While Guest Chef Nights are getting more and more common in Kuala Lumpur, it really has more to do with ‘appreciation’, than with filling restaurants during low season… In actual fact, restaurant goers in Malaysia should take more note of such special culinary nights as the goal at the end of the day is to instill extra fun in our dinning habits and provide unique experiences. Eventually, maybe our local Guest Chef Nights can come closer to what the famous GELINAZ! SHUFFLE has become.
Today, THE GELINAZ! SHUFFLE is by far considered the most epic and extravagant concept when it comes to Guest Chef Nights. The event can take place several times a year or not at all, and the idea is to challenges 60 of the most cutting-edge chefs to cook (and create) away from their own kitchens and for these chefs (most of whom are the best in the world) to secretly swap lives, identities… and restaurants – for what can be called ‘the longest worldwide dinner’ on this planet. It is kind of like a game of musical kitchens: 60 big-name chefs swap kitchens – and lives, really – for a day. And the rules are simple: Each chef comes to their new environment with no ingredients, recipes, or staff, soaking up the local culture before eventually preparing dinner at the restaurant.
In true GELINAZ style a slew of big names: René Redzepi (Noma), Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn), Danny Bowien (Mission Chinese), and Sean Brock (Husk), just to name a few, can be some of the big names in the main draw. Diners who cannot make it to Noma restaurant in Copenhagen (one of the best restaurants in the world), might find it impossible to ever try Chef Redzepi’s food – if it wasn’t for the GELINAZ! SHUFFLE requiring him to cook in a different location. The fun part to these Guest Chef Nights is that the diners have no idea who will be cooking their food until after they’ve eaten, and the tickets aren’t inexpensive.
Given what an ordeal it is to swap kitchens and execute a production like the GELINA! SHUFFLE, it’s perhaps unsurprising that some of the dinners have been referring to their evenings as “shitshows” – however, these are “shitshows” that happen to make for one hell of a party – and that is really what the dinners should take from these Guest Chef Nights. Doing so will encourage more Guest Chef Nights here in Malaysia and impact the relationship we have with our culinary experiences.
THE GELINAZ! SHUFFEL is not a festival, it doesn’t come around at fixed dates. It’s like love, you can’t control it. Fanzine-like, GELINAZ! shows up when it’s ready. When it’s time to do it and in full blast. So enjoy it when it comes around.
It might take some time before THE GELINAZ! SUFFLE actually comes to Malaysia, but a series of events are currently being planned for the first time in Asia for 2019. Andrea Petrini who is a co-curator of THE GELINAZ! SHUFFLE told reporters that the series will become a more geopolitically thought-provoking format in 2019 with “THE GELINAZ! Go East World Tour”, and aim at becoming an itinerant and simultaneous performance roaming through different Asian cities from Taipei to Hong Kong, from Korea to Japan, China and Thailand. A huge swapping of restaurants and identities and genders with Asian chefs working in a collaborative, improvisational mood where Western chefs will tune in with Asian like-minded creative spirits.
To make sure you don’t miss the next edition of THE GELINAZ! SHUFFLE: subscribe to their newsletter www.gelinaz.com. Until then keep enjoying and supporting the various local Guest Chef Nights in Kuala Lumpur as they aim to entertain – more than they aim to impress.