Raising The Steaks
For executive chef Christopher Millar of Stellar at 1-Altitude, getting out of the kitchen has its express merits. In fact, it’s almost crucial for chefs to venture beyond the confines of their domain, in order to bring a sufficient worldly-wise back to the restaurant.
And bring back Millar did, after a culinary expedition to Australia in April 2017. Travelling to his homeland, Millar’s journey saw him traverse a wide gamut of activities from salmon fishing in a caviar farm to truffle hunting and gin distillation in the Yarra Valley. But perhaps the most pivotal part of the trip was his visit to premium Wagyu farm, Tiana Park, located in the Riverina region of New South Wales.
It was there that Millar saw first-hand the highly sought-after Tajima Wagyu cattle, inspiring him to start a partnership with the family-owned farm. “I was extremely impressed by the level of care and precision that the Strong family, who runs Tiana Park, invested in rearing the cattle. What stuck with me most was when the family shared how it is their job to make sure that every day is a good day for the cattle, as being raised in a stress-free environment contributes to the quality of the beef,” Millar says.
Presented with the opportunity to rear some of liana Park’s Tajima Wagyu cattle under Stellar’s care, it was an honour that Millar couldn’t refuse. Not only did it give the restaurant access to an entire animal each month (equivalent to 400kg worth of prime beef), it also fell in line with their philosophy of sourcing the best ingredients worldwide and gaining a better understanding of their products. “In Singapore, a lot of our ingredients are imported, and while we have access to many amazing ingredients, we do not have a connection to the producers themselves. So when this opportunity presented itself, it was hard to say no," he continues.
This collaboration sees Stellar successfully binding the gap between food producers and restaurants; a connection that Singaporean establishments don’t normally have the luxury of building due to geographical constraints. In fact, Stellar is the first Singaporean restaurant to rear its own Wagyu cattle, which has in turn led to Millar’s new culinary programme, The Road to Tajima.
This gastronomic diary transports diners from the heights of 1-Altitude all the way to Tana Park’s tranquil grounds. Utilising the F1 Wagyu, this particular beef comes from the offspring of a Wagyu bull breeding with an Angus female, resulting in a balance of signature Angus beefiness and quality Wagyu marbling.
The Road to Tajima offers three main presentations of the beef; the wood-fired Tajima tri-tip; the braised Tajima chuck rib; and the sous vide Tajima oyster blade (MS 7-8). If these cuts don’t sound familiar to you, it’s intended not to be. “Everybody knows the prime cuts like tenderloin and ribeye. It is much more interesting for us chefs, and for our customers, to be surprised and delighted by the flavours of these unique cuts,” Millar explains.
And while plans for a Tajima masterclass are still being firmed up, Millar has already flown the coop. This time, he’s touring France to personally source for fresh Spring ingredients for an up-coming Dom Perignon experience at Stellar. You could say that this is one chef who takes a bull by the horns, quite literally at that.
Stellar at 1-Altitude
1 Raffles Place
The lowdown on Tajima Wagyu
Originating from the Hyogo prefecture in Japan, the Tajima-Wagyu crossbreed first made its way to Australia in 1991. After years of developing the optimal environment for its breeding, the result is a very high quality grade of Wagyu.