The Season of Giving is Upon Us
Meet Michelle Pilarcyzk
Introducing the Founder of International Cooking Club Singapore (ICCS) as well as the hands and brains behind The Red Dot Melting Pot Cookbook – Michelle Pilarczyk
Our team first met Michelle at Patara Fine Thai Cuisine for a lunch get-together and she absolutely enjoyed herself. Read on to find out more about Michelle and her recommendations for Patara.
Michelle Pilarczyk, an American by original nationality, moved to London in 2000 where she lived with her German husband and had two children. Their physical home is still is in London to this day, and her kids and herself are also British citizens. In 2009 they moved to Dubai and in 2012 to Singapore. Of the all the countries they have lived, representing four continents in total, Michelle expressed that Singapore is by far their favourite and they hope to stay for many years to come.
Her favourite hobby is cooking and she has a great hunger to learn new cuisines from all corners of the globe. In 2015, she set out to meet other women living in Singapore – both Singaporean and women from all over the globe – to cook with her and teach each other cuisines from our countries or our favourite international dishes, not knowing that her idea to meet 9 women would very quickly turn into an organisation; International Cooking Club Singapore Ltd (ICCS). With a background in management consulting and project management, the initial concept was relatively easy to scale and for her to include hundreds of women, with the help of volunteers whom helped lead each of the cooking and baking groups and others to run the organisation.
The cookbook was meant to be the sole way to fund ICCS, a non-profit organisation as their participants do not pay to join. Once they got their core cookbook team formed, with Michelle, two graphic designers, two main photographers, an editor, a culinary consultant and an illustrator, the project took off and became it’s own new life. Everyone involved were so passionate about their part, and each one very much a perfectionist! We were supported with the volunteers of so many other women in the organisation in so many functions, including testing recipes out and cooking them in the kitchen of my home where all food photography took place on the balcony. Aside from being the editor-in-chief and self-publisher along with her husband, what Michelle is most proud of in her role of this cookbook production was the food styling. With tremendous passion she loved to figure out how to style each dish with nice settings to mirror the authenticity of the cuisine and country. She was delighted to go through the photos each night and select “the one” that would make it into the book, then plan out the next day, to wake up at 5 a.m. and go visit multiple grocery stores around Singapore to prepare for the next day of cooking and photography. Following the intense 6 months or so of food photography, came months and months of reiteration and editing and graphic design work to pull the book together. Making this book was an experience of a lifetime that I will cherish forever, as much as holding this book in my hand as often as I do.
Hear from Michelle
My Favourite Dish at Patara
It so difficult to say which is my favourite dish as everything I have tried there is simply amazing. If I had to choose though, I would say the roasted duck breast in red curry served with tropical fruits and Thai herbs was my favourite. What an incredible dish with beautiful homemade curry flavours. It has incredible depth of flavours – sweet curry sauce highlighted with the gorgeous herbs and wonderful tender slices of duck, fresh tomatoes and Thai aubergines. I found it paired very well with a side of roasted coconut rice with smoked coconut water, complementary in both taste and texture
What I Love About Patara Fine Thai Cuisine
I love the ambience and attention to detail, for example the dishes the food is served on is hand painted traditional and very beautiful Thai dishes. Makes for stunning food presentation and a feast of the eyes (food and plate together). Service was amazing, waiters and other staff very attention. And the restaurant location could not be more convenient being at the heart of Singapore / Orchard are in Tanglin Mall.
THE RED DOT MELTING POT COOKBOOKProduced by the ladies at International Cooking Club Singapore, The Red Dot Melting Pot Cookbook is is a testament to the power that food carries to bring people together and opening minds regardless of culture, religion, nationality and race.
The book is a result of the amazing work of the ICCS community: their wonderful recipes, valuable time and immeasurable talents made this all happen. What was initially a small collection of recipes, has exploded into this wonderful celebration and sharing of food: 223 dishes from 75 countries across the world.
The cookbook is fondly named after Singapore’s nickname “The Red Dot” (also known as “The Little Red Dot”) which refers to how the country is often depicted in maps. Singaporeans have adopted this nickname with pride because of their nation’s success, despite its limited geographical size. Singapore is a unique melting pot.
The Red Dot Melting Pot Cookbook combines a selection of the best recipes the participants have made, shared and enjoyed. Many dishes are contest winners of their “pan ICCS” lunches and coffee events that they have hosted. The book is divided into 11 regions of the world, with family recipes and personal adaptations from distinctive country dishes. Individual quotes and reflections from each contributor explain why that recipe is significant to them or provides some background on the dish or the key ingredients that go into it. Whatever your culinary ability, the book has easy to follow instructions, measurements, photos of ingredients, as well as suggestions on where to buy particular items in Singapore. In addition, the colour coded index enables easy identification of recipes by country of origin and other classifications such as whether they are vegetarian, vegan or gluten free.
Here’s a sneak peek of 2 seasonal recipes perfect to share with you family & friends this Christmas – Belgium Speculoos Tiramisu, Caramelised Apples and Cinnamon & Swedish Buns.
Photo by Claudia Anzur
|Photos by Tatyana Kildisheva||Photo by Vanesa Lazcano|
Cant’ wait to lay your hands on the amazing Red Dot Melting Pot Cookbook? Get you copy at www.iccs.org.sg.