Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Christmas Gala Dinner

Dr. Nestor Alonso ll - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The annual fellowship dinner of La Chaine des Rotisseurs, an international association of gastronomy that supports the advancement of culinary arts and the pleasure of the table, is held every December.The organization’s Cebu chapter, Baillage de Cebu, celebrated its 25th anniversary with a formal dinner, named “Starry Evening at the Blu” last December 8 at the Radisson Blu Cebu.

Since its inception, many of the dishes served in dinners organized by the Chaine are original creations crafted by five-star chefs and it expands the boundary of fine cuisine. Only the better hotels are qualified to host the event, and these dinners are often publicized to document the gustatory occasions.

On the group’s recent gala dinner, appetizer was Tuna Tataki with White Radish Salad paired with a Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Marlborough Vines, New Zealand. Tataki is a Japanese way of cooking, where fish or beef is seared on the surface leaving the inside very rare and seasoned with a mix of soy sauce, ginger and ponzu juice. Such simple preparation produce flavors that are very refreshing, with texture supplied by the radish salad.

Soup served was Chestnut Soup with Sea Scallop paired with Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay 2012, Sonoma County, California, and the chestnut brought personal memories to a stall that roasted chestnuts in Binondo four decades ago. There, they used a steel ball bearing in roasting the chestnuts to ensure the heat was evenly applied while cooking.

The third dish was Deep Sea Cod, Lentil, Serrano Ham with Salsa Verde. This is one interesting dish because each bite of the fish fillet taken with the lentil, ham or green sauce would elicit different wonderful taste sensations. I really love this dish.

The sorbet was a dish called Venus and Mars, Dilmah Lychee with Rose and Almond Tea. The red wine, Domaine de Lounge Toque Vacqueyras 2014, Rhone, France, signalled the service of the Main Dish, Australian Mulwarra Grain-fed Beef Cheek, Brussels Sprout Purée, Walnuts, Sweet Potato Gnocchi and Red Wine Sauce.

All throughout the evening, entertainment was provided with by Joseph Brian Cimafranca (Violin), Lara Maigue (Soprano) and a performance, the Grand Pas de Deux (The Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky), by Jemima Reyes and Victor Maguad of Ballet Philippines.

A cheese dish is often served in formal dinners and this time we had the Organic Goat Cheese with Black Olive Candy & Pistachio Sponge served on star-shaped platter, a subtle reminder that this dinner was a “Starry Evening at the Blu.” The cheese was paired with the Chateau roc de Calon, Montagne Saint-Emilion 2012 from Bordeaux.

Dessert was Dark Chocolate-Ginger Mousse and Lemon Meringu and iced Natural Ceylon Ginger Tea by Dilmah, followed by Petits Four with coffee. You could gauge the success of a dinner by the number of guests who’d stay long after the coffee is served. It seemed that many guests preferred to linger and strengthen the bond of camaraderie among fellow gourmands, excuse me, with a glass of wine. It was a truly a magnificent dinner and awards of appreciation were given to director of food & beverage Ramon Makilan, executive chef Roberto Kunitz and GM Laurent Boisdron for a very successful hosting of the 25th Gala Dinner.

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