I love watching cooking shows and have always been on the lookout for new ones. While I’ve been blogging for almost ten years, I’ve never been invited to a launch of a cooking TV series. That’s why when I got an invite to the launch of Chef Anna Olson’s new show, Inspired with Anna Olson, c/o Cignal, AFC and Canadian Beef, I couldn’t contain my excitement!
The dinner is to officially launch one of AFC’s original series: Inspired with Anna Olson. The show will run for a total of 10 episodes every fridays starting July 29, 2016. In each episode, Chef Anna Olson will be visiting popular chefs in Asia. Chef Anna Olson gets to visit food stalls and restaurants in the country plus learn the secrets behind the best-loved dishes in the city. At the end of each episode, Chef Anna gets to adapt the learnings from the trip to create her own inspired dishes.
I love these kind of shows because it gives us a view of the beautiful places of each country and see what they have to offer when it comes to food. We even get to learn together with the chef and see how the chef adapt the learning to his/her own cooking specialty.
Chef Anna Olson is a very popular celebrity pastry chef who starred in cooking shows such as Sugar, Kitchen Equipped and Fresh with Anna Olson. She has also published several cookbooks (seven to be exact).
Imagine my giddiness when I was able to get a chance to have a picture with her PLUS get to eat her food.
Here is the menu we sampled that day:
Maple BBQ Chicken Wings
“Inspired” Chilled Chicken Pho Salad with Pho Flavours
Atlantic Lobster Chowder (this was my fav!!!)
Rosemary Roasted Canadian Beef with Balsamic Canadian Blueberry Sauce and Wild Rice Pilaf
Lime Creme Caramel
Coconut Mini Doughnuts/Chocolate Macaroons/Rosette Cookies
This is what Chef Anna Olson had to say about Inspired with Anna Olson. Whee! It’ll be shown this friday already!
I have been so grateful to my AFC viewers for the support and interest they’ve had in my baking and cooking over the years. The making of Inspired with Anna Olson has been a phenomenal experience for me. It has deepened my respect for Asia’s diverse and deeply-rooted cultures. This is my opportunity to connect by sharing my sense of appreciation and wonder at the new cuisines and dishes I’ve been able to explore, across so many countries. The flavours from the region are so varied and intense, yet at the same time, so humble and heartwarming. I hope that viewers enjoy the show as much as I have had in making it.
Here’s an episode guide from Asian Food Channel about the upcoming new show featuring Chef Anna Olson’s journey to 4 cities in Southeast Asia:
- Episode 1 (July 29, 2016) – Philippines with Rob Pengson
Anna Olson kick starts her culinary journey across Southeast Asia in Philippines with celebrity chef, Rob PengsonEpisode. Rob demonstrates 3 local recipes from his restaurant – Squab Inasal (grilled pigeon served alongside seasonal vegetables), Kinilaw (tuna ceviche) and Tocino Di Cielo (bite-sized custards). Drawing inspiration from Rob’s Squab Inasal, Anna prepares Maple BBQ Chicken Wings with an affordable and popular cut of meat. Salmon Tartare on Cassave Cakes showcases the ceviche method of preparation used in Kinilaw. And finally, Mini Lime Creme Caramels puts a spin on Tocino Di Cielo, with the adding of lime which lends a citrus fragrance and a tangy taste.
- Episode 2 (August 5, 2016) – Singapore with Violet Oon
Anna Olson meets with Singaporean Chef, Violet Oon, who demonstrates and explains the heritage behind Peranakan cooking. Violet whips up Ayam Tempra (braised chicken), Bananas and Apon Bokwah with Pengat Sauce (fermented rice cake with sweet coconut milk sauce) and the ever-popular Singaporean breakfast staple, Kaya toast (coconut jam on toast). Inspired by the intricacies of Peranakan cuisine, Anna prepares Chicken Paprikas (chicken marinated with paprika and then simmered), which also pays homage to her Slovakian heritage. She then incorporates coconut milk, the main ingredient that was used in Violet’s Pengat sauce, to create Crepes Anna with a unique Peranakan twist. Finally, Anna presents her version of the popular Kaya toast with her Kaya French Toast.
- Episode 3 (August 12, 2016) – Thailand with Ian Kittichai
Anna Olson explores Thai cuisine with popular Chef and restaurateur Ian Kittichai, who demonstrates the making of Mieng Tuna Krathotong (seasoned tuna flakes in a pastry cup), Yum Hua Phee Salad (shrimp and banana blossom salad) and the famous Tom Yam Soup (seafood soup in a spicy lemongrass broth). Inspired by the bright colors and strong flavours of Thai cuisine, Anna heads back to her home kitchen in Canada and prepares Rosette Cookies, Sweet Chili Grilled Steak on Artichoke and Radicchio Salad and a Sweet and Spicy Carrot Soup
- Episode 4 (August 19, 2016) – Philippines with Margarita Fores
During Anna’s visit to The Philippines, Chef Margarita Fores introduces the making of a Short Rib Adobo with Adlai (short ribs stewed in vinegar and soy sauce with garlic and spices), River Prawn Sinigang with Watermelon (watermelon sour soup with prawns) and Atchara (picked green papaya). Inspired by the use of an alternative grain to rice such as Adlai in Fores’ cooking, Anna prepares a Coffee Braised Beef on Canadian Wild Rice. Roasted Apple and Garlic Mussels is Anna’s take on incorporating fruits in a savoury dish, and Pickled Squash “Marmalade” emphasises the simplicity of pickling in creating flavourful condiments or accompaniments to any dish.
