Home Feature An Hour with Chef Ryan Witcher

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When I stayed at Marina Bay Sands Hotel, I had the opportunity to get to know the Executive Pastry Chef of Marina Bay Sands – Ryan Witcher – and his passion of combining sweet and savoury flavours. This session was held at The Chocolate Bar at The Club at Marina Bay Sands, where guests can indulge in a full-blown chocolate buffet from 8pm onwards.

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The man himself was entertaining and jovial, and he demonstrated (very effortlessly) how to make three of his popular desserts – Rosemary Infused Milk Chocolate with Coconut Agar, Strawberry Basil Sorbet and Milk Chocolate-Thyme Praline.

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Rosemary Infused Milk Chocolate with Coconut Agar

“You can take your own personality and make it into dishes you want,” Witcher said when queried about his penchant of savoury-sweet combo. He also said that rosemary pairs well with coconut or pineapple, and after whipping, the rosemary becomes more subdued in flavour.

He was right. The milk chocolate had a mild hint of rosemary and the coconut agar was fragrant. “Anyone can mix sweet and savoury, but to do it well, you need balance,” he pointed out.

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Strawberry Basil Sorbet

I’ve tried strawberry-mint desserts a few times, but strawberry and basil was a more interesting combination. This strawberry basil sorbet was refreshing and the basil gave it a well-rounded flavour.

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My favourite was the praline, where Chef Witcher used inverted sugar to improve the shelf life of the dessert and helps emulsify the mixture. The thyme flavour wasn’t as prominent as I expected it to be. Instead, it helped give the praline an extra edge.

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Milk Chocolate-Thyme Praline

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He also talked about his bacon infused praline, which I tried immediately after at SweetSpot. Like the rest of his infused pralines, the bacon flavour was mild. I would have wanted a stronger bacon presence, but that would turn quite a few people off! ;)

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Bacon-infused Chocolate Pralines

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For more information, visit Marina Bay Sands’ official page.

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