Sara’s Fusion: Where art, science, and haute cuisine converge
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Sara Wang – also known as Sara’s Fusion. I was immediately attracted to her effervescent personality. Sara radiates the type of magnetic star quality that draws you close to her. As I have grown to know Sara, I have discovered that she is a multi-talented woman. She was born and raised in Taiwan and moved to China 20 years ago, before relocating to Canada with her family in 2012.
She is also a successful businesswoman in a number of diverse fields. Her primary business manufactures pre-packaged health-food in Taiwan. In addition to her health-food business, Sara has worked in pharmaceuticals, has a stunning jewellery line, and owns a vineyard. She has recently retired from the business world and now devotes the bulk of her time to creating haute cuisine.
Sara’s cooking style is difficult to categorize. It most certainly is fusion, but to simply label it as fusion would be misleading. Her cooking incorporates some of the complicated techniques one may expect from a chef who specializes in Molecular Gastronomy. Shortly after I contacted Sara for an interview she forwarded me some of her biographical details. As I sifted through the photos of her food, I quickly realized that there was something very special happening in her kitchen that was not conveyed through the imagery. I requested a face-to-face meeting with Sara to ask her some in-depth questions about her cuisine and its artistic presentation.
Sara’s Fusion Background:
Sara’s Fusion At Home in Canada with her award from the 2015 Hong Kong International Culinary Classic Competition.
Up until recently, Sara has been a self-taught chef. She now studies under a highly renowned Michelin starred chef. Sara has roughly 300 cookbooks at home and is constantly referring to them for inspiration. She does not follow a single recipe. Rather, she takes the best from several and then reinterprets them with her own artistic flair. Sara is
creative and has invented the culinary techniques that I will detail below.
The Pièce de Résistance New Brunswick Lobster:
My first question for Sara was, “What is your favourite dish to cook?”. Without hesitation, she responded, “New Brunswick lobster.” When I first scanned this image of her New Brunswick Lobster, nothing remarkable stood out. A few minutes later, I took a closer look and noticed a translucent bubble surrounding the lobster’s body. The next questions I asked Sara were, “What is the translucent bubble surrounding the lobster, why is it there, and how did you create it?” She replied that the bubble is a solidified mixture of sugar and water and explained to me that one of the unfortunate things about cooking lobster is that its skin can become dry. To compensate for this, she cooks it in a mixture containing bacon fat. The fat coats the lobster’s skin, keeps it moist, and imparts a pretty sheen while complimenting the dish’s taste.
Sara stated that the crystallized water and sugar bubble surrounding the lobster was created as an artistic representation of the lobster’s shell. Developing this presentation technique was a tedious process. The sugar water had to be cooked at the perfect temperature to prevent the sugar from caramelizing and turning off white, yellow, or brown. Sara saved the lobster shells to use as a form for the sugar water shells. I asked her how long it took her to perfect this painstaking process. She told me that she had practiced everyday for two weeks, making between 30-50 sugar water lobster shells. Sara serves her New Brunswick lobster with a small portion of eggs benedict on the side.
The Artful Pairing of Cheese, Wine, Bread and Foie Gras:
Earlier, I stated that Sara owns a vineyard in China. Upon first glance, it is difficult to tell exactly what this dish is. What you are looking at here is bread made with her wine. The yeast and bread dough is fermented in her fridge for 24 hours before it is baked. The wine-infused bread is paired with cheese-infused butter and foie gras.
Rice Flour Panda:
This dish consists of a hulled and steamed cucumber, diced scallops, and fried pine nuts. The panda has been made from a mixture containing rice flour that is coloured with cocoa. it is a playful artistic interpretation of a panda climbing a large bamboo stalk.
Warm Apple Cinnamon Juice with Blooming Flower:
When I watched this YouTube clip of the flower opening up in the warm apple cinnamon juice, it reminded me of the blooming jasmine flower tea you can buy at select Asian grocery stores and gift shops. Sara’s blooming flower tea is far more complex and time-consuming to craft. The flower blossom has been assembled using a special egg powder that comes from Italy. Sara prepares the egg flower batter and then stamps out each blossom and petal individually. It took her an entire day to make 30 blossoms. The flowers need to dry for one week before they are ready to use and must be added to hot liquid in order to bloom.
Above is a portion of crème brûlée, and yes, it is being served in an eggshell. Sara told me that she cut the top off of the eggs with scissors. Needless to say, this process requires a lot of patience and a very steady hand!
Mint Flower Pot:
At first, this culinary delicacy looks like a small potted plant. This dessert has been constructed by Sara from crushed Oreos for soil, marshmallow, milk, and a sprig of mint on top.
You can find the recipe at the end of the article.
Sara Wang with Master Chef Jin Fu Zheng:
Up until mid 2015, Sara was a self-taught chef. Earlier this year, Sara won both the International Best Creativity Award and the International Lady Master Chef Award at the Hong Kong International Culinary Classic Competition. She was the only non-professional chef who participated in the competition. Some of the other competitors had even come from Michelin Starred restaurants.
Sara Wang with her Master Chef Instructor: Jin Fu Zheng.
After the competition, Sara was approached by Master Chef Jin Fu Zheng (owner of the two Micheline Starred restaurant Lank Wai Fong). Jin Fu Zheng graciously offered her the opportunity to study under him. Of course, Sara accepted and spent two weeks in his restaurant, working and studying for at least ten hours a day.
Sara’s Plans for 2016:
Sara is astounded by the abundance of high-quality meat, fish, and produce readily available in Canada. She was shocked and saddened to learn that many Canadians do not have a greater appreciation for our local seafood – in particular, New Brunswick lobster, which she considers to be the highest quality lobster in the world. Sara is dedicated to teaching people how to cook healthy cuisine while utilizing the world class foods readily available in our local grocery stores and farmer’s markets.
Mint Flower Pot Recipe:
This mint and chocolate desert is a festive conversation piece for holiday gatherings.
1. 10 Oreo cookies
2. 100 grams of marshmallow
3. 100 grams of milk
4. Fresh mint leaves
5. Small (non-toxic) flower pots from a garden store
1. Blend the Oreos in a food processor for a few seconds until they resemble potting soil.
2. Combine the milk and marshmallows in a small pot. Cook over a very low heat until the marshmallow has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and let it cool.
3. Prepare the flower pots. Pour the cooled marshmallow liquid into the flowerpots and cover with the crushed Oreo potting soil.
4. Refrigerator until it has completely chilled. Before serving, add the fresh mint leaves on top of the Oreo potting soil.
Sara’s Fusion Contact
Facebook: Sara’s Fusion
Facebook: Sara Wang
Sara’s Fusion: Blog
Author: Angela Krewenchuk (Founder of METRO LIVING ZINE) with Sara’s Fusion.
Author Angela Krewenchuk with Sara Wang (Sara’s Fusion) at Vancouver Fashion Week SS 206
About the Author: Angela Krewenchuk.
Prior to starting MLZ Ms. Krewenchuk was the Fashion Anthropologist at Retail Insider. Angela was born and raised in Vancouver BC and often jokes about having “webbed feet” due to its rainy climate.
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