Malaysian Women’s Weekly Style Workshop at M&S Suria KLCC (part 1)

Yes, I admit it, I’m not really fashion-savvy and with the additional weight I’ve gained post-pregnancy, I’ve become very reserved when it comes to choosing clothes or experimenting with different looks. Sigh, if only I can shed extra 15 kilos off by working so hard…

 

So when I heard about Malaysian Women’s Weekly Style Workshop, I knew I have to check it out. Would I miss this chance to meet and greet MWW Editor, Elaine Kwong, and Fashion Editor, Sabrina Salehuddin? And, of course, I also wanted to see the new Marks & Spencer outlet at Suria KLCC. 

The BabyFootAddict with Malaysian Women’s Weekly’s Sabrina Salehuddin (left) and Elaine Kwong (right)


Fresh and feeling great on a Saturday morning, I was in front of M&S by 10am. The facade of the store is warm and welcoming. 

Marks & Spencer at Suria KLCC, Concourse Level


The lovely morning started with greetings and introduction from Elaine. They will share 6 different looks with gorgeous models wearing Marks & Spencer items. 

MWW Editor, Elaine Kwong

The pretty Ms Sabrina sporting a sweet smile before the model parade of styles…



STYLED LOOK #1:

First up was model Olga, wearing ox-blood-color skirt, white blouse, fitted blazer and black ankle boots. 


I like this look because it’s something that I can see myself wearing on a normal working day. It’s sleek, stylish yet corporate. It’s even something I can wear to a business presentation with potential partners or board of directors. I’m just not sure if I can get away with this cutting of skirt as I have mummy-tummy and mummy-hips to hide.



STYLED LOOK #2:

Second look was with model Chloe, wearing printed dress with multi-color patterns in elbow-length sleeves and a pair of peep-toe black ankle boots.


I find this dress nice to wear for a normal office day, and as suggested by MWW team, can be thrown over with a jacket to make it more suitable for the office. Not recommendable for someone with my body shape, though, as my mummy tummy will surely pop out. But Elaine gave a tip of looking for a dress like this with folds at the right places to hide tummy fats.  



STYLED LOOK #3:

Olga walked up in a lovely style of white-collared blouse, black cropped pants red jacket, black high-heeled shoes while carrying a small blue purse. 


I’d say this is my favorite look. I loved the flair of this red color jacket over black-and-white attire. If I were to flaunt this style, I’d be wearing a pair of peep-toe, sling-back shoes as I really get uncomfortable with closed shoes especially pointed, high heels. But overall, this is such a lovely style and I’d be shopping one of these days to get this look! 



STYLED LOOK #4: 

Chloe came back wearing a cute, long-sleeved big shirt with Panda face, over full-length black leggings, animal print boots and a big bag. 


This one’s for that casual, chic look and will look good for those with slim, long legs. Sabrina also showed other possible combinations such as this grayish, jeweled blouse. 


I think this is lovely and I just wish I still have my old legs when I was only 49kg! If I were to wear this look, I’d be using a longer blouse to hide my oversized-hips and butt then glam it up with gold or silver open-toe wedges. 



STYLED LOOK #5: Olga wore an animal print, one-piece fitted dress, gold necklace and black, closed, high-heel shoes while carrying a small, long-strapped purse. 


This can be good for office wear but, personally, I’m not a big fan of animal print on dresses. I’d be alright with small splashes or accents of animal print but not on a whole piece. But this will still be great for ladies who love animal print even those who are not as slim as a model like Olga or Chloe. Of course, for those with bigger frame, I think that a small purse like this will not work well as it can accentuate your body size against the purse. I’d go for a mid-size or bigger-sized bag.



STYLED LOOK #6: 

Last look from Chloe was a 2-piece ensemble of a printed white blouse and a printed black skirt. Shoes were peep-toe ankle boots.


I’m not used to seeing printed blouse and skirt with different patterns but this one is quite chic. I don’t think I can get away with the length of this skirt, though, so if I were to try a print-on-print look, it will probably be a pair of cropped pants.


Here are more looks from Malaysian Women’s Weekly Style Workshop on mannequins: 


This workshop made me think about experimenting more with my fashion style despite the mummy tummy. Great tips and styles from Elaine Kwong and Sabrina Salehuddin! Thanks to MWW and M&S!



Okay, I’ve blabbed too much! I have to split this story into 2 and share more about what I did at Marks & Spencer after the Style Workshop: snooping and taking photos around the vast clothing collections, discovery of an instant solution to my bulging tummy and what I bought that day!     


   


 












 

 

 

SHAPE Magazine and Skechers convinced me to RUN!

One Saturday morning, I found myself up and awake early at 7:00am, walking upon the lovely grounds of Desa Park City, wearing some sneakers and preparing myself for something that will change the way I understand ‘running’. 


