I was recently invited to spend an evening at Cardiff’s Wagamama with Executive Chef Steve Mangleshot to help develop our taste buds and recommend other dishes for us based on what we normally like.
We were all asked to submit our favourite dish prior to the evening so that Steve could begin building up a profile for each of us and then on the evening he was joined by Food Psychologist & Nutritional Therapist Dr Christy Fergusson who helped explain what our favourite flavours mean about our personality. Apparently my lack of desire for any kind of vegetable means something’s seriously wrong with me …haha!
The new campaign #wayofwagamama is all about getting people to try new dishes, as generally waga-goers find their favourite dish and then stick with it. With the change in the iconic placemats, featuring pictures of food on them for the first time ever, the hope is that when people see the food and what’s in it they may change their habit, or so Steve hopes.
The first dish which came out for me was the Teriyaki Chicken Donburi. Full of texture and colour it looked very appealing, although I knew I would be pulling all the carrots and leaves off (I know it’s bad but I just don’t like the taste). The chicken had a slight glaze on it which wasn’t too heavy, just enough to coat the chicken. Steve started making his rounds and began asking everyone what they liked and didn’t like… Next up… Me… Eeeeeek… I dipped my head sheepishly and admitted that although the noodles were beautiful and the chicken cooked to perfection, I found it a bit bland for my taste buds
“NO PROBLEM!” Shouted Steve, “Let’s fix that!” and within minutes he returned with two small dishes… One was filled with Hoi Sin sauce, the other with Soy Sauce and I could mix and match until I found a flavour that suited me perfectly. The addition of a bit of a fruity flavour suited me down to the ground and I admitted I would definitely have this dish again.
In between gorging on all the amazing food we were chatting to Dr Christy about our favourite foods and I discovered that cheese actually has something in it which makes it addictive which explains why my Babybel obsession sometimes gets a bit out of control.
The next dish which came out was very much of Steve’s instant creation. I admitted to him that although I submitted my favourite dish as Ginger Chicken Udon that I normally request for almost everything to be taken out. I have the mange tout, bean sprouts and onion removed just leaving noodles, chicken and ginger, simple but a classic!
So when he brought my next plate out he completely changed my way of thinking about Wagamama dishes. I’ve always thought about what I can take out, but never what I could change up or add in as an alternative. Out from the bustling kitchen came my very own Chicken Pad Thai with little dishes including mint and crushed peanuts, I was being given the chance to make the dish my own and tailor the flavours to suit me… LOVE IT!
By this point I’m sure you can imagine I was starting to feel a bit full as were the rest of my fellow bloggers, but Steve had one final surprise up his sleeve… Dessert… He whispered.
Again this dish was going to be a creation of Steve’s own and was a complete surprise to us and as it turned out we were the first people to try this, it’s not even on the menu yet although I’m sure it won’t be long until it is… Welcoming the Katsu Curry Ice Cream!
A smooth, light and creamy texture with all the heat and fire you get from a Katsu Curry, it’s the perfect guilty pleasure. Your head is screaming that you couldn’t possibly like this, whilst your taste buds are screaming MORE, MORE, MORE!
The evening drew to a close and we started saying our thank-yous and goodbyes, knowing we were all leaving needing a well-deserved nap.
My advice to all waga-obsessives during this campaign is don’t be afraid to try something different and don’t be afraid to really ask the staff what they like, they know their stuff!
To find out more visit www.wagamama.com