What’s Cooking At The Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur: Chef Junious Dickerson's Southern Heritage Menu
Come as strangers and leave as friends: served at a communal table in Curate’s private dining room, the 8-course experience is just as much about stimulating conversation as it is about inspired cuisine.
I would see the priceless satisfaction in my grandmother’s eyes when everyone was sitting together, enjoying the food she had made for us with her own hands… That’s where my love of cooking began.
Born in Virginia, the birthplace of 8 American presidents, Chef Junious Dickerson is a child of the south through and through. The soul food specialist pays homage to his African-American heritage in an extensive menu that made for one of T.Dining’s most memorable meals of the year (especially the enduring food coma after). Paired with Michter’s American Whiskeys, this is a menu that simply has to be sampled during its short run.
6 Quintessentially Southern Dishes To Sample
1/6Carolinian She-Crab Soup
As the feminine pronoun implies, she-crab soup is specifically made with female crabs — all the better to incorporate that golden roe. Slowly dripping off the back of our spoons, the soup strikes us as being closer to gruel in terms of viscocity. Chef Dickerson's homage to the South Carolinian delicacy is further crowned with soft shell crab, chive oil, more crab roe, and a small head of foam spiced with Old Bay Seasoning.
Depending on where you're from, the word 'biscuit' is likely to conjure a different pastry in your mind's eye. While English biscuits are delicate treats designed for dunking in tea, Southern biscuits are stocky snacks that provided quick sustenance during the American Civil War. Guests at Chef Dickerson's Southern dinner may help themselves to the heap of buttermilk biscuits at the centre of the table. Apple butter is optional.
Dubbed America's silliest salad by the Chicago Tribune, the wedge salad is so weighed down by fatty ingredients that one might as well forfeit their diet and wave the white flag. "Normally there would be pork lardons, but I’ve used duck prosciutto," pointed out Chef Dickerson. "Kale is a staple food in my culture, as are green tomatoes, which are dredged in cornmeal or polenta and deep-fried; the combination makes for a beautiful match.”
4/6Fried Chicken & Waffles
A salve for weary souls and sinews in the slave community in the American South, fried chicken is quintessential soul food. An excerpt from Issue III of Magazine F: Chicken states that, "Slaves were not given fresh meat dishes, but only the leftover and undesirable parts from their masters such as the wings, neck or feet. The African slaves seasoned the pieces heavily with various spices, coated them with batter, and finally fried them in oil." Also a highlight of Curate's Sunday brunches, the fried chicken & waffles at the Four Seasons Hotel KL is served with maple syrup with a spicy kick of Tabasco.
5/6Shrimp & Grits
“One of the challenges of doing a Southern American menu here is finding American ingredients. I happened to find one bag of the grits I needed — it might even be the last bag in the whole of Malaysia!” jested Chef Dickerson at the preview of his Southern menu. The said grain, a staple in the Lowcountry of Georgia and South Carolina, is turned palatable via nixtamalization. Also of peasant origins, red-eye gravy or poor man's gravy provides the final touch for the creamy concoction.
6/6Mac & Cheese
A match made in heaven, macaroni and cheese "leads a double life," says Kathleen Purvis, food historian and member of the James Beard Foundation. In an article for The Charlotte Observer, she lays down ironic differences in point of view: "In black culture, for the most part, macaroni & cheese is the pinnacle, the highest culinary accolade," whereas in white culture, it is "the kind of thing your mother pulled together on a weeknight to stretch the budget." Though tasty enough eaten straight out of the box, mac & cheese certainly leaves quite an impression when capped with truffle breadcrumbs. "To give it a nice, crunchy texture," grinned Chef Dickerson.
Friday, June 14, 2019
Friday, June 28, 2019
Friday, July 12, 2019
Friday, July 26, 2019
Chef Junious Dickerson’ 8-course Southern heritage menu is priced at RM588 per pax, inclusive of whiskey pairings and taxes. Ring 03-2382 8888 or access the Four Seasons App to reserve your spot(s).