, the duo had a vision and nothing has been compromised along the way. After all, “It’s the little things that count and that’s what makes the difference,” says Paul.
Champagne and Music
A Moet & Chandon champagne reception, a performance by Green Bamboo and musical entertainment provided by Juram and DJ Silvia are some of the details that will make the night special. And on top of that, there’s an auction and a raffle with prizes that are sure to astound.
As for the way the evening is to pan out, Paul, Lisa and Ian Lovie, executive chef at the Sheraton, are all insistent that it’s not going to be your average sit-down do.
“The aim is to have a fantastic night out, raise money and increase the profile of the charity,” says Paul. Lisa expects the evening to be “elegant and memorable, and a lot of fun.”
With that sort of sentiment and the help of free flow drinks, you know this isn’t going to be just your every day event, especially when it comes to the kitchen.
Tickets are US$120 or US$1,100 for a table of ten. They are available at Saigon’s Children Charity (59 Tran Quoc Thao, Q3) or by contacting Lisa Tobin at email@example.com or Paul Finnis at firstname.lastname@example.org.