I have attended many fancy, formal, dress-up-in-back-tie-long-tiis-ganda-gown dinners, but I have to admit, none of them served Filipino food.
It is such a shame because our local cuisine is really world-class and deserves to be enjoyed with the same regard and enthusiasm that we give its French or Japanese or Italian counterparts.
But last October 6, it finally happened.
The Lifestyle Asia Gala held at Fairmont and Raffles Hotel featured an all-Filipino-chef,
all-Filipino-cuisine and all-Filipino-ingredient dinner named Spreading the Table.
More details about this noble and delicious endeavor later...
First, the pass-arounds.
I did not eat for a week to fit into my gown and arrived at the venue dying of hunger. I figured once already in the dress, I could eat as much as I wanted and that was exactly what I did. Hahaha!
I stopped each and every server holding a tray of food. I was too weak to take photos of the first few, but here are some of what I had:
The atmosphere was festive
People were dressed to the nines. Every woman was the most beautiful,
every man the most handsome.
My date, Ahia Emil, looking so dapper!
FYI, he is also my cousin.
Seeing my favorite chefs just before dinner excited me even more.
THE Margarita Fores of Lusso, Cibo, Grace Park and Cibo di M
Dedet dela Fuente, the Lechon Diva at Pepita's Kitchen
The ballroom was dressed up simply but elegantly.
The Manila Philharmonic Orchestra serenaded the guests.
I am so proud of my friend Cheryl Tiu, Publisher and Deputy Editor of Lifestyle Asia and
one of the power women behind the success of this gala. Along with EIC Anna Sobrepena,
she talked about Spreading the Table in this video that was played on the big screen before
dinner started. The 5 featured chefs also introduced their creations and watching Anna and
Cheryl savor each of them made my stomach grumble. I hated them a little that very moment. Lol.
Click here to watch the clip.
And then, my favorite part of the night - DINNER!
All five courses boasted local produce, local flavors and the genius of our local chefs.
Bahay Kubo Garden Vegetables by Jordy Navarra of Black Sheep
This dish was a medley of all 18 vegetables in the song "Bahay Kubo" - singkamas, talong,
sigarilyas, mani, sitaw, bataw, patani, kundoi, patola, upo, kalabasa, labanos, mustasa,
sibuyas, kamatis, bawang, luya and linga. Whew!!! Such a fun and playful dish, this was
easily my favorite. I finished everything except the paper!
Crispy Isol with Batwan Gravy and Kurobuta Liempo-Q with Sinamak by JP Anglo of Sarsa
Fancy pants Chicken Joy!
Gifts from the Philippine Sea: Negros Blue Crab, Philippine Grouper, Capiz Scallops,
Pangasinan Baby Crab Coral, Carabao Butter, Calamansi Crema, and Waterspinach Panuelos
by Margarita Fores of Lusso, Grace Park, Cibo
This dish was the most exciting and interactive of all. The kalamansi crema was served as a
gelato so there was a hot and cold party going on. That's Ahia Emil doing his own plating
using the dropper. Obviously, he had the most fun. :P
Lechon Truffle by Dedet dela Fuente of Pepita's Kitchen
Dedet's stuffed lechon is a family favorite (my favorite is the Binagoongan Lechon)
so it was such a treat to have this again even if I just had the same a week before the gala,
and again, three days after the gala.
Lifestyle Asia Halo-Halo by Robert Bolanos of Raffles and Fairmont Makati
This dry version of halo-halo was complete with ube, pinipig, kaong, red beans, buko jelly,
leche flan, and wait for it… jackfruit ice! Too pretty for my life.
With Ahia Emil Yap, Richard Tiu, and Cheryl Tiu
I don't know why Cheryl was so nervous to go on stage, all of us agree
that she is a natural! Here she thanked the sponsors, the guests,
the Lifestyle Asia and Raffles and Fairmont teams for their
hard work and support.
And last but not the least, the rockstars in the kitchen.
Lifestyle Asia's Anna Sobrepena and Cheryl Tiu with Chefs Robert Bolanos, Dedet dela Fuente,
Jordy Navarra, JP Anglo, and Margarita Fores.
And then, the most heartbreaking and heartwarming video followed. It showed the destruction caused by Haiyan and the efforts we are taking as a nation to rebuild the areas devastated by the worst typhoon to hit our country.
Mandaluyong Children's Choir
Joined by many of the country's top artists
The short video touched the hearts of everyone present in the ballroom as it did mine
The Lifestyle Asia team, together with the sponsors, presented a donation to Caritas Manila
for the relief and rehabilitation program for the victims of Haiyan
I noticed Stenie and a few other ladies wearing beautiful ternos that evening
These ladies and their partners, the lifestyle influencers in Manila, surprised the guests
with a Rigodon de Honor number.
Congratulations, Anna Sobrepena!
Congratulations, Cheryl Va Va Voom Tiu! ;)