One of my good friends invited me to join her in attending SHAPE Magazine’s Run to Win Workshop on 24th August. For a fee of RM50 per pair of participants, my friend and I registered to be part of this activity. I’ve never attended something like this and I am also not a regular runner. I believe the last time I really ran for exercise was 5 years ago, in 2008 when I was still in Philippines. My husband and I would drive every Saturday morning to a nice park and I’d run while he walks. Then we’d go for a McDonald’s breakfast in a nearby mall. Well, that was 5 years ago. I’ve always thought of running again so I can go back to my pre-mummyhood weight or at least be close to it. But I guess my busy working life for the past few years dampened motivation, or I was just plain lazy. 


Thanks to Shape magazine, Skechers and my dear friend, I managed to get my lazy ass off from bed early that morning to learn more about running. When we arrived at the registration, the organizers gave us a goodie bag that contained…(drumroll) a brand new pair of Skechers running shoes, a red Skechers shirt and the workshop notes. How cool is that! So my friend and I changed into the shirt and shoes then braced ourselves for the next surprise. 






The workshop started with welcome remarks from the Shape team, followed by an introduction to running by Raj Subramaniam, a master trainer. I enjoyed listening to this guy as he really gave a lot of information about running. How was I to know that there’s actually a proper posture for the head, neck, shoulders and arms while I run? Raj guided us on each part of the body that we should take note of to run efficiently. 



Raj explaining important posture points for running

Raj also introduced us to the pair of Skechers running shoes that we wore. When I put the shoes on, I immediately noticed the comfort and lightness of the shoes. It was very soft and cushioned with every step. For me, having good running shoes is very important as I’ve experienced pain and discomfort before from running due to inappropriate shoes. I kinda had a phobia already from wearing rubber shoes as I easily get uncomfortable. It’s either the shoes make my feet feel very warm and sweaty, or I get blisters on certain spots even while wearing thick socks. 


Anyway, this pair of Skechers is just great. It’s light, soft and comfortable. You know that you’re wearing shoes but you don’t feel the weight. Raj also pointed out that this pair, the GoRunRide, gives a cushioned running experience with innovative mid foot strike technology. The shoe is shaped to make our feet land naturally on the mid foot, not on the heel and not on the toes. It’s very lightweight which makes running very comfortable. The tongue is also stitched to eliminate the need to constantly move that middle part of the shoe back in place (the tongue is that part under the shoe lace that often gets out-of-place as you run then you keep pulling it back in place). Skechers calls this feature ‘VARI-LOCK’ for stay-put tongue. Very clever. I hated having that problem with sneakers. 




Raj also mentioned some of the injuries that runners might experience and how to avoid it such as side stitches, knee pain, shin splints, ankle sprains, muscle pull and more. 



All of us went through several exercises for strength, warmup and actual running practices to train us for a more efficient running technique. It was very tiring since I haven’t done any of these in a long time. But it really woke me up and got my blood running. 


Photo by Shape


After a while, though, I was feeling pain on my right side (it’s called side stitches, now I know there’s a term for that). I normally experience this when walking too fast or running. Apparently, it can be caused by meals before running. There must be an interval of around 2 hours between a light meal and running to prevent this pain. I didn’t join the short run around the park. So I managed to snap a few more shots…




My new pair of Skechers GoRunRide shoes…


We had some stretching exercises after the short run then Raj gave us a few more pointers and a Q&A session. Did you know that milk is a great drink for after-running? It can even be a better option than isotonic drinks because milk has a lot of nutrients and will give you an insulin spike which will help your body in recovering energy. 




The back of our red Skechers shirt is cool. I love the statement…



We were treated to some light snacks of sandwiches, water and a 4-piece pack of Anlene chocolate milk. I was feeling pretty good at this time. The run and exercises really gave my body a good boost!


Thanks to Shape and Skechers for this activity and the goodies. I was really convinced now to start planning my regular running routine. Maybe I’ll start with every Saturday first then eventually do twice a week. 



Here’s the ultra comfortable pair of Skechers…




Which, by the way, also came with extra pair of turquoise laces…



I just love the interesting tags with snippets of the technology behind the shoes…



NOTHING to slow you down. Gets you motivated, doesn’t it?


I’ve now set my mind to doing weekend runs. First, I need to get new sets of running shorts or knee-length pants. My old pairs of exercise pants don’t fit anymore! This simply means I REALLY need to do more exercise, be fit and lose weight…


My Skechers running shoes are waiting so I’m looking forward to an early morning run starting this Saturday. Hope you are also planning to do some fitness exercise soon! Let’s do it, ladies!








My Wine Class Experience with Sommelier Roderick Wong

I was so delighted to have been given the opportunity to attend Mr Roderick Wong’s class at Starhill Culinary Studio yesterday, 10th August 2013. It was a lovely Saturday afternoon, just a day after the 2nd Raya holiday. I parked at Pavilion KL which was busy with streams of families celebrating a great weekend then walked happily across to Starhill Gallery where Starhill Culinary Studio’s wine studio was about to engulf my senses with the aromas and taste of wines. 

Themed Bubbles of the World, the class was about understanding and exploring different sparkling wines from around the world, how a sparkling wine is made, and other interesting information about this specific type of wine. 

