The modern Filipino menu challenge

wpid-20141204_154246“The great thing for chefs, the great blessing for chefs, and for people that care about food and cooking, is that the most ecological choice for food is also the most ethical choice for food.”- Chef Dan Barber: A foie gras parable (TED TALK)

My Filipino Cuisine students exceeded my expectations during their final exams this term. The challenge was to create a menu using local ingredients; and to produce Filipino  food in an elegant way that would be very much appreciated by foreigners. We did a lot of brainstorming and I was so happy and proud of their execution. Student Alfred Sango and his team did a wonderful job!



Tempura of eggplant, winged beans, and okra on pumpkin sauce with anchovy emulsion. This starter was inspired by a local Ilocano vegetable dish called “pinakbet”.

wpid-20141204_154319.jpgFish paupiette stuffed with tuna and salmon on a scallop shell, cheese gratin and cherry tomatoes with moringa (malunggay) pesto. Served with mesclun and blanched sweet potato (kamote) leaves with vinaigrette, salted duck eggs and sauteed scallops. Right before serving we used a smoking gun and trapped the smoke in another glass acting as a cover to the salad. When the guest removed the glass, the escaping smoke created a dramatic effect.

Homemade Christmas ham with savory sapin-sapin ( layered mashed purple yam, sweet potatoes, and yellow potatoes), with queso de bola crisps and dried pineapples. The dish is served with pineapple demi-glace and sauteed vegetables. The inspiration behind this dish is Noche Buena or the midnight Christmas feast with traditional ham and queso de bola. Yuga’s ham recipe won an award during the Young Hoteliers Expostion competition.

wpid-20141204_160858.jpgfilcui class (2)Tablea chocolate mousse topped with Baguio strawberries, mango gelee, brownies and caramelized pili nuts

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Manila celebrates Soirée Beaujolais 2014

bjnuvo1The worldwide release of Beaujolais Nouveau is celebrated every third Thursday of November with a countdown.  In Manila the annual Soirée Beaujolais was organized by the French Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines. It was held at the Manila Hotel Tent City last November 20. This was not just a wine event but a gala that highlighted the many inventions and significant contributions of the French people. This year’s theme was “France: Tradition and Innovation”, perhaps for me France’s greatest achievement is the inclusion of French gastronomy in UNESCO’s Intangible World Heritage List. This was definitely showcased in a delicious buffet spread of authentic French food and wine.wpid-20141120_201053.jpg

cheese1The main feature of the evening was the two month old George Duboeuf “Beaujolais Nouveau” 2014. This Burgundy wine is made from the gamay grape using the Nouveau style of production. Carbonic maceration allows over 35 million bottles to be shipped all over the globe within two months after harvest. This very young wine is not meant to be aged; it must be consumed right away or enjoyed as soon as possible.  It is fruity and easy to drink with little acidity and low tannins.

Available at Le Cellier Wines in Manila.

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Manila Food and Wine Events

wpid-20141114_190424.jpgAfter taking a wine certification, the best way to keep on learning is to experience wine. So I have been attending wine events to further explore this new found passion.  I’m not going to discuss my tasting notes because I believe drinking wine is a very personal and subjective experience. I’m also not an expert in this area, I just ENJOY drinking vino.  Anyway here’s my take on some of Manila’s recent food and wine events:

wpid-20141114_191546.jpg wpid-20141114_185153.jpg ANGELS’ SHARE THE 14TH GRAND WINE EXPERIENCE – held at the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott Hotel Resorts World Manila.  This event is huge and overwhelming! The Joseph’s brought in over 500 “supernal” wines and spirits, and the interactive buffet selection was really amazing. In an event with so many choices it is best to target the premium wines, rare or hard to find, and your grand favorites. If you even attempt to try everything you might end the night extremely intoxicated.  It was a well-attended “star-studded” event with a mix of trade, serious wine enthusiasts and lots of young newbies.  I just had to leave when it got extremely crowded and my feet hurt from too much standing.

