Whew!

The past two weeks have been crammed with so many food events. The Madrid Fusion Manila just had its successful second run. The World Street Food Congress is currently ongoing. New restaurants opening and will open before the month ends. I just learned from Tourism Promotions Board chief operating officer Domingo Ramon Enerio III that April is Philippine Food Month!

00 - Arroz Caldoso - Hand cut squid grains, vegetable stew, garlic cream, popped Valencian rice
Arroz Caldoso or squid chopped into the size of rice grains then cooked in a stock and squid ink sauce served with garlic cream and crunchy Valencian popped rice

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend another dinner by a Spanish chef, this time by Michelin Star-trained Chef Kevin Cherkas. Hosted by Makati Shangri-La Hotel and was held at its Bespoke Sage Grill, the dinner featured the flavors of his restaurant Cuca, located in the Indonesian premier tourist destination, Bali.

Unlike the dinner by Michelin star Chef Dani Garcia, this dinner was more casual and family-style. The very personable chef will actually tour his food around Asia and his first stop was Manila. After speaking at Madrid Fusion Manila, he had a successful three-night dinner. The seven-course dinner, he revealed, was a result of months of preparation, researching about Filipino flavors.

00 - Ternera con Patatas - Beef n mushroom, whipped potato, Rioja red marmalade
Ternera con Patatas, beef and mushroom served with whipped potato and red wine marmalade

“We researched for two months the traditional dishes of the Philippines. Things like kinilaw, adobo, sisig, the flavors that you love. We developed the menu based on these flavors. It’s all made for sharing. Food will be served on the center of the table. It’s casual,” Chef Cherkas said.

At his restaurant Cuca, he uses 100 percent local ingredients and makes sure he creates interesting dishes.

Three dishes stood out to me: the Pulpo a la Brasa or the grilled Galacian octopus with fresh apple slices, caramelized cauliflower served on Asian gazpacho; Arroz Caldoso or squid chopped into the size of rice grains then cooked in a stock and squid ink sauce served with garlic cream and crunchy Valencian popped rice; and the Ternera con Patatas, beef and mushroom served with whipped potato and red wine marmalade.

It was another night and another dinner by a world-class chef.

Makati Shangri-La Hotel, Ayala Ave. corner Makati Ave., Makatgi City / +632 813 8888 / http://www.shangri-la.com/manila/makatishangrila/

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