Bubbles of the World wine class by Roderick Wong
Roderick gave us this handout which I really appreciated because it contains a lot of useful information to understand the class and the sparkling wines more.




5 different sparkling wines  Prosecco, Sekt, Cava, Champagne, Sparkling Shiraz Cabernet

Roderick Wong started the class with a detailed explanation about the Champagne method of producing sparkling wines. It involves a long process with a lot of steps: harvesting, destalking, separation of juice, fermentation, blending (assemblage/ coupage), second fermentation, ageing, riddling, disgorgement, dosage, recording and wiring. Roderick said this is already a simplified version of the process so we can easily understand. OMG, so the actual process is even more complicated than this? Seriously, kudos to those winemakers!

Roderick also shared that a lot of people often mistake Champagne for other sparkling wines and are unaware that sparkling wines are not the same as sparkling juice. Champagnes are only produced in the Champagne region of France and are governed by very strict rules to be allowed to put ‘Champagne’ on their label. No other region or country is allowed to use the put ‘Champagne’. But due to the extreme popularity of Champagne as probably the best sparkling wine, some people assumed that any sparkling wine is called Champagne. 

Some people also thought that when somebody says sparkling wine, it is the same as the ordinary sparkling juice available at the supermarket. The truth is there are a lot of other great sparkling wines from other countries and regions aside from Champagne in France, such as: Cremant from other regions in France aside Champagne, Spumante from Italy, Cava from Spain, Sekt from Germany, Cap Classique from South Africa and more. 

Roderick also gave us a helpful list of information to what ‘Brut’ and other words mean for wine. 



Opening a champagne or sparkling wine bottle can be tricky so we must be very careful when uncorking one. Here Roderick demonstrates how to uncork a bottle without letting the cork fly or pop loudly. It takes an expert skill, I believe, and I wouldn’t dare to open one! Apparently, most of the accidents in restaurants/ bar come from flying corks!

Roderick Wong uncorking a Champagne bottle
We started with a Laurent-Perrier Champagne (yum). It’s wonderful to see it bubbling on the glass. 

Pouring Champagne

Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles. I had to catch a photo before all the bubbles disappear!

Champagne and its bubbles on my wine glass

Here I was, tasting the precious bubbly from Champagne…



And here’s my good friend, Jen, sniffing a Cava (sparkling wine from Spain), the 2nd wine for the class.



Pouring the 3rd sparkling wine – Sekt from Germany…



And probably the most interesting one I saw and tried was a sparkling red wine – Shiraz Cabernet from Australia…



All the 5 sparkling wines from around the world: Champagne, Cava, Spumante, Sekt, and Sparkling Red. I personally liked the 3rd wine – Spumante from Italy.



The class wouldn’t be complete without some canapés…



Roderick Wong is a very articulate, knowledgeable and approachable sommelier (wine expert). He answered our questions happily and with some interesting personal stories as well. 

Me with Roderick Wong

Jen and Roderick Wong

Jen and I also met a few hot chicks during the class…



This wine class at Starhill Culinary Studio was truly wonderful and memorable. Not only were we able to sample great sparkling wines but we really learned a lot of useful information about this beverage which is viewed by many as a luxury drink. 

Kudos to Starhill Culinary Studio and to Mr Roderick Wong for hosting such an amazing class. We’ll see you again soon!

For more information about Starhill’s wine classes, visit www.starhillculinarystudio.com 

For more info about upcoming events with Mr Roderick Wong, check out their FB page – The Wine Academy Malaysia

Cheers!

Starhill Culinary Studio’s Wine Class with David Stephan

Wine never ceases to be an evolving subject with so many different facets. With thousands of different types of grapes used for its production, wines of the exact same grapes will surprisingly have different tastes and aromas depending on a lot of factors in winemaking. Prices of wines using the same type of grape might also have big differences. For those who enjoy wine, it’s still a wonder: is an expensive wine always better than a cheaper one? And this was what Starhill Culinary Studio’s wine class aimed to enlighten guests about.
The Wine Studio, located at the Muse Level of Starhill Gallery, is a warm and welcoming sight. The walls are adorned with shelves of varieties of wines; the tables are beautifully designed together with matching spittoon in between each pair of seats. For each guest, there awaits a Starhill Culinary Studio goodie bag, the wine class tasting notes kit and 6 wine glasses waiting to be filled with delicious beverage.



