André Chiang at Vask

THE PEPPER MILL - Pepper Teehankee - The Philippine Star

There is a restaurant in Singapore that I have been dying to visit: Restaurant André, owned by famous chef André Chiang. The restaurant is always fully booked. On some occasions, I missed the chance of eating there because of conflicts in my schedule.

Recently, my friend Alicia Sy called to tell me the good news about a Four Hands Lunch and Dinner in Manila with chefs André Chiang and Chele Gonzalez at Vask Gallery in Taguig City. I was quite excited to finally try André Chiang’s food. To watch him at a cooking demonstration was another bonus!

I arrived at Vask before the scheduled time and Alicia introduced me to André while there weren’t any people yet.  We chatted and the guy was warm and obliged for photos.  The Taiwanese-born chef was the former head chef of three-Michelin-star restaurant Le Jardin des Sens in France. He is known for his “octaphilosophy” of eight elements that make up his dishes:  texture, memory, pure, terroir, unique, salt, south and artisan. In 2015, his Restaurant André was named the Best Restaurant in Singapore, and the fifth best in Asia by Restaurant magazine.

At the cooking demonstration, André made three dishes that we also tried during the lunch. He made a “Surf & Turf” dish with Bretagne blue lobster, buttermilk and celery.  He showed us how he used the celery leaves, root, oil and stems for the dish. André also made a confit of surimi squid, kelp jus, rice soufflé and silky potato. These dishes were quite simple but the way he composed all the textures and flavors was just amazing. He also demonstrated his “Sweet & Savory” dessert, which consisted of milk skin, porcini mushrooms and rice.

On the other hand, Chele’s dishes impressed me as well especially his tiradito of yellow fin tuna, kinilaw and pickled arosep, and his version of ukoy, which was smoked raw small shrimps on top of a shrimp cracker. These were two of my favorite Chele Gonzalez dishes!

Guests who dined for lunch or dinner received chef André’s Octaphilosophy Cookbook published by Phaidon and represented by Siobhan Bent. Also present was designer Camiel Weijenberg, who designed a special limited-edition wooden slipcase for André’s cookbook.

Of course, I asked André to sign my beloved cookbook after having such a wonderful lunch prepared by two chefs I truly admire.

Amazing gastronomic collaboration

Chef Daniel Negreira is the CEO and founder of DN Group, which manages Marina By DN in Shanghai. This restaurant was named the Best Spanish restaurant in China by Spain’s leading news daily El País.

Negreira was the guest chef in a creative “Four Hands Dinner” collaboration with the City of Dreams Manila’s two-Michelin-star chef William Mahi.

The seven-course dinner included Chef Negreira’s signature dishes like “Spring Expression,” “Winter Has Ended” and “Forest of Spices;” and Chef Mahi’s innovative French and Spanish-influenced creations.

Mahi said, “The gastronomic creations for the Four Hands Dinner reflect a progressive and an alternative culinary style with an emphasis on originality and distinctive sharpness of taste.”

Negreira added, “There are no limits in creating, no limits for the endless quest for perfection, no limits in our obsession for details, no limits for one´s dreams.  Once you set a limit upon your dreams, you will stop living those dreams.”

While Chef Mahi grew up in the Basque area of France, Chef Negreira’s culinary roots came from the Spanish side of the Basque region.

Chef Negreira previously worked with some of the best three-Michelin-star chefs Juan Mari Arzak, Andoni Luis Aduriz and Martin Berasategui. He was recognized as the “Best Young Chef” of the Basque Country in 2006 and was awarded the silver medal in the prestigious Bocuse d’or competition in Spain in 2007.  He also published several cookbooks such as A Walk Through Spain and Discovering The Modern Chef.

Chef Mahi joined The Tasting Room as chef de cuisine in 2014.  Prior to his posting in Manila, Mahi was the consultant and chef de cuisine at Spondi Restaurant in Athens from 2013 to 2014. Spondi earned two Michelin Stars and ranked 97th in San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2013 while Mahi was chef de cuisine.

(For inquiries and reservations for future culinary events, call 800-8080 or e-mail [email protected] or visit www.cityofdreams.com.ph.)

Let It Be Great

Makati Shangri-La, Manila presented Let It Be Great, a weeklong affair that offered a charmed lifestyle inspired by the United Kingdom.

Area manager of Shangri-La’s Philippine properties and general manager of Makati Shangri-La, Manila Alain Borgers said the event was inspired by The Beatles song, Let It Be and United Kingdom’s “Britain is Great” campaign. Those who went to the affair celebrated and experienced the finest and most delightful elements of the British culture — in music, fashion, dining and innovation.

In partnership with British Embassy Manila, the celebration highlighted six main events: The Grand British Buffet at Circles Event Café, a Grand High Tea at Lobby Lounge, a wine dinner created by Michelin-star chef Daniel Galmiche, the Seven Senses Whisky Experience at Sage Bespoke Grill Private Dining, the British Pub Nights at Sage Bar, and Let It Be Great concert that paid homage to The Beatles.

I was lucky enough to savor the fare of Chef Daniel while sipping The Dalmore under the guidance of The Dalmore ambassador Adam Knox. I rarely ever miss these culinary events of Shangri-La Makati; they are truly some of the most memorable dinners I had.

(For future culinary events,

visit www.shangri-la.com or call 813-8888.)

(Follow me on Instagram @pepperteehankee.)


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with