Stuart Hickman – The Soul of Flavor Onboard Pandaw
14 Jun 2019 by Admin
If you really enjoyed the onboard dishes of Pandaw, then you should know whom to express your gratitude to.
The man that we would praise herein is Stuart Hickman, who we regard as the soul of flavor onboard Pandaw. At the age of 47, he is a talented Welsh Australian chef of Pandaw who has a great passion for Southeast Asian culinary and is an inspiration for the chef team onboard. Taking the responsibility for managing food and beverages on Pandaw, Mr. Hickman finds a way to combine his obsession with sharing original and extraordinary cuisines with his enthusiasm for teaching the next generation of talented chefs.
Stuart Hickman - The Soul of Flavor Onboard Pandaw
With thin the period of one year and six months, this talented chef has utilized the experience that he has gained over decades of working in places in the world to renovate the food and beverage service on Pandaw. Now he is focusing on compiling a slip-smacking cookbook to release in this autumn.
For the time being, this upcoming publication is given the title “Flavors from Oriental Rivers”. The work will be done via crowd-sourcing from the skillful and experienced chefs of Pandaw to collect the most scrumptious recipes for canapés and the main courses, based on a huge variety of exceptional cuisines from all the localities where our cruise pass by.
Burmese Traditional Dishes Are Cooked With Revamped Recipes
Upon hearing him talk enthusiastically about the “flavor layers”, you can even visualize mouth-watering dishes like “watermelon covered in caramel, Greek salad of feta mixed with pickled cucumber and ginger mint”. This would make you feel hungry and respectful at the same time. The respect here is for a man who loves cooking special dishes and is concerned about the satisfaction of the passengers. As a chef who always puts his guests at the center of the “theater cuisine”, he regards it as part of the cruising experience to draw the attention of the passengers on the preparation and cooking of what they are going to be served.
Born to a Welsh hotel manager father living in the coastal region of Queensland, the passion for cooking and catering has been running in his veins since his young ages. He had acquired some trading skills in Australia before going on an adventure through many places where he gradually improved his cooking skills. During this venturing journey, he has experienced different working environments, from a small cruise ship on the Reef of Barrier to the slopes for skiing in Andorra to the deck of Majorca, the superb luxurious yacht, to cooking for 200 workers in a remote mine in Western Australia.
A Mouth-watering Dessert
With the experience of working as senior in upscale locations in Singapore and Phuket markets, and the knowledge learned from his Thai wife, Stuart is much more familiar with Southeast Asian cuisines than his colleagues. He has also learned tactful skills to work effectively in a multicultural environment. Thus, he highly values the cruciality of acuteness and patient and the need to compliment while criticizing in the course of encouraging the cooking squad.
During the cruising season with nine ships in total, Stuart takes the responsibility for supervising the service of food and beverages. Particularly, he has to guarantee that the dishes are prepared with the best ingredients, the menus are renewed frequently and the cooking procedure and food safety standard are consistent.
“The Pandaw cookbook is designed to focus on local cuisines with the recipes submitted by all the chefs of Pandaw. Said Stuart. “We will include the recipes of several famous European dishes and modern cuisine created with love and passion. In addition, there will be the sharing of what actually happens inside the kitchen during a cruise”
The Job of Stuart as a chef faces many challenges in Myanmar, which is the heartland of Pandaw, because of the absence of a native restaurant culture (Still, there are several outstanding restaurants, like Le Planteur Restaurant in Yangon, where you can find world-class imported wine bottles).
Unlike Thailand, Myanmar doesn’t have the sources of ingredients that a first-class chef like him demands. This is another challenge for Stuart. “To be honest, I think that in comparison to the cuisines of other Asian countries, that of Myanmar is relatively plain and not very distinctive, and sometimes not fit with the taste of Westerners. The challenge that I have to overcome is to use the ingredients available in Myanmar to cook dishes which meets the taste of Western passengers’.
A Combination of Oriental and Western Cuisines
He talks frankly about the difficulties of finding the sources of ingredients that meet his standards, and the hardship that he has proudly overcome. “Unlike Thailand, the diversity in agriculture hasn’t been promoted in Burma. As an illustration, there’s just one kind of lettuce in Myanmar which is iceberg. You can’t find green and juicy summer leaves like that in Thailand. And with the popularity of buffalo breeding in this country, it’s hard to understand why they don’t have an excellent kind of buffalo cheese.”
“On the other hand, Myanmar does have mouth-watering seafood, particularly the kind of white snapper that the locals call as seabass. And the renowned river prawn on the Irrawaddy River which tastes like a fresh water langouste.”
With what Stuart mentioned above, we have to recognize that he has a great knack for finding the best sources of both local and imported ingredients. As a man who is always on the way to find the best flavors and the freshest vegetables and meats, he knows who are the best importers and suppliers.
“To be a true chef, you have to utilize your imagination. With imagination, you can create new cooking methods and original recipes. The only thing that can hold you back is a limited imagination”
A Corner of Pandaw Kitchen
There is no chef in this world who doesn’t talk with enthusiasm about their passion for indigenous cuisines, but what make us impressed on Mr. Hickman is his determination that Pandaw generates a positive impact on the industries of food service and the tourism in Myanmar. Stuart is truly a strict and devoted instructor.
“When joining the chef crew on Pandaw, some young chef actually experienced more training than the preceding generation, there are even chefs who have worked in foreign countries like Dubai. Higher level of experience and understanding is what we can see in the chefs who have had the chance to work overseas. We have built up a crew of talented chefs and we will continue making it better.”
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