HOW often do you see two Filipino celebrity chefs like Chef Sau del Rosario and Chef Miko Aspiras pair up in a Filipino food festival? Not too often because, most of the time, one of them is enough to fill a whole restaurant for lunch or dinner buffet. So, in the very few occasions when they collaborate in the kitchen to come up with a very impressive savory and dessert spread, diners really come to partake of the feast and totally indulge in good food.
Well, there is still time to head off to Diamond Hotel Philippines’ Corniche, where the Filipino Culinary Pride food festival is ongoing until July 1, 2018. Chef Sau del Rosario, who owns and runs Café Fleur and 25 Seeds in Pampanga, takes care of the savory dishes, and his spread spans the entire buffet from appetizers, soups and salads to hot dishes and carvings. Chef Miko Aspiras, who is behind Le Petit Soufflé and Scout’s Honor, among others, lays out an awesome daily spread of innovative cakes, mousses, pastries and desserts.
Chef Sau offers his usual unique Filipino dishes, most of which are classic Filipino dishes given a contemporary twist and modern presentation. Consider this list of items on his menu cycle—Tamales Pampangueña (chicken, salted egg, chorizo, annatto and coconut cream in, no, not wrapped in banana leaves but attractively presented in mousse form with plenty of toppings in glasses); Chicken Galantina Roulade (no, not the usual whole deboned and stuffed chicken but in roulade form); Sinigang Flan (not the soup that we know but in a savory gelatin appetizer); Paku with Kesong Puti and Watermelon (with watermelon replacing the usual tomato to go with the crunchy forest fern); Salted Eggyolk Prawn Rebosado (which proves that the salted egg trend has not gone away); Crispy Pork Kare-Kare Macadamia (a gourmet twist on the traditional kare-kare); Sisig Paella (Chef Sau’s signature dish where he transforms his home province’s famous sisig into a paella); Bringhe (the Kapampangans’ answer to Spanish paella); Salmon Salt Crusted with Calamansi and Coconut (a special treat on the carving station for fish lovers); and Lechon Roll or Porchetta Stuffed with Malagos Chèvre and Cocoa (yes, that’s goat cheese and chocolate from Davao’s Malagos Farm).
Chef Miko lives up to his reputation as a multi-awarded pastry chef with his dessert spread for the food festival. He has fruit shaped desserts which are actually different types of desserts—Mansanas (dulcey-cinnamon mousse and Granny Smith apple compote dipped in a red glaze with chocolate leaf and twigs décor); Dayap (coconut mousse with dayap curd dipped in praline cocos); Mangga (mango mousse with passion fruit and mango sauce insert, mango coulis dipped in gourmet glaze); and Cherry (layers of chocolate sponge, cherry mousse and cherry Chantilly).
He also offers Grape Choux (choux pastry filled with blueberry and Mascarpone Chantilly and blueberry compote); Mandarin Cheesecake (Graham cracker base, Mandarin cheesecake with fresh orange segments on top); and Keso de Bola Macaron (French macarons with keso de bola).
Then there is a live station for serving Ensaymada with Flambéed Morada and Rosella, which Chef Miko demonstrated on opening day.
Centerpiece of Chef Miko’s dessert spread happens to be his Zero Waste Ice Cream. It is interesting because it changes every day, so you always look forward to how it will taste like the next day. The reason for this is that the ice cream incorporates leftover desserts in the kitchen at the end of the day, such as syrups, brownies, cakes, breads and sweets. Chef Miko waits for the leftovers in the hotel’s pastry kitchen at the end of each day before churning out his next batch of Zero Waste Ice Cream.
What’s more: Guests who have a minimum spend of Php5,000 at the Corniche lunch or dinner buffet during the food festival are entitled to a raffle ticket for a chance to win a two-night stay in Baguio.
What’s even more: Guests who spend Php20,000 or more at the Corniche buffet are gifted with a complimentary overnight stay in a Deluxe Room with breakfast for two.
(Diamond Hotel Philippines is located at Roxas Blvd. corner Dr. J. Quintos St., Manila, with telephone number (632) 528-3000.)