Kevin Cherkas at Sage
THE PEPPER MILL - Pepper Teehankee (The Philippine Star) - May 12, 2016 - 10:00am

Canadian-born chef Kevin Cherkas is a world-class culinary master trained at Michelin-star restaurants Arzak, El Bulli and Daniel. Cherkas, who is now based in Bali, Indonesia, was one of the chefs featured at the recently concluded Madrid Fusion Manila 2016. He stayed in Manila for a bit longer for a limited engagement of three dinners at Sage Bespoke Grill at the Makati Shangri-La Manila.

My friend and fellow foodie Alicia Sy posted on Instagram that she had eaten at Cherkas’ restaurant in Bali and was excited when she learned that the renowned chef was coming over to Manila. I was thrilled when Shangri-La informed me that Cherkas was confirmed to cook three dinners at Sage. 

It was excellent dining experience that included pre-dinner cocktails and a seven-course dinner paired with the finest Spanish wines. Cherkas and his wife Virginia went around the room making sure diners were having a good time. His Ceviche de Pescado consisted of fresh raw fish and chili lime dressing but what made it unique was the watermelon ice that topped this refreshing dish. My favorite had to be his arroz caldoso, which basically looked like a squid ink risotto or paella…but this dish had no rice! Those little morsels were actually squid meat cut up into little morsel-sized pieces. The dish was topped with crispy, popped Valencian rice.

Cherkas’ other dishes included grilled Galician octopus, organic honey fried chicken, and beef and mushroom with a fantastic red Rioja marmalade. I enjoyed both of the desserts he made — “Desayuno,” which looked like a raw egg that actually was a “yolk” filled with a sweet runny mango above whipped coconut and frozen passion fruit; and “Tarta de tea-ramisu,” which was a black tea cake grass jelly, mascarpone cream and caramelized seeds.

It was indeed a memorable dinner, what with a wonderful meal cooked by one of the friendliest, funniest, multi-awarded and most talented young chefs in the world...especially when the dinner fell right on my birthday!

As a featured chef at the Madrid Fusion Manila 2016, Cherkas shared his cooking philosophy on serving Western cooking made from the best and freshest local ingredients.

He also runs Cuca in Bali, together with his wife Virginia, serving up cuisine made only from the best and freshest local ingredients thoughtfully curated from artisanal producers in Indonesia.

(Visit www.cucaflavor.com.)

Elevate your style

With its recently launched Concept Store Series, Axe Black is set to elevate the style of the understated man.

Focusing on fashion, fragrance and grooming, this new campaign seeks to appeal to the many sides and styles of the effortlessly cool man, showing him that the light and refined scent of Axe Black can complete his look.

The Axe Black concept stores will be operational for one weekend each in June, July and August. These concept stores will be hosted by three new ambassadors with styles that are distinctly their own: top DJ Nix Damn P, lifestyle blogger David Guison and actor Arjo Atayde.

Each leg of the Concept Store Series will be unique as the ambassadors are challenged to create a theme and sell products that they feel represent their individual style. They will be curating 10 items that best embody their personal, understated style at their concept stores. Five of these chosen items will then be sold via a special Axe store on Lazada for two weeks.

The Axe Black Concept Store Series launch did not only give a sneak preview of each leg but also introduced the latest Axe girl — Coleen Garcia. “I’m so happy to be part of the Axe family because I really believe that a guy’s scent says so much about him. I like a guy who wears a subtle but notable scent because it tells me that he has an effortless confidence about him,” Coleen reveals.

The Axe Black Council, including endorser Bamboo, last year’s winner Frank Magalona, and Coleen Garcia, will vote on concept, digital mentions and sales to determine the winning concept store.

(Visit www.AxePhilippines.com, Axe Philippines on Facebook and @AxePhilippines on Twitter and Instagram for updates.)

(Follow me on Instagram @pepperteehankee.)

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