THE AMERICAN CHEF SERVES DINERS DISHES RECREATED FROM HIS TRAVELS, AND TELLS US HOW HE TO USE DURIAN IN A DISH
He’s a dreamer, traveller and chef all rolled into one. We’re talking about David Myers, acclaimed Los Angeles chef and restaurateur, who also helms Adrift at Marina Bay Sands Hotel. We caught up with him during the Epicurean Market 2015 and saw just how quickly he came up with a new dish. We’re not going to lie: we’re thoroughly impressed.
You’re a world traveller. How does that translate in your work?
I get my inspiration from travelling, and in turn create dishes that will go nicely with Adrift. I want to do dishes that are healthy, vibrant and fun. And this is why travel is a great tool. It gives me the knowledge and experience to try new dishes, give them a special touch, and bring them to customers.
You’ve been to Singapore countless times. What’s one dish you created that reminds you of the country?
When we first opened, one of the first dishes I ever did was a green papaya salad with lobster, sago, and soursop. I had never seen sago and soursop before, and I thought they tasted amazing. The green papaya was preserved, so it was sweet, and there was some spiciness to it. It was a mix of everything. People went nuts over it.
How would you describe Adrift to a potential customer?
Adrift draws from inspiration you get while travelling. Think of it as your guide. It’s a place for you to explore. You don’t even have to think. Just come in and explore the world with us.
What are the top three qualities a chef should have?
You’ve to be creative, think of new things and constantly push boundaries.
Is there a particular ingredient you dislike using?
I’m not sure… That’s a good question. I’ve never really thought about it. I certainly have my favourites, and there are things I don’t use as much, but as a chef you have to use all ingredients. You don’t really have a choice.
What about durians?
I actually love durains. I don’t use it often, because I think durian is best just eaten as it is. But my good friend David Thompson (of Long Chim) once made a durian sorbet, and I thought it tasted fantastic. Maybe I’ve to think harder on how I can work with durians.
Perhaps give it a twist and use it in a savoury dish?
Maybe! Yeah, I think so. Maybe durian and foie gras. I think that’ll be really cool. Because foie gras is rich, and durian has this powerful, almost umami-like flavour. I think would work. And adding a little coconut with it, that would be perfect. Like a coconut jam that has a little bit of spice. Hey, I think I’m going to do that for my next dish!
That was quick. It didn’t take you long to come up with one! So, what got you into small plates?
That’s the only way to eat. The Japanese and Spanish are known for their small plates, so it’s nothing new. But I think it’s a way of eating that people do more regularly now. If I go out with friends, I want to order a number of items, and I want to try everything! I want to see the dishes on the table, I want to share it with friends. That’s how I like to eat. It’s much more casual, intimate. It’s fun! And there are a lot more talking points with friends, compared to if you each had your own dish; you can probably only have a mouthful of your friend’s dish at best. It’s very communal; it’s what I want to do.
What can we expect from you in the coming months?
We’re going to be focusing on my travels, once again. There’ll be different dishes on the menu. There’ll be a bit of history to it too, so it’s not just a dish. There’s a perspective of why this dish is what it is.
That means it’s more travelling for you then.
Yep, sounds tough but someone’s got to do the job!
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