Chef in the Spotlight – Chef Steve Allen of Dish & The Delicious Group

lemon and black pepper parpadelleAs you might have already heard, The Delicious Group has a new Creative Chef, and this month is set to be full of surprises as the Delicious Group introduces 25 new dishes and opens its ninth cafe at Setia City Mall, Shah Alam. The latest line-up of new dishes was developed by Chef Kasdi Dahari, Group Executive Chef, assisted by Chef Steve Allen, the E&O Group Creative Chef and include additions to the soup, salad, quiche & sandwich, mains and dessert categories of the menu.

The collaboration between the two chefs has resulted in more cosmopolitan offerings for Delicious fans. For example, there is the Middle Eastern inspired Harrisa Parmigiano Baked Eggplant and the Italian Pumpkin Risotto with chargrilled prawn, squid and toasted almonds as well as the Red pesto gnocchi with tomato and arugula salad. Some of the new dishes which deserve star billing and attention are the Cream of pumpkin soup with Parmesan & truffle oil, the Lemon & black pepper parpadelle as well as the Pumpkin, mushroom & spinach crumble tart.

Red pesto gnocchi with tomato and arugula saladDelicious’s Grazing menu has some exciting new entries such as the Eggplant & sesame chips with a fennel yogurt dip, Crispy tiger prawns in coriander butter, Tamarind BBQ chicken wings and Thai fried calamari with green peppercorn ginger jam. Dessert lovers will be treated to Delicious’ Apple, hazelnut & cranberry crumble slice, Chilled pineapple cheesecake, Cold chocolate fondant, Raspberry & mango tart and Warm melted ‘Chocolicious’ pudding.

Chef Kasdi and Chef Allen sieved through more than 70 dishes initially and tested them till they shortlisted 45, which then underwent a further two rounds of tasting till the list was honed down to 25 dishes. If you want to sample these 25 terrific new dishes, swing by any one of the Delicious Outlets to check them out. In light of all these exciting new changes,we decided to interview Chef Steve Allen, the E&O Group’s Creative Chef.

Without further ado, here is this week’s Chef in the Spotlight, the charming Chef Steve Allen, of The Delicious Group.


1.What were your favourite foods growing up?

Food as I was growing up was weird. I didn’t exactly get brought up with amazing food.. I seem to remember being brought up with spaghetti Bolognese, sausage and mash, pizza.. Then my parents went through a vegetarian phase through my teenage years, so I remember these horrible meat substitutes, goulash and lots of salad.. Not the great vegetarian food that’s available now.

2. When did you decide you wanted to be a chef?

I decided I wanted to be a chef when I was about 11 or 12. My Grandmother taught me how to bake a lemon and lime cake and it was amazing… She had these little techniques, so I copied her and tried to make it better every time. I would serve it up to my Mum’s customers (she was a hairdresser) and strive to make it better each time.

3. If you didn’t become a chef, what would you be?

Of course what every boy wants to do.. Be a rock star! I played guitar in a band and I was the rhythm guitarist, I wrote all the songs, we recorded an album in a cheap studio and to be honest if I heard it now it would probably sound awful.

4. What are your favourite culinary weapons in the kitchen?

Japanese knifes. They have quite literally changed my life!! For gadgets, I’m not a keen lover, but I wouldn’t moan if you gave me a thermomix!

P42149685. What’s your favourite new ingredient?

Mangosteen!! I went to the market in Chow Kit the other day and picked up some.. I am so surprised, I thought it would taste weird but it has an amazing peachy flavour. It will be on the menu very soon!!

6. If I’m trying to watch my weight and I’m eating at your restaurant, what am I ordering to eat?

Salt baked cod with a red pepper and lemon sauce. No fat on the cod, a little olive oil in the sauce, no carbs but still filling!! Can’t be bad. Also the seared and marinated tuna.

7. If it’s my birthday and i am being super-indulgent and the sky’s the limit, what am I ordering to eat from your restaurant?

Taste of Dish (the Degustation Menu) .. Actually the price is not too much, RM135 for 6 courses but a great way to have a taste of everything and not feel too full.

8. What was the most challenging meal you had to make? Why?

Someone quite well known married to a famous footballer. It’s pretty easy to guess who. No oil, no fat, nothing other than greens and steamed fish… Sounds easy but to get right without looking horrible that’s a challenge.

9. What was your worst restaurant disaster?

My parents bought a café bar in Canterbury, UK. The opening night the chef walked out. It was Valentines day, my Mum and me cooked. It was very messy. The next day they decided to concentrate on drink and not food!!

10. What’s the best restaurant you ate at in 2011?

Assador Exterbarri near Bilbao in Spain. Everything cooked on coals, all the dishes are so simple. Most of the dishes have only 2 ingredients. Great food done simply.

P421493611. What are some recent dining and culinary trends you have been observing?

In UK it’s all about affordable casual dining. Top chefs are giving up fine dining to cook really simple but good food. I have to say I’m a firm believer in this. I’m not a big fan of messing about with food.

12. If you had one more day to live, what would your last meal be?

Only one answer, my parents’ house, my Mum’s roast Sunday lunch. How could it be different.

13. From whom would you most like to take a cooking class?

No one really comes to mind, but if I was to take a cooking lesson it would definitely be in Japanese food.

P421499814. If you lost your ability to cook, and were to be exiled to a remote island, but could bring one Chef with you, who would it be and why?

Nigella Lawson, I’m not saying why.

15. Finally, what is your advice for all those new, up and coming Chefs out there?

Learn how to cook before you mess around. Work hard, it’s not an easy life. Wait, in years to come, all of that hard work will pay off and lastly, don’t cut your fingers off.



Photo credit : Some photos courtesy of The Delicious Group.

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