Thursday, July 29, 2010

The West Australian, July 2010

image: Sydney Morning Herald

Go the Poh

Poh Ling Yeow is a woman on the run. She has just finished writing her as-yet untitled new book, which will be on the shelves in November and is based on her hugely successful television series, ‘Poh’s Kitchen”, which she is currently taping. The popular MasterChef runner-up will be winging her way over to Perth this week to take part in the Mundaring Truffle Festival.

“It’s just crazy these days,” she laughs down the phone line from her hometown of Adelaide.

“I barely know what day of the week it is any more.”

But despite all the accolades, the television show and the book, Poh says she still has a lot to learn about food and, at the moment, she is wanting to learn all about truffles.

“I know nothing about truffles whatsoever”, she admits.

“So it’s going to be a really interesting visit. I’m really excited about it, actually. I’m certainly not going to the festival as an expert. I’ll just be there as a novice to learn about and explore truffles. They have fascinated me for some time but they’re also very hard to get a-hold of. So I’m sure it’s going to be an amazing experience to be around so much of it. I’m just going to come over and learn and absorb and basically be a sponge”

Poh is not a newcomer to Perth, having visited once before when she was taping ‘Poh’s Kitchen’ with Perth-based French chef, author and Choux Café owner, Emmanuel Mollois.

“Perth looks like a beautiful city, so I can’t wait to see it. The last time I was here I didn’t really spend much time in it other than to visit Emmanuel’s café. When I’m taping a show there’s not any time to do sight-seeing and on that last visit we filmed two episodes. My schedule is jam-packed. Right from morning to night we are filming, so it’s really intense. You just have a break for lunch and dinner, then you’re exhausted at night. And we have really early starts too. So unfortunately during filming we don’t really get much of a chance to see anything.”

On this visit, however, there will only be one segment filmed for the show. So she is planning on taking a little more time to see the sights of Western Australia – as long as it revolves around truffles.

“On this visit I really just want to focus on the truffle thing, so I’m going to go truffle hunting down south in Manjimup,” she says.

“I’ll also be doing some cooking events with Emmanuel and Alain (Fabrègues)(ok) at the truffle festival, and I’ll be going to Alain’s restaurant, The Loose Box, for a truffle degustation meal, which will be unbelievable. It’s always fantastic to learn new things and, with all the French guys at the festival, I’m sure I’ll be learning a lot of new techniques just by hanging around them. So I’m really, really excited about that.”

Truffles aside, Poh is also excited to being reunited with Emmanuel. The pair became good friends while taping ‘Poh’s Kitchen’ and she is looking forward to working with the Frenchman again.

“I always learn so much from Emmanuel,” she enthuses.

“It’s interesting how we come from such different disciplines but we’re always cross-pollinating and are really excited about teaching each other.”

So, what does Emmanuel think of her then?

“He often gets really freaked out by me,” she chuckles.

“I’m a little bit naughty like that, I suppose. Like many other cultures, the French have a very strong sense of identity. Often their experience of food usually comes from within their culture. So it’s really fun to shock him with weird ingredients. I think the durian fruit was the worst. That was one of the funniest and slightly concerning moments on the show ever. Emmanuel ate it and I thought he was going to throw up. It was so funny.”

Poh will be hosting the signature event of the festival, the Truffle Masterclass, featuring Perth chefs Alain Fabregues, Emmanuel Mollois and Hadleigh Troy on Saturday 31 July, which is now sold out.

She will also be appearing with Emmanuel Mollois in a cooking demonstration at the festival on Saturday, 31 July at 4pm at the Cooking Zone.
Link to article in Fresh, The West Australian