Richard Ekkebus is the Culinary Supervisor at Amber which is a 2 Michelin stars french restaurant located at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental hotel – one of the most luxurious hotels in Hong Kong. He is a citizen of the Netherlands and a promising chef, who was lucky enough to work under Pierre Gagnaire and Alain Passard.
Richard began his brilliant career with an apprenticeship in the Netherlands under Michelin- starred cooks Hans Snijders and Robert Kranenborg. There he won the Golden Chef’s Hat for “Young Chef of the Year” that reassured him to further work on his skills under such great French chefs as Guy Savoy, Pierre Gagnaire, and Alain Passard.
Still being a relatively young chef, Richard is considered experienced and skillful, for he managed to conduct a journey from the Royal Palm in Mauritius to The Sandy Lane in Barbados. No, he wasn’t a bare tourist, he actually worked at both resorts. He became an executive chef at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental in 2005. Committed to the classic French cuisine, Richard is much admired by Chinese public for his innovative ideas and fresh spirit. Therefore Amber’s cuisine can rightfully claim to be contemporary and light, even though it is based on a solid foundation of traditional French cooking.
Richard is mostly focused on superior produce and ingredients in long-established dishes with a modern variation. He is especially proud of the superb quality of his ingredients. “There is zero compromise regarding quality,” he confirms. “At Amber, we are using the best, the freshest ingredients you can find from all over the world. Our particular emphasis is on beautiful presentations applying various food colors and textures.”
Beer Cooked Mussels
This is a dish I grew up with and I have so many fond memories being surrounded by my family members with a large bowl of mussels. It is the signature dish from the region I was born and raised. No cutlery is served to eat the mussels, as an empty shell serves your tongue. Mussels are eaten with crusty sourdough bread spread with salted butter only. Pair the mussels with a good lager!
2kg Mussels preferably from Zeeland, Holland, cleaned and beards removed
200g Butter, unsalted
60 gr Leeks, shredded
60g shallots, peeled, cut in half & shredded
4 sprigs thyme
4 fresh bay leaves
White pepper from the mill
250ml white Beer
240g Crème Fraiche
1 lemon, juice & rind
1 lime, juice & rind
1 tablespoon Tarragon, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon Italian Parsley coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon Chervil, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon Lemon verbena, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon Chives, finely chopped
In a heavy saucepan with a lid melt the butter till blond, add shallots, garlic, leek, bay leaves & thyme.
Sweat 3 minutes without coloring, deglaze with the beer, then add the cream and a little white pepper.
Add the mussels and toss in the cream sauce. Cover the pan and toss the mussels constantly until all are cooked and opened (this will take 2 to 3 minutes).
With a spider, remove the cooked mussels and place them in a warm large bowl.
Return the cooking juice to the stove, check the seasoning and add pepper if needed.
Brighten the cooking juice with lemon juice and emulsify with the handheld blender. Add little butter if needed.
Add the garden herbs and spoon the foamy sauce over the mussels. Grate the lemon & lime peel with a micro-blade over the mussels.
Serve with crusty sourdough bread and salted butter only.