Themed Low vs. High Priced Wines, the wine class last 25th July was conducted by Wine Talk’s exclusive French sommelier, David Stephan. David introduced the students to three different wines: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Bordeaux. Each type had a sample of low priced and high priced label so there was a total of 6 different wine labels tasted (and enjoyed). David started with the Chardonnay: one priced at around RM50 and another priced more than RM100. This also applied to the Pinot Noir and Bordeaux wherein each type had 2 labels with very different price range. He explained the factors affecting the quality and taste of wine very deeply, even showing different vineyard locations on each country’s map for fuller understanding on how the ‘terroir’ influences the wine produced from each vineyard. Terroir, by the way, “is the set of special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place, interacting with the plant’s genetics, express in agricultural products such as wine, coffee, chocolate, tomatoes, heritage wheat, cannabis, and tea.”(Wikipedia)



There was so much information and knowledge to absorb from David.  Some of which are difference between barrel and steel for storage of wines, weather and climate, some grape disease called botrytis that help produce good, sweet wines, biodynamic agriculture, and so much more (this David is really a walking wine-cyclopedia!). But probably the most interesting part is, of course, actually tasting each type of wine and discovering that the expensive one doesn’t necessarily mean that it suits your taste better. The Chardonnay, for one, received more votes on the lower-priced label.


Oh, and here are some of the canapés served during the class…


What was supposed to be a 3-hour session (6:30pm – 9:30pm) lasted longer than expected. Everybody was having a great time sampling the wines and asking David for more clarification about wine. There are just amazingly so many things to know and talk about this subject…does older mean better, what wines can be aged for years, what vintage is good for this certain type of wine, etc. The guests were very interactive and expressive of their interests and even shared their personal stories about wine.
One of the highlights of the night was a lucky draw for 2 bottles of wine: Monte da Peceguina Rosé (an exclusive label from Wine Talk). There were 2 winners who each bagged a bottle of this wine from David. Hooray for these guests!

Here’s the sommelier, David Stephan, with some of the guests…



And here are the 6 wonderful wines tasted during the class…

This wine class in Starhill Culinary Studio was truly wonderful and memorable. All of us had a great time (if only the night wasn’t so short!) and we all met a bunch of great people who share the same interest with wine. For those who would like to have better understanding and knowledge about this subject, attending a wine class like this at Starhill Culinary Studio will surely take you to a higher level of wine appreciation and experience. Cheers, guys!


For more information about wine class schedule, visit www.starhillculinarystudio.com 
or call +603 2782 3810

For inquiries about wine or about David Stephan, visit www.winetalk.com.my or call 1300 88 9788


CITIBANK and WINE TALK treat Citigold clients to wine appreciation

An evening with David Stephan, Wine Talk’s exclusive sommelier



Citibank and Wine Talk teamed up to host a wine appreciation workshop exclusively for Citigold clients at La Bodega Lounge in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur on June 21, 2013.
The workshop was aimed at providing Citigold customers with a hands-on wine tasting experience and an understanding of wine labels under the guidance of Wine Talk’s exclusive wine expert or sommelier, David Stephan.

Wine beginners and enthusiasts were entertained to an evening of amazing wine facts, wine sampling, delicious canapés and interaction with the sommelier.


Kenneth Lim, Branch Head for Sales & Distribution of Citibank Damansara said, “Citibank–Citigold and Wine Talk created this workshop for customers, who are interested in wines but rarely have the opportunity to experience wine tasting with a sommelier, who can offer them guidance on wine selection and wine tasting.”
David Stephan said Wine Talk, an online wine ordering and delivery service, offered customers the option to easily choose from over 400 different labels.  For wine enthusiasts who wanted to explore new wines, Wine Talk’s Wine Club also provides home delivery service for a selection of great wines on selected months.
“Wine Talk guarantees selection and prices for all customers. For instance, customers will receive a new bottle of wine if they did not enjoy the wine they bought, provided the product is returned within 30 days of purchase. Customers will also receive a refund if the wine they ordered via Wine Talk was more expensive than that sold in major super and hypermarkets in Peninsular Malaysia. They must, however, return the product within 14 days of purchase,” Stephan added.
Amongst the wines sampled by Citigold customers were Wine Talk’s Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Chardonnay from Australia, Pinot Gris from France, Pinot Noir from Argentina, Bordeaux from France and a Portuguese red wine.
   
 David Stephan giving CitiGold customers guided tasting for Sauvignon Blanc
 CitiGold customers were taken into guided wine tasting of 6 different wines

L-R
Keith Tham, David Stephan, Kenneth Lim, Mrs TS Tan, Mr TS Tan, Raymond Tan, Josephine Joseph, Lily Khoo
  
  Danny Siew , Lee Soon Fatt, Ong Suat Keng, Kenneth Lim

Mrs. Tan & MR. Tan Kim seong, Mr Hong and Ms. Hong, Kenneth Lim


Rostan Philippe Louis, Chan Yoke Sin , Wong Sow Peng 
  L-R
Ho Chi Kong, Caroline Foo, David Stephan  & Abigail Huang 


For more details regarding wine workshops or wine delivery, you can check Wine Talk’s website




Starhill Culinary Studio Launches its Creative Culinary Classes that Truly Inspire

I admit that I’m one of those working women who have been so focused (or should I say engrossed) with work to the point that they never had the time or interest to learn how to cook. At this age of over 30 years, I can only survive with a few simple dishes like scrambled egg, fried egg, instant noodles and rice using the rice cooker (!). I wasn’t so concerned before but now that I have a 3-year-old child, I know that I should soon learn how to cook beyond the basic fried or boiled meals. Even if I am quite lucky to have a mother-in-law who cooks like a chef…

Last 22nd May, Starhill Culinary Studio was launched in Starhill Gallery at Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. The program was held at the Basement Level – Feast where distinguished media representatives arrived. 



