Food and Leisure

Four hands and a French-Japanese feast

FOOD FOR THOUGHT - Millie and Karla Reyes - The Philippine Star
Four hands and a French-Japanese feast
The four-hands collaboration dinner by chef Yoshiaki Ito of L’Archeste, Paris, and chef Hiroyuki Meno of Epilogue, Paris. Chefs Ito and Meno show off giant grouper farmed locally by Epilogue owner Henry Uy

This degustation dinner featuring two highly acclaimed Japanese chefs, Yoshiaki Ito and Hiroyuki Meno at Epilogue, S’Maison, highlighted Filipino flavors and ingredients.

Millie:  We recently experienced a Four Hands Collaboration degustation dinner featuring two highly acclaimed Japanese chefs, Yoshiaki Ito and Hiroyuki Meno at Epilogue, S’Maison.

Chef Meno of Epilogue was also the executive chef of Brasserie Paul Bocuse and the one-star Maison Paul Bocuse in Tokyo, Japan. Chef Ito works at restaurant L’Archeste in Paris, France.

Wagyu tenderloin with potato purée and shaved summer truffles

They met in 2003 when Meno was the sous chef at Restaurant Hiramatsu in Fukuoka and Ito was sent by Restaurant Hiramatsu Paris to be a guest chef at an event in Fukuoka.

Since then, both have become good friends and shared their mastery of the culinary arts to produce a gastronomic feast, one that was definitely inspired by French-Japanese fusion techniques.

Karla:  Both chefs wanted to highlight Filipino flavors and ingredients in this dinner and tried to inject them into their dishes.

The first course was a set of amuse bouche: Hokkaido scallops, diced and marinated in ginger oil and tossed in a singkamas remoulade. The second was a squash blossom fritter, stuffed with dalandan jam and coated with a 24-month aged Parmigiano Reggiano. There was also an air baguette with Iberico pancetta and Mornay sauce topped with a shaving of summer truffles.

Foamed gazpacho with fresh mozzarella, pear and red bell pepper mousse

The next course was a gazpacho made into a foam. The soup plate was served with a piece of fresh mozzarella, a pear and a red bell pepper mousse. The chefs then went around the table to personally add the gazpacho foam onto our plates.

We were served two fish courses, the first a yellow-fin tuna sashimi covered in sliced pink radishes with crabmeat. It was served with Liveche mayonnaise, eggplant and parsley.

The second fish course was the chefs’ version of bouillabaisse. Our soup plates were served with a stack of banana heart, chayote, fennel, and a piece of giant grouper topped with lemongrass foam. The soup was a fish consommé: a stock made with fish bones was concentrated and clarified to make a clear soup.

Yellow-fin tuna sashimi covered in sliced pink radishes with crabmeat: It was served with Liveche mayonnaise, eggplant and parsley.

Millie:  This was exactly the dish that caught my interest as I listened to Epilogue’s young owner, Alyanna Uy, as she disclosed that a giant grouper was used for the bouillabaise that evening. Alyanna explained that her father Henry, who is in the aquaculture business, raised the grouper, and even showed me a picture. Its flesh was tender, not chewy.

The next course was the much-awaited foie gras, lightly poached and served with Adlai risotto and moringa.

Giant Grouper Bouillabaisse made with fish consommé, banana heart, chayote, fennel and lemongrass foam

The star of the evening was the melt-in-your-mouth wagyu tenderloin served with Bearnaise sauce, shavings of summer truffle and, believe it or not, a sisig-inspired chopped pork mask doused with Pedro Ximenez.

Dessert  was a Vacherin, a meringue dome with a mango calamansi sorbet, light and airy and actually a palate cleanser.

We were lucky to have experienced this collaboration between chefs Ito and Meno, who have honed and perfected their craft through the years.

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Send email to milliereyes.foodforthought@gmail.com and quichethecook.ph@gmail.com. Find us on Facebook:  Food for Thought by Millie & Karla Reyes and Instagram: @quichethecookph.

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