Restaurateur-chef Mai Pham has worked her cooking magic in Sacramento since 1988, when she debuted Lemon Grass restaurant at 601 Munroe St. It continues to serve some of the best Southeast Asian cuisine anywhere.
Pham is a world traveler who brings imagination and flair to whatever project she happens to be involved in at the time.
Want proof? Pham is bringing Singapore celebrity chef, cooking instructor, cookbook author and food columnist Devagi Sanmugam (pictured) to the Lemon Grass kitchen to prepare a multi-course meal. "We'll be treating our guests to the flavors of Singapore," Pham said.
The feast will be Oct. 25, with seatings at 6 p.m. in the main dining room and 7 p.m. in the bar-area dining room. Cost is $48 per person (not including tax and tip). For reservations: (916) 486-4891; seating is limited.
The menu will go like this:
Appetizers: pork satay with peanut sauce, crispy potato fritters, Balinese salad, and cucumber and pineapple salad.
Entrees: slow-braised beef, tandoori chicken, pepper prawns, sambar (stew) with nine vegetables, Malaysian noodle stir-fry and lemon rice.
Dessert: cardamon ice cream with fresh mango and basil-seed sauce.
"Part of my passion is pan-Asian flavors, and I've been going to Singapore for quite some time," Pham said. "Its cuisine is an amazing blend of Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian (dishes). I've drawn so much inspiration from (the food) there, and a lot of my education in (Asian) street foods has come from Singapore. (The island country) has elevated street-food culture."
What role will Pham play in the kitchen with chef Devagi? "I will cook side-by-side with her, and assist her in any way I can," she said. "I've studied a lot with her in Singapore, and now we'll be cooking live here in Sacramento."
Chef Devagi is known as the Spice Queen of Singapore. As for her culinary philosophy, she has said, "I am known for creating interracial marriages between spices and herbs in my cooking and food. It is important to find the right match of spices and other aromatics so that they bring out the best in the main ingredient."
Visit Lemon Grass and its sister restaurants at www.starginger.com.