The Manila Hotel president Joey Lina and French Ambassador Nicolas Galey.
Photos by Pepper Teehankee on a Leica C Digital Camera
‘Goût de France’
THE PEPPER MILL - Pepper Teehankee (The Philippine Star) - April 9, 2019 - 12:00am

French Ambassador Nicolas Galey was the guest of honor at the launch of the fifth edition of Goût de France (“Good France”) at the Champagne Room of The Manila Hotel. 

Goût de France had over 5,000 chefs in over 150 countries participating in culinary events that celebrate responsible cooking. The spotlight this year was on the region of Provence, which was showcased during events in France and around the world, including the Philippines.

For the annual event, several restaurants and schools showcased their French cuisine at The Champagne Room.  These included Café Ysabel, La Mere Poulard, Duck & Buvette, The Champagne Room, Chef Jessie, L’Entrecote, Center for Culinary Arts, Chateau 1771 and Samira Grill at Anya.

Anya executive chef Jonathan Bouthiaux’s potato with truffle foam was a big hit at the event and I told him that I loved that dish. He said he was preparing the dish at Anya for a weekend dinner, which I also attended.  I also loved chef Jessie Sincioco’s brandade, chef Martin Kaspar’s oyster-stuffed salmon in vinaigrette and chef Gene Gonzalez’s tarte tatin.

During the event, guests enjoyed French wine and feasted on Coquille Saint Jacques (French scallops) with foie gras sauce, salmon tartare, brandade, slow-cooked duck and beef bourguignon.

Manila Hotel president Joey Lina and Ambasssador Galey said a few words before the food stations were opened for a great night of tasting delicious French cuisine.

*  *  *

Chef Gene Gonzalez of Cafe Ysabel.

Meanwhile, Samira Grill Room at Anya Resort in Tagaytay was one of the establishments in the country selected to join Goût de France.

Executive chef Jonathan Bouthiaux created an unforgettable dinner using different techniques based on the protocol made by the festival’s founder, award-winning chef Alain Ducasse, highlighting the wonders of French cuisine.

The five-course meal started with an amuse bouche of smoked salmon foam with green pea puree (he probably changed it to salmon since I already tried the truffle foam he planned to put), gougeres (French cheese puffs) with Comte cheese, and beef tartare on a rice cracker. This was followed by pan-seared foie gras served with celeriac puree, green apple tartare and red wine jus.

The main course featured a duck leg confit and a variety of French cheese. To cleanse the palate, the “Colonel,” a sour lime sorbet with vodka, was served before the Black Forest cake. Guests enjoyed the wine provided by the Aboitiz Wine Company.

The five-course Goût de France menu will be available at Anya until April 15.

(For more information on Anya Resort Tagaytay’s other packages and room rates, visit and, call 553-8888 and 657-1640 or e-mail

From Provence to Manila

Raffles executive chef Anne-Cecille Degenne and chef Benjamin Collumbat of Le Jardin de Benjamin.

Chef Benjamin Collombat of Michelin-starred Chateau de Berne’s Le Jardin de Benjamin from Provence, France, was the featured chef for two-nights at the Raffles Makati.  The pop-up event was held in partnership with Turkish Airlines and Vintage Wine Company.

Collombat trained alongside famous chefs like Philippe Da Silva and Guy Martin, and made a name for himself through his unique and pioneering play on regional specialties from the hilltop villages of Haut-Var.

In his restaurant Le Jardin de Benjamin, Collombat uses fresh, seasonal ingredients from the rustic hilltops to create his special culinary masterpieces.

The dinner he prepared at Raffles Makati included organic sweet prawn tartare with mango and calamansi condiment enhanced with bergamot; a play on the texture around cauliflower with mandarin and white chocolate; sous vide sea bass with passion fruit butter and cucumber pickles; beef Wagyu tenderloin, lacquered with red berries, Szechuan mashed potato and yuzu sauce. For dessert, there was L’Exotique, which was a coconut dacquoise, with mango and passion fruit crémeux, coconut foam and passion fruit sorbet. Dinner was complemented by rare vintage wines from Vintage Wine Company.

Organic sweet prawn tartare with mango and calamansi condiment enhanced with bergamot.

A select group of food lovers including myself were lucky enough to attend Collumbat’s cooking class one afternoon.  He was assisted by Raffles executive chef Anne-Cecille Degenne. We learned how to make the appetizer, main course and dessert and even if I didn’t make it to the sold-out dinners, I was happy to be able to try these three dishes. All were amazing!

(Follow me on Instagram @pepperteehankee.)

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