Indulge in an Afternoon of Delectable Dishes with AFC’s Pastry Queen, Anna Olson!
Excitement was in the air as well-loved Canadian celebrity chef, Anna Olson, landed in our sunny island for a two-week tour promoting her new show Inspired with Anna Olson, which would premiere on Friday, 29 July at 9:00pm on Asian Food Channel!
In Inspired with Anna Olson, we follow Olson through Southeast Asia as she tries out local signature dishes. We get to watch how she gets inspiration from these dishes, then adapt some elements from each unique local cuisine to create her very own dishes, all fused with new flavours, ingredients and techniques that she discovers along the way!
Related: Inspired Beef Carpaccio
We were lucky enough be able to spend a delightful afternoon with her at the hands-on Masterclass with Anna Olson and we all love her warm, chirpy personality! Most of all, we were impressed at how she managed to turn cooking into such a simple affair (we all know it isn’t) but thanks to her guidance, we were able to whip up some healthy and delicious dishes within a few hours! The dishes which included a Beef Carpaccio, Steamed Carrot Cake topped off with Sweet Potato Ice cream and a Shrimp and Coconut Risotto, would also be featured in Inspired with Anna Olson. We loved all the dishes as well, they were a perfect blend of Western and Asian cuisine – rich, pleasant flavours encompassing the finest techniques and heritage of both worlds!
We are glad to share with you the recipes of dishes we prepared during the Masterclass!
During our interview with Anna Olson, we were happy to learn more about her new show and some great tips on baking and cooking!
1. What are some of the challenges you face in the process of creating fusion food with Asian flavours? How do you overcome them?
“The main challenge in creating fusion food was in the parallel of ingredients. Back at home, it was difficult to get access to fresh ingredients from Southeast Asia, and the difficulty lies in that I had to ask myself how do I replicate flavours with the limited access I have. For example, I had no access to good, fresh coconut. We had it shipped over but by the time it arrived (at Canada), the quality was not as good as they would be if I had gotten them locally. At some point, I realised sometimes I would have to then focus on the techniques in preparing my fusion food dishes, and make the best I can get out of the available ingredients.”
2. For avid bakers, one problem we find is ourselves facing a bottleneck- that the quality of our bakes have somehow reached a plateau. How do we keep improving?
“Well, I would suggest getting out of your comfort zones and trying something new. This is also one of the reasons I got on this new show- to keep challenging myself. Inspired with Anna Olson has allowed me to take that leap of faith and stretch my limits! In the past I would never have imagined I could have all these new flavours and techniques to work with. It has taught me to be creative. Now, I have gotten more comfortable with new techniques, like working with the steamer! Trying something different has made me find a new level of confidence!”
Related: Shrimp and Coconut Risotto Recipe
3. One common difficulty faced by many mummies is meal time where their Bubbas simply refuse to eat! Do you have any tips on cooking with regards to that?
“I would suggest getting your kids involved in preparing the dishes. In a way it would be easier to get them to eat as they would be likely to be excited with the outcome! Especially the greens! By engaging them in the process of cooking they actually learn more about what goes into their food too and how they are prepared as well! Also, it is important to try as much as possible, to work in natural sweetness into your dishes than artificial flavourings. Natural sweetness definitely healthier for kids and it has a more unique taste!”
We can’t wait to catch the show already for Olson’s exciting adventures around Southeast Asia and to learn great recipes at the same time! In line with the program premiere, AFC will also stream ‘live’ the pilot episode of Inspired with Anna Olson on its website asianfoodchannel.com/inspiredwithannaolson. Be sure to tune in!
9pm Asian Food Channel (Starhub Ch 435)