This year's theme--A Flight of Flavors--was different and a bit more fun. SMX designated one country each for their 14 caterers to showcase their respective food. For one night, guests had a chance to travel to different nations and gain access to some good food. These countries include Japan, Spain, Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Italy, Brazil, Germany, Turkey, India, France, USA, China, and Mexico.
The event was held last October 3 at the SMX Convention Center, Manila and was also a joint celebration of SMX Manila's 10th Anniversary, Megatrade Halls's 25th Anniversary, SMX Davao's 5th Anniversary, and the Sky Hall's 1st Anniversary.
Here's a photo essay of what happened at Culinaire...
The whole travel motif was impressive and detail-oriented. These were our boarding passes and instructions, which we got upon registration.
Event Shaker Mobile Bar is SMX's only caterer that specializes in drinks and cocktails. They represented Thailand.
The selection of German beer perfectly complemented the elaborate layout.
Conrad Manila's setup looked sophisticated and very classy.
Event Shaker Mobile Bar | Juan Carlo | LJC Group | Tamayo's Catering | TJIOE | M Catering | Kitchen City | Via Mare | Albergus | Josiah's Catering | Manila Catering | Conrad Manila | Hizon's Catering | Bizu
Each section had a different theme, which was according to the country they represented. The ambiance was formal but relaxed.
Juan Carlo (Germany)
Juan Carlo has been a long-time partner of SMX. They won big by bagging three out of the five awards that night, including Best Appetizer, Best Main Dish, and Best Setup.
I was in awe of their booth! All their servers dressed according to the theme, and you could tell they put a lot of thought into their whole presentation.
Their main dish, Beef Brasatto, was tender and boasted of savory flavors. For me, it truly deserves the Best Main Dish award.
Tamayo's Catering (Philippines)
Tamayo's setup was very detailed and culture-oriented, which was no surprise since Tamayo's founder is a full-blooded Bulakeño. I was a bit surprised they didn't win Best Setup.
My favorite appetizer for the night would have to be these Arroz a la Valenciana Fritti Balls. The rice had a strong Jambalaya taste and the breadcrumb coating was crisp and light.
M Catering (France)
Ms. Judy of M Catering tried to take their French-inspired setup to the next level by having real French models greet the people. The guests had a great time taking pictures with them.
M Catering's main dish was the Beef Bourguignon wrapped in bacon and served with potato gratin. I really liked their take on this French classic; it was tender and savory with a hint of sweetness from the caramelized onions. The Lemon Curd Chiffon with Fresh Berries was the perfect ending.
Via Mare (Mexico)
Via Mare, known for their seafood specialty restaurants, had the most vibrant setup of all. They really captured the essence of the country they represented.
The Carnitas was a perfect combination of salty, tangy, and spicy. It was a great filling for the soft tacos.
Josiah's Catering (Brazil)
The ladies of Josiah's Catering were really attentive and greeted guests with smiles as they lined up.
Pictured here is their Pressed Pork Confit cooked in a sage and white wine reduction. They had generous servings of this and offered a side of creamy mashed potatoes as well. The pork meat was soft and the skin was still crispy.
Conrad Manila (Korea)
Conrad Manila offered plated dishes so guests could just take one and go, which I think was efficient as some displays had long lines.
The star of this plate was the Slow Braised Beef that was cooked for 48 hours in Honey Sesame Sauce with Daikon and Red Ginger Cabbage. The beef melted in our mouths and the sauce was a good combination of salty and sweet.
Hizon's Catering (Italy)
Hizon's Catering has been in the industry for quite some time, so it's no surprise that they didn't skimp on the details! The carving station and posts laden with leaves added an extra flare to their setup.
Their main course was the Pulled Beef with Vegetables in BBQ sauce. The shredded beef was soft, tender, and juicy.
Bizu Catering (Spain)
Bizu Catering's well-lit corner stood out from the crowd and looked inspired and harmonious, from the decor down to the colors.
Their Porchetta served with Apple-Mango Chutney was unique. The blended fruits gave the pork a distinct sweetness.
Juan Carlo came out on top with three awards, followed by Conrad Manila, who won Best Appetizer and Best Service.
Overall, Culinaire: A Flight of Flavors definitely took food tasting to a whole other level. The event was an exquisite gastronomic journey that showcased the skills of all 14 accredited caterers.
The motif allowed the partners to demonstrate that they can adapt to any occasion and easily customize for each celebration. My personal favorites would have to be Juan Carlo, Via Mare, and Tamayo's Catering; they were detail-oriented, elaborate, and their food was truly awesome.
Congratulations to SMX for a successful event! Congratulations as well to all winners of the night!
For more information about SMX, please visit their official website www.smxconventioncenter.com and check out their different venues and packages for all your event needs.
Live an Awesome Life,
PATTI of TEAM OUR AWESOME PLANET
Disclosure: We were media guests of SMX. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.