At Jun Evaristo’s (fourth from left) pre-birthday dinner are (from left) Trade Undersecretary Rowel Barba, NCRPO chief Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, Trade Secretary Mon Lopez, SM Prime Holdings Inc. executive committee chairman Hans Sy and The Philippine STAR president and CEO Miguel Belmonte.
50 cheers for Jun Evaristo
THE PEPPER MILL - Pepper Teehankee (The Philippine Star) - August 30, 2019 - 12:00am

He’s going to be a “golden boy” next month but this early, Frank “Jun” Evaristo is already grateful for his golden blessing.

On the occasion of his upcoming 50th birthday this September, Jun held an intimate pre-birthday dinner for some of his close friends at Korea Garden restaurant in Makati City. Those in attendance were Trade Secretary Mon Lopez and Undersecretary Rowel Barba, The Philippine STAR president and CEO Miguel Belmonte, SM Prime Holdings Inc. executive committee chairman Hans Sy and National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar. LT Group Inc.’s president and COO Michael Tan also attended the dinner but had to leave early.

Happy birthday in advance, Jun!

Enjoying dinner are friends (clockwise) Miguel Belmonte, Undersecretary Rowel Barba, Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, Hans Sy, Secretary Mon Lopez and Frank ‘Jun’ Evaristo.

All beefed up!

(From left) Bord Bia PH campaign manager Donatella Chua, Bord Bia Asia program manager Kieran Fitzgerald, Bord Bia PH campaign meat specialist and market advisor chef Philip John Golding, Gerry San Miguel, Flame restaurant chef de cuisine Luis Chikiamco, John Stone Beef managing director Allan Morris, Sophie Morris, QK Meats Ltd.’s Elena Okhnyanskaya and Agra Kepak International director Gerry Martin.

My heart skipped a beat when I learned that I was invited to a dinner in Flame at the Discovery Primea in Makati City for an Irish dinner. I immediately thought of Irish beef and Kerrygold butter. Irish Kerrygold butter is one of my Top 3 favorite butter brands, along with the French Beurre d’Isigny and the Japanese fermented Calpis butter.

The dinner was hosted by Bord Bia to promote European pork and beef, particularly Irish beef. It also became sort of a networking gathering as suppliers and importers of Irish beef from all over Asia were present at the dinner.

“European Pork and Beef: Excellence in Quality & Production Standards” is a three-year campaign co-financed by Bord Bia, the Irish Government Food Board, and the European Union in order to promote European pork and beef in South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines from this year until 2021.

Kieran Fitzgerald shows off the John Stone cote de boeuf cut by Allan Morris.

Ireland, reportedly the largest net beef exporter in the European Union, is primarily an agricultural country with 120,000 small- to medium-sized family farms. According to Bord Bia, Ireland is the second largest source of imported beef in the Philippines.

In Ireland, cattle graze outdoors for an average of 300 days of the year with a 95-percent grass-fed diet so meat is produced the way nature intended it to be. The result is a fuller, meatier taste and healthier beef. Farmers there practice farm-to-fork traceability and each animal has its own passport with the details stored on a national database, which is managed by the government. All EU beef — fresh, frozen or processed — must also include detailed label information that enables the consumer to trace back through the production chain to the farm of origin. Ireland reportedly has the highest international standards of food safety and animal welfare.

Duo of Irish beef by chef Luis Chikiamko.

When I arrived at Flame, I couldn’t contain my excitement as Kerrygold was being served at the dinner! There was also a delicious Kerrygold Irish cheese platter.

Before dinner, master butcher Allan Morris of John Stone Beef wowed guests with a live demo of beef cutting. Allan sliced the cote de boeuf and put it into a high-temperature Josper grill for eight minutes. The beef was seasoned by chef Luis Chikiamco, who also prepared the delicious food for the dinner. 

For the pass-around cocktails, Luis made three hors d’oeuvres — beef and mushroom vol-au-vent made with Irish beef tenderloin and truffle cream, Irish beef chuck eye curry puffs, and Irish beef tenderloin yakitori. Dinner started with a refreshing chilled Asian salad with compressed watermelon, and a spice-roasted pumpkin soup. The next was a duo of Irish beef — soy braised brisket and grilled striploin.

John Stone Irish cote de boeuf cooked by chef Luis Chikiamco in a Josper grill.

I love Irish beef and I liked everything prepared that night, especially the freshly cut cote de boeuf.  It was an excellent Irish beef dinner!

Bord Bia recently joined the World Food Expo 2019 Trade Show held at SMX Convention Center at the SM Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City.

(For more information, visit and @EUPorkandBeefPH and @BordBia on Facebook.)

(Follow me on Instagram @pepperteehankee.)

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