Jeremiah Tan, Director of Starhill Culinary Studio and Autodome Sdn. Bhd., gave a brief welcome speech. He explained that attending Starhill Culinary Studio’s classes will give epicureans an inspiring gourmet experience. Experts, both in-house and external, will lend  their expertise on how to enrich their daily lives. Creative juices will be flowing through fun and engaging classes conducted by Starhill Culinary Studio’s team of passionate individuals. 




After Jeremiah’s witty and enlightening speech, Starhill Culinary Studio’s team was called upon the stage. With a dramatic yet lively entrance starting from the escalator where everyone can see each of them arriving, the team came up to the stage in their black attires and posh hats/ scarfs. 

When I first saw the stage backdrop with the photo of a man wearing a head scarf, I was actually wondering who was he. I thought he was some celebrity brand ambassador as I am not really up-to-date with local celebrities. And to my surprise when he was introduced, the photogenic man on the backdrop is Chef Wai, Executive Chef of Starhill Culinary Studio. In the photo above, he’s in the middle with Jeremiah Tan, wearing his signature head scarf. Together with his entire team, Chef Wai “creates magic in each class where an insight into a whole world of different cuisines is delivered in one place.” 
Guests were then invited to take a look inside the goodie bags and wear the chef’s hat and apron. Each hat has a label to direct where in the studio will each guest be taken for a culinary experience. Maybe, technically, not all culinary as Starhill Culinary Studio also has this wonderful and fun place…the Wine Studio. Well, more of that later.
Here you’ll see the guests wearing the hats and chef’s apron.
And off we go to Starhill Culinary Studio at Muse Level!
Upon entering the Muse Level (doesn’t that make you feel pretty?), you’ll be welcomed by a warm and friendly lounge. I love how this reception area was designed to make you feel welcome and relaxed, like you’re actually entering a home. 
And on top of the lifts, you’ll see this classy and ‘inspiring’ line:
Starhill Culinary Studio conducts classes for different cuisines or simply for different culinary interests. On the right side is the Pastry and Baking Studio while on the left side are Wai’s Dining Room, Wai’s Kitchen and the Wine Studio. 
Guests for Chef Wai’s kitchen were the first to arrive. The kitchen is very enticing (yes, I know, even if I am ignorant in the kitchen). This really looks like a fun environment to learn about cooking. “Wai’s Kitchen is created to showcase different cooking methods with live demonstrations and interactive classes, teaching how to create amazing dishes from recipes that are usually kept close to a master chef’s chest.”  
Outside the actual cooking kitchen is the classroom with LCD TVs placed strategically so everyone can see and follow preparations done on the table. The place is admittedly very nice and comfortable for those who are interested to learn more about cooking. 
And so the guests got a first-hand experience on how Chef Wai conducts his classes. Here he’s demonstrating a dish preparation. Chef Wai is very easy to spot with his head scarf…
Chef Wai heads YTL’s restaurants at Starhill Gallery in KL and is the pioneer of Pangkor Laut Resort’s signature restaurant, Fisherman’s Cove. His culinary skills have delighted some of the world’s most recognized names including Elle Macpherson, Keira Knightley, Ralph Schumacher, George Benson and many more.  
Starhill Culinary Studio also have a special place for those who just want to enjoy sumptuous dishes created by the Executive Chef, none other than Chef Wai. At Wai’s Dining Room, guests can experience bespoke themed private dinners and dine in sophistication and grandeur. 
For those who want to make creations to satisfy savory cravings, the Pastry Studio and Baking Studio provide the perfect place. Entering the area immediately gives a whiff of something good and mouth-watering…
Beside the Pastry Studio’s cake display is a glass wall with a colorful display of round things. Guess what these are…I was amazed upon looking closely…
Delicious-looking dummy macaroons mounted on the glass wall! Very clever…
And here are more delicious stuff…(drool drool)
Of course, I saved the best for last. Off to the Wine Studio!
The wine session was conducted by one of Starhill Culinary Studio’s guest sommelier, David Stephan. Born and raised in France, David has more than 20 years of wine experience and remains passionate with the wine industry. He enjoys sharing his knowledge through tasting sessions where he personally demonstrates skills, techniques and tips about wine. David Stephan is the Chief Sommelier of Wine Talk which offers an easy access to great wines through online ordering with direct delivery service to your home.
Starhill Culinary Studio’s Wine Studio is very conducive and well-equipped for wine classes. It’s classy, elegant and displayed with wine inspirations. 
Mini sinks that serve as spittoon (a receptacle for spitting used by wine tasters to spit samples of wine in order to avoid alcohol intoxication during tasting) are installed in between 2 guests or students. 
Wine bottles are neatly displayed on glass shelves at the back wall. 
David Stephan conducted the wine tasting session where guests sampled different wines: Arthur Metz Pinot Gris from France, Monte da Peceguina red wine and Monte da Peceguina rosé wine, both from Portugal. For the Wine Studio’s upcoming sessions, David Stephan will be conducting classes as guest sommelier on 21st June, 25th July and 23rd August. 
Here’s David Stephan with some gorgeous ladies and gentleman of Starhill team. 
And here with more gorgeous ladies of Starhill…
Paula Conway (above photo – right), Operations and Marketing Manager of Starhill Culinary Studio, explained YTL’s vision behind Starhill Culinary studio: “Bintang Walk started out as a YTL vision and through the company’s continuous involvement, it has developed and grown over the years to become a synonymous street name around the world. A name that will now not only be recognized for its wealth of shopping outlets and fine restaurants but also for delivering rich experiences with Starhill Culinary Studio.”
Starhill Culinary Studio’s media event was truly a memorable experience. I never expected that cooking, baking and wine classes could have such creative and inviting environment, not to mention stylish and classy. For those who want to experience ‘Creative Culinary Classes that Inspire’, Starhill Culinary Studio is the perfect place to explore and learn your gourmet aspirations and dreams. 
Thanks to Starhill Culinary Studio’s creative and inspiring team for this wonderful event. May you all continue to create magic for more epicureans!
If you’re interested to know more about Starhill Culinary Studio’s classes, visit
For more wine info, visit
http://winetalk.com.my
Here’s my naughty son enjoying the chef’s hat which I brough back home together with other goodies:

