The Norwegian Embassy hosts a Seafood Gala Dinner annually in conjunction with the Malaysian Norwegian Business Council (MNBC) Innovation Award. This award is given to an outstanding member of the council to acknowledge its excellent performance. I was privileged enough to be invited to this gala dinner recently, which was held at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur.
The MNBC was established in 1990 with the objective of stimulating business and trade between Norway and Malaysia and today it has about 50 members. This is the 5th year that the award is given out. This year, contending for the MNBC award are Norwegian companies BASS (marine management systems), Roxar (supplier of technology for oil and gas industry), NRS-Asia Sdn Bhd (bridge construction equipment) and Det Norse Veritas Malaysia (maritime risk management). They are judged based on 5 criteria: sustainability (longterm commitment to the Malaysian economy), being innovative, knowledge transfer, responsible company and governance/company integrity. From this list of strict criteria, this year BASS emerged as the winner of the MNBC award – kudos and congratulations to BASS!
It isn’t surprising that seafood was the main theme for the dinner, considering that Norway is one of the largest seafood producers in the world as it is blessed with a long and fertile coastline. Norway exports farmed and wild fish to more than 150 countries worldwide.
The foyer of the Grand Ballroom right into the ballroom itself were decked with rows of seafood dishes sitting prettily around ice carvings depicting marine life. The array of seafood was quite mind-boggling – raw, smoked and cooked in various ways.
The magnificent seafood spread was prepared by the F&B team of the Mandarin Oriental together with the Flying Culinary Circus, the world’s first and only travelling group of chefs, flying to wherever their services are called for. It’s a team of 4 talented and creative Norwegian chefs, each with his own culinary expertise – Trond, Mathias, Hans Kristian and Tor (how cool is that name?!) This was their 3rd time cooking for the Norwegian Seafood Gala Dinner here. They delighted guests with their animated smoking of salmon and making icecream using nitrogen. You can see these happy chefs clearly enjoy what they do and their fun antics really lit up the evening!
I must confess I’m not a great fan of raw or smoked fish but the smoked salmon done by Mathias that night was simply delicious! It was so good that I went back for seconds!
Entertainment for the evening was provided by Alexander Rybak, winner of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009. He enthralled the audience with his talented violin repertoire. I must admit I myself was captivated by the songs he played and sang, especially “Fairytale” – his award-winning song and which he had to play & sing again on encore to a standing ovation that evening!
The array of mouth-watering desserts gave a fitting sweet ending to an evening of magnificent seafood and merry-making! What an evening to remember!
*My thanks and appreciation to Marian Eu for the invitation