- Episode 5 (August 26, 2016) – Vietnam with Jack Lee
Anna Olson meets Chef Jack Lee in Vietnam who demonstrates the making of Vietnamese staple and comfort food, Pho Bo (beef rice noodle soup), and introduces Going Buoi Tom Thit Ga (Vietnamese pomelo salad) and Ca Phe Sue Da (Iced Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk). Inspired by the fresh and flavourful elements of Vietnamese cuisine, Anna assembles a Beef Carpaccio, highlighting the quality of the meat used. Followed by a refreshing Beet and Grapefruit Salad with Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini and a vegan-friendly Espresso Granita with Coconut Cream.
- Episode 6 (September 2, 2016) – Hong Kong with May Chow
Hong Kong is one of the most vibrant food capitals in the world, offering a variety of tasty street foods. In this episode, Anna meets with Chef May Chow who introduces her to some of her favourite local specialties, including Bao (steamed or baked buns with fillings), and the uniquely shaped Egg Waffles. Chef May then invites Anna to sample a Hong Kong favourite, Claypot Chicken Rice with Morels. Back home, Anna prepares Buns with Crab Salad, a refreshing and Western take on the traditional Asian Bao. Recognising the depth of flavour a claypot can bring to a dish, Anna’s Sunday Roasted Chicken with Chanterelle Mushroom Sauce is prepared in a claypot. Inspired by Hong Kong’s Egg Waffles, Anna prepares Maple Waffles with Ice Cream and Sweet and Salty Peanuts, the perfect ending to a meal.
- Episode 7 (September 9, 2016) – Singapore with Sarah Benjamin
Anna Olson explores Singaporean cuisine further alongside Food Host Sarah Benjamin, and samples Prawn Mee (prawn noodles cooked in a pork bone broth) and Chai Tow Kuay (fried carrot cake), two well-loved local delicacies. Inspired by the rich broth of Prawn Mee, Anna prepares an Atlantic Lobster Chowder. Rather than baking her carrot cake, Anna prepares her version Carrot Cake by steaming it. Back in Singapore, Sarah also demonstrates the technique of steaming a whole fish – a celebratory dish eaten during festive events such as Chinese New Year and wedding dinners. Anna takes home this technique and incorporates it in her Spring Herb Steamed Sole with Almond.
- Episode 8 (September 16, 2016) – Philippines with Chef Claude
In the third and last segment of Anna Olson’s visit to the Philippines, she explores the culinary delights of Pampanga with Chef Claude, making Pampanga Bulanglang (fish broth with guava puree, served with vegetables and seafood), Pampanga Halo Halo (an iced dessert with beans, coconut and corn served with a sweet sauce) and Sansrival (dessert cake with layers of buttercream, meringue and chopped cashews). Inspired by Claude’s use of locally-sourced ingredients and fruit as a significant component in his dishes, Anna prepares a Rosemary Roasted Venison Rack with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce, Sweet Potato Ice Cream Sundae with Corn Nut Brittle and Maple Spice Reduction and her Eton Mess Torte.
- Episode 9 (September 23, 2016) – Malaysia with Ili Sulaiman
In this episode, Anna meets with food host Ili Sulaiman, and samples local Malaysian delicacies, such as Nasi Lemak Bungkus (coconut rice with cucumber, egg, nuts and anchovies wrapped in a banana leaf), Palut Hitam (black glutinous rice pudding) and Sambal (chili paste). Anna is inspired by the use of various spices and incorporation of different flavours in Malaysian dishes, and demonstrates Shrimp and Coconut “Risotto” and Chocolate Macaroons with a unique twist of adding coconut milk – an integral ingredient in South-East Asian cuisine. Anna’s Pickled Jalapeño Salsa in particular showcases the versatility in a spicy condiment, similar to how Sambal is served alongside most Malaysian dishes and even remains as a staple condiment to Malaysians based overseas.
- Episode 10 (September 30, 2016) – Malaysia with Chef Wan
In the final episode of Inspired with Anna Olson, Anna further explores Malaysia’s diverse cuisine with renowned Chef Wan. He harks back to his roots with his grandmother’s Nyanya Laksa (noodle soup in coconut broth) recipe with a trip to the local market to find the freshest produce for the dish. Inspired by the use of fresh ingredients, Anna prepares a Chili Grilled Shrimp and Noodle Salad with a spiced dressing made Malaysian-style by using a mortar and pestle. Anna samples delicious Malaysian street food such as Onde Onde (glutinous rice balls dipped in palm sugar and rolled in coconut) and Epok Epok (Curry puff – a pastry pocket filled with curried potatoes and chicken). Inspired by these one-bite wonders, Anna prepares Coconut Mini Doughnuts and a Curried Herbed Lentil and Sweet Potato Pastry Pocket that makes a tasty snack.
You can watch Inspired with Anna Olson on Asian Food Channel viewable in the Philippines via SkyCable Channel 22 (Analog), SkyCable Channel 248 (HD), Dream Satellite TV Channel 27, Cignal Channel 26, Destiny Cable Channel 71 (Analog), Destiny Cable Channel 22 (Digital).