European Culinary Week is a celebration of European Cuisine, featuring award-winning and Michelin-starred chefs. Part of the European Culinary Week’s mission is to spark interest in European cuisine, showcase European products, and work and meet with established European chefs.
Among the events lined up for the said week is Culinaria. Culinaria showcases the creations of the award-winning European chefs in an open kitchen style and provides a high-end European gastronomic experience by way of a walk-through dinner.
Here’s our experience at Culinaria…
Before the main event, diners were encouraged to whet their appetites with a splendid spread of cold cuts and cheeses prepared by Chef Mark Hagan of Grand Hyatt BGC, Philippines. What better way to start the night than with exquisite cold cuts and cheese selection?
A little starter red in the form of Gérard Bertrand’s Terroir Corbières never hurt anyone too.
The night commenced with a grand reveal of the show kitchen – complete with smoke machines, strobes, and even a short dance performance.
Six chefs prepared two dishes each for all the guests. Here are my top picks from the night:
Chef Gavin McDonagh’s (Ireland) Guinness and Smoked Bacon Goujeres with Dubliner Cheddar Cheese Sauce
The flavors and components are reminiscent of a grilled cheese with bacon but presented in a more sophisticated and upscale manner with a Goujere instead of white toast.
Chef Francois-Xavier Lambory’s (Belgium) Sea Scallops as a Carpaccio, Cupped-oyster Gazpacho, and Gin Fizz Espuma
This composite of sea scallops and oysters tasted as if they were freshly caught from the sea and straight to the plate. Frankly not the most photogenic as it’s covered in Gin fizz espuma and there’s barely any color to the dish, but it’s definitely one of the best dishes of the night.
Chef Francesco Brutto’s (Italy) Cuttlefish, Black Garlic Chamomile and Eyes Sauce
The night’s only Michelin-starred chef prepared well-done cuttlefish served on a bed of black garlic sauce. The infusion of chamomile with seafood is new to me, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it’s a flavor combination that I like.
In between dishes, we helped ourselves to some gin and tonics, and more wine.
Chef Santiago Guerrero’s (Spain) Creamy Squid Ink Croquetas, Fresh Squid and Green Aioli
The first layer of fried squid is followed by bite-sized croquetas (which were a lot creamier and richer than expected), then superbly wrapped up with the finale of the ceviche.
Chef Laetitia Moreau’s Variations of Tomatoes
The seemingly simple tomato-based dessert was an expert approach to tackling a single fruit and turning it into a completely unexpected dish.
Chef Miko Aspiras’ Exotic Taco
The Exotic taco is a combination of calamansi parfait and chickpea mousse on chickpea tile and Agua Fava meringue. I’ve always associated chickpea with savory food, so having it served with dessert was slightly disconcerting at first, but it only took one bite to shake that thought.
What I love the most about events like this, is the growth I get to experience as a foodie. I get to try dishes I would normally not order on my own due to the sheer unfamiliarity with the ingredients or the names. This being said, I feel like Culinaria was able to succeed in their mission of widening one’s food experience and appreciation.
Additionally, witnessing the chefs move in their element in the kitchen was a sight to behold. Congratulations to ECCP for a wondrous event, and thank you to all the chefs for preparing such sumptuous dishes.
The European Culinary Week is organized by the EU-Philippines Business Network, a project co-funded by the EU and implemented by a consortium of European Chambers of Commerce based in the Philippines, in partnership with Venue Partners Grand Hyatt Manila and Crimson Hotel & Resort Mactan, Wine Partner Wine Depot, and Culinary Education Partners Enderun Colleges and the Ducasse Education Philippines.
Live an Awesome Life,
Monique of Team Our Awesome Planet
Disclosure: We were media partners of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines for this event. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.