A Memorable Wine Experience with Wine Talk (ep 2)

And here’s the rest of my story. Apologies for the long suspense…
David Stephan, Wine Talk’s sommelier, revealed the 6 bottles of wine that we will go through. There were 2 whites, 1 rosé and 3 reds.

1st wine: Monte da Peceguina – White Wine
Region and Country – Alentejo, Portugal
Grape – 60% Antão Vaz, 20% Verdelho, 10% Roupeiro, 10% Arinto
Vintage – 2010
David’s Notes:
Monte de Peceguina is a collection of wines from the Herdade de Malhadinha Nova estate, based in the Alentejo region, in South Portugal. What began as a dream for the Soares Family (João and Paulo, along with João´s wife Rita), became reality in the late 90’s when they discovered that deserted farm in the inland Alentejo region. After planting their 1st vines in 2000, they built a Top-of-the-Art winery in 2003. Combining modern & traditional technics in the winery, they focused mostly on local, traditional grapes, used to the extreme conditions (Alentejo is one of the hottest and driest region in Europe) while maintaining a good level of freshness and acidity. All works in the vineyards and other plantations (olive trees, hay, corn fields) are farmed with an organic approach, with upmost respect of the terroirs.
The Branco (white) cuvée is a classic blend of local varieties. It showcases a very aromatic expression of the grapes, with citrus, peach, apricot and floral notes; intense flavors but balanced with great acidity. Enjoy with prawns, rich fishes or grilled white meat.
MY VERDICT on Monte da Peceguina White: Great wine! Quite easy to like and very suitable to those who prefer light or low alcohol taste. And David also mentioned that this wine label is exclusive to Wine Talk in Malaysia. Meaning you won’t find it anywhere else within the country but through them.
2nd wine: Arthur Metz Pinot – White Wine  




Region and Country – Alsace, France
Grape – 100% Pinot Gris
Vintage – 2007
David’s Notes:
Maison Arthur Metz have been based since 1904 in the Village of Marlenheim, in the northern entrance of the famous ‘Route Des Vins’, which follow the Alsace wine regions from North to South. Since its creation, they have been one of the major promoters of the wines from this majestic region across the World. Alsace, situated in the North-East side of France, across the border from Germany, produces mainly white wines, due to the cooler climate, less sun exposure, but also very dry condition and amazing arrays of terroirs, which help develop a palette of flavors and complexity across each wine.
Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are exactly the same grapes, meanwhile present different characteristics. Pinot Grigio are picked up earlier, and offer crisp, light and fresh wines. Pinot Gris on the other side is left longer to mature on the vines, and displays fruitier, richer and more concentrated flavors.
This wine is a great example: It is generous, displays classic peach and apricot flavors, with a touch of honey and minerality. Enjoy it with dishes in cream sauce, either fish or white meats, or try it with slightly spicy dishes, they can handle some heat too.
MY VERDICT on Arthur Metz Pinot Gris: Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve found my favorite wine! I’ve been trying different white wines for the past few weeks and this, so far, is a seriously must-have stock! It’s sweet and light and smooth to the mouth. Wonderful aromas! Some of the other bloggers kept refilling their glasses… 
3rd wine: Monte de Peceguina – Rosé Wine



Region and Country – Alentejo, Portugal
Grape – Touriga Nacional, Aragonês, Tinta Miuda
Vintage – 2010
David’s Notes:
The Rosé cuvée is a blend of popular local varieties; very clean aroma with good fruit, great evidence of red fruit aromas. It demonstrates great expression and smoothness in the mouth. Young and round with fruit in the beginning; it’s a very friendly wine, best match with a BBQ selection, light meats dishes.
MY VERDICT on Monte da Peceguina Rosé:
It’s nice and easy. I didn’t taste much fruits or other stuff, though. I found the alcohol more prominent or maybe I’m not used to this type of wine yet as I am still on my whites.



