When I attended the sneak preview of the US Potato Culinary Festival KL 2013, I literally had a grin on my face because it sounded like a night of pure potato fun! The main highlight of the night was to taste over 40 unique potato creations from popular food establishments across the Klang Valley. The outlets will be serving a wide repertoire of dishes comprising of mains, appetizers and desserts with US frozen potatoes as the star ingredient.
The US Potato Culinary Festival celebrates the launch of these unique potato dishes in 13 outlets from June 1 to 30. During the sneak preview, we were treated to a mind-boggling display of potatoes cooked in Western and Asian cooking styles. Basically, you can have a potato dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner if you wanted to!
The festival’s main objective is to promote the appreciation and enjoyment of US frozen potatoes. US frozen processors provide the widest variety of frozen potato products in various specialty cuts, shapes and sizes. Most likely you would be more familiar with Shoestring Fries, Curly Fries and Potato Wedges which you’ll easily find in any fast food joint. Personally, I like Crinkle Cut fries because they remind me of my childhood when I ate them with burgers after a swimming session in a club. Other interesting potato cuts include the Lattice/Basket Weave Cuts which resemble waffles, Frozen Half Shells which makes them perfect for cheese and vegetable toppings as well as Tater Drums which are crispy potato treats. I’m sure most of us are also familiar with Hash Browns which are tasty breakfast options. Additionally, there are Dehydrofrozen Dices which taste just like fresh potatoes and last but not least, the all-time favourite, Frozen Mashed Potatoes!
A welcome note was given by Jimmie Yeo, US Potato Board Country Representative during the night, followed by a speech from Chris Rittgers of the US Agricultural Attaché. Marty Myers, US Potato Board International Committee Head, Frozen Program gave an interesting overview on US potatoes which contain high ‘solids’ and low sugar content. These qualities are important to ensure the finished product has a desirable appearance, taste and texture. Like most other fruits and vegetables, the potato is mostly water. Since US potatoes have higher solids content as compared to others, restaurants are able to sell more potatoes.
Potatoes are an indispensable source of nutrition, whereby one 148 gram potato has only 110 calories, 18% of recommended daily value (RDV) of potassium and 45% RDV of vitamin C. The added advantage that US Frozen Potatoes have is their high quality and state-of-the-art processing which locks in the taste and nutrients of freshly harvested potatoes. US potato growers are known for their dedication in producing top-notch potatoes for the frozen potato processors. On top of this, the US frozen specialty cuts allow a restaurant to distinguish itself from a competitor and are extremely conducive for the creation of new, tantalising recipes. Susan Weller, Marketing Manager, US Potato Board International, Frozen Program took us on a quick trip across the globe during her presentation by showing different countries serving original and creative potato dishes.
The participating restaurants include Bara One Bistro, Muzeum Café, Saffron Brasseries, Rest Halia, Warisan Café, Marini 57, Craving Kitchen and Café, Movida Kitchen, Badboy Cooks, Paddington Pancake, Suka F&B and Jogoya. Elvin Goh from Secret of Lousiana had an interesting food presentation with miniature sailing boats to accompany his Gumbo US Potato Boat, US Potato Buffalo Slice Parmigiana and Blue Mussel US Potato Versitot. The buffalo slice is actually referring to the seasonings used ala buffalo wings and not actual buffalo meat!
Chef Nizam from Warisan Café actually served Potatoes with a Spiced Seafood Cake, Tuna Kerabu and Tongkat Ali sauce! I definitely remembered this one because the spices were quite strong. Chef Jeff Wang from Muzeum Café served a warm and comforting dish with his Mashed Potatoes infused with Lyonnais and Beef Bacon Fricassee and Crispy Potatoes. How about having potatoes for dessert? Leave that to Bara One Bistro who concocted Chocolate Potato Fingers that were coated in rainbow sprinkles. Chef Koh from Craving Kitchen had a dainty version of the classic Potato Cottage Pie while Chef Sixtus Bakansing created the Deep Fried Argentinian Shrimp Red Battered Potato Spirals with Fruits and Nacho Cheese. I probably won’t be able to describe all the dishes in detail so hope you enjoy the photos that I have taken during the night and long live the potato!