(photo: Sharmaine Marasigan and Chef Marko Rankel)

kaoIPHOR’s ITALIAN COLLAVINI WINES EVENT was held at Bar Rouge of New World Hotel last November 7.  Fourth generation Italian wine maker Luigi Collavini introduced his award winning wines to a more sophisticated group of wine enthusiasts. Here we drank in sequence starting with a sparkling prosecco, followed by a fruity white and then the full-bodied reds. New World Hotel’s Italian executive chef Ivan Chieregatti prepared authentic prosciutto and antipasti, cheeses and regional dishes that made me nostalgic.  Diplomat  Adraino Steffanuti and Gale Atienza were the perfect hosts and turned the evening  into a nice and intimate gathering. After all, the best way to enjoy good wine is in good company.  (photo: Luigi Collavini and French Baker’s Jonhlu Koa)

THE STRAITS WINE COMPANY PHILIPPINE WINE FIESTA 2014 –  The Straits Wine Company brought in an interesting collection last October 28 at the Green Sun Hotel in Makati. We were able to experience 30 wineries from old world France, Italy, Spain and Portugal; and new world wines from Australia, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa, Argentina and the USA . Proudly our Vatel International Hospitality Management (IHM) Benilde students assisted with the booths.  Like a trade event, it was quite fun going around with our little tasting notes booklet. The culminating activity was a sumptuous food and wine pairing sit-down dinner.

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Loca over Locavore Kapitolyo #locavoreph

Love Chef Kel Zaguirre’s sizzling sinigang !  LOCAVORE is Kapitolyo’s new restaurant on the block. Here local food  is served in a very delicious and creative way. Mabuhay si Chef Kel!!!locavore

10 Brixton Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City.  Contact no: 632-9600

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Pinakbet (Filipino Vegetable Stew) Featuring a Top-Secret Ingredient #LetsLunch


I’d like to reblog Dr. Linda Shiue’s post. She is a doctor, healthy cooking teacher, and food writer based in San Francisco. We had a great time cooking together. For private cooking classes on Filipino cuisine in Manila, please email me at

Originally posted on spicebox travels:


For this month’s Let’s Lunch, a virtual monthly potluck on Twitter, the theme is a top-secret favorite food.  I’ve chosen an ingredient that’s not frequent in my rotation, and which even I was surprised to find I enjoy eating: chicharrones. Before I tasted them, the concept of fried pork skins didn’t appeal to me, from either a flavor or health viewpoint.  I don’t think I even tried chicharrones until a few years ago, on a trip to Nicaragua, when they came as part of the dish called vigoron, a yuca dish. These salty baconiness of these crisps contrasts well with the solid plainness of the boiled yuca.

A month ago, it took another trip, to another tropical land, this time the Philippines, to reacquaint me with chicharrones. I had a chance to have a brief visit in Manila, the sprawling and densely populated capital of the Philippines. As part of my brief two-day stay…

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Our French National News Feature

Here is an episode all about butter.  In this feature Dr. Philippe Pouillart takes us to the Beauvais market to buy fresh produce.  In the process he explains the nutritional benefits of butter and the other products.  This segment also features cooking at the LaSalle Beauvais campus. It’s in French without subtitles..

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Medieval Festival in Reims Champagne

20140810-193701.jpgJune 2014. I am a big GOT and LOTR rings fan. The geek inside of me loves medieval films and books. Luckily we were in Reims Champagne in time for the Medieval Festival.  It was held at the perimeters of the grand Notre-Dame de Reims. The kings of France were crowned in this cathedral. People came in costumes like knights, serfs, magicians, ladies, elves, and more. I wish I wore a costume too!  There were concerts, booths, magic shows and tournaments.  Booths were selling medieval food and merchandising.  Some participants pitched tents and cooked their own food to reenact this era. It was20140810-194128.jpg20140810-193623.jpg20140810-193549.jpg20140810-193436.jpg20140810-193403.jpg20140810-193318.jpg20140810-193341.jpg so festive!



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