4th wine:  Finca Las Moras, ‘Pacha Mama’ Organic Malbec
 

Region and Country – Mendoza, Argentina 2011
Grape – 100% Malbec
Vintage – 2011
David’s Notes:
Finca Las Moras is the pioneer winery in the production of high-end wines in San Juan since the vineyard conversion in 1993. The name originates from the blackberry bushes present in the estates located in the three main valleys of San Juan. The blackberries are called “moras” in Spanish. Malbec grapes come originally from the Bordeaux region and were imported to Argentina in the mid-19th Century. Malbec is now a secondary grape in Bordeaux but has thrived in Argentina to become the national iconic red grape variety. The Pacha Mama series comes from organically-grown grapes, which means that they have never been in contact with chemicals like pesticides or herbicides. This is a feature that I cherish, and we will offer more organic wines in the future. Finca Las Moras produces a great, flavorful wine, with intense colour and body. A good match with grilled steaks, duck breast, or rich meat stews.
MY VERDICT on Pacha Mama Organic Malbec:
I’m not much into red wines but it was a surprise that I wasn’t repulsed by this one. It was a sweet and good wine. The others liked it as well.

5th wine: De Bortoli ‘Family Selection’ Cabernet-Merlot
 

Country – South Australia
Grape – 50% Cabernet, 50% Merlot
Vintage – 2008
David’s Notes:
Created in 1928 by Italian immigrants Vittorio and Giuseppina De Bortoli, the domain is now leaded by the 3rd generation of descendants, which established De Bortoli’s reputation for premium wine including icon dessert wine Noble One and the Yarra Valley wines, in the Victoria Region. Members of the ‘Australia’s First Families’ an association formed by some of Australia’s oldest and most respected wine families, they focus on careful site selection, sustainable approach in the vineyards in order to get an exceptional fruit quality throughout their all collection of wines.
This generous wine shows sweet and vibrant fruit on the fleshy palate with soft mouth -coating tannins, Sweet fragrant aromas of blackberries with underlying mint and hints of milk chocolate oak. Pair it with grilled steaks and pepper sauce.
MY VERDICT on DB Cabernet Merlot:
Quite nice, I’d say. The tannins felt soft and smooth in the mouth. It went pretty delicious with The Pressroom’s serving of cold cuts. Yummm…  
Last wine (sniff, sniff): Monte de Peceguina – Red Wine
David decanting our last wine, Monte da Peceguina
Region and Country – Alentejo, Portugal
Grape – 35% Aragonês, 30% Alicante Bouschet, 15% Touriga Nacional, 10% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage – 2010
David’s Notes:
Monte de Peceguina is a collection of wines from the Herdade de Malhadinha Nova estate, based in the Alentejo region, in South Portugal. What began as a dream for the Soares Family (João and Paulo, along with João´s wife Rita), became reality in the late 90’s when they discovered that deserted farm in the inland Alentejo region. After plantings their 1st vines in 2000, they build a Top-of-the-Art winery in 2003. Combining modern & traditional technics in the winery, they focus mostly on local, traditional grapes, used to the extreme conditions (Alentejo is one of the hottest and driest region in Europe) while maintaining a good level of freshness and acidity. All works in the vineyards and other plantations (olive trees, hay, corn fields) are farmed with an organic approach, with upmost respect of the terroirs.
The Tinto (red) cuvée is made from local varieties, blended with a dash of more famous ones. Oak aged for about 7 months, it shows very lively and fruity aromas, with refreshing notes of berries, plums and red ripe fruit. In the mouth, the wine is full-body, but still very smooth and fresh with silky tannins, balanced with a good structure. Enjoy with roasted beef, grilled lamb chops or a nice cheese platter.
MY VERDICT on Monte da Peceguina Red Wine:
This is the best among the 3 red wines for me. The taste is invigorating and the tannins felt great in the mouth.
David also mentioned a great way to learn more about wines and expand our palate. It’s a unique offering from Wine Talk called the Wine Club. Apparently, this is something popular in Europe and the US wherein members of the club receive a case of wines on a regular basis. You simply choose the type of wine you want to receive (whites only, reds only, whites & reds, or a mixed of both plus rosé), the frequency (every month or every 2 months), the quantity (6 or 12 bottles), and voilà! Your case of wines will be delivered to your address automatically. Another great thing is that the price of the wine case every time will be the same: RM428 for 6 bottles and RM788 for 12 bottles.
I think this is a wonderful service. The wine case will also be sent together with tasting notes from David so you will know more about what you’re drinking. You can read through while having a glass of wine. You can also write down your own notes as there are spaces provided for you to write on. So you can actually remember what you experienced with each wine. And share it with friends (or impress someone, maybe your boss or whoever, yeah). 
Overall, the event was really exquisite. Now, I have 6 new labels to add to my list of ‘familar, tried and tested wines’. Thanks to Wine Talk and The Pressroom for the wonderful experience.
And my journey into wine goes on. Cheers, everyone!!! 

