MGM x RR1HK Culinary Masters Macau 2024 Returns to MGM COTAI: Day 1 Highlights
Kicking things off with a fabulous welcome dinner, the RR1 Signature Event is off to a thrilling start.
BY Robb Report Hong Kong  |  June 30, 2024
4 Minute Read

This story is part of a series of features covering MGM x RR1HK Culinary Masters Macau 2024, hosted at MGM COTAI in Macau on 28–30 June 2024.

On 28 June, the first day and evening of MGM x RR1HK Culinary Masters Macau 2024­­ was launched to great fanfare. A happy reunion and return to MGM COTAI, guests trickled in from all corners of the world, as did the international chefs who arrived in planes, jetfoils, and automobiles to kick off the RR1 Signature Event in Macau in fashionable style.

It was a day that began with highlighting the power of women as MGM, Robb Report Hong Kong, and Macao University of Tourism (UTM) convened to discuss the topic “Exploring the Culinary Journeys of Trailblazing Women: From the Silk Roads to Global Gastronomy.” Four acclaimed local and international female chefs, part of the Culinary Masters programme for this year, led the discussion with great insight, expertise, and humour. Of notable acclaim and reputation, the speakers included two-Michelin-star-studded Garima Arora of Indian restaurant Gaa; Chudaree “Tam” Debhakam of Baan Tepa in Bangkok, the first female Thai chef to win two Michelin stars; Sara Aqel, who heads up the Italian-Mediterranean restaurant Dara Dining in Jordan; and Florita Morais Alves, the renowned ambassador of Macanese cuisine and proprietor of popular local restaurant La Famiglia.

Students and guests listened in rapt attention to the open discussion about the challenges and victories of women in the dining industry. Addressing the congregation of young participants, the chefs engaged in a thought-provoking dialogue on two key discussion points: “A Culinary Journey Rooted from Heritage to Future Food” and “Exploring the Culinary Journeys of Trailblazing Women.”

Alves pointed out that “the flavours of the Silk Roads have undergone a fascinating evolution, adapting to modern tastes while preserving historical significances.” Arora added to the narrative, saying that “the unique flavours and spices from my hometown is the pride of my culinary journey. Hence, maintaining the ingredient integration to embrace the global trends, while paying homage to the primitive roots, will be one of the new chapters that we need to learn from.” While discussing women empowerment, Debhakam revealed that “as a trailblazing female chef in the industry, I am passionate about preserving the essence of Thai cuisine though our unique lens.” Aqel added that “we can see there are increasing female chefs like us that break the ‘glass ceiling.’ Having shattered the barriers and inspired each other, we believe that we can left an indelible mark in our culinary path.”

The panel discussion was followed by two cooking demonstrations as the professional chefs wowed the audience with their culinary skills and field of expertise. Debhakam showcased her signature dish, dong dang, an elevated version of northeastern Thai noodles with a modern, inventive touch. Aqel then shared her insights on the use of olive oil and its versatility, and how a splash can be used in multiple ways, whether a dish is savoury or even sweet.

After a bevy of culinary activities, the evening was set aside for chefs and guests to unwind and be welcomed to MGM x RR1HK Culinary Masters Macau 2024­­ as all Culinary Masters, VIP attendees, and RR1 HK members gathered for a cocktail and dinner at The Mansion, the exquisite, elevated VIP corner of MGM COTAI. Everyone was treated to a sumptuous buffet dinner as the culinary team of MGM COTAI pulled out all the stops to showcase their best dishes and hottest plates.

Highlights of the first dinner included various stations featuring local specialties like sheng jian bao pan-fried meat dumplings, crispy duck roll, and barbecue Ibérico pork with honey. Chilled flat noodles were served with chicken, cucumber sesame sauce, and chilli oil to cleanse the palate. From an Ibérico ham station, Gillardeau oysters, and dry-aged porterhouse served with aubergine purée and a fragrant black garlic sauce to freshly made dan dan noodles and a live gelato station, Copious Billecart-Salmon bubbly and red and white wines floated around in silver trays as guests mingled and met all the chefs in person for the first time—the anticipation for the tremendous culinary event and the upcoming 12-hands gala dinner was palpable.

“Beyond eating well, the DNA of Culinary Masters is to celebrate, love, and honour the hard work and effort that our chefs put into the making of each and every plate for us during the course of the next few days,” said Tak Man, publisher of Robb Report Hong, highlighting the purpose of the RR1 Signature Event: to honour master chefs, the unsung heroes of any great dining experience.

He continued, “We will have the opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation of what makes the chefs true Culinary Masters and together, we will experience great food and great wine, and I can assure you that we will be in the company of great friends and make new friendships, as well as gain a lifetime memories that you will take back with you for years to come.”

Tune in for more exciting events of MGM x RR1HK Culinary Masters Macau 2024­­ tomorrow.