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Keeping It Simple: A Talk with Martin Yan by Kris Man

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Star Chef: Bryan Nagao
Felix, The Peninsula, Hong Kong

     Felix Chef Bryan Nagao is at the helm of The Peninsula Hong Kong's strikingly beautiful rooftop restaurant designed by Philippe Starck, Felix.

     Hailing from Hawaii, Nagao's most recent post was at the CanoeHouse, the award-winning restaurant of the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows.

     After completing his apprenticeship in Hawaii, this talented and unassuming chef spent three years in San Francisco specializing in Californian cuisine before returning to Hawaii.

     Bryan introduced an entirely new Felix menu and, while maintaining the existing Pacific Rim concept, individualized it by adding his own personal touch of lighter Asian, California and Mediterranean-style twists.

     "I was always fascinated by Asia, and wanted to work here for a long time," he says. "While Hawaii today is becoming increasingly recognized as a center for exciting new culinary ideas, Asia offers fantastic ingredients and local products, and a fascinating blend of possibilities ranging from Pacific Rim to Euro-Asian and Fusion."

     These are frequently grouped together under the same label, but Nagao maintains each style is very different. "Euro-Asian" tends to have a heavier European bias, with heavier sauces and using a lot of butter and fats, while "Pacific Rim" is lighter, more flavorful and spicy. "Fusion" is a mix of ingredients in one item - for example a French sauce with lemongrass.

     "My cuisine is Pacific Rim - I try to 'layer' my dishes so that you can taste every ingredient clearly and they 'grow' on your palate."

     Bryan's signature dishes include Maine Lobster Cocktail done two ways, with shaved Wild Fennel, and Spicy Lemon Horseradish Vinaigrette; Seared Sonoma Foie Gras with Ginger Marinated Figs and Thai Chili Sweet-Sour Broth; Macadamia Nut Shrimp with Thai Cucumber Salad and Yellow Curry Orange Sauce; Felix House Salad with Fennel, small tomatoes and Shallot Balsamic Vinaigrette; Barbecue Free Range Chicken with fresh Waterchestnuts; Hawaiian Papaya and Cilantro-Mint Dressing; Barbecue Lamb Chops with Gorgonzola Risotto and Spicy Smoked Tomato Sauce; and Citrus Miso Marinated Grilled Salmon with Japanese Cucumber Salad and Pickled Plum Vinaigrette.

Recipe: Chef Bryan Nagao's Ginger Marinated Striped Seabass
 

 

 

 


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