A Memorable Wine Experience with Wine Talk (Ep 1)

Wine Talk held a blogger event last 21st March at The Pressroom in Bangsar Shopping Centre. Upon entering the venue, guests were welcomed by an enticing display of wine glasses, waiting for sumptuous and aromatic wines (well, I’m forecasting).

The reception table was even more delicious. Wine Talk’s wine selection for the event were nicely displayed together with crystal glasses, a bottle opener and their magazines. Upon signing your name, you’d immediately want to start uncorking the bottles (if you do know how!) since all the things you need are all there!



Makes you wanna start uncorking the bottles, right?

The Pressroom’s ambience is just wonderful. You’d immediately notice several groups hanging out with friends and probably corporate managers having meetings over a delicious serving of food and drinks. It’s really a perfect place for chatting with friends, hanging out, business meetings or even for some fun time with the family. The staff were also very friendly and attentive.

So the event starts with some greeting from the marketing manager. Then Wine Talk’s managing director, Mark Simmons, talked about the company. Wine Talk is a collaboration between 2 reliable and trusted companies: Room Service Deliveries and Gastrodome. Room Service is an online food delivery service while Gastrodome is well-known for operating prestigious restaurants, La Bodega and The Pressroom, and Espressamente Illy, a warm and youthful cafe. Wine Talk is an online delivery service for wines and wine accessories like crystal glasses, decanter, wine cabinets…



Wine Talk’s Managing Director, Mark Simmons, talking about the brand’s story

Mark Simmons talked about the common challenge of a lot of people on searching for great wines. The truth is a lot of wine enthusiasts do not necessarily know what wine to pick from a supermarket or a wine shop. And if you’re searching for good quality wines, you might not entirely rely on the shop staff as most of them do not know wines well (unless they are sommeliers!). So choosing great wines becomes complicated without someone reliable to give advice. And this challenge became an inspiration for the 2 companies to provide a solution to those who want to enjoy great wines but don’t really know how to get hold of them. Wine Talk aims to make great wines easy for anyone who is interested to know more about wines or simply needs a good choice of wine to serve for dinner.

It is very interesting and enlightening to know that even those who have been consuming wines on a regular basis actually face the same challenge when it comes to buying or choosing wines. I thought that only wine newbies (like me) have this insecurity when it comes to wines. Mark Simmons stressed Wine Talk’s simple tagline: Great Wines Made Easy. What makes Wine Talk unique and trustworthy is that they have an exclusive French sommelier, David Stephan, who personally handpicks the wines. So all the wines that Wine Talk offers have passed through David’s tasting first to ensure that all are in good quality.

And then we started with the wine tasting which was wonderfully guided by their sommelier. David was born in France but he has been in Malaysia for a few years. David has been in the wine industry for more than 15 years.



Wine Talk’s Sommelier, David Stephan, guiding us through each wine

David was fun and he was not boring at all. But, OMG, the amount of knowledge that he was pouring out about wines was amazing. Another blogger even said that he’s like a walking encyclopedia of wines (haha!).



See all the 6 wine samples served by David for me to try? Yummm…

Will share more about the offers plus the exciting part of this event where we had 6, yes, 6 different wines — white, rose and red in Ep 2. Gotta sleep soon as my son has school tomorrow!



Wine Talk’s Sommelier, David Stephan

David Stephan’s bio:

Wine Talk’s sommelier, David Stephan, grew up in a fishing village in the Bretagne region of Western France. He studied hospitality and sommelerie in professional school for 4 years, with internship including stints in various hotels & renowned restaurants of his region or in Paris. In late 1999, a good opportunity allowed him to move to the Caribbean, in the small, exclusive island of St Barthelemy, working in 5-Star Resorts. The island is famous for stunning beaches and locations, but also high-end hotels and restaurants, frequented by the rich and famous. Working two seasons in that hotel, and two more seasons in ‘L’Esprit Salines’, one of the island top restaurants at that time, where he managed a splendid premium wine list. He spent summers in France working in a catering company but also visited diverse wine regions across countries for personal development. In late 2003, he decided that it was time for a change, and started looking for new opportunity that brought him to an interview in Paris for a position in China, which he took. He managed one of the city’s first French Brasserie, and participated to open 2 new outlets. In 2006, he joined a local wine importer& distributor, selling and supplying fine wines to hotels, restaurants and private clients across the country. David fell in love with Malaysia at his 1st visit back in 2006, and if he and his wife were to leave China, it would be the 1st destination targeted. It happened in 2011, when they relocated to Kuala Lumpur, and are now calling it home.
Check out their website for more info:   www.winetalk.com.my