Goh Boonwah, Chef de Cuisine at Bushido, talks inspirations and a new menu.
You have previously referenced your mother as your culinary inspiration. Are there any other chefs or places that inspire you?
Yes, there are. Firstly, there is one person who inspired me a lot when I was working in the Pan Pacific Hotel in Singapore. His name is Hishi San, the Executive Japanese Chef of Keyaki restaurant. He is so talented, he taught me a lot about Japanese food, and he was my teacher in the hot kitchen. The second is my sushi master, Chef Kikuzawa San. He taught me the traditional Japanese sushi way. Not only that, he also taught me how to do food control, fresh fish, hygiene, purchasing, and much more. And third is the person who gave me the opportunity at Bushido. He brought me all the way from Singapore to Bahrain. His name is Chong Yong Keong, my previous executive chef at Bushido. I really appreciate all the chefs who have taught me and made me become a better person and one of the top chefs on the island.
What are your personal favourites both to cook and to eat?
As a chef, I love to try any kind of cooking, especially Asian. Asian foods use a lot of spices, herbs, soya sauce, chilli, masala, grape and more. I am always creating Asian-fusion dishes for my menu. For me, cooking must be done with heart, passion and art. Food should be healthy and the most important thing is to bring people and families together, sharing the joy. My favourite foods are Malay, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Arabic grilled, especially spicy.
How do you spend your time when you are not in the kitchen?
As chefs, we do not have much time for our family, so if I have spare time, I love to share it with my family. I love to take them to new restaurants so we can taste new foods and this will also increase my cooking knowledge; after that we will go for groceries. For me, this is my best time, because I love to go to the fresh section and I’ll teach my kids how to choose the best quality food items. Of course, I will teach my kids how to prepare and cook too. Aside from that, if I have some extra time, I will check my social media and share my knowledge of cooking to the people who need it. Here I would love to say thanks to my lovely wife for taking care of me and the family so that I can focus on my work.
What is your signature dish, how is it created and what makes it special?
Well, I am offering several new signature dishes which are the best sellers in Bushido. One of them is Nikkei Miso Black Cod. I think most black cod lovers are familiar with Miso Black Cod which so many Japanese restaurants are serving. But I just want to share with you our Nikkei Miso Black Cod fish, the specialness of this dish is the Peruvian-Japanese twist. The fish is from the Atlantic ocean, after we portion it, we will let it rest for 40 minutes with some salt. In the meantime we will start to make the sauce, the ingredients are saikyo and aka miso, lime and yuzu skin, ajiamarillo, cumin powder, soya sauce, and more, We will marinate the fish and keep it in the chiller for 84 hours, which is three-and-a-half days, before it is grilled for 10 to 12 minutes and served with white quinoa, edamame, lime, truffle dust and aji miso sauce. ✤