The KULinary-Kazakh Connection

Making their mark at this year’s MIGF KULinary were several representative organisations from Kazakhstan, including the country’s national flag carrier Air Astana and premium outlet Tal Cafe & Restaurant – which brought a mouth-watering taste of the transcontinental nation’s cuisine to KLIA.

Tal is one of 25 restaurants under the influential Parmigiano Group which has emerged as a leading Kazakh management holding company and has done much to place the country on the gastronomic map. A common factor that unites all restaurants under the Parmgiano banner is the fine quality at every stage of work, from design and construction to the professionalism and skill of its employees.

Meanwhile, Air Astana’s reputation as one of the top airlines in the Central Asian region is well known, having been given a 4-star rating by consumer aviation website Skytrax and winning a slew of other awards in recent years. A combination of great service, well-kept planes and friendly staff have kept it at the top of the game despite only being around since 2002 making it a relatively young airline.

MIGF Royal Patron Tunku Naquiyuddin ibni Tuanku Ja’afar (centre wearing green coat) with (from left to right) Dato’ Steve Day, Tal Restaurant helper, Olga Abdygapparova, Balachandran Chinna Swami, Tatyana Foster, Air Astana staff, Tal Restaurant helper and Chef Azamat Abdyyev

Flying in especially from Almaty were a handpicked crew from Tal’s ranks including owner Olga Abdygapparova and chef de cuisine Azamat Abdyyev, as well as chef, TV cooking show host, influencer and the wife of Air Astana President, Tatyana Foster, whose interpreting skills throughout the event were indispensable. Together with a few assistants, the team put out a spectacular culinary spread which proved to be one of the most popular during the event.  

Chef Azamat is a meat specialist among others and heads up the kitchen at Tal Restaurant & Cafe

Chef Azamat’s version of besbarmak

Chef Azamat’s menu at Tal is replete with iconic dishes from his home country, many of which have been reinterpreted for the contemporary palate. An example is his take on the national dish, besbarmak, which resembles Italian ravioli stuffed with horse meat. This creation was one of the many gastronomic highlights at MIGF KULinary and a crowd-puller from day one.   

Visitors finding out about the many routes available on Air Astana

His delights drew hungry crowds at the launch night where visitors lined up to try his horse meat dumpling – a staple of the Kazakh diet and traditional source of protein. With a flavour profile the crosses between beef and venison, the rich and slightly sweet meat was much loved by the crowds. A pair of waitresses dressed in traditional Kazakh garb were there to help dole out the fare, while stopping to take countless selfies with admiring visitors.

The traditionally dressed Kazakh girls were a hit at MIGF KULinary!

Tal’s booth continued to dish out a steady stream of food over the course of the next three days, with many visitors having never tried horse meat and subsequently commenting that it was excellent!

Taking to the main stage twice on Saturday, Chef Azamat led cooking demonstrations on his besbarmak specialty, taking viewers through each step of the process and culminating in a tasting for the whole audience.

Chef Azamat dishing out his creations following his cooking demonstration

Dato’ Steve handing Chef Azamat an award of excellence

The entire team from Kazakhstan received awards of appreciation for their efforts and for bringing a touch of the exotic to MIGF KULinary.

Chef Azamat Abdyyev Cooking Demo